ZIEGFELD FOLLIES (1946)
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Uploaded on Jun 24, 2009
Directed by Roy Del Ruth and Vincente Minnelli
Produced by Arthur Freed
Starring: Fred Astaire Lucille Ball Lucille Bremer Fanny Brice Judy Garland Kathryn Grayson Lena Horne Gene Kelly James Melton Victor Moore Red Skelton Esther Williams William Powell Edward Arnold Marion Bell Cyd Charisse Hume Cronyn William Frawley Robert Lewis Virginia O'Brien Keenan Wynn.
The film was entered into the 1947 Cannes Film Festival.
Dance director was Robert Alton, Astaire's second-most-frequent choreographic collaborator after Hermes Pan. All of Astaire's numbers were directed by Vincente Minnelli.
Here's To The Girls/Bring On The Wonderful Men: by Roger Edens and Arthur Freed. Sung by Astaire with a short solo dance by Cyd Charisse, followed by Lucille Ball cracking a whip over eight chorus-girl panthers,
and finally Virginia O'Brien spoofs the previous scene by singing "Bring on those Wonderful Men"
This Heart of Mine: Classic standard by Harry Warren and Arthur Freed and written specially for Astaire who sings it to Bremer and then leads her in an extravagantly romantic dance of seduction and power-play.
The choreography integrates rotating floors, concealed treadmills and swirling dance motifs.
Love: Another standard, this time by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, sung by Lena Horne
Limehouse Blues: Conceived as a "dramatic pantomime" with Astaire as a proud but poverty-stricken Chinese labourer whose infatuation with the unattainable Bremer leads to tragedy. The story serves as bookends for a dream ballet inspired by Chinese dance motifs in an unfortunate, racially stereotyped setting.
The Great Lady Has An Interview: Written by Kay Thompson originally for Greer Garson (she turned it down). Judy Garland spoofs a movie star who can only be cast in Oscar winning dramas, but wants to play "sexy" roles (a la Greer Garson, or Katharine Hepburn) giving an interview to dancing reporters about "her next picture": a bio-pic of Madame Cremantante (the "inventor of the safety pin"). Originally to be directed by Garland's friend Charles Walters, Vincente Minnelli ended up directing the sequence (the two were dating at the time), and Walters was reassigned as choreographer.
The Babbitt And The Bromide: Astaire and Kelly team up in a comedy song and dance challenge in three sections, to music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. All choreography was by Astaire (third section) and Kelly (sections one and two). In spite of efforts by Freed and Minnelli, the two would not partner again on film until That's Entertainment, Part II in 1976.
There's Beauty Everywhere: Originally filmed as a balletic finale with tenor James Melton singing and Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, and Lucille Bremer dancing in a melange of soap bubbles. But when the bubble machine malfunctioned (leaving only a fragment of the number filmed) and the formula flowed into the hallways of the soundstage, the number had to be restaged. Kathryn Grayson replaced Melton and Astaire and Bremer were cut out altogether. Segments of the "bubble dance" with Charisse remain in the final film.
Distributed by MGM
Release date(s) February 18, 1946 (U.S. release)
Running time 110 min.
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