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That's Entertainment! (1974)
sins of omission
When this compilation was released in 1974 to celebrate MGM's 50th anniversary, most film goers and critics praised it as a major success. And with an entire library of musical bon-bons at his disposal, how could Jack Haley, Jr. not help but produce a winner. For serious students of the MGM musical, however, this film is not beyond criticism. The great singing stars tend to recieve only cursory recognition. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, whose series of musicals were the most popular in the studio's history, are seen in only one clip--"Indian Love Call" from ROSE MARIE. As Haley was sure to know, this number with Eddy bedecked as a Canadian Mountie invariably draws laughs and snickers from modern audiences. Mario Lanza and Jane Powell are also poorly represented. And does Haley really expect us to believe that everyone on the lot rated the rather pretentious ballet from AN AMERICAN IN PARIS as the greatest achievement in MGM history?
It should be additionally noted that Haley failed to send out party invitations to some wonderful performers who made significant contributions to the MGM musical. Among others, Marge & Gower Champion, Gloria De Haven, and Betty Garrett are absent from the proceedings. But the producer's most flagrant omission was set aside for Vera-Ellen, arguably the finest woman dancer ever to grace an MGM set.
Three Little Girls in Blue (1946)
delightful in all respects
Where has this musical been hiding for the last 50 years? It's a total delight. Special bouquets go to the feminine side of the cast--June Haver, Vivian Blaine, and Celeste Holm. But perhaps the top stand-out is lovely and piquant Vera-Ellen. Her rendition of "You Make Me Feel So Young" is one of the best solo dances ever filmed.
Carnival in Costa Rica (1947)
vera ellen is always worth watching
This 20th Century Fox musical has several problems, including an uneven script and uninspired choreography. However, the flaws are countered with some strengths. The color photography and costumes are lovely. And the cast is good, especially leading lady Vera-Ellen and Celeste Holm.
The Belle of New York (1952)
dance enthusiasts will love this film
The mostly negative reviews relating to this movie miss the mark. Although the script and special effects are undeniably weak, the partnered dancing of Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen has never been equaled. One dance of particular note is the finale to the Currier and Ives number. It's simply breathtaking. Don't worry about the plot when you're watching the two best dancers in the history of Hollywood at the zenith of their powers.