|Kelly, Astaire and Garland|
9 years after he starred as The Great Ziegfeld, William Powell reprised his role of Flo Ziegfeld -- sort of. In the opening moments of Ziegfeld Follies, the great impresario is seen in Hollywood's idea of heaven pontificating on the Follies, and wondering what they would look like if the Follies still existed today. Voila! First puppetoons are used to depict the original Follies; then suddenly there's a stage and we see a series of acts with contemporary stars such as Lena Horne, Lucille Ball, Kathryn Grayson, Virginia O\Brian, and many others. After about half an hour the movie is almost stopped dead by a long and mostly unfunny skit with Keenan Wynn trying to make a phone call. A later sketch with Victor Moore as a man arrested for expectorating on the subway and Edward Arnold as his lawyer is much better, as is another sketch with Fanny Brice (who was actually in the original Follies) and Hume Cronyn as a couple who have a winning sweepstakes ticket and William Frawley as their landlord. A bit with Red Skelton playing a TV announcer who gets drunk reminds one of the later "Vitavegamin" routine on I Love Lucy. James Melton and Marion Bell sing a duet from La traviata, but are not that impressive. Fred Astaire [Royal Wedding] does two dance numbers with Lucille Bremer [Till the Clouds Roll By], but the highlight of the picture is his dance with Gene Kelly -- the only time the two danced together in the movies. The other highlight is Judy Garland playing an affected star in a production number with several handsome male dancers. Garland also appeared in Ziegfeld Girl.
Verdict: Although this has no story, it still manages to be entertaining. ***.