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Great Ziegfeld, The

Director:  Robert Z. Leonard
Year Released:  1936
Rating:  2.0

Sanitized chronicle of the career (and many loves) of Broadway impresario/egotist Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (William Powell) from when he had trouble attracting an audience for his first performer, bodybuilding legend Sandow (Nat Pendleton), to creating the Ziegfeld Follies (a super elaborate multi-act extravaganza!) to opening four (!) successful shows at once (... and then losing most of his money in the stock market). It's interesting that they managed to get several of the people who worked with the real Ziegfeld in there (including Fannie Brice and Will Rogers), but this runs a tedious three hours long and contains few dramatic highlights ... with the exception of Luise Rainer hamming it up (there's also a cringe worthy blackface number). This won Best Picture (over Dodsworth ... good grief) because Ziegfeld's more-is-never-enough aesthetic could be viewed as a spiritual ancestor to the Hollywood blockbuster ... and we all know how Hollywood likes to congratulate itself.

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