Ziegfeld Girl Judy Garland Lana Turner Hedy Lamarr Eve Arden Jackie Cooper James Stewart
Tony Martin Dan Dailey img img img img img
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production

PosterZiegfeld Girl is a rarity in the film catalog of Judy Garland. It’s one of the few post-Oz films that isn’t a vehicle for either her alone, or her and a co-star (Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire), and one in which she plays a more supporting role.  Ziegfeld Girl is more a vehicle for Lana Turner and MGM's build-up to make her a star.

Originally scheduled in 1938 for Joan Crawford, Eleanor Powell (MGM’s “Queen Of Taps”), Margaret Sullivan, and Virginia Bruce, Ziegfeld Girl ended up starring Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr, Judy Garland, and Eve Arden in the main female leads.  By the time pre-production actually started, Joan Crawford and Eleanor Powell’s careers were already declining.  Lana, Hedy, and of course Judy, were the "new" stars at MGM.  Judy had already proven herself in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Babes in Arms (1939), and she had just finished Little Nellie Kelly (1940).  Lana was the studio’s obvious new “sexpot” and Hedy had recently made a big splash proving she could act and not just be a gorgeous "Bird of Paradixe." Thanks to Ziegfeld Girl and her other 1941 output, Lana ended up staying at MGM for almost 20 years as one of the studio's most enduring and versatile stars.

The plot of Ziegfeld Girl is slight.  It’s the standar “3 Girls trying to make it” backstage story.  One achieves stardom (Judy), one achieves happiness via marriage (Hedy), and one falls for the glitz and glamour and ends up dead from alcoholism (Lana).  Pure melodrama!  But, packaged by MGM's professionalism, with musical numbers directed by Busby Berkeley, Ziegfeld Girl would become an extravaganza of glitz and corn and music and melodrama on a colossal scale. This is a movie that proves, "they don't make 'em like they used to." To film the opulent musical numbers today, with the chorus girls, chorus boys, costumes, music, and all the trimmings, would cost a fortune. But MGM had the resources to make Ziegfeld Girl one of the most opulent films of its time, or any time.

James Stewart, Tony Martin, and Jackie Cooper play the main lead male roles.  Stewart was fresh off the double success of  Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) and his Oscar winning role in The Philadelphia Story (1941). But the focus is on the women, with the men merely acting as plot devices to add a dash of drama. 

This is the only film in which Judy starred with James Stewart and even though they both get top billing, they never share a scene together!Years later, James Stewart would talk about the magical days during the late 1930's when he and several other stars and contract players would take their breaks and sit outside the music building and listen to Judy rehearse with Roger Edens.

Judy’s part is basically a supporting role, but she gets several great numbers and is the only one of the girls who becomes the big Ziegfeld star. PosterHer first number reaches back to her Vaudeville roots with Charles Winninger performing the breezy “Laugh, I Thought I’d Split My Sides.”

“I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” is the ballad standout for Judy.  She takes the standard and makes it her own. It's a classic Garland film moment.  When watching her, one can see why Lana Turner said to Judy (during the making of this film) “You know, I’d give all of my beauty for just half of your talent ­ the look on your face when you sing.”  That’s praise indeed.  You can listen and download Judy's multiple take pre-recordings at The Judy Room's MP3 Page.

"Minnie From Trinidad” is the big Busby Berkeley extravaganza showcasing Judy’s character’s ascent to stardom.  It’s completely over the top ­ in a good way.  Judy’s voice is well suited to this type of number.  She’s able to take the tongue-in-cheek lyrics and make them fun.  At the end of the number, she’s lifted up and down on what are supposed to be large bamboo-type sticks.  I used to wonder how MGM they got away with putting Judy on something like that ­ something that could possibly seriously injure one of MGM’s biggest stars.  In reality, it's not Judy, MGM wouldn't chance an accident with their biggest musical star.


Judy briefly appears in the early big musical number “You Stepped Out Of A Dream." Judy’s character is not yet a star, so that after each glamour girl’s segment, poor Judy/Susan is stuck behind Tony Martin, Lana Turner and Hedy Lamarr for the final shot of the number.  This probably didn’t do much for Judy’s insecurity about her looks. 

“Dream” is a dream alright.  Eye popping costumes and huge sets add to Tony Martin’s wonderful rendition of this new standard.  The song is really just an excuse to show the“typical Ziegfeld number of beautiful girls wearing outlandish costumes descending down a long flight of stairs.Lana and Hedy both get their turn coming down the stairs.  Lana proves that she can navigate stairs better than anyone.  What a beautiful walk she had! Judy doesn’t just walk down the stairs, she dances down as the head of a line of sequined clad chorus girls.  Very effective!

Ziegfeld Girl also features one of Dan Dailey's earliest roles as "The Champ" Jimmy Walters who is first spurned then used by the Sheila Hale (Lana Turner) character. After appearing in several MGM films, Dailey who would go over to 20th Century Fox and star in several musicals with Betty Grable.

Ziegfeld Girl is long, opulent, melodramatic, and undeniable fun. So sit back, relax, and lose yourself in a fantasy world that never really existed in the first place. They don't make 'em like that anymore!


Ziegfeld Girl TrailerZiegfeld Girl TrailerTZiegfeld Girl Trailer

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photos

Judy and Charles Judy and Charles Paint Book
Click on the images above to to see the media and photos gallery.

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timeline

DATE
EVENT
October 1940
Rehearsals begin for Ziegfeld Girl.
11/13/40
MGM Recording session: "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" (fast and slow versions).
11/28/1940
Publicity photo session for Ziegfeld Girl. Judy and Jackie Cooper. Judy is wearing her "Laugh! I Thought I'd Split My Sides" costume.
12/11/1940
Publicity photo session for Ziegfeld Girl. Judy with Lana Turner and Hedy Lamarr (Judy and Lana balance books on their heads, all three pose around a piano and various other poses).
12/18/1940
Judy records "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" for Decca Records. She also recorded "Our Love Affair" (from Strike Up The Band - 1941), "A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow" (from Little Nellie Kelly - 1940) and "It's a Great Day For The Irish" (also from Little Nellie Kelly).
12/22/1940
MGM recording session: "We Must Have Music" (with Tony Martin) & "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" (reprise) - both would be cut from the film. A clip of the footage for "We Must Have Music" survives in a short subject with the same name, also released an 1941. The finale would be altered in March of 1941.
12/30/1940 - 12/31/1940
Filming of "You Stepped Out Of A Dream." Publicity photos in the "Dream" costumes are taken at this time.
01/14/41
MGM recording session: "Minnie From Trinidad."
01/18/41
Filming of the "Minnie From Trinidad" number.
March 1941
Filming is completed. Including the new, more extravagant finale which "steals" footage from MGM's 1936 "Best Picture" Oscar winner The Great Ziegfeld.

Judy is put in a blonde wig and placed on a mock-up of the top portion of the famous "wedding cake" set from The Great Ziegfeld. This is spliced into the footage so that it looks as though Judy (rather than the original girl, Virginia Bruce) is sitting on the top of that massive set from 1936!
April 25, 1941
Ziegfeld Girl premiere.

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songs

Ziegfeld Girl - Presenting Lily Mars Soundtrack Album

The complete soundtrack is now available for download!

TRACK LISTING

Tracks featuring Judy Garland noted
with blue text.
* Stereo
** Partial Stereo

Title
Performed by...
Time
Part One - Ziegfeld Girl
Overture MGM Studio Orchestra
2:08
Laugh? I Thought I'd Split My Sides Judy Garland & Charles Winninger
1:58
You Stepped Out Of A Dream ** Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
6:32
Whispering Bill Days, John Rarig & Max Smith
1:09
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Rehearsal) Judy Garland & Charles Winninger
1:27
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Audition) Judy Garland
0:50
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Ballad) Judy Garland
2:12
Caribbean Love Song Tony Martin, dance by Antonio & Rosario 7:35
Minnie From Trinidad Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
5:25
Mr. Gallagher & Mr. Shean Charles Winninger & Al Shean
2:30
Finale Judy Garland, Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
6:55
Original Finale (Part 1) Judy Garland, Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
3:54
Too Beautiful To Last (Demo Recording) Tony Martin, with Roger Edens at piano
1:37
Pre-Recording Sessions
You Stepped Out Of A Dream (False Starts) Tony Martin
2:58
You Stepped Out Of A Dream (Alternate Stereo) * Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
6:37
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Audition Take 3) Judy Garland
0:55
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Audition Take 4) Judy Garland
0:53
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Ballad Take 4) Judy Garland
0:36
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Ballad Take 5) Judy Garland
1:05
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Ballad Take 6) Judy Garland
2:29
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (Ballad Take 7) Judy Garland
2:30
Minnie From Trinidad (Alternate Take Stereo) * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
5:01
Deleted Finale Reprise Judy Garland, Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:15
Deleted Finale Reprise (Takes 1 & 2) Judy Garland, Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:18
Deleted Finale Reprise (Takes 3) Judy Garland, Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:35
Deleted Finale Reprise (Take 4) Judy Garland, Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:47
Deleted Finale Reprise (Takes 5 & 6) Judy Garland, Tony Martin & The MGM Studio Chorus
2:20
Extras
Minnie From Trinidad (Remastered Film Version) Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
5:42
Leo Is On The Air (MGM Radio Promo Record) Judy Garland, Tony Martin, Roger Edens
14:15
Part Two - Presenting Lily Mars
Overture The MGM Studio Orchestra
1:32
Lady Macbeth Judy Garland, Annabelle Logan, Van Heflin
2:24
The Gypsy In Me Marta Eggerth
3:29
Tom, Tom The Piper's Son Judy Garland
2:42
Love Is In The Air Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:29
Ev'ry Little Movement Has A Meaning Of Its Own * Judy Garland & Mary Kent (for Connie Gilchrist)
2:12
When I Look At You Marta Eggerth
2:35
When You Think Of Lovin' Bob Crosby & His Orchestra, The Wilde Twins
1:22
When I Look At You * Judy Garland
1:34
When I Look At You (Comedy Version aka Caro Mono) * Judy Garland
3:06
A Russian Rhapsody Judy Garland
0:23
A Russian Rhapsody Marta Eggerth & The MGM Studio Chorus
4:18
Finale (Film Version) * Judy Garland, Charles Walters, Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra, The MGM Studio Chorus
6:28
Pagin Mr. Greenback (Outtake) * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
4:53
Pre-Recording Sessions
When I Look At You (Take 10) * Judy Garland
1:49
When I Look At You (Tag - Take 9) * Judy Garland
0:36
When I Look At You (Tag - Take 10) * Judy Garland
0:26
Ev'ry Little Movement Has A Meaning Of Its Own * Judy Garland & Mary Kent (for Connie Gilchrist)
2:50
Finale Part 1 * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
4:02
Finale Part 2 * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:32
Finale Part 3 * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:14
Finale Part 4 * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:52
Finale Part 5 * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
1:50
Finale Part 6 * Judy Garland, Charles Walters, Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra, The MGM Studio Chorus
3:01
Finale Part 6 (Pick-up) * Judy Garland & The MGM Studio Chorus
0:55
Finale (Complete Version) * Judy Garland, Charles Walters, Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra, The MGM Studio Chorus
9:16


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credits

Ziegfeld Girl starring Judy GarlandProduction No. 1165
Running Time: 132 minutes
Filmed: October 1940 - March 1941
Released: April 25, 1941


PRODUCTION STAFF:

Produced by: Arthur Freed
Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard
Screenplay by: Marguerite Roberts and Sonya Levien
  (original story by William Anthony McGuire)
Musical numbers directed by: Busby Berkeley
Music and lyrics:
"You Stepped Out of a Dream" by Nacio Herb Brown and Gus Kahn
"Minnie from Trinidad" by Roger Edens
"I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" by Harry Carroll and Joseph McCarthy
"Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean" by Edward Gallagher and Al Shean



CAST:

James Stewart.....Gilbert Young
Judy Garland.....Susan Gallagher
Hedy Lamarr.....Sandra Kolter
Lana Turner.....Sheila Regan
Tony Martin.....Frank Merron
Jackie Cooper.....Jerry Regan
Ian Hunter.....Geoffrey Collis
Charles Winninger....."Pop" Gallagher
Edward Everett Horton.....Noble Sage
Philip Dorn.....Franz Kolter
Magazine Ad for "Ziegfeld Girl" starring Judy GarlandPaul Kelly.....John Slayton
Eve Arden.....Patsy Dixon
Dan Dailey, Jr......Jimmy Walters
Al Shean.....Al
Fay Holden.....Mrs. Regan
Felix Bressart.....Mischa
Rose Hobart.....Mrs. Merron
Bernard Nedell.....Nick Capalini
Ed McNamara.....Mr. Regan
Mae Busch.....Jenny
Renie Riano.....Annie
Josephine Whittell.....Perkins
Sergio Orta.....Native Dancer
Six Hits and a Miss.....vocals
Rosario and Antonio.....Specialty Dancers
Fred Santley.....Floorwalker
Claire James.....Hopeful
Sergio Orta.....Native Dancer
Reed Hadley.....Geoffrey's Friend
Armand Kaliz.....Pierre
Joan Barclay.....Actress in Slayton's Office
Donald Kirke.....Playboy
Ray Teal.....Pawnbroker
Al Hill.....Truck Driver
Roscoe Ates.....Theater Worker
George Lloyd.....Bartender
Ginger Pearson.....Salesgirl
Elliott Sullivan, James Flavin.....Truckers
Joyce Compton.....Miss Sawyer
Ruth Tobey.....Beth Regan
Bess Flowers.....Casino Patron
Jean Wallace, Myrna Dell, Georgia Carroll, Louise La Planche, Virginia Cruzon, Alaine Brandeis, Patricia Dana, Irma Wilson, Leslie Brooks, Madeleine Martin, Vivian Mason, Harriet Bennett, Nina Bissell, Frances Gladwin, Anya Taranda.....Ziegfeld Girls


WHAT THE CRITICS SAID:

"Although their tribulations are never worth the length that producer Pandro Berman devotes to them, Miss Garland warbles a torrid tropical tune, "Minnie from Trinidad", with true professional gusto."
    - Time, May 5, 1941

"Judy Garland, as the show wise youngster, carries the sympathetic end most capably and delivers her vocal assignments in great style"
    - Variety, April 16, 1941

"Of the three aspirants to stardom ... only [Judy] made it, which gave the film a conviction it lacked elsewhere."
    - film historian David Shipman

"Judy Garland is especially good as a youngster who becomes a star under a strict code of showmanship."
    - Howard Barnes, The New York Herald Tribune

.".. Judy Garland sings and dances her way enthusiastically from tank-town vaudeville to the New Amsterdam Theatre and Charles Winninger, as her father, turns out to be the Gallagher of the famous Gallagher and Shean team, while Shean is played with nostalgic gusto by Al Shean himself..."
    - Newsweek



A special note of thanks to Eric Hemphill for providing material from his collection to this section. Thanks Eric!!!

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