That's Entertainment!

"Very Good"

That's Entertainment! Review


Like no other industry, Hollywood has the unique ability to celebrate itself. That's Entertainment! is nothing but the unabashed patting of itself on the back, but damn if it isn't a film that's as important as any other.

That's Entertainment! -- which would spawn two sequels and another DVD of extras (available on the box set, see right) -- is more accurately a celebration of MGM and its legacy of movie musicals. Shot in 1974, the film takes us on a tour of MGM's then-sprawling backlot (which was torn down shortly thereafter), radically contrasting the dilapidated sets with the films that were originally shot on them. Stars like Sinatra, Astaire, Crosby, Kelly, Minnelli, and Reynolds (Debbie, not Burt) are our tour guides, hosting us on our walkthrough the back lot and introducing the clips of past films starring themselves and their friends.

The film is at its most interesting not when we're seeing umpteen clips from Singin' in the Rain (great film, yes, but it's best as a whole, not cut to ribbons), but when we're seeing obscure movies that have stars like Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable turn in rare musical performances -- some of which aren't very good at all. (Elizabeth Taylor is particularly candid about her own screeching performance.)

The remainder of the movie is as you might expect, a procession of clips representing the best of MGM's biggest hits: Gigi, The Wizard of Oz,The Broadway Melody, Show Boat, and a number of Esther Williams productions (nearly 100 films are snippeted in total). It's unabashed nostalgia and nothing more, but a critical document in the history of film, and the definitive chronicle of the musical.

Part 2 of the series (shot in 1976) is more of the same -- delving deeper into comedy from Jimmy Durante, the Marx brothers, and the like. Part 3 comprises mostly rarities and behind the scenes footage (and was put together 20 years later). Buy the box set trilogy and you get a fourth disc called Treasures from the Vault, which adds classic newsreels and documentaries, plus deleted musical numbers from the films featured in the first three movies.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 135 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st June 1974

Box Office Worldwide: $19.1M

Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 13

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jack Haley Jr.

Producer: Jack Haley Jr.

Starring: as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Herself, Donald O'Connor as Himself, as Herself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Herself, June Allyson as Clip from 'Words and Music' (archive footage), Kay Armen as Clip from 'Hit the Deck' (archive footage), as Clips from 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'The Harvey Girls' (archive footage), Virginia Bruce as Clip from 'The Great Ziegfeld' (archive footage), Jack Buchanan as Clip from 'The Band Wagon' (archive footage), as Clips from 'An American in Paris' and 'Gigi' (archive footage), Carleton Carpenter as Clip from 'Two Weeks with Love' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Singin' in the Rain' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Gigi' (archive footage), as Clips from 'Hollywood Revue' & 'Dancing Lady' (archive footage), Virginia Dale as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage), Vic Damone as Clip from 'Hit the Deck' (archive footage), as Clips from 'Speak Easily' & 'It Happened in Brooklyn' (archive footage), Deanna Durbin as Clip from 'Every Sunday' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Broadway Melody of 1938' (archive footage), Nelson Eddy as Clip from 1936 version of 'Rose Marie' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Hollywood Revue' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage), as Herself - at Banquet / Clip from 1951 version of 'Show Boat' (archive footage), as Clips from 'Wizard of Oz' & 'Summer Stock' etc. (archive footage), as Clip from 'Suzy' (archive footage), as Clips from 1951 version of 'Show Boat' and 'Toast of New Orleans' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage), as Clip from 'The Wizard of Oz' (archive footage), as Clips from 'Reckless' & 'Suzy' (archive footage), Bernadene Hayes as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage), Lena Horne as Herself - at Banquet / Clip from 'Thousands Cheer' (archive footage), Lottice Howell as Clip from 'Free and Easy' (archive footage), Van Johnson as (archive footage), as (archive footage), as Clip from "Gigi" (archive footage), as Clips from 1951 version of 'Show Boat' and 'Pagan Love Song' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Broadway Melody' (archive footage), Lorraine Krueger as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage), as Clip from 'The Wizard of Oz' (archive footage), Mario Lanza as Clip from 'Toast of New Orleans' (archive footage), Jeanette MacDonald as Clip from 'Rose Marie' (archive footage), Joan Marsh as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage), Tony Martin as Clip from 'Hit the Deck' (archive footage), Douglas McPhail as Clip from 'Babes in Arms' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Small Town Girl' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Free and Easy' (archive footage), Natalie Moorhead as Clip from 'Dance, Fools, Dance' (archive footage), Dennis Morgan as Clip from 'The Great Ziegfeld' (archive footage), Jules Munshin as Clip from 'On the Town' (archive footage), as Clip from 'The Pirate' (archive footage), Harold Nicholas as Clip from 'The Pirate' (archive footage), Margaret O'Brien as Clip from 'Meet Me in St. Louis' (archive footage), Eleanor Powell as (clips from "Broadway Melody of 1940" / "Rosalie") (archive footage), as Clip from 'A Date with Judy' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Barkleys of Broadway' (archive footage), Paula Stone as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage), as Clip from 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' (archive footage), William Warfield as Clip from 1951 version of 'Show Boat' (archive footage), as Clips from 'Bathing Beauty' & 'Million Dollar Mermaid' etc. (archive footage), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight (archive footage) (uncredited), as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 'A Date with Judy' (archive footage) (uncredited), Joe E. Brown as Clip from 'Show Boat' (archive footage) (uncredited), Xavier Cugat as Clip from 'A Date with Judy' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), Lili Damita as Herself - Clip from 'La Fiesta Santa Barbara' (archive footage) (uncredited), Gloria DeHaven as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 'On the Town' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 'Gigi' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), Claude Jarman Jr. as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 'A Date with Judy' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 1951 version of 'Show Boat' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), George Murphy as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 'Hollywood Revue' (archive footage) (uncredited), J. Carrol Naish as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), Selena Royle as Clip from 'A Date with Judy' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Clip from 'Idiot's Delight' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), Sidney Toler as Clip from 'Speak Easily' (archive footage) (uncredited), as Herself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited), as Himself - at Banquet (archive footage) (uncredited)

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