That's Entertainment Collection
To celebrate MGM's 50th anniversary in 1974, producer Jack Haley, Jr. (the son of Jack Haley, who played the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz) came up with the idea of cutting together highlights from the great MGM musicals into a compilation film, which would be broadcast on television. Haley and executive producer Daniel Melnick spent months digging through the vast MGM film vaults for clippings from such classics as Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, and Meet Me in St. Louis, as well as less familiar gems. MGM executives liked the compilation so much that they decided to expand it into a feature film. Haley brought Gene Kelly on board as a host, and Kelly in turn was able to entice stars like Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra to introduce and provide narration for the clips.

The final result, That's Entertainment!, was a smash hit, adored by critics and a generation of moviegoers whose only access to the great musicals of the past was the occasional art-house revival or mangled television broadcast. That's Entertainment! not only popularized the retrospective compilation genre but tapped into a nostalgia for Old Hollywood that has been a pop culture staple ever since. The film spawned three sequels — That's Entertainment, Part II in 1976, That's Dancing! in 1985, and That's Entertainment III in 1994.


6 x DVD9 | NTSC | 02:14:40 + 02:10:36 + 02:00:13 | 12.6 Gb + 12.0 Gb + 10.7 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English, Francais
Subtitles: English, Francais, Espanol
Genre: Documentary, Family, Musical

That's Entertainment! establishes the basic formula for the series: an old-fashioned orchestral overture, followed by a string of "greatest hits" clips grouped loosely by theme and interspersed with present-day segments featuring Hollywood legends. For the first film, MGM revisited its long-neglected studio back lots, which had fallen into extreme disrepair, and used them as backdrops for the host segments. (It would be the last time that a feature film was shot on the MGM back lots, which were bulldozed immediately after filming ended and turned into housing developments.) MGM was able to corral an impressive roster of guests for the film: Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Peter Lawford, Liza Minnelli, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, and Elizabeth Taylor are all on hand to pay their respects and offer firsthand insights into the golden age of the Hollywood musical.

That's Entertainment, Part II returns to the nostalgia well, this time with Melnick and veteran producer-composer Saul Chaplin at the helm. In place of the previous film's constellation of stars, Part II is hosted by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Rather than simply standing there and talking between clips, Kelly decided to create song and dance numbers for himself and Astaire—the first (and last) time these two legendary dancers performed together since Ziegfeld Follies in 1946. Thematically, Part II is a looser affair than the first film, casting farther out from the musical genre to include clips from nonmusicals, featuring stars like Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Abbott and Costello, and the Marx Brothers.

That's Entertainment III was made 18 years after the previous film, by veteran editors Bud Freidgen and Michael J. Sheridan, who had worked on That's Entertainment! After two feature-length films, it's tough to justify yet another compilation of MGM musical highlights, but what keeps this film from being a mere rehash is a focus on never-before-seen material, like deleted scenes, alternate versions (presented in split-screen), and production footage. This installment brings a number of surviving MGM stars out of retirement as hosts, including Gene Kelly (in his last film appearance), June Allyson, Cyd Charisse, Lena Horne, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney, and Esther Williams.

Special Features:
--Anamorphic widescreen theatrical version plus full-screen version with widescreen performance segments
--All-new digital transfers
--Remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
--Introductions by Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne
--Theatrical trailers

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