Nancy W. from WILLIAMSVILLE, NY Reviewed on 3/2/2012...
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Patrick R. (patrick) from SANTA FE, NM Reviewed on 3/30/2010...
A truly wonderful film full of nostalgia ----for those old enough or willing to have a great time at once was "entertainment". Have a ball!!
Trilogy Captures Magic of Era...
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 09/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While this trilogy of MGM musical tribute films have been available on VHS as a boxed set, the sheer quantity of unforgettable musical highlights showcased make them 'naturals' for DVD, with the format's superior 'search' accessibility, and improved picture and sound quality. There should be a 'warning label', though; these movies MAY cause you to start singing and dancing, and turn you into a musical 'junkie'!
Each film, besides offering a spectacular array of showstoppers, has a style uniquely it's own; the first, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974), is the glossiest, with an array of 'guest stars' introducing clips (Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Elizabeth Taylor, Kelly, Astaire, Jimmy Stewart, and more) that is matchless; the second, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, PART II (1976), provides a last opportunity to see hosts Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly do a bit of singing and dancing together, and expands the 'musical' format to include montages of classic comedy, and tributes to Tracy and Hepburn, and other 'non-musical' MGM stars; the oft-overlooked THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! III (1994) eschews the 'soft-focus' approach of it's predecessors, adding a 'behind-the-scenes' look at the demanding work of creating 'classic' routines, and an unflinching acknowledgement of the prejudices of the era, to the mix of musical highlights.
My only quibble is that the musical output of the other major Hollywood studios tends to be downplayed, particularly in THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!, implying that MGM had the 'corner' on the market. Certainly, the Warner collection of Busby Berkeley spectaculars of the 30s, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY, and the Doris Day musicals, Fox, with Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, and Betty Grable, Columbia (Rita Hayworth), Paramount (Bing Crosby and Bob Hope), and, most significantly, RKO's classic series of Astaire and Rogers vehicles, all deserve as much recognition and credit for their input to the genre of 'classic' musicals. In terms of sheer 'star power' and overall quality, however, MGM was unmatched.
Whether you grew up loving musicals, or were introduced to the genre through recent films like CHICAGO or MOULIN ROUGE!, this collection of highlights should be essential viewing!
WHO COULD ASK FOR ANYTHING MORE?!?!
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 10/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Upon its release "That's Entertainment!" became the biggest and brightest money maker of 1974...and it's no wonder. For a little over two hours one had the enchanted experience of being teleported to a world just this side of over the rainbow. Here is a cornucopia of magical scenes and snippets from MGM's most magnificent musicals. Directed with adroit - if self congratulatory - wit and concision by Jack Haley Jr. (son of Oz's Tin Man), "That's Entertainment!" is the sort of blindingly spellbinding extravaganza that reinforces MGM's once galvanic mottos of "art for art's sake" and "more stars than there are in heaven." At its gala premiere Jack Haley Sr. was heard declaring, "This isn't nostalgia. This is art." Rightly so, by 1974 the MGM musical had been dead for some time and the studio itself was on the verge of a restructuring that would ultimately reduce its holdings to garage sale status. But at least in this film such forgotten treasures were resurrected from oblivion to their rightful place in film history. Variety gave "That's Entertainment!" a glowing review, trumpeting, "That while many may ponder the future of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, no one can deny that it's had one heck of a past!"
Naturally, MGM just had to have a sequel. Two years later "That's Entertainment II" came out. But David Melnick's follow up was decidedly a let down on several levels. First, it removed the star cameos that so poignantly buttressed the original's vintage clips. Second, it presented the footage in a seemingly hap-hazard chronology. And finally, it interrupted the musical performances with a showcase from some of the studio's non-musical performers in a string of disjointed word play that neither enhanced the memory of their original performances or the film experience that was to be had. Though not nearly as successful as its predecessor, "That's Entertainment II" was nevertheless a box office titan.
In 1994 MGM once again revisited its vaults for "That's Entertainment III" the final installment in the series. But by now the experience was vaguely beginning to resemble grave robbing. The new film's primary selling feature was that, in addition to showcasing another round of classic performances, it also dug deep into the coffers of outtakes for a series of deleted musical numbers which, until 1994, had either never or rarely been seen. Despite these innovations the final installment to the trilogy was the one most poorly received. It's the original that continues dazzle us all and it's the original that remains the cornerstone of this newly minted DVD box set.
Warner's DVD transfers of all three "That's Entertainment!" films is a welcomed delight. After years of viewing parts one and two with poorly mastered vintage clips, these newly minted discs appear to have been the benefactors of some digital restoration. Beginning with the original film, there is a decide lack of grain and grit on this transfer that is most becoming. Colors (during the Technicolor clips) are vibrant, rich and deep. B&W images are very crisp, nicely balanced, with an often stunning gray scale and superior attention to fine details. There is only the slightest amount of edge enhancement for a picture that is very smooth. The audio has been remixed and remastered to stereo for all three films. Part II seems to suffer from slightly lower contrast levels overall, but the same review for Part I applies. The most outstanding example of digital mastering comes in Part III - a marvelously vibrant array of clips remastered (as they were for the theatrical engagement) in high def that positively glows off the screen. The audio is 5.1 surround and is remarkably aggressive throughout.
Extras include a bonus disc of musical outtakes and extras, audio only catalogue of songs and dances, the original footage of the LA premiere with all of the old time musical stars in attendance and a series of short subjects that collectively perform like a documentary on the series. There are also the original theatrical trailers for each film to be had. In the immortal words of George Gershwin..."who could ask for anything more?" "
More Stars Than There Are In The Heavens
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 06/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Musicals--that most surrealistic of motion picture genres--have fallen out of fashion over the past few decades... but at one time they dominated motion picture screens. MGM, a studio which boasted it had "More Stars Than There Are In The Heavens," was reknowned for the musical talents it had under contract. And this clever compilation, with its various segments introduced by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, Bing Crosby, and Mickey Rooney, offers an extraordinary collection of musical moments from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s--the golden age of the genre.The compilation is very, very broad and includes performances by both the still-famous and once-famous, and gives us the opportunity to see some magical moments without having to wade through the entire genre or assess whether or not you actually want to sit through an obscure film in order to see one five minute musical moment. While it includes performances by the delicious Lena Horne (performing "Honeysuckle Rose" before a sophistocated set of drapery and mirrors), the brilliant Elenor Powell (with several offerings, the most memorable being "Begin the Begine" with Fred Astaire), and a host of others, most of the collection revolves around four MGM superstars: Gene Kelly, Esther Williams, Fred Astaire, and Judy Garland. The tribute to Esther Williams is particularly welcome, a marvelous array of some of the most beautiful and beautifully surreal scenes ever put to film; the tribute to Judy Garland, touchingly introduced and narrated by daughter Liza Minnelli, is also particularly well done.But the real feast here is of musical oddities and rareities. In its search for musical talent, MGM put almost every star under contract through their musical paces--and the result is often truly bizarre. Among the most memorable of these is Joan Crawford, who believe it or not was considered a jazz dancer of some note during the 1920s, and here she (introduced by an emcee as "the personfication of youth, beauty, joy, and happiness) sings and then athelitically stops through "Got A Feeling For You." Robert Montgomery looks awkward trying his hand at light opera; Jimmy Stewart sings pleasantly but unspectacularly; Jean Harlow belts out "Reckless;" and Clark Gable gives a remarkably charming throw-away performance of "Puttin' On The Ritz." It is all tremendous fun.Of further interest is the fact that most of the narrators have filmed their scenes on the MGM backlot--which was on the verge of demolition when this compilation was made in 1974. It's fading glory is touching, nostalgic, and offers a final glimpse of what was the world's greatest film studio before it entered its final decline. A drawback to the compilation is that at the time it was made few if any of these films had been restored; some of the oldest film clips are in rather poor condition and the brilliance of Technicolor is somewhat reduced in certain scenes. But even with this problem, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT is a feast of brilliant colors, costumes, spectacular dance numbers, and beautiful sounds, enough to delight any long-time musical fan and convert newcomers to the genre--and the inexpensive price of the video leaves you without excuse for not having it. Strongly recommended."
ASTOUNDING COLLECTION OF PURE JOY-THE DVD OF THE YEAR!
Zippidydo | Elkhart, Indiana | 10/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of the MGM musicals, I have always loved all three THAT'S ENTERAINMENT! films, especially the first (because it started the resurgence in love for these films), and the third (because it was so innovative and creative in taking us behind the scenes). I've owned them on VHS, I've owned them on LASER DISC, but this new Warner DVD boxed set puts everything that has come before it to shame!
The new 16x9 widescreen transfers are stunning! The colors jump off the screen and the clarity is dazzling.
The 5.1 surround sound is equally amazing. It envelops you!
Best of all is the incredible assemblage of extras Warner has brought forth for the bonus disc TREASURES FROM THE VAULT. You get amazing documentaries (many not seen in years or brand new), vintage TV specials, and 17 additional OUTTAKE MUSICAL NUMBERS that were not included in the original MGM features. What a treat!
It's obvious this package was put together with a great deal of care and passion. Long live the MGM musical, and thanks to this DVD set, that mantra can be a reality!"
Clearly Five Stars
Trooperboots | Southern California | 09/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many of the musicals shown in clip form on these terrific documentaries are rarely seen, even today.... but to hear some of the greats speak about them is amazing. This set will be one that will be perfect for DVD... to see your favorite snippets whenever you want and go right to it will be great! My personal favorites? The FIRST version of "Singing in the Rain" from 1929.... Joan Crawford doing a song and dance with some boys and introduced as "the personification of youth, beauty, joy and happiness".... and indeed she was! ... and Eleanor Powell dancing her way from stage to stage as they are seamlessly moved from place to place.... she never misses a step! This is a treasury that will get play over and over."