Episodic in nature and design, as were the Follies, M-G-M’s 1945 extravaganza arrives with palette intact via Warner Archive.



Long in planning, and gestation, the three-strip Technicolor marvel comes in requisite style through the Arthur Freed unit.

The concept – Florenz Ziegfeld looking down from heaven and thinking about how he might create a modern entertainment using the best talent available in 1945 – begins with about a 15 minute prologue. William Powell returns as Ziegfeld (he had portrayed him in The Great Ziegfeld – 1936). Miniatures and puppets make up a good portion of the segment. For those into stop motion animation, dozens of hand animated puppets make up the amazing sequence.

Different segments are directed by (among others) Roy Del Ruth, Vincente Minnelli, George Sidney and Charles Walters.

Cast includes Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Lucille Bremer, Fanny Brice, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Red Skelton, Ester Williams, Cid Charisse, Hume Cronyn, William Frawley, Virginia O’Brien, and Keenan Wynn.

Not all acts will be to everyone’s tastes, but all-in-all a must-have for fans of M-G-M musicals and Technicolor.

Overall quality is superb, and only dips a bit in the first couple of reels which are from protection masters, with dupes built into the original photography a few gens away from G1.

Audio has been created from the vocals sync’d with original music recordings to create stereo. The original monaural track is also included.

Extras are along for the ride.

Image – 4.5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Recommended



RAH
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Published by

Robert Harris

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Colin Jacobson

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I've watched most of it and thought it looked great except for the Keenan Wynn segment - it's a bit soft.

To clarify on the audio: was this released stereo anywhere in 1940s, or was the stereo track created later?
 

Daniel_BB

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Here are some information's about the stereo track used for the "Ziegfeld Follies" boxset (laserdiscs) released in 1994. This is an excerpt from the production notes. The stereo track is the same one used for the DVD and the CD.
 

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Mark-P

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Here’s a list of MGM movies that got this special stereo treatment due to availability of “multi-angle recordings”:
The Wizard of Oz
Gone With the Wind
Meet Me in St. Louis
Ziegfeld Follies
Show Boat
Singin’ in the Rain
The Band Wagon

and there is conflicting information on whether “Deep in My Heart” was originally released in stereo or was also reconstructed from multi-angle recordings.