The great Ziegfeld

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German title The great Ziegfeld
Original title The Great Ziegfeld
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1936
length 176 minutes
Age rating FSK 0
Director Robert Z. Leonard
script William A. McGuire
production Hunt Stromberg
music Arthur Lange
camera Oliver T. Marsh ,
Ray June ,
George Folsey ,
Merritt B. Gerstad ,
Karl Freund
cut William S. Gray

The Great Ziegfeld (original title: The Great Ziegfeld ) is an American film musical by the director Robert Z. Leonard from 1936 and is based on the life of the theater and film producer Florenz Ziegfeld junior and his two stars Anna Held and Billie Burke on. The main roles are played by William Powell , Myrna Loy and Luise Rainer . The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year .


Although they are competitors, the two revue show producers Florenz Ziegfeld jr. and Jack Billings friends. Both shows need stars. Ziegfeld's view of a good show is based on the attraction of strong men, while Billings swears by music, dance and beautiful women. Ziegfeld had to flee to London because of exhibition manipulation. Billings also wants to go there to sign a French singer. But Ziegfeld not only manages to get the singer to sign with him, but also marries him. Back on Broadway , Ziegfeld is working on his next project: No individual stars, but the ensemble, the Ziegfeld Follies , with impressive costumes and décor. Over time it becomes more and more clear that Ziegfeld is well known to the public, but that he also lives beyond his means and that his production company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

At the same time, the strip portrays the impresario's intricate private life . His first marriage to Anna Held fails because of his lack of marital fidelity. He got divorced and married the famous actress Billie Burke in his second marriage. During his marriage to Burke, Ziegfeld also had a few affairs, including with the unscrupulous Audrey Dane. In the end, Ziegfeld is bankrupt and sees his life's work in ruins.


The film was based on the life of Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. , who was known for his opulent revues and stage spectacles and his show troupe of the Ziegfeld Girls . Fanny Brice , Ray Bolger and Harriet Hoctor , among others, became known under his aegis . MGM reached an agreement with his widow Billie Burke to film some aspects of the impresario's life. The film cost around $ 1.5 million, making it one of the studio's most expensive productions since Ben Hur in 1925. The box office revenues ended up being around $ 3 million.

The main role was played by actor William Powell , who had risen to become one of the most popular actors in Hollywood since his appearance in The Thin Man . Luise Rainer , who had only made her American debut last year at Powell's side in Escapade, was won for the role of his first wife Anna Held . The studio launched her as the new Garbo , and the critics of the time particularly praised her portrayal on the telephone scene, in which Anna learns of her ex-husband's wedding and, with tears in her eyes, wishes him all the best. To everyone's surprise, Rainer won the Oscar for Best Actress against Irene Dunne's competition for her appearance, which lasted just over 20 minutes . Myrna Loy , who had often played alongside Powell, took on the role of Ziegfeld's second wife. The film was staged with a lot of opulence. The choreography of the number A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody , which lasts almost seven minutes and caused costs in the six-digit dollar range, became particularly well known .

The studio used Ziegfeld's name for two more revue films: Ziegfeld Girl from 1941 with Lana Turner , Hedy Lamarr and Judy Garland and Ziegfeld's heavenly dreams ( Ziegfeld Follies ) from 1946, in which Powell embodied the impresario once more.


Contemporary critics praised the effort and attention to detail. The lexicon of international films found that the film musical was less a film than a sheet of pictures with detailed and lavish revue inserts.


Web links

Commons : The large Ziegfeld  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for The Great Ziegfeld . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , October 2007 (PDF; test number: 12 30D DVD).
  2. The great Ziegfeld. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used