The Great Ziegfeld
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
The Great Ziegfeld is a semi-biographical musical drama about the life of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr, the American Broadway manager and creator of the Ziegfeld Follies.
In this film Ziegfeld is played by William Powell, playing the smooth womaniser (who always keeps his eyes open for attractive women) to perfection.
Virginia Bruce as Audrey Dane.
The story begins with Ziegfeld's entrance in show business and ends with his death. Playing his first wife Anna Held (which in reality Ziegfeld never married, but in the film adaption I guess it looked better if they were married to the 1930's audience), is the amazing Luise Rainer, who also won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role. His second wife, actress Billie Burke, is played by the woman who plays the best wives - Myrna Loy (who, even though she is billed second, appears first after two hours and ten minutes into the film).
The tagline of the film was "10 Big Shows in 1", which is quite right. I thought that a three hour long musical had to have a lot of suicide-tempting meaningless dance numbers, but I was totally wrong. All the dance numbers are beyond impressing - they're magnificent. The choreography is very inspiring, and I can't imagine how many hours were spent on rehearsals. All these people dancing without bumping into each other, and on top of that makes it seem so easy - magnificent is the word.
The actors and actresses is well chosen for their parts, too. I can't mention them all, but Frank Morgan as the friend and rival Billings is worth mentioning, and so is Virginia Bruce as Audrey and Fanny Brice as herself.
One interesting thing, that makes me think that the casting of actors was very thoughtfully done, is that you can see the resemblance between the real persons and the characters in the film. Here are som examples:
Anna Held and Luise Rainer.
Billie Burke and Myrna Loy.
Florenz Ziegfeld and Billie Burke, and William Powell and Myrna Loy.
And I have to include the scene which is believed to have been the one who settled the Oscar statue for Luise Rainer. That is called real acting, I was really stunned when I watched it.
And a proud Luise Rainer at the Academy Awards, 1937: