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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'The Band Wagon'
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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'
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Herself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clip from 'Singin' in the Rain'
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Himself - Co-Host / Narrator / Clips from 'Babes in Arms' - 'Girl Crazy' - 'Babes on Broadway'
...
Himself - Co-Host
...
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)
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Clips from 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'The Harvey Girls' (archive footage)
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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:

More than a movie. It's a celebration. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

21 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

That's Entertainment: 50 Years of MGM  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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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

The "Good Morning" number from Singin' in the Rain (1952) was originally inserted in Debbie Reynolds's hosting segment, but eventually cut before release and later placed in That's Entertainment, Part II (1976). The segment with Reynolds' narration can be seen in the promotional short Just One More Time (1974). 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

After the closing credits, some video releases include the film's original instrumental exit overture. See more »

Connections

Edited into American Masters: Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Ol' Man River
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by William Warfield and Chorus
From Show Boat (1951)
See more »

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User Reviews

A Mixture of Nostalgia and Self-Congratulation
14 August 2009 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

In a departure from my normal practice, I will not be awarding "That's Entertainment!"a mark out of ten. There seems little point in rating a film when ninety percent of it consists of clips taken from other films. This film is not a straightforward documentary history of the Hollywood musical. It was made by MGM as a celebration of MGM musicals, and studiously ignores anything made by that studio's rivals. Clips of song-and-dance numbers from some of those musicals are introduced by a number of the stars who appeared in them, such as Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra and Mickey Rooney.

This compilation was probably made because of the way the cinema was changing in the mid-seventies. Although the early part of the decade had seen two particularly fine examples in "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Cabaret", by 1974 the traditional cinema musical was on the decline. There was also a move away from shooting on sets towards shooting on location. Some of the introductory scenes are shot where the musicals themselves were filmed, on MGM's famous backlot which, by 1974, was starting to look very shabby and dilapidated. (It was to be demolished for redevelopment shortly afterwards).

The first part of the film was not particularly interesting, largely because so many of the featured clips were taken from films which are now forgotten and even thirty-five years ago were probably little-known. I also wondered why so much attention was given to Esther Williams, who certainly looked good in a swimsuit but was a very limited actress and whose choreographed water-ballets must have looked hopelessly cheesy by the seventies. One thing that I did learn, however, is that the musical genre was so popular in the thirties and forties that many actors, who today would not be thought of as musical stars, were press-ganged into service, regardless of vocal talent (or the lack thereof). We therefore see clips of the likes of James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable performing in some very obscure old films. (Stewart and Taylor also serve as presenters). Of these, it is Gable who acquits himself with the greatest honour, but his musical career never took off, apparently because his fans felt that all that singing and dancing was a bit sissy and out of keeping with his he-man image.

Things liven up in the second half of the film, because it now starts to concentrate on the really famous musicals for which MGM is still remembered today. The smug, self-congratulatory tone is still present, but the studio can be forgiven a little self-congratulation when it is talking about films as good as "Show Boat", "Seven Brides for "Seven Brothers", "An American in Paris" and "Singin' in the Rain". These last two, of course, both starred Gene Kelly, who also acts as a presenter. Kelly and Fred Astaire, with their very different styles of dancing, were often perceived as rivals, so it was a good idea to have Kelly present a tribute to Astaire and Astaire present one to Kelly. The most moving moment comes when Liza Minnelli presents a tribute to her mother, Judy Garland, who had died a few years earlier.

"That's Entertainment!" was obviously popular, because it was followed two years later by "That's Entertainment II"". (There were to be two more similar compilations, "That's Dancing!" in the eighties and "That's Entertainment III" in the nineties). The appeal of films like this at the time was probably their nostalgia value for the older generation who could remember the original musicals. Today they seem more like a curiosity, albeit an entertaining one.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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