The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."
This is the best of the That's Entertainment movies and that's because of all the extras they packed into this film.
My favorite extra was seeing Fred Astaire dance the same number in split screen, but in different costumes and different stages. This one clip alone shows what a true professional he was: he was perfectly in synch with himself throughout the whole dance and it was delightful.
The oddest extra was the split screen showing of Cyd Charisse and Joan Crawford "singing" and dancing to the same vocal of the same song. Inexplicably, Charisse's was the one cut by the studio and Crawford's was used. Crawford's version was as horrible (she's in blackface, for starters) as Charisse's was elegant.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed seeing footage of the Vaudeville acts. While I can understand why they never 'made it big', I'm happy they were included in this film.
As some other reviewers have mentioned, it was a bit bittersweet seeing the aging MGM stars who hosted this show (especially those who are no longer with us). This hit home for me while watching Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse dance. Gene, of course, has been gone for 12 years, but we just lost Cyd in the past few months. Seeing them together again made me very grateful that we have all of their lovely dances preserved forever on film.
As always, I don't agree with some of the choices the powers-to-be made in terms of the clips they chose. For example, they chose the Gene Kelly/Donald O'Connor Fit As A Fiddle dance from Singin' In The Rain. The Moses Supposes dance from that movie is far superior to Fit As A Fiddle. I would also have liked to see more of Donald O'Connor. We only got one other brief glimpse of him during someone else's segment.
As with all of the other That's Entertainment movies, this is definitely worth watching. If you have to chose just one TE film, I would chose this one and that's because of all the extras.
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