on 18 October 2014
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! [1994/1976/1994/2012] [The Complete Collection] [3 Blu-ray Disc Set] [US Release] All Singing! All Dancing! All Laughing! All Romancing! All Yours!
Includes That's Entertainment!, That's Entertainment, Part 2, and That's Entertainment III!, with special footage offered exclusively in the giftset for a total of more than five hours of exciting extra footage including three great documentaries, premiere night coverage and salutes to the great behind-the-camera talents, TV specials, making-of features, plus an extensive video jukebox of rare, star-packed musical outtakes from classic films, and more!
FILM FACT: The title of the film derives from the anthem song "That's Entertainment!" by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, which was introduced in the 1953 M-G-M musical, ‘The Band Wagon.’ The title is usually expressed with an exclamation mark, but it is also correct to refer to it without the exclamation mark. The opening title sequence of ‘That’s Entertainment, Part 2’ was designed by Saul Bass, and pays homage to the range and style of title sequences produced between the 1930s and early 1950s.
That’s Entertainment! Cast: Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly. Peter Lawford, Liza Minnelli, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor. Plus you have many other stars appearing, with many clips from M-G-M films.
That’s Entertainment, Part 2 Cast: Fred Astaire (Co-Host / Narrator) and Gene Kelly (Co-Host / Narrator). Plus you have many other stars appearing with many clips from M-G-M films.
That’s Entertainment III! Cast: June Allyson, Cyd Charisse, Lena Horne, Howard Keel, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney, Esther Williams and Granville Van Dusen. Plus you have many other stars appearing with many clips from M-G-M films.
Directors: Jack Haley, Jr., Gene Kelly, Bud Friedgen and Michael J. Sheridan
Producers: Jack Haley, Daniel Melnick, Saul Chaplin, Bud Friedgen, Michael J. Sheridan and Peter Fitzgerald (executive)
Screenplay: Jack Haley, Jr., Leonard Gershe, Bud Friedgen and Michael J. Sheridan
Composers: Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle and Marc Shaiman
Cinematography: Russell Metty
Video Resolution: 1080p [Metrocolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1; 1.85:1, 2.40:1 and 2.55:1
Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 2.0 Dolby Digital and Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 377 Minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Warner Home Video / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: The three editions of ‘That’s Entertainment’ that make up this package constitute the single greatest collection of magical musical moments in the history of the genre. No, it’s not comprehensive. It represents only impressive numbers from about thirty-five years of M-G-M films, but sadly no Al Jolson, no Ruby Keeler, no Shirley Temple, or Betty Grable, and due to the depth of talent and the seemingly endless archives of available material, some excellent stuff has of necessity been overlooked. As documentaries, the films also have their faults. There are errors in the narration, and some artistic decisions have been made about adjusting some of the images for modern audiences that should make purists blanch. Still, with “entertainment” the key word, the films all deliver on that notion in spades.
‘That’s Entertainment!’  The documentary that started it all in 1974 deserved every bit of the tremendous success it gleaned. Reminding the world of its past musical glory, M-G-M’s ‘That’s Entertainment’ picked the most tantalizing morsels from the M-G-M musical basket and presented them in a loving and wondrous showcase hosted by a group of performers all associated with M-G-M in one way or another. Some segments showcased specific performers and the M-G-M big three: Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, and Gene Kelly along with the one-of-a-kind Esther Williams. Others showcased non-singing stars trying to sing or the move to widescreen, stereophonic spectacles. And some sequences were merely a hodgepodge of numbers without much of a unifying theme.
Clearly the standout star of the first ‘That’s Entertainment’ was Judy Garland. She had two sequences devoted to her gifts and a solo showcase and also a segment devoted to her teen musicals with Mickey Rooney, and also jumped off the screen in excerpts from her black-and-white years “Dear Mr. Gable” and “Singin’ in the Rain” to her Technicolor star vehicles “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” from ‘The Harvey Girls.’ Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire likewise earned a lion’s share of the credit for outstanding moments from their careers which were sprinkled throughout the film. And performers that might have been largely forgotten by 1974, but like Eleanor Powell in a sizzling tap-off with Astaire to “Begin the Beguine” or June Allyson in a couple of numbers, also got their spotlight moments.
Purists have sometimes been bothered by the careful editing jobs done on almost all of the numbers in order to meet time limitations, but I was bothered much more by the tendency to turn Academy ratio films into widescreen ones on a number of occasions. When the spectacularly elephantine “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” number from ‘The Great Ziegfeld’ is introduced, narrator Frank Sinatra mentions that “if the number could be filmed today, it might look something like this” at which time the telecine camera zooms in to increase the width of the picture by trimming off the top and bottom of the image. If it were only for that one number, I might have seen the point, but time after time, this happens. The entire Show Boat sequence is compromised in this way, some heads get lopped off in the process, and some numbers like “On the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe,” “The Varsity Drag,” the “Broadway Ballet” or “An American in Paris Ballet” begin in the 4:3 aspect ratio and during the number expand ridiculously into widescreen with the careful directorial compositions thrown out the window. The attempts to do this have been done subtly, but for those of us who know the original films by heart; these changes almost amount to sacrilege.
‘That’s Entertainment, Part 2’  Two years later, after the enormous reception to the by the powers that be at M-G-M decided on a sequel. Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were brought in to host the film and narrate all the segments. Seeing the two veteran performers reunited in some simple dance routines thirty years after their only on-screen pairing in ‘Ziegfeld Follies’ is definitely a treat, but the film has the distinct feeling of been there-done that about it. Efforts have been made to extend the theme of the film from being just musical numbers to include comedy bits with the Marx Brothers, famous lines from M-G-M films. Especially Greta Garbo’s “I want to be alone” or Franchot Tone’s “I want to run barefoot through your hair,” and a segment on the Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn partnership, but the segments are rudimentarily put together and often fall flat.
What’s worse, the film is much too loaded with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire numbers. The men were undeniable geniuses at their craft, but the almost relentless parade of their numbers made the film very Astaire-Kelly top heavy to the detriment of the rest of the film. In fact, at one point, Gene actually says in his narration, “Here you are again, Fred.” That speaks volumes about the film‘s poor overall concept and execution. And once again, Academy ratio production numbers are violated by being forced into a widescreen frame. No matter how much we might have wanted them to be widescreen films, ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ ‘Girl Crazy,’ ‘Easter Parade,’ the 1934 version of ‘The Merry Widow,’ and the Cypress Garden finale of ‘Easy to Love ‘aren’t and showing them as such violates the integrity of the cinematography in each one of those film.
‘That’s Entertainment III!’  The original ‘That’s Entertainment’ may have the lion’s share of classic M-G-M musical moments, but ‘That’s Entertainment III’ works overtime with the footage it has left at its disposal. Twenty years after the original film was released, the original premise is resumed by having great M-G-M stars of the past return to the studio to host segments on a variety of topics. Esther Williams and Lena Horne narrate clips of their work at the studio. Gene Kelly briefs us about the early talkie years while June Allyson talks about the studio’s efforts to find budding talents and build them into stars. Debbie Reynolds discusses the glamour mill at the studio intent on making its fabulous line-up of leading ladies look their best. Cyd Charisse pays homage to Gene Kelly, Ann Miller praises Fred Astaire’s career, while Mickey Rooney does the same with his beloved Judy Garland. Finally Howard Keel takes us into the widescreen, stereophonic last years of the MGM musical.
What makes these segments special this time around, however, is that unseen and at the time, was the outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage is woven into the fabric of the picture. The frame frequently splits so we can see, for example, how Eleanor Powell’s complex “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” number was filmed in a single take for Lady Be Good or how two different versions of Fred Astaire‘s “I Wanna Be a Dancin’ Man” from The Belle of New York were filmed though only Fred’s new costume gives it away. Otherwise, he mirrors himself step for step and gesture for gesture. We see an unused barnyard version of “A Lady Loves” from Debbie Reynolds,’ with “I Love Melvin” and four outtakes of Judy Garland numbers, all of which are highlights of the film. We even get to hear Ava Gardner’s singing voice, rather than Annette Warren’s dubbing, paired with her image in Show Boat and see two incarnations of “Two Faced Woman,” one an intriguing mix of dancing chorines and the other a Joan Crawford dud from Torch Song. Their love for the studio and the pride in their accomplishments come through every last frame of this third film. ‘That’s Entertainment III’ may not have the best numbers, but these elderly veterans, many in the twilight years of their careers when these bridging sequences were filmed, add a real poignancy to the project that makes it for me in many ways the most enjoyable of the three features.
Blu-ray Video Quality – That’s Entertainment!: The 1080p transfers handle the tremendous array of different aspect ratios, film stocks, and colour processes with variable success. Much of the black and white footage looks overly grainy, not surprising with some of the early talkies but less understandable when dealing with later black and white movies like ‘Girl Crazy’ or ‘It Happened in Brooklyn.’ Any time a film’s original 4:3 aspect ratio is violated by zooming in on the image, the sharpness is compromised and the grain structure becomes far more noticeable. On the other hand, we have footage from ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame,’ ‘The Barkleys of Broadway,’ especially with Ginger Rogers blood-red fingernails sear the screen, also ‘The Toast of New Orleans,’ ‘Meet Me in St. Louis,’ ‘High Society,’ and ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ looks astonishing enough to make those films instant must-haves on Blu-ray. Seeing faded, blurry clips from the films in the various bonus features also on the disc makes it obvious that much work went into making the clips in the main feature look as good as possible.
Blu-ray Video Quality – That’s Entertainment, Part 2: Again, clarity and sharpness varies from clip to clip, and once again, the zooming in on the images with Academy ratios softens the picture and magnifies the grain structure. Overall, the quality of the clips seems a bit lacklustre in comparison to the other two films, and there are fewer clips that really impress in this feature in terms of high definition sharpness and dimensionality. The few that did it for me included “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” from Easter Parade, “I Like Myself” from It’s Always Fair Weather, and “I Remember It Well” from Gigi. Once again, the VistaVision image of ‘High Society’ is very impressive though Frank Sinatra’s checked coat is riddled with moiré patterns.
Blu-ray Video Quality – That’s Entertainment III!: For the most part, this film’s footage fares the best from beginning to end in high definition. The host sequences as well as almost all of the black and white clips have a sharpness and sheen that are lacking in the two previous pictures. The lack of a perfect video score is attributed almost entirely to the annoying zooming in on the 4:3 aspect ratio images for widescreen presentation which, especially in the cases of the introductory “Bring on the Beautiful Ladies” from Ziegfeld Follies and Cyd Charisse’s “Two-Faced Woman” outtake, look near-disastrous. On the other hand, one look at Carmen Miranda’s wildly vivid umbrella headdress from ‘Nancy Goes to Rio’ will let you know how gorgeous these M-G-M musicals are going to look in high definition once Warner Bros. begins producing them.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – All three films are in the impressive awesome 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track must deal with a tremendous variance of audio quality from the tinniest and hissiest early talkies to the magnificently surging orchestras for the more recent musicals as well as the orchestras that play the scores for each of the documentaries. Though deep bass is lacking throughout most of each disc, many of the recording sessions for these musicals had different audio stems recorded from separately placed microphones that could be fashioned into stereo surround elements to enhance the listening experience, and they‘re surprisingly effective. That’s Entertainment III! features audio levels that seem just the slightest bit soft compared to the volume levels of the other two films.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
That's Entertainment! :
Special Feature: Introduction by Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne [1080p] [4:45]
Special Feature: Just One More Time  [8:45] Many Hollywood stars are reconvening at the M-G-M Studio, the filming site for many of their most famous movies, to discuss M-G-M movie musical history for the film That's Entertainment! . In 1972, M-G-M's worldwide production head Daniel Melnick assigned a team of editors, researchers and lab technicians to pour over the many musicals from the studio's vaults to compile this retrospective under the guidance of producer/director Jack Haley Jr.. They will not only need their technical expertise, but also their memories of what the great M-G-M musicals meant and mean to the public movie going audience. At the time when these movies were being made, M-G-M had more stars under contract than all of the other major Hollywood studios combined. The studio was not averse to taking risks, showcasing big name non-musical stars in musical numbers, or giving an unknown talent a break. It could take these risks because of the financial resources available. The lavishness of such musicals are very unlikely to be ever seen again in future film productions.
Special Feature: That’s Entertainment!: 50 Years of M-G-M  [66:00] Television special publicising the film featuring George Hamilton and his then wife Alana interviewing Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Donald O’Connor, Johnny Weissmuller, and Liza Minnelli. There is also 8 minutes of clips from the film.
Special Feature: M-G-M’s 25th Anniversary Luncheon Newsreel [4:3] [10:30] This is the complete newsreel coverage of the grand silver anniversary luncheon which is only excerpted in the film.
Theatrical Trailer  [4:00] The Original Theatrical Trailer.
That's Entertainment! Part 2 :
Special Feature: Introduction by Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne [1080p] [4:00]
Special Feature: The Lion Roars Again  This short film is a chronicle of the 1975 International Press Conclave hosted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer over two days in May 1975. The event was used to preview several upcoming M-G-M feature films. After opening remarks by studio vice-president 'Daniel Melnick', the press gets a tour of a set that will be used in the film set of Logan's Run’ , meeting the producer and wardrobe designers. Gene Kelly introduces them to ‘That's Entertainment, Part II’  and several others who will be in the film including Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell and many others. The film focuses on other films currently in production including ‘Sweet Revenge’  starring Stockard Channing, ‘The Sunshine Boys’ , ‘The Hearts of the West’  with Jeff Bridges and ‘The Wind and the Lion’  with Sean Connery and Candice Bergen.
Special Feature: The Masters Behind the Musicals  [37:00] This feature is an all too brief overview of the men and women behind the scenes who tirelessly worked to give the M-G-M musicals their magic. Included in this documentary are interviews with various M-G-M stars about the lot’s producers, musical conductors and arrangers, choreographers, and directors, many of whom are worthy of their own documentaries.
Special Feature: A Mike Douglas Show [excerpt]  [21:00] Finds the affable talk show host at M-G-M interviewing Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Hermes Pan, Debbie Reynolds, Nanette Fabray, Ann Miller, and Janis Paige about their work at the studio.
Theatrical Trailer  [3:45] The Original Theatrical Trailer.
That's Entertainment III! :
Special Feature: Introduction by Turner Classic Movies Host Robert Osborne [1080p] [3:30]
Special Feature: That’s Entertainment III: Behind the Screen  [53:00] The documentary is the best supplementary documentary in the package as the producers and the directors of the film discuss working with each of the star hosts and then the hosts themselves relive memories of their work at the studio which are not rehashes of what they say in the film but rather comments brimming with information and opinions about other studio personnel.
Special Feature: The Musical Outtake Jukebox [49:00] Musical Outtake Jukebox has more than a Dozen Delightful Numbers left on the Cutting-Room Floor, now liberated From the Studio Vault. Features seventeen musical outtakes from an assortment of M-G-M musicals. Three of the outtakes are the complete versions of numbers which are shortened in the actual feature: “The Lock Step,” “A Lady Loves,” and “Mister Monotony.” The other outtakes feature such stars as Judy Garland, Bert Lahr and Marjorie Main, Jane Powell, Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, and Frank Sinatra. Selections can be chosen individually or watched all at once.
Theatrical Trailer  [1:30] The Original Theatrical Trailer.
Finally, ‘That’s Entertainment!’ [The Complete Collection] [3 Blu-ray Disc Set] makes a most welcome debut onto the Blu-ray format. The films are pure entertainment featuring an assortment of talent which the world will likely never see again. Now all we require is that Warner Bros starts a systematic schedule of high definition releases of many of the classics contained in excerpt form on these excellent discs. Ever since I saw these Three films released originally in the cinema, I have loved them ever since and gives you so much of a wealth of classic M-G-M films that is loved by people of all ages and have wished they would release all these films on the Blu-ray format, as this is the best way to view all the contents. But of course the video clips shown of past classic M-G-M films, especially the awesome colourful musicals, that I hope in time the ones that everyone wants released will soon get the best Blu-ray treatment, as these old classic M-G-M films should be preserved for our future generation. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom