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Everything posted by JohnFilmFan

  1. While “The Great Ziegfeld” was produced in the midst of the Great Depression, it was a biographical/historical film and attempted to portray the different periods of Ziegfeld’s life. The specific clip in the Daily Dose showing Anna Held and her first encounter with Ziegfeld would have occurred in 1896, so the opulent costumes and extravagent expenditures (the 5£ tip and the elephant vase filled with orchids) were appropriately reflective of the Gay ‘90s and the late Gilded Age. Similarly, Held’s risqué song would fit with the era being portrayed but scanty costumes of the sort seen in “The Broadway Melody” would not be. I doubt if the Production Code restrictions played as much of a role in this portrayal as did MGM’s need to please Ziegfeld’s widow, Billie Burke, whose permission was needed to do the film. Certainly there were many Hollywood musicals from the Dream Factory during this period that ignored the harsh realities of the Depression and Production Code musicals that sanitized the seamy/steamy stories that were told before 1934, when enforcement of the code began more strictly, but “The Great Ziegfeld” isn’t the best example of these issues. Rather I think it is one of the earliest examples of Hollywood making glorified bio pics of show biz heroes, such as George M. Cohan (“Yankee Doodle Dandy”), Cole Porter (“Night and Day”) and lesser lights.
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