A few words about…™ – The Great Ziegfeld — in Blu-ray

The Great Ziegfeld Review blu ray
What a magnificent Blu-ray!

OCN lost in the Great Conflagration, but the source fine grain looks akin to a nitrate print.

Original un-cut Roadshow of the film in it’s full 183 minute running time, with Overture, Entr’acte and Exit Music.

Lovely black & white, purity of grain, even in dupes, great black levels.




I presume this question has been asked before, and it might be an interesting bit of research and an article – I’m thinking Cineaste – the best. What would the film have been like if produced by Universal with Powell and a supporting cast of Uni contract players?



Not long after Mr. Ziegfeld passed away in 1932, his wife Billie Burke sole/licensed his life story to Universal, with the proviso that she wanted William Powell to play her late husband. She had obviously seen him play Boldini, and loved him.

Universal made a deal with M-G-M for Powell’s services – he’d been a contract player there for a few years and and become popular as a Mr. Charles, oft seen with Myrna Loy, who is also in Ziegfeld.

Apparently, as the budget grew, Universal got cold feet, and sold the entire property, then in pre-production to M-G-M, where it became the studio’s second most expensive film since Ben-Hur.

Mr. Powell ended up making My Man Godfrey for Universal as part of the original deal.

Some seeing The Great Ziegfeld for the first time may wonder if it’s a rip-off of the wonderful M-G-M doc That’s Entertainment.

If you’ve seen that film, then you’ve seen the A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody number before – all seven minutes of it without a single cut – or is there a single discreet cut?

And then there’s the cast. Beyond Mr. Powell and Miss Loy, there’s Louise Rainer, who won Best Actress for her role, you’ll find…

Frank Morgan

Fanny Brice – the original Funny Girl (in a rare screen appearance)

Virginia Bruce

Reginald Owen

Ray Bolger

Dennis Morgan

And in bits…

Dennis O’Keefe

Mae Questel

and Pat Nixon

And for the record, as to Academy Awards, there were three winners – Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Dance Direction, along with four nominations – Best Director, Writing – Original Story, Art Direction and Editing.

Belongs in every series library.

Image – 9

Audio – 10 (DTS-HD MA 2.0)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors – Yes

Upgrade from DVD – Definitely!

Worth your attention – 10

Slipcover rating – n/a

Very Highly Recommended

Robert has been known in the film industry for his unmatched skill and passion in film preservation. Growing up around photography, his first home theater experience began at age ten with 16mm. Years later he was running 35 and 70mm at home.

His restoration projects have breathed new life into classic films like Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo, My Fair Lady, Spartacus, and The Godfather series. Beyond his restoration work, he has also shared his expertise through publications, contributing to the academic discourse on film restoration. The Academy Film Archive houses the Robert A. Harris Collection, a testament to his significant contributions to film preservation.

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RichMurphy

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Yes, there is one discreet cut in the "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" number. But that doesn't diminish the technical achievement of the world's largest wedding cake.

(I still prefer the rooftop garden dance numbers that open Act Two.)

This film, LAND OF THE PHAROAHS, and some film about a Pennsylvania flood disaster are my three favorite releases of 2023.
 

bujaki

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Poor Stanley Morner! When he went to watch the finished film, he found his voice had been dubbed by Allan Jones.
 
Last edited:

RichMurphy

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Think how much more entertaining the second part of the film would have been if Myrna Loy went into full "flibbertigibbet" mode as Billie Burke. (or even better, if they had hired Billie Burke herself for the role).
 

RichMurphy

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What would the film have been like if produced at Universal with Powell and Uni contract players. I'm seeing Maria Ouspenskaya as Ziegfeld girl
Universal? I'm seeing Una O'Connor.
Una.jpg
 

maxfabien

Stunt Coordinator
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OK, now we're down to just 2 more Best Picture Oscar winners waiting for a Blu-ray release. Olivier's "Hamlet (1948) and Mike Todd's "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). Of course a U.S, release of "Coda" would be nice too.
 

Michael1

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
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Michael Portantiere
What a magnificent Blu-ray!

OCN lost in the Great Conflagration, but the source fine grain looks akin to a nitrate print.

Original un-cut Roadshow of the film in it's full 183 minute running time, with Overture, Entr'acte and Exit Music.

Lovely black & white, purity of grain, even in dupes, great black levels.


I presume this question has been asked before, and it might be an interesting bit of research and an article - I'm thinking Cineaste - the best. What would the film have been like if produced by Universal with Powell and a supporting cast of Uni contract players?

Not long after Mr. Ziegfeld passed away in 1932, his wife Billie Burke sole/licensed his life story to Universal, with the proviso that she wanted William Powell to play her late husband. She had obviously seen him play Boldini, and loved him.

Universal made a deal with M-G-M for Powell's services - he'd been a contract player there for a few years and and become popular as a Mr. Charles, oft seen with Myrna Loy, who is also in Ziegfeld.

Apparently, as the budget grew, Universal got cold feet, and sold the entire property, then in pre-production to M-G-M, where it became the studio's second most expensive film since Ben-Hur.

Mr. Powell ended up making My Man Godfrey for Universal as part of the original deal.

Some seeing The Great Ziegfeld for the first time may wonder if it's a rip-off of the wonderful M-G-M doc That's Entertainment.

If you've seen that film, then you've seen the A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody number before - all seven minutes of it without a single cut - or is there a single discreet cut?

And then there's the cast. Beyond Mr. Powell and Miss Loy, there's Louise Rainer, who won Best Actress for her role, you'll find...

Frank Morgan
Fanny Brice - the original Funny Girl (in a rare screen appearance)
Virginia Bruce
Reginald Owen
Ray Bolger
Dennis Morgan

And in bits...

Dennis O'Keefe
Mae Questel

and Pat Nixon

And for the record, as to Academy Awards, there were three winners - Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Dance Direction, along with four nominations - Best Director, Writing - Original Story, Art Direction and Editing.

Belongs in every series library.


Image – 9

Audio – 10 (DTS-HD MA 2.0)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Upgrade from DVD - Definitely!

Worth your attention - 10

Slipcover rating - n/a

Very Highly Recommended

What a magnificent Blu-ray!

OCN lost in the Great Conflagration, but the source fine grain looks akin to a nitrate print.

Original un-cut Roadshow of the film in it's full 183 minute running time, with Overture, Entr'acte and Exit Music.

Lovely black & white, purity of grain, even in dupes, great black levels.


I presume this question has been asked before, and it might be an interesting bit of research and an article - I'm thinking Cineaste - the best. What would the film have been like if produced by Universal with Powell and a supporting cast of Uni contract players?

Not long after Mr. Ziegfeld passed away in 1932, his wife Billie Burke sole/licensed his life story to Universal, with the proviso that she wanted William Powell to play her late husband. She had obviously seen him play Boldini, and loved him.

Universal made a deal with M-G-M for Powell's services - he'd been a contract player there for a few years and and become popular as a Mr. Charles, oft seen with Myrna Loy, who is also in Ziegfeld.

Apparently, as the budget grew, Universal got cold feet, and sold the entire property, then in pre-production to M-G-M, where it became the studio's second most expensive film since Ben-Hur.

Mr. Powell ended up making My Man Godfrey for Universal as part of the original deal.

Some seeing The Great Ziegfeld for the first time may wonder if it's a rip-off of the wonderful M-G-M doc That's Entertainment.

If you've seen that film, then you've seen the A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody number before - all seven minutes of it without a single cut - or is there a single discreet cut?

And then there's the cast. Beyond Mr. Powell and Miss Loy, there's Louise Rainer, who won Best Actress for her role, you'll find...

Frank Morgan
Fanny Brice - the original Funny Girl (in a rare screen appearance)
Virginia Bruce
Reginald Owen
Ray Bolger
Dennis Morgan

And in bits...

Dennis O'Keefe
Mae Questel

and Pat Nixon

And for the record, as to Academy Awards, there were three winners - Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Dance Direction, along with four nominations - Best Director, Writing - Original Story, Art Direction and Editing.

Belongs in every series library.


Image – 9

Audio – 10 (DTS-HD MA 2.0)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Upgrade from DVD - Definitely!

Worth your attention - 10

Slipcover rating - n/a

Very Highly Recommended
I have never seen this film, and I had no idea it's three hours long. Isn't that EXTREMELY unusual for a film made at that time?
 

Michael1

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Michael Portantiere
Sorry I posted in the wrong place, let's try again: I have never seen this film, and I had no idea it's three hours long. Isn't that EXTREMELY unusual for a film made at that time?
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
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Robert Harris
Sorry I posted in the wrong place, let's try again: I have never seen this film, and I had no idea it's three hours long. Isn't that EXTREMELY unusual for a film made at that time?
Unusual? Yes.

Several years later, GWTW was 222 mit out music. The 1925 Ben-Hur was 143. The 1925 Big Parade was 151. 1923 Ten Commandments 136.

These were all considered epics.

At 176 The Great Ziegfeld, while not an epic, was a Roadshow presentation.
 

Michael1

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
155
Real Name
Michael Portantiere
Unusual? Yes.

Several years later, GWTW was 222 mit out music. The 1925 Ben-Hur was 143. The 1925 Big Parade was 151. 1923 Ten Commandments 136.

These were all considered epics.

At 176 The Great Ziegfeld, while not an epic, was a Roadshow presentation.
Thank you, sir. I am aware of the length of those other films, but as you say, GONE WITH THE WIND was several years later, and as for the others, I'm rather amazed that THE GREAT ZIEGFELD was considerably longer than all of those.
 

Michael1

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
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Messages
155
Real Name
Michael Portantiere
A Midsummer Night's Dream '35 (roadshow) was 142 minutes, so it wasn't unheard of for 'prestige' presentations to be longer.
True, but 142 minutes is considerably shorter than 176 minutes (or 183 minutes). And also, MIDSUMMER was a film version of a Shakespeare play, not a biomusical.
 

ilovenola2

Agent
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Real Name
Joe Bonelli
OK, now we're down to just 2 more Best Picture Oscar winners waiting for a Blu-ray release. Olivier's "Hamlet (1948) and Mike Todd's "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). Of course a U.S, release of "Coda" would be nice too.
I own an ITV Region B release of Olivier's "Hamlet." Region locked, yes, but an excellent blu-ray release of this Oscar winner. Now, "Around the World in 80 Days" restoration would be just great! Saw it in Todd-AO original road show release twice in the same year, once in NYC and once in L.A. Wonderful film that will be GREAT restored on Blu-Ray.
 

maxfabien

Stunt Coordinator
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Real Name
Walter
I own an ITV Region B release of Olivier's "Hamlet." Region locked, yes, but an excellent blu-ray release of this Oscar winner. Now, "Around the World in 80 Days" restoration would be just great! Saw it in Todd-AO original road show release twice in the same year, once in NYC and once in L.A. Wonderful film that will be GREAT restored on Blu-Ray.
I have the Criterion released DVD of "Hamlet", so I would think that they should be able to release it in Blu-ray for the many of us who do not have a region-free player.
 
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