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on 27 December 2009
This is a rare novelty bur shews the popularity of revue in the forties.
The colour and costumes are sumptuous and This heart of Mine is outstanding. The seta are fabulous as iare the immaculate dancing of the leads and the lush music. Much else is patchy with some of the sketches benig very dated (Fanny Bryce is awful!) However there is an exception in the Victor Moore/Edward Arnold sketch 'Pay him the two dollars' an anti-lawyer sketch which is absolutely hilarious. It is fantastic of course but very cynical and Edward Arnold is outstanding. None of the other sketches have stood the test of time but the musical numbers are mainly very enyable and lavishly mounted.
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on 10 July 2009
I saw this film when it was first released, and then , as now the highlights for me are the two Astaire/Bremer numbers, 'Limehouse Blues' and 'This Heart of Mine', some of the sketches may be a bit dated, but the musical numbers outweigh this.
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on 25 November 2013
This is one of the best musicals I've seen. It was a box office failure . It has no plot. But has a fabulous and extraordinary music and scenes of dancing The two scenes of Fred and Bremer are really exquisite. In the first one: "This heart of mine" we see avery, very beautiful Lucille Bremer, almost an angel. Music that touches the soul, of Harry Dubin with lyrics by the producer Freed. Wonderful. The dance choreography, set design, costumes, all is spectacular. The other scene with Fred and Bremer "The Limehouse Blues" is also truly spectacular. Simply Minelli took the time and even for today's standards the scene looks very elaborate. The accuracy of them dancing is amazing. Lucill eno looks at Fred, she no need to be guided by him. She became very good work learning their footsteps. And while in the background we hear Salinger arrangements very fond of French horn. Sublime. And there is more, much more. We can see dancing Fred and Gene together in "The Babbit and the Bromide" where you can see who do the better dance. And all in wonderful technicolor. This is a movie only for fans of musicals. It is the best.

Este es uno de los mejores musicales que he visto. Fue un fracaso de taquilla. No tiene trama. Pero tiene escenas de bailes y una música fabulosas, extraordinarias. Las dos escenas de Fred con Bremer son realmente exquisitas. En la primera de ellas: "This heart of mine" vemos a una Lucille Bremer bellísima, casi un ángel. Una música que llega al alma de Harry Dubin con letra del propio'productor Freed. Ellos bailan maravillosamente. La coreografía, la escenografía, el vestuario, todo es un espectáculo. La otra escena de Bremer con Fred "The LImehouse Blues" es realmente espectacular. Sencillamente Minelli se adelantó en el tiempo y aun para los estandares de hoy se nota muy elaborada. La precisión del baile de ellos es asombrosa. Lucille no mira a Fred,no necesita guiarse por él. Hizo muy buen trabaja aprendiendose sus pasos. Y mientras en el fondo escuchamos los arreglos de Salinger muy aficionado al corno francés. Sublime. Y hay mas, mucho mas. Esta el baile de Fred y Gene juntos en Tthe Babbit and the Bromide" donde es posible apreciar quien de los dos bailaba mejor. Y todo en maravilloso technicolor. Esta es una película solo para los amantes de los musicales. Es de lo mejor.
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Even in the Golden Age, studios could throw all their best talent and huge sums of money at the screen and still come up with a clunker, and this is a classic one from the peak years of MGM musicals. In production for more than a year at a cost of some $3m, with various sequences added or dropped to little positive effect, at its worst it's what fast forward buttons were invented for.

Any film that starts with William Powell as Flo Ziegfeld deciding to put on a show in heaven and leads into a musical number that has Lucille Ball whipping svelte female devils is not without a certain kitsch value, but its tacky overproduction, tone-deaf female chorus and a use of colour that is occasionally below par for the studio, the film looks more like a Fox musical at times. Tack makes its reappearance with the finale, with women dancing through drooping phallic shaped bubblebath foam, but inbetween the film is rather more conservative.

It is better than MGM's other all-star item, Thousands Cheer (I didn't) but because there's no plot to string them together (and MGM's plots were always better than the average for musicals) or characters to engage us, the film stands or falls on its musical numbers and comic routines, and they are here a very variable bunch.

Some start off well, only to veer off in the wrong direction, like Judy Garland's 'Interview', which is given better staging (by Charles Walters) than it deserves. Unfortunately a lot start off bad and just get worse. On the (minor) plus side, the opening puppet sequence (featuring caricatures of Fanny Brice, Will Rogers, Eddie Cantor and Diamond Jim Brady) is surprisingly effective and there is a genuinely funny sketch with Red Skelton - no, honestly - interspersing his 'Guzzler's Gin' drunk act with J. Newton Numbskull's poetry ('I brought my girl some garters/At the local Five-and-Ten/She gave them to her mother/That's the last I'll see of them').

Fred Astaire makes no fewer than four appearances and provides the highlight with the superbly designed, surprisingly bleak 'Limehouse Blues' (his other number with Bette Davis lookalike Lucille Bremer, 'This Foolish Heart of Mine' isn't bad either). The key selling point, however, is Kelly and Astaire's number, the only time they were paired until 1976's That's Entertainment Part Two. It's good as far as it goes, but it's not all that it should be considering the talents involved (their opening patter proves once and for all that both men were better actors when they were dancing). Yet, considering how weak many of the turns are here, it provides the picture with the closest it has to a climax.

Still, Warner home Video's Region 1 NTSC DVD provides an embarrassment of riches - audio for three deleted songs, making of featurette, trailers for all the studio's 'Ziegfeld' films, a couple of cartoons and a Crime Does Not Pay short, though it's a pity that the original opening sequence, with a stop motion animated Leo the Lion giving a rundown of Flo Ziegfeld's rise to fame, is not included despite a workprint of it still surviving (it can be found on Youtube while parts of it were used in the finished film minus Leo).
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HALL OF FAMEon 7 August 2007
Watching this MGM review musical is a little like being a graduate student on an archeology dig. You'll find a lot to sift through, and one or two things you find still look very good.

The overwhelming impression the film leaves is the lush vulgarity of the MGM style. I don't think there's a subtle color, costume or set in the place. There are acres of pastel gauze curtains hanging from the sky, crystal chandeliers that float, pink ostrich feathers that wrap around, stick up, hang down and envelop, glitter stuck on anything that moves or doesn't move, sunsets so colorful that no human could possibly have seen them in real life, gowns which are extravagantly bizarre. Everything blares out that this is the best quality money can buy, and we (MGM) have a lot of money. In a way, it's endearing.

While a number of the acts, especially the comedy numbers, are dated, three or four of the dances still hold up well. It's probably no coincidence that most of them feature Fred Astaire.

"This Heart of Mine," danced by Astaire and Lucille Bremer, to a song by Harry Warren and Arthur Freed, is a glamorous, over-the-top tale of a gentleman thief and a princess who meet at a ball and learn quite a bit about each other. It's all bright red sets, stylized white trees and purple gowns. Bremer may have had little on-screen personality, but she was great to look at and a fine dancer. The song itself is a lush, mesmerizing tale of romantic discovery. The lyrics may contain some cliches, but they work seamlessly with Warren's melody.
This heart of mine
was doing very well.
The world was fine
as far as I could tell.
And then quite suddenly I met you and I dreamed of gay amours.
At dawn I woke up singing sentimental overtures.

This heart of mine
is gaily dancing now.
I taste the wine
of real romancing now.
Somehow this crazy world has taken on a wonderful design...
As long as life endures it's yours, this heart of mine.

"Limehouse Blues' is an odd, tragic number for Astaire but he carries it off. He's a poor Chinese man in London's Chinatown who sees this exquisite Chinese woman (Bremer) and falls hopelessly in love. He could never have her; she barely notices him. In the aftermath of a robbery he takes a fan she had admired. Dying, he imagines a courtship dance with her involving fans.

"The Babbit and the Bromide" was the only pairing of Astaire and Gene Kelly. It's clever, amusing and not too challenging for either of them. It's also no contest; in my view Astaire carries the day.

"Love," the Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane song, is sung with sultry intensity by Lena Horne. She dominates the over-produced, over-decorated, over-costumed MGM idea of a tacky "Negro" nightclub. The song is sweet and hopeful, then knowing and realistic. Horne nails it...
Love can be a moment's madness;
Love can be insane.
Love can be a life of sadness and pain.

Love can be a summer shower;
Love can be the sun.
Love can be two hearts that flower as one.

It can be, fine and free
But it's true,
It doesn't always happen to you.

Love can be a dying ember;
Love can be a flame.
Love pledged in September
May be dead in December;
You may not even remember it came.

Love can be a joy forever,
Or an empty name.
Love is almost never ever the same.

Love can be a cup of sorrow.
Love can be a lie.
Love can make you wake tomorrow and sigh.

For the rest, Judy Garland does a song and dance number parodying a great lady of the screen being interviewed. She's terrific. I suspect Garland was coached by Kay Thompson, who did the lyrics, and who was a great over-the-top song stylist herself. You can get a rare recorded look at her in Funny Face, costarring with Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Thompson, incidentally, was godmother to Liza Minnelli. When Thompson was very ill, Minnelli moved her into her New York apartment and cared for her until Thompson died. The other numbers range from interesting artifacts (Red Skelton, Victor Moore, Keenan Wynn, Esther Williams and such) to awesomely awful (Kathryn Grayson, Fannie Bryce, James Melton).

For those who like musicals and older movies, who like Astaire, who look with fondness on the days of the studios and of a time when Louis B. Mayer and MGM tried to set the standards for what was tasteful and cultural, Ziegfeld Follies has a lot to offer. Just enjoy it for what it is, a collection of archeological discoveries, with some of them rare and wonderful.

The DVD is in glorious Technicolor and jumps off the screen with every bright color the designers and Vincent Minnelli could think of. There are several extras included on the disc.
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on 27 February 2013
Although made in 1945 10 years before I was born this film has some very unforgetable melodies especially the
Fred Astaire number "This Heart Of Mine" written by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Arthur Freed who danced with Lucille Bremer in a lavish and romantic dance number especially written for Fred.

Another great rendition of this number is by The John Wilson Orchestra which was performed at the 2011 BBC Prom season.
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on 25 December 2014
The comedy sketches are unfunny, but they were when I first saw the film more than 50 years ago, but the musical numbers more than make up for this. Stand outs are the two Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer numbers, This Heart of Mine and Limehouse Blues, and Judy Garland in A Great Lady gives an Interview. Lush technicolour throughout make tis this an item to treasure. There is the added bonus of the Overture to the film.
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on 18 December 2009
Although I love the Ziegfeld movies, I found this one boring as their is no story, just an array of stars.
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on 25 June 2011
Excellent quality DVD which works on a standard UK DVD player and LCD TV. I had seen the film on TV and had made a VHS recording but the current DVD is much sharper and sound much better although it looks as if it may not have been digitally remastered.

Recommended if you like late 40's glossy MGM musicals.
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on 31 July 2013
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