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That's Entertainment! is a 1974 American documentary film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to celebrate the studio's 50th anniversary. The success of the retrospective prompted a 1976 sequel, the related 1985 film That's Dancing!, and a third installment in 1994.

That's Entertainment!
ThatsEntertainment.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byJack Haley Jr.
Produced byJack Haley Jr.
Written byJack Haley Jr.
Starring
Music byHenry Mancini
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byBud Friedgen
Production
company
Distributed byUnited Artists (United States/Canada)
Cinema International Corporation (international)
Release date
  • June 21, 1974 (1974-06-21)
Running time
134 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$3.2 million[2]
Box office$19.1 million[1]

Compiled by its writer-producer-director, Jack Haley Jr., under the supervision of executive producer Daniel Melnick, the documentary turned the spotlight on MGM's legacy of musical films from the 1920s through the 1950s, culling dozens of performances from the studio's movies, and featuring archive footage of Judy Garland, Eleanor Powell, Lena Horne, Esther Williams, Ann Miller, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Jeanette MacDonald, Cyd Charisse, June Allyson, Clark Gable, Mario Lanza, William Warfield, and many others.

Various segments were hosted by a succession of the studio's legendary stars: Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford, Debbie Reynolds, Bing Crosby, James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Donald O'Connor, and Liza Minnelli,[1] representing her mother Judy Garland.

The host segments for That's Entertainment! constitute some of the final footage to be captured on the famous MGM backlot, which appears ramshackle and rundown in 1973, because MGM had sold the property to developers and the sets were about to be demolished. Several of the hosts, including Bing Crosby, remark on the crumbling conditions 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 1947 musical Good News.

The title of the film derives from the anthemic song "That's Entertainment!", by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, introduced in the 1953 MGM musical The Band Wagon. The film title is usually expressed with an exclamation mark, but in some contexts the punctuation is dropped, as in the movie poster.

DedicationEdit

Musical numbersEdit

AppearancesEdit

PremierEdit

The film was premiered at the Loew's Beverly Theater in Beverly Hills on the evening of May 17, 1974. MGM billed it as their greatest premier in a quarter century.[3] There was a red carpet from the Loew's Beverly Theater to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for the post-screening dinner and dancing. Also promoted were the 100 movie stars in attendance. Anyone paying $100 per seat for the dinner, could sit at a table with a movie star. The premier also featured several live introductions to the various on-screen segments; live stage appearances were made by Liza Minelli, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, and others. The premier, as an event and a party, was a dazzling success. However, as a publicity event for MGM, it was completely overshadowed; the expected press were all across town covering the breaking news of the Symbionese Liberation Army shootout that night.[4]

SequelsEdit

Despite statements made in the original theatrical trailer and promotional materials that such a production would never be repeated, That's Entertainment! is one of the few documentaries to spawn official sequels.

That's Entertainment, Part II was released in 1976. The use of myriad hosts was dropped for this production, instead Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly partnered to co-host the retrospective, which expanded beyond musicals to pay tribute to dramatic and comedy stars as well. The sequel would turn out to be the last time Astaire and Kelly danced together on film.

That's Dancing! was released in 1985. Unlike the two prior That's Entertainment! films, this documentary was not limited exclusively to MGM productions. The film is closely related to the That's Entertainment! series, with shared studio and producers credits, but also since its opening credits contain a card with the title That's Entertainment! III (not to be confused with the subsequent 1994 film).

That's Entertainment! III was released in 1994. The film featured more archival footage, with a distinct 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.

Home mediaEdit

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 MGM trilogy also received a Blu-ray release in the late 2000s; the bonus content of the DVD box set was spread among the three films rather than presented as a standalone disc.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Box Office Information for That's Entertainment! The Numbers. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  2. ^ Box Office Information for That's Entertainment! IMDb. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  3. ^ "Behind the Scenes at MGM's 1974 Premiere of That's Entertainment – Stargayzing". Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  4. ^ "Photos and video: Symbionese Liberation Army shootout with the LAPD — 40 years later". Daily News. 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2019-07-27.

External linksEdit