G | | Documentary, Family, Musical
Various MGM stars from yesterday present their favourite musical moments from the studio's 50 year history.
Norma Shearer made an agitated phone call to MGM senior executive Paul Rosenfeld, insisting that her reaction shots to Clark Gable's 'Puttin' on the Ritz' (from Idiot's Delight (1939)) be deleted. Unfortunately, it was too late to make any changes and the shots remained in the film. Shearer explained to Rosenfeld in a letter, "I am presented as no more than an extra without screen credit while others who are dancers and singers perform triumphantly as stars of this production." When Rosenfeld offered to arrange a screening for Shearer, she declined saying, "I would be devastated to see myself as such an insignificant part of the whole...It is a little too late to do anything now except to express to you my wounded pride."
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 ...
In the "Melody of Spring" sequence from Cynthia (1947), narrator Elizabeth Taylor self-deprecatingly remarks that she "was certainly no threat to Judy Garland or Jane Powell." In fact, Taylor's singing was dubbed in the film, a point emphasized when she turns up ten minutes later in 'That's Entertainment!' with an entirely different voice in the "It's a Most Unusual Day" sequence from A Date with Judy (1948). In this case, narrator Peter Lawford claims, "That isn't Elizabeth's voice you're hearing. MGM kept her too busy to rehearse and record."
Producer Jack Haley Jr.'s credit appears over a still image of his father, Jack Haley, as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.
Some TV prints show the 1951 "Show Boat" segment in cropped widescreen, when in fact the film was made in a "regular" aspect ratio (non-widescreen). Widescreen did not really come along until 1953, although Cinerama did premiere in 1952.