Best Picture Reviews: The Great Ziegfeld

In my last Best Picture Review, I said something along the lines of ‘expect an abundance of these reviews’. Well, (puts on Schwarzenegger voice), “I lied.” But I have a reason. I got this movie at the library, but then I looked at the run time. Three Hours. So, like anybody would, I procrastinated. But now, I’ve seen the movie. Well, there’s three hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Flo Ziegfeld (William Powell) is a jerk. And I know that this is ‘based on a true story’, but I don’t have anything against the real guy. He is just so overplayed as a big meanie that it’s hard to understand why everyone loves him so much. He’s a producer who has several popular shows, and along the way, he meets Anna Held (Luise Rainer), who hates him and tells him to get out, then he’s walking out the door, and she says ‘Wait, come back! I love you now!’. This happens several times. She won an Oscar for her performance, which is actually not bad- her character flaws are more to do with writing than acting.

In fact, that seems to be the main problem with the movie- the writing. It’s not really boring, and the three hours go buy quicker than you might expect, but the whole movie seems to revolve around this man, and how other people are being nice to him and going along with his ideas. He is so cocky and egotistical that near the end, when we’re supposed to feel sorry for him, we really don’t. And I’m sorry, that’s a serious problem. I’ve grown more attached to stuffed animals than I have with this man.

Now, besides Picture and Actress, this movie did win another Oscar for Best Dance Direction. Yeah, back in the 30’s, people took their musicals very seriously. The award was for the number ‘A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody’, which is actually the highlight of the film. Is it worth renting the DVD? I’m gonna say no on that, because you can see the number right here! Basically, if you see this in a video store, I’d skip it.


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