Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women (1978)

TV Movie   |    |  Biography, Drama


Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women (1978) Poster

Four women intimate with the showman tell his life story.

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7.8/10
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12 April 2004 | zpzjones
t.v. does Ziegfeld's life pretty good
I found this to be a pretty decent film. Much more truthful than the other Ziegfeld film of the 1930s. Basically Ziegfeld was an ambitious go getter with many faults. We start out with him as a young man trying to convince his father of his yearning to be in show business. As a boy he witnesses the Chicago fire of 1871. Years later we see him at the World's Fair of 1893 and he meets up with Eugene Sandow, the bodybuilder. We see some of the women of his life ie: Anna Held, Lillian Lorraine, Billie Burke and Marilyn Miller. These were all very famous ladies of the theatre at one time. But probably only Burke is recalled today as she later did many sound movies and is best remembered for being Ziegfeld's second wife and for playing Glenda in The Wizard of Oz. The late Paul Shemar is excellent playing Ziegfeld. So good in fact that I think Ziegfeld himself would've approved. The film is put together very well with each of the mentioned ladies introducing themselves as well as their segment in a monologue with black backdrop. Very! theatrical. Then we get a chance to hear some of the music and see some of the Revues/Follies that made the Ziegfeld name famous. Nora Bayes & her husband Jack Norworth write & introduce the song "Shine On Harvest Moon" in the Follies of 1908. The great Bert Williams, stars as the first black performer to headline a Broadway show in the Follies of 1914, an impetuous Fanny Brice in an impromptu moment sings "Rose of Washington Square" practically shoving it down Ziegfeld's throat so that he'd hire her. The film also explores topics that are not that flattering about Ziegfeld ie: his first wife Anna becoming pregnant and he urging her to abort so that she can perform in one of the revues, his cheating on Anna with the sassy Lillian Lorraine, his further cheating on Billie Burke after their marriage. Showing this personal side of Ziegfeld makes the movie more well rounded and picks up where obviously the 1936 classic couldn't begin to explore. Search high & low for this well made flick. It's impossible to find, and is rarely shown. It appeared on cable in the 80s, ... that's about it.

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Biography | Drama

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