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That's Entertainment! (1974)

G  |   |  Documentary, Family, Musical  |  21 June 1974 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,614 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 19 critic

Various MGM stars from yesterday present their favourite musical moments from the studio's 50 year history.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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In the year before the 1904 St Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'The Band Wagon'
...
Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'Going Hollywood'
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Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clips from 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' - 'Singin' in the Rain' and 'An American in Paris'
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Himself - Co-Host / Narrator - Clip from 1947 version of 'Good News'
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Herself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'In the Good Old Summertime'
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Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'Singin' in the Rain'
...
Herself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'Singin' in the Rain'
...
Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clips from 'Babes in Arms' - 'Girl Crazy' - 'Babes on Broadway'
...
Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'
...
Himself - Co-Host
...
Herself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'Cynthia'
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Clip from 'Words and Music' (archive footage)
Kay Armen ...
Clip from 'Hit the Deck' (archive footage)
...
Clips from 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'The Harvey Girls' (archive footage)
...
Clip from 'The Great Ziegfeld' (archive footage)
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Storyline

MGM musical numbers from the introduction of sound in the late '20s through to the 1950s, possibly with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Judy Garland getting the most coverage. Linked by some of the stars who worked at MGM handing the commentary on one to another. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Boy. Do we need it now. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

That's Entertainment: 50 Years of MGM  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (35 mm optical prints)|

Color:

(Metrocolor)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was among the last MGM films shot on the studio's renowned back lot, of which there were actually six distinct satellite parcels of land west and south of the main lot, or Lot 1. Lot 2, the last of them to serve as a working back lot, was in use until late 1978. Development for residential housing on Lots 3-6 began the year "That's Entertainment!" filmed its new material with the studio's stars strolling the various standing sets, which had been allowed to deteriorate for well over a decade before their demolition. This is particularly noticeable in the train station set where Fred Astaire gives his introduction, and Bing Crosby refers to the English Lake area as looking rather "scruffy". On the other hand, the entire purpose of the film is nostalgia, and the use of the 'scruffy' facade, clearly aged and unused, helps to set the tone as one of a brief return to the glamor of the past, even though it was all make-believe. See more »

Goofs

During his narrative section, Donald O'Connor says that Esther Williams was discovered while working as a model in a Los Angeles department store, when in fact Williams was a salesgirl at I. Magnin. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Frank Sinatra: [narrating] The year is 1929; the singer, Cliff Edwards, also known as Ukelele Ike. The film: "Hollywood Revue"; it is the first all-talking, all-singing, all-dancing movie ever made. In the years that followed, "Singin' in the Rain" would become a theme song for MGM.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before Leo the Lion roars at the beginning, the words "Beginning our next 50 years" appear in the lion's traditional place in the MGM logo, which itself has been modified to indicate the company's golden anniversary. See more »

Connections

Followed by That's Entertainment, Part II (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Babes on Broadway
(1941) (uncredited)
Music by Burton Lane
Lyrics by Ralph Freed
Performed by Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, 'Richard Quine, and Virginia Weidler
From Babes on Broadway (1941)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More Stars Than There Are In The Heavens
26 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Musicals--that most surrealistic of motion picture genres--have fallen out of fashion over the past few decades... but at one time they dominated motion picture screens. MGM, a studio which boasted it had "More Stars Than There Are In The Heavens," was renowned for the musical talents it had under contract. And this clever compilation, with its various segments introduced by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, Bing Crosby, and Mickey Rooney, offers an extraordinary collection of musical moments from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s--the golden age of the genre.

The compilation is very, very broad and includes performances by both the still-famous and once-famous, and gives us the opportunity to see some magical moments without having to wade through the entire genre or assess whether or not you actually want to sit through an obscure film in order to see one five minute musical moment. While it includes performances by the delicious Lena Horne (performing "Honeysuckle Rose" before a sophisticated set of drapery and mirrors), the brilliant Elenor Powell (with several offerings, the most memorable being "Begin the Begine" with Fred Astaire), and a host of others, most of the collection revolves around four MGM superstars: Gene Kelly, Esther Williams, Fred Astaire, and Judy Garland. The tribute to Esther Williams is particularly welcome, a marvelous array of some of the most beautiful and beautifully surreal scenes ever put to film; the tribute to Judy Garland, touchingly introduced and narrated by daughter Liza Minnelli, is also particularly well done.

But the real feast here is of musical oddities and rarities. In its search for musical talent, MGM put almost every star under contract through their musical paces--and the result is often truly bizarre. Among the most memorable of these is Joan Crawford, who believe it or not was considered a jazz dancer of some note during the 1920s, and here she (introduced by an emcee as "the personification of youth, beauty, joy, and happiness) sings and then athletically stops through "Got A Feeling For You." Robert Montgomery looks awkward trying his hand at light opera; Jimmy Stewart sings pleasantly but unspectacularly; Jean Harlow belts out "Reckless;" and Clark Gable gives a remarkably charming throw-away performance of "Puttin' On The Ritz." It is all tremendous fun.

Of further interest is the fact that most of the narrators have filmed their scenes on the MGM backlot--which was on the verge of demolition when this compilation was made in 1974. It's fading glory is touching, nostalgic, and offers a final glimpse of what was the world's greatest film studio before it entered its final decline. A drawback to the compilation is that at the time it was made few if any of these films had been restored; some of the oldest film clips are in rather poor condition and the brilliance of Technicolor is somewhat reduced in certain scenes. But even with this problem, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT is a feast of brilliant colors, costumes, spectacular dance numbers, and beautiful sounds, enough to delight any long-time musical fan and convert newcomers to the genre.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Was this originaly a Theatrical Release or made for TV ? johnyperks
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