The Ziegfeld Girl

USA 1941. Dir Robert Z. Leonard.

With Hedy Lamarr, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, James Stewart. Costumes Adrian, sets Cedric Gibbons and Merrill Pye, choreography Busby Berkeley. c 133 min.

Perpetuating the Ziegfeld Follies mythology, this is Leonard’s second foray into the subject (after the Academy Award-winning The Great Ziegfeld,1936). The star-studded musical follows the utterly predictable career transformations of three budding Ziegfeld girls as they are ‘processed’ by the showbiz genius. Hoping to out-Ziegfeld the man himself with its special effects, candy-floss sartorial frivolities and celestial cast, the film embraces a glamour that is quintessentially Ziegfeldian with girls parading in outlandish costumes dripping with sequins courtesy of MGM’s star designer Adrian. The number ‘You Stepped Out of a Dream’ recycles from the 1936 film the colossal tiered cake staircase and uses clouds of mist for an added dreamlike effect. The opulence of the Ziegfeld Follies’ costumes and sets has been a life-long inspiration for Bidgood who has enthusiastically referred to them ever since the days he designed costumes for Club 82 in New York.