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You really would think that no other film musical documentary could possibly
top THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT. Come on--it's got personal appearances by a host
of stars, and some of the most famous and best-loved clips ever. Including,
you know, the singing in the rain bit from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Could it get
Well, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT II certainly tries its darned hardest to be better. Not a single clip is repeated from the first film in the trilogy, and watching this film really makes you realise just how much talent was all focused in the one studio from the 30s through to the 50s. Judy Garland admiring Fred Astaire's Easter bonnet in EASTER PARADE, Garland and Astaire sailing up the avenue as 'A Couple Of Swells' in the same film, Gene Kelly and Garland dueting on FOR ME AND MY GAL, Ann Miller and Bob Fosse in KISS ME KATE, a montage of musicals before colour, a Garland tribute, a Spencer Tracy/Katharine Hepburn love-fest... this film unabashedly brings them all (and much much more) together. There are a couple of clunkers, of course, like Bobby Van hopping like a maniacal rabbit-freak through the town, or the token Esther Williams number. But as you listen to Garland sing 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', or Frank Sinatra croon his way through 'I Fall In Love Too Easily', and see Gene tap dance on skates as naturally as if he had been born with them strapped on... again you're struck with just how special an era this was in film-making, one that unfortunately is lost to the rest of us except through video and DVD.
And I know that this isn't the most popular of opinions, but I think THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT II not only matches but far surpasses the original. There was nothing special about the first film--its only gimmick was the coup it had managed in bringing all these glorious film legends back together to talk about their work. The only caveat was that the incredible personalities behind the stars just couldn't shine through except with some pretty special people... otherwise, they were all reading off a pre-written script. Kind of dampening, really.
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT II, on the other hand, is a small but successful exercise in creativity: from the title sequence through to Gene Kelly's direction of the new footage between himself and Astaire. It's also a delight for fans of both Astaire and Kelly when these two dancing men, you know... dance together again. Sure, they're not as nimble and quicksilver as they used to be, and some of the lyrics they're singing are--well, the only word for it is corny. But there's no denying that both these men have a kind of screen charisma that doesn't disappear with time, and having them both onscreen together, singing... now that really *is* entertainment as it should be. In the final scene they tell us that the best films have the audience leaving the film with a glow. How right they are.
Quite simply, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT II is sheer, perfect nostalgia bottled and kept simmering, just waiting for an audience. About the only flaw with it is that it simply couldn't be better than its source material... but that's also what's so good about this film. It makes you want to go out and rent all the others... and still watch it over again just to revel in Astaire and Kelly being onscreen together for the first time since 'The Babbitt and The Bromide' in ZIEGFELD FOLLIES almost three decades ago.
What more could you ask for?
Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire introduce more wonderful numbers from MGM
musicals. This time drama and comedy clips have been added.
OK--there was no way this could be as good as Part 1. Most of the good material had been used there already. Also Astaire and Kelly were given some dreadful new lyrics to classic songs to sing and their introductions to segments were just terrible. It was NOT a good idea to have them dancing either. And I could have lived without the travelogue of Paris. Still, there's plenty of incredible material here.
Among the highlights: Wonderful opening credits (done by Saul Bass); Eleanor Powell tap-dancing; Greta Grabo dancing (!!); Robert Taylor singing (!!!); the Marx Brothers stateroom sequence from "A Night at the Opera" (unfortunately edited); From This Moments On from "Kiss Me Kate"; early Bing Crosby; Abbott & Costello; Tales from the Vienna Woods (which is actually pretty funny); Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"; clips of dramatic and comedic stars; the I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise number; Bobby Van from "Small Town Girl"; etc etc.
The clips are put together without rhyme or reason--but that helps. You never know what's coming next. Worth catching but try to see the first one too.
Like its predecessor, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT II offers two hours of film
clips from memorable MGM movies featuring the likes of Judy Garland,
Bing Crosby, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, and Doris Day. Unlike its
predecessor, which organized the film clips into thematic sequences
introduced by different MGM stars, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT just throws the
clips out willynilly without much rhyme or reason--and saddles
narrators Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly with some of the clunkiest,
corniest material imaginable. In consequence, it lacks the cohesion and
the excitement of the original.
But it still has its charms. Many of the individual clips are knock-outs: Ethel Waters performing "Taking a Chance on Love" from CABIN IN THE SKY, Bobby Van doing the famous "hop dance" from SMALL TOWN GIRL, Judy Garland belting out "I Got Rhythm" from GIRL CRAZY. In addition to such musical treats, the film also offers a look at the Marx Brothers with the famous "State Room Scene" from A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, a sequence of famous lines from famous films (such as Garbo's "I want to be alone"), and an extended tribute to Spenser Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Most viewers will probably feel the film drags due to the uneven way in which the scenes are introduced and edited together, but just about every one will find plenty to enjoy. Recommended with reservations.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
This film was another excuse to look through those old MGM film vaults and
get out some old film reels, to enjoy once more. This excuse cetainly pays
off with over 2*hrs of stunning musical/dance performances.
It is even more enjoyable than the first, as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly
even entertain us with numerous dance numbers during the films intervals -
the last time they were to dance together on screen.
The clips are indelible as they are precious, which includes rare footage of
Greta Garbo dancing!, Robert Taylor singing!, and Esther Williams Skiing!.
Overall it is action packed enjoyment throughout, simply bursting through the screen. Fans of musicals and any of the old stars, will relish with the opportunity to see the talented MGM stars in action once more. Lots of MGM glitz and Glamour thrown in too!!!
Part of the joy of watching 'That's Entertainment, Part 2' is seeing the
ageing Astaire and Kelly dance together again, with all the skill and the
joy they put across in their respective heydays.
Part 2 doesn't just rely on clips from MGM musical productions, but also celebrates the dramatic output of this prince of studios - Tracy and Hepburn, Garbo ... - as well as two amusing segments, one on comedy (including the Marx Bros.), and one on films about composers writing songs and melodies.
Also of note is the excellent title sequence, where each artiste is represented by some kind of introduction that sums them up (Garbo by a rose, Betty Hutton and Howard Keel branded into wood, Hepburn and Tracy announced by a gong, Nelson and Jeanette as floating petals on a lake).
A little peach of a movie, and proof positive that they really don't make 'em like this anymore.
This particular TE! is very much trapped in time. While it does have a
bunch of great songs and pieces, the musical interludes in between old
footage are almost embarrassing. The other 2 TE!s were much
That's More Entertainment! on the other hand, was absolutely hideous.
The series of documentary films continues with That's Entertainment,
Part II. And just like the first one, this is 100% pure entertainment!
That's right, this second installment in the That's Entertainment
series of documentary films is very fabulous and educational! This
ranks right up their with the first one, one of the greatest
documentary movies ever to be made! Just like the first one, we get a
very good look at the entertainment industry back in the good old days
of movies and musicals, and so therefore, that really makes this a
great documentary to watch and enjoy! This is not only very fabulous,
it is also very educational, because like I just said, this gives us a
very good look at the entertainment industry back in the good old days
of movies and musicals! I have seen a lot of the movies mentioned in
this documentary, and so therefore, I really enjoyed this even more
than I had expected! On a scale from one to ten, I will award this
movie another perfect rating of ten stars out of ten for being a
documentary that I will probably never forget about!
Another thing, I have seen all three of the documentaries in this series, and I can say that all three of them are something remarkable to see! Considering my big obsession with movies, I am very fascinated by these documentaries! And like a lot of other movies that I have seen, this is a movie that I could just watch again and again and not get bored of seeing it! Yes, it really is that good! Going on, I am really glad that I saw this, because like the previous documentary, this has really helped extend my movie education, and I really admire a documentary that can do something like that!
To all film buffs who have not seen this, you should take the time to watch this if you haven't watched it already, because if you loved the first one, then you are probably going to love the second one as well! So in short, this requires viewing as part of your film education, and not only that, but you should see it considering how great it is! This is marvelous, simply marvelous, I am totally and completely glad that I saw this, because it really is something fabulous to see! So watch this whenever you can, because you really are going to find it fascinating!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Following the surprising success of That's Entertainment in 1974, Gene
Kelly was the driving force behind this sequel, which not only further
highlighted the M-G-M musical, but opened the door for wider range of
Showcased along side the great musical numbers, comedy and melodrama are given equal screen time with stars like Kathrine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy realising that together they could lick 'em all, John Barrymore begging Greta Garbo to stay when she so obviously and characteristically 'wants to be alone' and Clark Gable showing us exactly why he didn't give a damn!!
Vintage footage from The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Robert Benchley and William Powell and Myrna Loy keep the laughs coming, while deeper delves into the musical archives, link this movie to it's predecessor.
Ann Miller, Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly, Bobby Van, Lena Horne, Bob Fosse, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey and Judy, Cyd Charisse and many more are all featured, picking up where the first movie left off, and for lovers of Frank Sinatra, there is a special segment of the movie purely reserved to spotlight his talent, narrated by his long-time friend, Gene Kelly.
Kelly himself is not only seen in the archive footage, but he also directed, and choreographed all the new scenes and dance routines that link the classic clips together as well as pulling presenting and narrating duties with another old friend and M-G-M stalwart Fred Astaire.
The two had only performed together on film on one prior occasion, dancing to George Gershwin's 'Babbitt and the Bromide' in the penultimate act of Zeigfeld Follies in 1946 and now thirty years later these two screen dancers were set to have the time of their lives.
However although it was a rare treat to see them nimbly treading around their props, it looks sadly like two old men going through the motions as Fred and Gene who were at the time 77 and 64 respectively, have neither the speed or agility they both once had, although if I could perform even half as good at either of their ages I'd know I was wearing the years well. This was Fred's last ever dancing on film of which he said later, "that wasn't dancing, that was just moving around"
I especially liked the finale when they reel off a long list of the movie stars who have featured in the compilation all done to music and all done in rhyme.
However, the real treat from these guys are not what they were doing in the link up's but rather what they did way back when, and fortunately in That's Entertainment Part II there are more classic clips than you can shake a stick at.
I really enjoyed That's Entertainment II just as much as the first one. It's got some great material, some of my favourite scenes in here! I really enjoyed seeing the Art Deco musicals - they are my favourite! A good thing about this movie is that anyone can enjoy it - young and old because there is something that will appeal to everyone. It is so fun looking back on that golden era, but it is sad that we will never capture that sense of glamour that was. What else can I say - it's a great movie fit for the whole family to enjoy. However, I find the material a bit corny and unnecessary, but still good to watch Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly - I hope I'm in that good of a shape when I'm that age! And like other reviewers, I feel there is no order in which the footage is shown. It seems to be sprawled about and it is a little confusing. But nevertheless, a movie I can watch over and over again.
Following the tremendous success of "That's Entertainment", MGM created
a second compilation film for theaters--"That's Entertainment, Part
II". Unlike "That's Entertainment!", this followup film is a bit
different because it's not just about MGM's singing and dancing but the
full range of films--with clips from comedies, westerns and dramas as
well--but still the lion's share (so to speak) were of musicals. For
me, this was a problem because the range was TOO broad and the rest of
the films got the short end of it. In other words, you can't sum up ALL
of MGM's classic films (including travelogues and comedy shorts) in
only about two hours. Another problem with the film is that instead of
the classic actors introducing the clips like they did in "That's
Entertainment!", this time they try to entertain as well--such as Fred
Astaire and Gene Kelly doing a song and dance number near the beginning
of the film and some new cartoon bits later in the film. While the pair
danced well for old men (Astaire was nearing 80), it also felt a bit
creepy and sad--especially when Kelly tried to sing and roller skate in
Paris. It took up time they could have been showing other clips plus I
wanted to see more MGM stars than just these two fine dancers (and in
the previous film it was narrated by several classic actors, not just
two). Had the film just been a retrospective of the films of Kelly and
Astaire, however, this material would have worked a lot better.
It helped that I saw this film only a few days after I saw the other--so it's very clear in my head that there were problems in addition to the narration. For the most part, the dance numbers not as good in "That's Entertainment, Part II" and I assume it's because they'd put the best stuff in the first one--as they didn't realize there's be a second film. Now this isn't to say the dance clips are bad--they're just not quite as good. Oddly, however, the clips from the non-musicals also were occasionally disappointing. There weren't enough of them and represented too few films. To me, put simply, it looked a bit rushed--like they threw clips together without as much thought as in the first film or as much of a theme. Overall, worth seeing if you are a fan of Hollywood's golden age, but I think the first film AND the later documentary "MGM: When the Lion Roared" are a lot better.
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