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Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
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Warner Bros
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1 (NTSC)

April 6, 2004



Genre: Musical  
The lives of three women are changed forever as they are welcomed into the opulent world of the Zeigfeld follies.  



Directed by:

Robert Z. Leonard
Screenplay by: Marguerite Roberts and Sonya Levien
Music by: Herbert Stothart, Harry Carroll (songs)
Produced by: Pandro S. Berman

James Stewart, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, Lana Turner, Tony Martin, Jackie Cooper, Ian Hunter, Charles Winninger, Edward Everett Horton, Philip Dorn, and Paul Kelly.

Film Length: 132 mins.
Process/Ratio: 1.33:1
Black & White
Anamorphic DVD: No
Languages:   English Mono and French Mono
Subtitles:   English, French and Spanish
Special Features :  

Introduction by Judy Garland biographer John Fricke (5:18) / Vintage Musical Short: "A New Romance Of Celluloid: We Must Have Music" (10:52, B&W) + Our Gang in “Melodies Old And New” (10:56, B&W) / Audio Vault: “Too Beautiful To Last” Outtake (2:58) + “We Must Have Music” Deleted Finale (2:20) / Theatrical trailer for "Ziegfeld Girl", "The Great Ziegfeld" and "Ziegfeld Follies"

Comments :

Ziegfeld Girl suggests that fame won't make you happy. It will cause you to ditch your fiancee, break your daddy's heart, take up with married men, and make a lot of money. For the uninitiated, New York's Ziegfeld Follies was a long-lasting stage show featuring gorgeous women in elaborate costumes, walking down stairs, standing around looking pretty, singing the occasional song and, er, walking down stairs.

The writers of Ziegfeld Girl were canny enough to have realized that the Ziegfeld phenomena was dated by the time of the film's release (1941), so there are a few references to how silly it all is. This self-awareness (subtle as it is) is unusual for that era, as is the open ‘dating' of married men, with remarkably little disapproval of the characters involved. There are other unusually piquant moments that slipped past the censor (but probably not the audience), making Ziegfeld Girl unique.

Unique, but not necessarily good. The film is long, slow, and the elaborate musical numbers begin to look like puppet-shows after the 4 th time around. The extras however are outstanding- trailers for Ziegfeld Girl, Ziegfeld Follies and The Great Ziegfeld , and two deleted scene reconstructions. There's also a vintage short (with cut footage from Ziegfeld) called ‘We Must Have Music' and an Our Gang short from the same period. Judy Garland biographer John Fricke introduces the film with some essential comments about reshoots and casting.

Unfortunately, Ziegfeld Girl pales in comparison to "The Great Ziegfeld" (1934). When clips from that film appear at the end (during Garland 's big number), they are so much more vibrant and interesting than the overblown film that precedes them, that it's easy to feel cheated. Friends of Judy (or Lana, or Hedy) will love it, but the average viewer would be better off with an early Ziegfeld flick.

This title is available separately or as part of the Judy Garland Signature Collection that includes: “For Me And My Gal,” “The Harvey Girls,” “In The Good Old Summertime,” “Love Finds Andy Hardy,” “A Star Is Born,” “The Wizard Of Oz” and “Ziegfeld Girl.”


© 2004 Michael John Derbecker

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