ZIEGFELD FOLLIES (1945) C 110m dirs: Vincente Minnelli, George Sidney, Charles Walters, Roy Del Ruth, Lemuel Ayers
w/William Powell, Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Gene Kelly, Fanny Brice, Edward Arnold
This Follies imitation has a specialty number by everyone at MGM.
From The Movie Guide: "On his deathbed, a delirious Flo Ziegfeld reportedly cried out stage directions ('Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good! The show looks good!') continually. ZIEGFELD FOLLIES takes its cue from there, and the film opens up with Ziegfeld (William Powell, reprising his role in THE GREAT ZIEGFELD) up in heaven, dreaming about a new show. A group of puppets (caricatures of some of his original Follies stars) entertain him, followed by Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, and Cyd Charisse in the first of a whopping 13 musical and comic sequences featuring MGM's top stars (Astaire and Gene Kelly among them, dancing together for the first time in 'The Babbitt and the Bromide'). The film was shot by several directors, starting with George Sidney, who was replaced by Vincente Minnelli, while Robert Lewis, Norman Taurog, Charles Walters, Roy Del Ruth, Merrill Pye, and Lemuel Ayres also lent uncredited hands. With so many big names in the cast, it had to be shot bit by bit, with the actors called off other productions and many writers paged from other projects. The film premiered with 19 sequences, clocking in at 273 minutes, too long for any sensible release, so several segments were cut, including a duet between Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland (who parodies Greer Garson in 'A Great Lady Has an Interview') and some comic bits. The film eventually made over $5 million in theaters --- deservedly, since ZIEGFELD FOLLIES is a marvel of music and dance as only MGM could do it."