Review: ‘Ziegfeld Girl’

The attempt to balance three parallel dramas of the lives of three Ziegfeld showgirls makes for continual switching from one tale to the other. Interpolation of two extended displays of Ziegfeldian production sequences, with parades of the glorified girls, prevents smooth unfolding of the piece [from an original story by William Anthony McGuire] and results in several dull passages.

The attempt to balance three parallel dramas of the lives of three Ziegfeld showgirls makes for continual switching from one tale to the other. Interpolation of two extended displays of Ziegfeldian production sequences, with parades of the glorified girls, prevents smooth unfolding of the piece [from an original story by William Anthony McGuire] and results in several dull passages.

Smart casting provides vivid contrast in the Ziegfeld selections for his showgirl ensemble. There’s Judy Garland, youthful but veteran trouper, with showmanship, personality and talent; Hedy Lamarr, wife of a pecunious musical genius, with her striking and reserved beauty; and the sexy Lana Turner who succumbs to the easiest way for a brief fling at luxury.

Director Robert Z. Leonard provides a most capable directorial job. It’s one of the top negative outlays of the studio, running approximately $1,900,000 in total outlay. The expenditure is apparent in every foot of unreeling.

Ziegfeld Girl

Production

M-G-M. Director Robert Z. Leonard, Busby Berkeley; Producer Pandro S. Berman; Screenplay Marguerite Roberts, Sonya Levien; Camera Ray June; Editor Blanche Sewell; Music Herbert Stothart; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 135 MIN.

With

James Stewart Judy Garland Hedy Lamarr Lana Turner Tony Martin Jackie Cooper
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