Airing on TCM November 25 at 1 PM EST
I love montages. A lot of people don’t, but I can’t get enough of them. So that’s probably why “That’s Entertainment!” is such a fun film to me. It’s essentially one big, two hour montage of song-and-dance numbers from MGM musicals from the 1920s through the 1950s, broken up by a series of hosts, most of whom starred in those very musicals.
“That’s Entertainment!” is a treat for musical and film fans. The spotlight is turned on around sixty numbers from a wealth of MGM musicals, from the “Singin’ in the Rain” sequence in “The Hollywood Revue of 1929” to Maurice Chevalier singing “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” in 1958’s “Gigi”. It’s mesmerizing to see so much talent crammed into one film. But part of the fun is seeing some of the hosts looks back on these films; they include the likes of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Mickey Rooney. All of their segments were filmed on the MGM backlot, often where they filmed a particular scene in one of the movies featured. However, by the time “That’s Entertainment!” was made, the MGM backlot had been left to deteriorate, and was about to be demolished entirely to make way for a housing development. It’s a strange contrast to see the scrappy remains of sets one second and the elaborate sets used in the old musicals the next, but if anything it gives the movie even more of an air of nostalgia.
“That’s Entertainment” probably shouldn’t be your go-to source for info on MGM musical history, though. Several facts stated by the hosts are incorrect, including Rooney saying he was ten when he started at MGM (he was thirteen) and Liza Minnelli saying Jean Harlow was almost involved in a deal surrounding “The Wizard of Oz”, when MGM didn’t start work on that film until after her death. Still, if you’re looking for—as the title states—entertainment, you’ve come to the right place. Unless you don’t like montages.
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