Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Movie Review: Ziegfeld Follies (1946)

I finally had the pleasure to watch the extravagant Hollywood musical by Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Ziegfeld Follies. The movie was amazing because it starred many of MGM's greatest stars ever, including Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, William Powell, Red Skelton, Esther Williams, and many others, who I am not familiar with.

Vincente Minnelli, the father of the famous Liza Minnelli we all know today (if otherwise, watch Sex and the City 2, she sang Single Ladies), and the then husband of Judy Garland, was one of the movie directors.

Who says Hollywood cannot produce musicals like Broadway? I found Ziegfeld Follies enjoyable! MGM really proved this sweeping statement wrong.

William Frawley was one of the supporting actors in one of the acts! It's amazing how Lucille Ball and William Frawley appeared in the same movie, yet never spoke until I Love Lucy!

Fred Astaire sang Here's to the Girls, and Lucille was the princess/dancer.

She then cracked a whip over the chorus girls.
Esther William was a mermaid, dancing underwater. Of course, she was wearing waterproof make up.

Another highlight of this musical was Fred Astaire dancing with Lucille Bremer. They were magnificent together. Dancing on the moving treadmills and rotating floors was so breathtakingly exciting!
In fact, Lucille Bremer was Fred's dance partner in 3 of his best routines.

Judy Garland was... Judy Garland-ish.
What can I say? She was a great dramatic actress and a great singer. And being gorgeous helped much!

I couldn't wait to see Fred and Gene Kelly together. Indeed, their number was great. Seeing the two men together was an awesome feeling-- they could dance, tap dance and sing equally well!
I long for happy peppy musicals or movies where all the Hollywood people come together to strut their stuff. But today's stars have too huge an ego to star together with others of the same status and popularity. Even if they have movies of this sort, somehow, they suck. I don't know what people think of New Year's Eve (starring Katherine Heigl, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashton Kutcher, Josh Duhamel, Jessica Biel, etc, etc), it most certainly didn't suck, but it wasn't hands-down wonderful too. One might think that he wouldn't be disappointed with all the wonderful celebrities around, but one was wrong. 

Hollywood stars back then were irrefutably talented. They could dance, sing and act. Even if they could do none of these, they at least looked drop dead gorgeous. Nowadays, too many Hollywood celebrities can do none of the above. Some of them aren't even good looking, without the stage make up and all. Of course, there are exceptions! I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that more talents would emerge.

For fans of splashy musicals from the 1940s, Ziegfield Follies is a must watch!

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