That's Entertainment!

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That's Entertainment!
ThatsEntertainment.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Jack Haley, Jr.
Produced by Jack Haley Jr.
Written by Jack Haley Jr.
Starring Frank Sinatra
Fred Astaire
Bing Crosby
Gene Kelly
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography Russell Metty
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • May 23, 1974 (1974-05-23)
Running time 134 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $19,100,000[1]

That's Entertainment! is a 1974 compilation film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to celebrate its 50th anniversary. It was followed by two sequels and a related film called That's Dancing!.

The film, compiled by its writer-producer-director, Jack Haley, Jr., under the supervision of executive producer Daniel Melnick, turned the spotlight on MGM's legacy of musical film from the 1920s through the 1950s, featuring performances culled from dozens of the studio's famous films. Archive footage of Judy Garland, Eleanor Powell, Lena Horne, Esther Williams, Ann Miller, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Jeanette MacDonald, Cyd Charisse, June Allyson, Mickey Rooney, Mario Lanza, William Warfield, and many others was featured.

The various segments were hosted by a succession of the studio's legendary stars: Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney, Bing Crosby, James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, and Liza Minnelli (representing her mother, Judy Garland).

Most of the hosts were filmed on MGM's famous backlot, which appears ramshackle and rundown in this film, because MGM had sold the property to developers and the sets were about to be demolished (several of the stars, including Bing Crosby, remark on this during their segments). The most notable degradation can be seen when Fred Astaire revisits the ruins of a train station set that had been used in the opening of The Band Wagon two decades earlier, and when Peter Lawford revisits exteriors used in his late-40s musical, Good News. That's Entertainment! was the last major project to be filmed on the backlot.

The title of the film derives from the anthemic song "That's Entertainment!", by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, which was introduced in the 1953 MGM musical, The Band Wagon. The title is usually expressed with an exclamation mark, but it is also correct to refer to it without (see the DVD cover).

Dedication[edit]

Over the years, under the leadership of Louis B. Mayer and others, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has produced a series of musical films whose success and artistic merit remain unsurpassed in motion picture history. There were literally thousands of people .... artists, craftsmen and technicians .... who poured their talents into the creation of the great MGM musicals. This film is dedicated to them.

—Opening titles of That's Entertainment!

Appearances[edit]

Musical numbers featured[edit]

Sequels[edit]

Despite statements made in the original theatrical trailer and promotional material that such a production would never be repeated, That's Entertainment! is one of the few documentaries to spawn official sequels—either two or three, depending upon one's criteria.

In 1976, That's Entertainment, Part II was released. The idea of multiple hosts was dropped for this production, with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly partnering to co-host the retrospective, which expanded beyond musicals to pay tribute to dramatic and comedy stars as well. The film is highlighted by Astaire and Kelly dancing together on film for the last time.

In 1985, That's Dancing! was released, a retrospective that looked back at the history of dancing in film (unlike the That's Entertainment! films, however, this documentary did not focus exclusively on MGM productions). This film is sometimes considered part of the That's Entertainment! series, especially since its starting credits contain a card with the That's Entertainment! III title (not to be confused with the 1994 film), but even though it shared studio and producers, it is considered a separate production.

Finally, in 1994, That's Entertainment! III was released, which featured more retrospectives with a focus on previously unreleased (or rarely seen) material cut from the MGM films.

Gene Kelly is the only individual to host in all four films.

All three That's Entertainment! films were released to DVD in 2004. The box set collection of the films included a bonus DVD that included additional musical numbers that had been cut from MGM films as well as the first release of the complete performance of "Mr. Monotony" by Judy Garland (the version used in That's Entertainment! III is truncated). That's Dancing! received a separate DVD release in 2007. The original trilogy also received a Blu-ray release in the late 2000s, with the bonus disc eliminated in favor of spreading its contents as bonuses among the three films.

References[edit]

  1. ^ That's Entertainment!, Box Office Information. The Numbers. Retrieved May 22, 2012.

External links[edit]