That's Entertainment! (1974)

G   |    |  Documentary, Family, Musical


That's Entertainment! (1974) Poster

Various MGM stars from yesterday present their favourite musical moments from the studio's 50 year history.

TIP
Add this title to your Watchlist
Save movies and shows to keep track of what you want to watch.

7.7/10
4,331

Videos


Photos

  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in That's Entertainment! (1974)
  • Gene Kelly in That's Entertainment! (1974)
  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in That's Entertainment! (1974)
  • Gene Kelly in That's Entertainment! (1974)
  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in That's Entertainment! (1974)
  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in That's Entertainment! (1974)

See all photos

More of What You Love

Find what you're looking for even quicker with the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Jack Haley Jr.

Writer:

Jack Haley Jr.

Awards

2 wins.

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


14 August 2009 | JamesHitchcock
A Mixture of Nostalgia and Self-Congratulation
In a departure from my normal practice, I will not be awarding "That's Entertainment!"a mark out of ten. There seems little point in rating a film when ninety percent of it consists of clips taken from other films. This film is not a straightforward documentary history of the Hollywood musical. It was made by MGM as a celebration of MGM musicals, and studiously ignores anything made by that studio's rivals. Clips of song-and-dance numbers from some of those musicals are introduced by a number of the stars who appeared in them, such as Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra and Mickey Rooney.

This compilation was probably made because of the way the cinema was changing in the mid-seventies. Although the early part of the decade had seen two particularly fine examples in "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Cabaret", by 1974 the traditional cinema musical was on the decline. There was also a move away from shooting on sets towards shooting on location. Some of the introductory scenes are shot where the musicals themselves were filmed, on MGM's famous backlot which, by 1974, was starting to look very shabby and dilapidated. (It was to be demolished for redevelopment shortly afterwards).

The first part of the film was not particularly interesting, largely because so many of the featured clips were taken from films which are now forgotten and even thirty-five years ago were probably little-known. I also wondered why so much attention was given to Esther Williams, who certainly looked good in a swimsuit but was a very limited actress and whose choreographed water-ballets must have looked hopelessly cheesy by the seventies. One thing that I did learn, however, is that the musical genre was so popular in the thirties and forties that many actors, who today would not be thought of as musical stars, were press-ganged into service, regardless of vocal talent (or the lack thereof). We therefore see clips of the likes of James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable performing in some very obscure old films. (Stewart and Taylor also serve as presenters). Of these, it is Gable who acquits himself with the greatest honour, but his musical career never took off, apparently because his fans felt that all that singing and dancing was a bit sissy and out of keeping with his he-man image.

Things liven up in the second half of the film, because it now starts to concentrate on the really famous musicals for which MGM is still remembered today. The smug, self-congratulatory tone is still present, but the studio can be forgiven a little self-congratulation when it is talking about films as good as "Show Boat", "Seven Brides for "Seven Brothers", "An American in Paris" and "Singin' in the Rain". These last two, of course, both starred Gene Kelly, who also acts as a presenter. Kelly and Fred Astaire, with their very different styles of dancing, were often perceived as rivals, so it was a good idea to have Kelly present a tribute to Astaire and Astaire present one to Kelly. The most moving moment comes when Liza Minnelli presents a tribute to her mother, Judy Garland, who had died a few years earlier.

"That's Entertainment!" was obviously popular, because it was followed two years later by "That's Entertainment II"". (There were to be two more similar compilations, "That's Dancing!" in the eighties and "That's Entertainment III" in the nineties). The appeal of films like this at the time was probably their nostalgia value for the older generation who could remember the original musicals. Today they seem more like a curiosity, albeit an entertaining one.

Critic Reviews


Did You Know?

Trivia

Arthur Freed is honored at the end of the film credits for his extensive contributions to establishing MGM as the home of the musical. One child star, Shirley Temple, wrote in her 1988 autobiography that when aged twelve she was interviewed by Freed with a view to transferring her career to MGM. During the interview he unzipped his trousers and exposed himself to her. Being innocent of male anatomy, she responded by giggling, and he threw her out of his office.


Quotes

Frank Sinatra: 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 ...


Goofs

During her narrative section, Liza Minnelli erroneously states that her mother, Judy Garland "once told me that MGM seemed obsessed with Shirley Temple. They even offered Fox Clark Gable and Jean Harlow just to obtain Temple for a picture Metro was preparing. But the deal fell through, so MGM went head with the picture and cast Momma in the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939)." In fact, Jean Harlow died before MGM began preparations for The Wizard of Oz.


Crazy Credits

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.


Alternate Versions

The 2004 DVD release presents the film in both an enhanced widescreen transfer (which replicates the film's original theatrical presentation, with the sides of the screen"masked" for the 1.37:1 material, as presented in the original theatrical release) and a standard 4:3 version that properly letterboxes CinemaScope sequences. In the widescreen version the image often expands (as it did during the film's initial theatrical engagements) so that especially splashy musical numbers not originally shot in CinemaScope can fill the entire screen. DVD release also includes both overture and exit music.


Soundtracks

Did I Remember
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by
Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Performed by Jean Harlow (dubbed by Virginia Verrill) and Cary Grant
From Suzy (1936)

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Documentary | Family | Musical

Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$26,890,200 (USA)

Featured on IMDb

See what movies and TV series IMDb editors are excited about this month and check out our guide to superheroes, horror movies, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com