Luise Rainer with her Best Actress Oscar
After a long hiatus, "Oldie Goldies" is back again with a look at one of the earliest Best Picture winners "The Great Ziegfeld". This grand musical recounts the life of the ambitious stage producer Florenz Ziegfeld, who went through many ups and downs in his quest to make the most spectacular shows. In addition to Best Picture, the film won Best Actress for Luise Rainer and the now discontinued award for Best Dance Direction. It was also nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Director, Best Editing and Best Original Screenplay. Opinions of the film have soured over the years, but I was thoroughly captivated by its extravagant spectacle and strong performances. The elaborate "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody" sequence is truly a sight to behold.
"If I can give Belasco four dollars for silk stockings made of cotton, I can give Ziegfeld a little more for a mink coat made of skunk."
A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody
Florence Ziegfeld Jr. (William Powell)
Anna Held (Luise Rainer)
The "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" set, known as the "Wedding Cake", involved several weeks of shooting time and was reported to have cost US$220,000 (US$3,738,945 in 2015 dollars).