That's Entertainment (1974)

G | 127-128 or 130 mins | Documentary, Musical | June 1974

Full page view
HISTORY

In celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, M-G-M produced this compilation film showcasing approximately one hundred movie musicals made between 1929 and 1958. The film is divided into several segments highlighting specific themes, which in most cases, is the work of a particular M-G-M performer. Each segment is narrated by a top M-G-M star from the era of the movie musical, with the exception of Liza Minnelli, who represents her mother, Judy Garland, who had died in 1969. Narrators are shown walking around the M-G-M studio sets and soundstages, which by the 1970s had become dilapidated from age and neglect. As the narrators reminisce about their own experiences at M-G-M, they provide historical perspective to the film clips presented.
       Prior to the opening credits, a picture of a red curtain is shown during the overture. The red curtain also appears under the exit music. A special M-G-M golden anniversary logo with the tagline "Beginning Our Next 50 Years..." is shown after the overture. Next, as a prologue, Frank Sinatra provides offscreen narration about the song, “Singin’ in the Rain.” In addition to the performance by Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards, film clips from three different decades show Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland and the trio Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner singing the song, in excerpts from Speak Easily (1932), Little Nellie Kelly (1940) and Singin’ in the Rain (1952), respectively. To learn what happened to musicals between the advent of sound and the 1950s, Sinatra urges the audience to “sit back and find out.” The film's title and credits commence after the prologue.
       As the opening credits conclude, there is ... More Less

In celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, M-G-M produced this compilation film showcasing approximately one hundred movie musicals made between 1929 and 1958. The film is divided into several segments highlighting specific themes, which in most cases, is the work of a particular M-G-M performer. Each segment is narrated by a top M-G-M star from the era of the movie musical, with the exception of Liza Minnelli, who represents her mother, Judy Garland, who had died in 1969. Narrators are shown walking around the M-G-M studio sets and soundstages, which by the 1970s had become dilapidated from age and neglect. As the narrators reminisce about their own experiences at M-G-M, they provide historical perspective to the film clips presented.
       Prior to the opening credits, a picture of a red curtain is shown during the overture. The red curtain also appears under the exit music. A special M-G-M golden anniversary logo with the tagline "Beginning Our Next 50 Years..." is shown after the overture. Next, as a prologue, Frank Sinatra provides offscreen narration about the song, “Singin’ in the Rain.” In addition to the performance by Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards, film clips from three different decades show Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland and the trio Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner singing the song, in excerpts from Speak Easily (1932), Little Nellie Kelly (1940) and Singin’ in the Rain (1952), respectively. To learn what happened to musicals between the advent of sound and the 1950s, Sinatra urges the audience to “sit back and find out.” The film's title and credits commence after the prologue.
       As the opening credits conclude, there is a written statement that reads: "Over the years, under the leadership of Louis B. Mayer and others, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a series of musical films whose success and artistic merit remain unsurpassed in motion picture history. There were literally thousands of people...artists, craftsmen and technicians...who poured their talents into the creation of the great MGM musicals. This film is dedicated to them."
       Jack Haley, Jr.'s onscreen credit reads: "Written, produced and directed by." The end credits contain an acknowledgement of the “gifted individuals who helped give so many of those [M-G-M musicals] films their special style and sound:" Saul Chaplin, Betty Comden, Adolph Deutsch, Roger Edens, Adolph Green, John Green, Lennie Hayton, Andre Previn, Conrad Salinger, Georgie Stoll, Herbert Stothart and Kay Thompson.” These people served as conductors, music department heads, arrangers and orchestrators at M-G-M. In the written statement that follows, Arthur Freed is credited as "the producer of the most outstanding series of musicals in motion picture history." Freed, originally a songwriter who wrote the lyrics for “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Broadway Melody” among others, was promoted to producer at M-G-M in 1939 and headed a production unit of writers, directors, musicians and actors that produced musicals until the late 1950s that came to be known as the “Freed Unit.” After the acknowledgement for Freed, there is a scrolling list of M-G-M composers and lyricists. This list contains some of the composer, lyricists, orchestrators and arrangers whose music appeared in M-G-M productions, among them: Lew Brown, B. G. DeSylva, Vernon Duke, Sammy Fain, Mack Gordon, Ray Henderson, Victor Herbert, Gus Kahn, Bronislau Kaper, Frank Loesser, Harry Revel, Sigmund Romberg, David Rose and Paul Francis Webster. Although they are not listed in the onscreen credits, studio publicity materials provide a long list of performers who appear in film clips and other footage. In publicity materials and reviews, the narrators, whose presentations were filmed especially for That’s Entertainment , were often referred to as “live” performers.
       That’s Entertainment erroneously credits The Hollywood Revue of 1929 as being “the first ‘all talking, all singing, all dancing’” M-G-M production, but The Broadway Melody (1929) was the film advertised with that slogan and, as mentioned in That’s Entertainment , was M-G-M’s first musical and the first musical to win an Academy Award for Outstanding Picture of the year. Although Sinatra mentions at the end of the film that M-G-M made over two hundred films musical during its first fifty years, that estimate includes short films as well as some dramatic films that included two or more songs.
       According to studio publicity materials, the making of That’s Entertainment was a two-year project for Haley that involved selecting, integrating and assembling “musical moments” from over two hundred musicals in the M-G-M library. As noted in the HR review, composer Henry Mancini adapted additional music to connect the various movie themes from the film clips. Reviews reported minor variations in the duration of That’s Entertainment . A 23 Oct 1973 LAT article listed a 1:40 running time for a rough-cut preview that was screened at the M-G-M Studio Theater several months before the film’s premiere. In addition to presenting excerpts from feature-length films, according to studio publicity materials, That’s Entertainment also contained clips from five movie shorts: Starlit Days at the Lido , Pirate Party on Catalina (both 1935), See If , La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935) and Every Sunday (1936). The latter two shorts featured a young Garland, performing with her sisters, known as The Gumm Sisters, and with Deanna Durbin, respectively. That's Entertainment also contains footage of the studio at its height during a 1949, twenty-fifth anniversary luncheon celebration, in which the camera scans past several tables of M-G-M stars. Rare footage and stills of the studio lot also appear in the film.
       Other films sequences appear in That’s Entertainment but are not mentioned in the summary above, among them: Charles King singing the title song and dancing with chorus girls in The Broadway Melody (1929); Garland in The Harvey Girls (1946) and adding Roger Edens’ special lyrics to "You Made Me Love You--I Didn't Want to Do It" as she sings to the photograph of Clark Gable in Broadway Melody of 1938 ; Fred Astaire with Jack Buchanan in The Band Wagon (1953); Durante and Sinatra in It Happened in Brooklyn (1947); Mickey Rooney’s first M-G-M appearance at the age of ten in Broadway to Hollywood (1933); two sequences from Royal Wedding (1951), one showing Astaire dancing with a coat rack as his partner and the famous “dancing on the ceiling” number; Kelly dancing with M-G-M cartoon character “Jerry the Mouse” in Anchors Aweigh (1945), Liza Minnelli, aged three, appearing briefly with Garland and Van Johnson in the finale of In the Good Old Summertime (1949); and Esther Williams in On an Island with You (1948) and This Time for Keeps (1947). Occasionally, a series of cameo shots from different films are shown in montage, such as Williams swimming with a succession of leading men (including cartoon characters “Tom and Jerry”). Another series of brief film excerpts presents Garland and Rooney in a succession of films that points humorously at the similarities of those movies’ plots and dialogue. In a film clip featuring the “Wedding Cake” number from The Great Ziegfeld (1936), it appears that actor Dennis Morgan, who was then known as Stanley Morner, is singing “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody,” but the voice is that of Allan Jones, who originally had been cast in the film and recorded the number. (See the note for The Great Ziegfeld for additional information.)
       A 3 Jul 1974 DV article reported that production costs of That’s Entertainment were approximately $1,100,000. According to a 17 Oct 1973 HR article, M-G-M pledged a percentage of the profits in perpetuity and other monies from That’s Entertainment to the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund. In addition to receiving five percent of the net profits, according to a 29 Mar 1974 DV news item, the Fund would also share with two other entertainment oriented charities, The Thalians and Variety Clubs, in the profits raised at the film’s 17 May 1974 Los Angeles premiere benefit. The multi-charity benefit dinner included after-dinner stage appearances by Astaire and his long-retired sister and former dance partner, Adele, Ginger Rogers, Kelly, and other major stars. The 3 Jul 1974 DV article reported that the film was already doing well at the box office in New York and Los Angeles before going nationwide. Reviews of the film were favorable, although some, like the LAT review, pointed out that while Bing Crosby performed for M-G-M, most of his films were made at Paramount Studio. Although Astaire, who is featured prominently in That’s Entertainment , made many films at M-G-M, ten of his eleven pictures with Ginger Rogers were made for RKO. For their work on the film, Bud Friedgen and David E. Blewitt won an Eddie for Best Edited Documentary from the American Cinema Editors. Shortly after the release of the film, Haley, son of Jack Haley, who portrayed “The Tin Man” in The Wizard of Oz , wed Liza Minelli, to whom he was married until 1979.
       A 21 Jan 1976 HR news item reported that, after a two-day meeting with American Federation of Musicians Local 47, M-G-M decided to pay the union $150,000 for the musicians whose work was included in the film clips featured in That’s Entertainment and it’s 1976 sequel, That’s Entertainment, Part II . The decision, according to the news item, was based on M-G-M’s violation of the soundtrack regulations in the theatrical motion picture agreement. According to a 21 Sep 1976 HR news item, Williams filed suit against M-G-M, claiming that sequences used without her consent in the film and in its sequel were in violation of a 1951 agreement. No other information has been found on the lawsuit, but Williams appeared in the second sequel, That’s Entertainment! III , as a narrator.
       In a 16 Sep 2004 LAT news item about a thirtieth anniversary screening of the remastered digital copy of the film, Roger Mayer, president of Turner Entertainment, gave partial credit to That’s Entertainment for the revived interest in old films and subsequent concern with film preservation. In 1976, Kelly directed a sequel, That’s Entertainment, Part II and, in 1994, Friedgen and Michael J. Sheridan, who served as apprentice film editor on That's Entertainment , directed That’s Entertainment! III . The original film was also the inspiration for the 1990 independent documentary, That’s Black Entertainment .
       As noted in That’s Entertainment , filmmakers of a later era prefer to shoot on location, rather than on a studio lot. Many of the sets revisited in That’s Entertainment have since been torn down, and the backlot was sold to developers. Besides being a film compilation and documentary, reviewer Roger Ebert would later describe That’s Entertainment as, among other things, a “eulogy for an art form that will never be again,” as well as a “celebration of a time and place in American movie history when everything came together to make a new art form.” For more information on all of the films featured in That’s Entertainment see their entries above and below. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Apr 1974
p. 4682.
Daily Variety
29 Mar 1974.
---
Daily Variety
17 Apr 1974.
---
Daily Variety
20 May 1974.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1974
p. 1, 4.
Films and Filming
Dec 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 1974
pp.3-4, 9.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1976.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
19 Oct 1973
Section B, p. 4.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
17 May 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
23 Oct 1973
Section IV, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Sep 2004.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Apr 1974
p. 93, 96.
New York
27 May 1974.
---
New York Times
24 May 1974
p,. 22.
New Yorker
10 Jun 1974
p. 104.
Newsweek
3 Jun 1974
p. 56.
Time
20 May 1974
p. 71.
Variety
17 Apr 1974
p. 16.
Wall Street Journal
28 May 1974.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT

PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Addl photog
Addl photog
Addl photog
Addl photog
Addl photog
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Co-film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
MUSIC
Addl mus adpt
M-G-M mus supv
Addl mus ed
SOUND
Sd re-rec mixer
Sd re-rec mixer
Sd re-rec mixer
Sd re-rec mixer
Sd re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt supv
Opt supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
M-G-M head film librarian
SOURCES
MUSIC
“That’s Entertainment” and “Dancing in the Dark” by Arthur Schwartz
"Begin the Beguine" by Cole Porter
"Sunday Jumps" by Burton Lane
+
MUSIC
“That’s Entertainment” and “Dancing in the Dark” by Arthur Schwartz
"Begin the Beguine" by Cole Porter
"Sunday Jumps" by Burton Lane
"The Babbitt and the Bromide," "Shoes with Wings On" and “American in Paris” by George Gershwin
dance from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers by Gene De Paul.
+
SONGS
"Singin' in the Rain," “Broadway Melody" and "Make 'Em Laugh," music by Nacio Herb Brown, lyrics by Arthur Freed
“Rosalie” and “Easy to Love,” True Love" and "Well, Did You Evah?" music and lyrics by Cole Porter
"Indian Love Call" (originally "The Call"), music by Rudolf Friml, lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
+
SONGS
"Singin' in the Rain," “Broadway Melody" and "Make 'Em Laugh," music by Nacio Herb Brown, lyrics by Arthur Freed
“Rosalie” and “Easy to Love,” True Love" and "Well, Did You Evah?" music and lyrics by Cole Porter
"Indian Love Call" (originally "The Call"), music by Rudolf Friml, lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
"The Song's Gotta Come from the Heart" music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne
"Melody of Spring," based on music by Johann Strauss II, adapted with lyrics by Ralph Freed and Johnny Green
"Honeysuckle Rose," music by Thomas "Fats" Waller, lyrics by Andy Razaf
“Take Me Out to the Ballgame," music by Albert Von Tilzer, lyrics by Jack Norworth
"Thou Swell" and "Babes in Arms," music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
"The French Lesson," music and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
"The Aba Daba Honeymoon," music and lyrics by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan
"It's a Most Unusual Day," music and lyrics Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson
"On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren
"It Must Be You," music by Fred E. Ahlert, lyrics by Roy Turk
“Reckless," "Cotton Blossom," "Ol' Man River" and "Make Believe," music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
"Did I Remember (To Tell You I Adored You)," music by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Harold Adamson
“Puttin' on the Ritz," music and lyrics by Irving Berlin
"You Made Me Love You--I Didn't Want to Do It," music by James V. Monoco, lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, with special lyrics for "Dear Mr. Gable" segment by Roger Edens
"Waiting for the Robert E. Lee," music by Lewis F. Muir, lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
"They Can't Take That Away From Me," "But Not for Me" and "Strike Up the Band," music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin
"I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan" and "By Myself," music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Howard Dietz
"You're All the World to Me," music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
"I Wanna Be Loved By You," music by Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby, lyrics by Bert Kalmar
"I've Gotta Hear That Beat," music by Nicholas Brodszky, lyrics by Leo Robin
"Be My Love," music by Nicholas Brodszky, lyrics by Sammy Cahn
"Hallelujah," music by Vincent Youmans, lyrics by Leo Robin, Clifford Grey and Irving Caesar
"Babes on Broadway," music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Arthur Freed
"Hoe Down," music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Arthur Freed
“Gotta Feelin' for You," music by Louis Alter, lyrics by Joe Trent
"Heigh Ho!,” music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Harold Adamson
"Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and “Gigi,” music by Frederick Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
"Over the Rainbow," "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and "If I Only Had a Brain," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg
"The Trolley Song" and "The Boy Next Door," music and lyrics by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane
"Under the Bamboo Tree," music and lyrics by Robert Cole and J. Rosamond Johnson
"New York, New York," music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1974
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 17 May 1974
New York opening: 23 May 1974
Copyright Claimant:
Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 May 1974
Copyright Number:
LP43640
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor; with b&w seq
Lenses/Prints
Film processed by MGM Laboratories, Inc.
Duration(in mins):
127-128 or 130
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23840
SYNOPSIS

That’s Entertainment commences with a film clip of the song “Singin’ in the Rain,” as performed by Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 . Frank Sinatra, who opens and closes That’s Entertainment , notes that the tune became an M-G-M theme song, a sentiment illustrated by several clips featuring other M-G-M stars singing the same song, ending with a rendition from the 1952 production, Singin’ in the Rain . Sinatra, who is shown standing on the steps of M-G-M’s Thalberg Building, states that the studio’s filmmakers were “the champions” of the movie musical format, providing “fantasy trips” for their audiences in the simple, romantic plots. In Sinatra’s words, the musical may not have expressed “where our heads were at, but certainly…where are hearts were at.” Sinatra explains that it all started with M-G-M’s first musical, The Broadway Melody (1929), from which a clip is shown. He then states that the form came of age in a few short years, evolving into a “cinematic spectacular,” like the production, Rosalie ... +


That’s Entertainment commences with a film clip of the song “Singin’ in the Rain,” as performed by Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 . Frank Sinatra, who opens and closes That’s Entertainment , notes that the tune became an M-G-M theme song, a sentiment illustrated by several clips featuring other M-G-M stars singing the same song, ending with a rendition from the 1952 production, Singin’ in the Rain . Sinatra, who is shown standing on the steps of M-G-M’s Thalberg Building, states that the studio’s filmmakers were “the champions” of the movie musical format, providing “fantasy trips” for their audiences in the simple, romantic plots. In Sinatra’s words, the musical may not have expressed “where our heads were at, but certainly…where are hearts were at.” Sinatra explains that it all started with M-G-M’s first musical, The Broadway Melody (1929), from which a clip is shown. He then states that the form came of age in a few short years, evolving into a “cinematic spectacular,” like the production, Rosalie (1937), starring Eleanor Powell, who is seen dancing to the title number. Other examples feature Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy singing “Indian Love Call” in Rose-Marie (1936) and the extravagant “Wedding Cake” sequence featuring Dennis Morgan in the production number, “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” from The Great Ziegfeld (1936). In another number, Powell and Fred Astaire, in their only film pairing, dance exuberantly to Cole Porter’s tune, “Begin the Beguine,” in Broadway Melody of 1940 .
       In the next segment, Elizabeth Taylor talks briefly about the eighteen years she spent at M-G-M, where she developed an appreciation for musical talent. She is shown at the age of fifteen in the 1947 film, Cynthia , singing “Melody of Spring.” Other film clips feature Lena Horne singing “Honeysuckle Rose” in Thousands Cheer (1944) and Sinatra and Gene Kelly in Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949). June Allyson is featured in a film clip from Words and Music (1948), and again with Peter Lawford in the college musical, Good News (1947).
       Lawford narrates the following segment from the ruins of the set of Tait College, the fictional school in Good News . He explains that the studio assigned contract players to appear in a range of genres, from dramas and comedies to musicals, and that musicals provided “a very special kind of escape” for the audience during and after World War II. Performances from several musicals are shown, among them, Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter in Two Weeks with Love (1950), and Jane Powell and Taylor in the teenage musical, A Date with Judy (1948). Lawford states that by 1950 the musical had achieved a level of sophistication and inventiveness that is still hard to surpass. However, he cautions, it was not always that way.
       Lawford then introduces James Stewart, who talks about the musicals’ early years. While looking out over the studio lot, Stewart explains that, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the sound pictures that replaced silent films revealed actors’ accents, lisps and other speech abnormalities, often causing careers to collapse. The studios sought actors from Broadway and, because musicals were popular, expected dramatic actors to take on musical roles. Several examples of non-musical actors’ attempts at melody include Stewart in Born to Dance (1936), Joan Crawford in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 , Jean Harlow in Reckless (1935), Robert Montgomery in Free and Easy (1930) and Clark Gable in Idiot’s Delight (1939).
       The next segment begins on the old M-G-M backlot, where the home of the fictional Hardy family still stands. There, Mickey Rooney reminisces about the many years he played “Andy Hardy” in a series of films and the pictures he made with the exceptionally talented Judy Garland. He relates that he and Garland grew up together in a popular series of “backyard musicals” that evolved into big budget spectaculars directed by Busby Berkeley. Among the many excerpts shown are from Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940) and Babes on Broadway (1942).
       From M-G-M’s New York Street set, Gene Kelly narrates a tribute to the work of Fred Astaire, who he calls his greatest dance partner. Film clips highlight Astaire’s elegance, symbolized by his trademark top hat, his inventiveness and his wide range of dance partners. Several film clips are shown, among them, his first screen appearance in Dancing Lady (1933) with Joan Crawford; Ziegfeld Follies (1946) with Kelly; and The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) with his long-time partner, Ginger Rogers. Also from that film is the famous “Shoes with Wings” number created by Astaire and choreographer Hermes Pan that displays a humorous mix of dancing and special effects. Kelly states that the unique Astaire will be remembered most for his dances without gimmicks, such as the romantic and elegant “Dancing in the Dark” number with Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953).
       Donald O’Connor then narrates a tribute to Esther Williams, the champion swimmer for whom M-G-M built a swimming pool on the backlot for films, such as Bathing Beauty (1944). “As her fame grew,” O’Connor says,” so did the size and population of her swimming pools.” Her opulent aquatic production numbers featured special effects and huge choruses of swimmers. Some of the films presented are Million Dollar Mermaid (1952), Neptune’s Daughter (1949), Dangerous When Wet (1953) and Pagan Love Song (1950).
       In her dressing room, Debbie Reynolds recalls her first M-G-M movie, Three Little Words (1950) and the feeling of being a newcomer in the “land of giants.” This segment features Ann Miller in Small Town Girl (1953), Kathryn Grayson and Mario Lanza in The Toast of New Orleans (1950) and Donald O’Connor’s comic, acorbatic performance of “Make ‘Em Laugh” in Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Also shown are several sequences showing the grandeur of Show Boat (1951). Reynolds says that M-G-M’ motto was, “Do it big, do it right, and give it class.”
       Fred Astaire, the epitomy of class, appears in a train station in a scene from The Band Wagon (1953), then, in the present, walking on the same movie set that is now rusting and tattered. Among his fond memories of working at M-G-M was his friend Kelly, an athletic and versatile dancer whose style ranged from acrobatic to ballet, and who insisted on doing his own stunts. His talents are illustrated in scenes from The Pirate (1948), On the Town (1949) and other films. Astaire concludes that Kelly was “the symbol of the M-G-M musical of the 1950s” and a “talent who really understands what the movie musical is all about.”
       Astaire then introduces Liza Minelli as a “crown princess of Hollywood royalty,” the daughter of Garland and director Vincent Minelli, who became a star in her own right. Among the many film clips highlighting Garland’s career are two early shorts and the feature-length films Broadway Melody of 1938 , The Wizard of Oz (1939) for which M-G-M originally wanted Shirley Temple, Meet Me in St. Louis (1945), and a montage of her works under Garland’s rendition of “Get Happy” from Summer Stock (1950). Minnelli says that film captures a performance forever, and acknowledges the experience and talent it takes to become a “real star.”
       Bing Crosby, shown on a backlot, recalls shooting a big black-and-white production number with thousands of extras in Going Hollywood (1933), for which a set was made to recreate New York’s Grand Central Station. By the time he made his next M-G-M musical, High Society (1956), there was color, stereophonic sound and widescreen, and shooting often occurred on location. Examples shown of big production numbers shot on sound stages are Hit the Deck (1955), which recreated a ship, and the acrobatic dance in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954).
       Several scenes are presented from the last Academy-Award winning musical produced by M-G-M, Gigi (1958). In closing, Sinatra states that most people believe that the “masterpiece” of M-G-M’s musical films is An American in Paris (1951). The ballet from that film, featuring Kelly and Leslie Caron, concludes That’s Entertainment . +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.