The Great Ziegfeld
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In MGM's three-hour-plus The Great Ziegfeld, William Powell stars as the titular theatrical impresario, whose show business empire begins when he stage-manages a tour for legendary strongman Sandow (Nat Pendleton). With nary a penny in the bank, he charms European stage star Anna Held (Luise Rainer) to headline his "Follies", and later marries the luscious Ms. Held. From 1907 onward, Ziegfeld stages annual editions of Broadway's most fabulous revue, dedicated to "Glorifying the American Girl" but also giving ample time to develop the comic talents of Fanny Brice… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Pretentious, packed with hokum and as richly sentimental as an Irving Berlin lyric, it is, as such, top-notch entertainment."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"It's amazingly dull, even with William Powell in the lead and guest appearances by the likes of Ray Bolger and Fanny Brice, so of course it won the Best Picture Oscar for 1936."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"It's a lavishly epic biopic, full of wonderful performances and breathtaking musical numbers. It definitely deserved its Oscar!"
‑ Austin Kennedy, Film Geek Central
"As directed by Leonard, this Oscar-winner is weak in every respect, as biopic, as musical (production numbers are mediocre), and as acting vehicle."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Contrary to the most famous nugget of showbiz wisdom, the movie leaves us wanting considerably less than we're given."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"Considering the recent screen standards in book musicals with five numbers for 100 to 110 minutes of running time this Metro Santaclausing of numbers becomes virtually a double-feature filmusical."
‑ Abel Green, Variety
"Although some of the production's technical aspects remain impressive, the dramatic elements come across as trite and many of the musical numbers are dated."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Drags in places and deosn't even try for a true-to-life portrait of the great theatre entrepeneur but it's shiny and big spectacle with impressive choreography."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"What can you do with a movie like this? Surrender, I guess."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Unless you were in an air conditioned movie house in Topeka, Kansas in 1936, I can't see why anyone would want to sit through all three hours of this."
‑ Jamie Gillies, Apollo Guide
"If the picture overcrowds its screen, at least we must admit it is an impressive kaleidoscope; and probably nothing short of that could reflect the gaudy career of America's foremost showman."
‑ Frank S. Nugent, New York Times
"A real treat."
‑ Tony Sloman, Radio Times
"This Oscar winner for Best Picture is only great in its tediousness, length and its budget."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Mildly entertaining when in biopic mode, The Great Ziegfeld fails to realize that its musical numbers are more a distraction than a beauty."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"It's huge, overbudget, dazzling, and entertaining, but you'd be hard-pressed to remember more than one or two of the characters or specific events."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
More reviews for The Great Ziegfeld on Rotten Tomatoes