Best Picture Winners Part 9 (of 87): The Great Zeigfeld


Title: The Great Ziegfeld
Year: 1936
Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Luise Rainer
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Runtime: 2 hrs 56 mins

Is It Any Good?: It’s tedious. While Powell is electric as Ziegfeld even his zippy, charismatic portrayal doesn’t justify the over acting by Rainer (which she later won the Oscar for). Nor the films over reliance on pomp and circumstance. A glittery exterior is no replacement for a solid narrative. In fact the story-telling moments in this biopic are it’s strong suit. It’s when we get the musical numbers that I feel the film drags. Let’s not mention the five minute Overture to start, or the intermission that almost totally kills the films momentum. I’m sure those two particular beefs were not really major deals in the time the film originally came out, however for contemporary audiences this is nothing more the bothersome.
Memorable Quote: Sandow: This cheese is so strong it could walk over and say hello to your coffee. Zeigfeld: Well, it had better not. This coffee’s too weak to answer it.
Competition: How’d this win? We have two classic pieces of English literature making appearances on the big screen in this years nominees in A Tale of Two Cities, and Romeo and Juliet, both significant in their legacy of being the early versions of these stories on the big screen, but certainly not the best adaptations. San Francisco is an absolute stunner of a film, particularly the ten minutes earthquake recreation. Dodsworth is the dud of the bunch while I’m left wondering how Mr. Deeds Goes to Town didn’t take home a little gold man as it’s timeless charm, and scythically sharp wit. Still scratching my head as to how this film lost. You can skip Ziegfeld  if you want, but don’t skip on Mr Deeds.
Next up is another biopic this time of a French writer and activist. We hope to see you for that one, and know you’ll chime in in the comment section below! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @filmsnobreviews and to LIKE us on Facebook!


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