29 August 2016 | TheLittleSongbird
Not as good as Part 1, better than part 2
None of the three 'That's Entertainment' films are without flaws, but they all live up to their name and achieve their main goals to entertain and fascinate.
The best of the three is the first, not only being first-class entertainment but also being nostalgically affectionate and very moving (especially Liza Minnelli talking about her mother Judy Garland). Part 2 is a disappointment, due to the badly written hosting segments, a too sprawling structure, those unnecessary travelogue segments and a couple of scenes too short and hastily cut, but has a lot of interest points and a lot of treasures (including the best title sequence of the three films).
Part 3 is not as good as Part 1, though there are a couple of things it actually does better, but it is better than Part 2. There is not a huge amount wrong actually, the 'Brigadoon' dance sequence does look phoney which jars with the lavishness of the rest of the film and while the hosting is charming, subtly witty and affecting it was sad to see Gene Kelly in one of his last appearances on film looking so frail and ill, lacking his usual exuberance (before looking it up, and finding that it happened after the film's release, did think that it was due to having a stroke). While it was interesting seeing so much footage that didn't make it into the films they were meant to be part of, there could have been more of the classic moments.
Where it improves over Part 1 is that it has the best hosting segments of the three, both in the writing and pacing. Here they were the most informative, thought-provoking and said the most about the commitment and difficulties behind the scenes of making these scenes and films possible and personalities behind the stars which were glossed over in comparison in the previous two films. Also it is the film with the best editing. A vast majority of the scenes are used to their full potential instead of being too short and it is not as hasty or jumpy. It also returns to the more logical, ordered and thematic kind of structure the first film had, a welcome return indeed.
Like the first two films, a delightful couple of hours, a nostalgic trip down memory lane it is affectionate, hugely entertaining and also moving and makes one want to watch or re-watch the films included. What immediately captivated was seeing the who's who of musical/dance/singing talent being featured. The production values are lavish and just beautiful to look at, the music dazzles and is full of emotions and the choreography is often enough to make the jaw drop. Scenes are mostly great, with far fewer missteps than with Part 2 (though there are only a few there), the only notable one is the scene from 'Brigadoon'.
Judy Garland's scenes (especially the 'Annie Get Your Gun' and 'Easter Parade' scenes, though her rapport with Mickey Rooney is charming too) are clear standouts, as are Eleanor Powell, Debbie Reynolds, "Can't Help Loving Dat Man". Debbie Reynolds and Ann Miller at this point show all the shining qualities that made them such stars, it was nice to see Mickey Rooney too but he doesn't look at his best either if not as sad as Kelly.
In conclusion, a real treat. The first 'That's Entertainment' is the best of the three, but this is almost as good and even makes improvements in a couple of areas. 8/10 Bethany Cox