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
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