That's Entertainment!

That's Entertainment!

Director: Jack Haley Jr. Cast: Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly

DVD

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Overview

That's Entertainment! (1974) had a very mixed history during the first 15 years of home video. There were any number of scarcely adequate VHS editions in the early '80s, but on high-end video (i.e., laserdiscs) it was an abomination, the 135-minute movie time-compressed on the original mid-'80s laser edition so that it looked (and sounded) like someone's idea of a practical joke, except that no one who bought the disc was laughing. Later editions of this and its follow-up movie showed greater care, with the vintage musical segments recompiled from newly restored footage and the aspect ratio adjusted so that the widescreen sequences were seen intact. The movie itself was a revelation to Hollywood, which suddenly discovered that there was significant, measurable box-office gold to be made from its history. Ironically, by the time it made it to DVD in 2004, nearly as many years had elapsed from the original That's Entertainment's release than had passed between the last of the great MGM musicals and the assembling of That's Entertainment, and ownership of the movie and the library it portrayed had changed three times. The DVD debut of That's Entertainment from Warner Home Video (which controls the pre-1986 MGM library) doesn't have any of those problems, and as far as it goes has been treated very well, indeed. Every major segment and montage has been given a chapter marker, and the sound is mastered at a healthy volume level. The framing even keeps shifting to match the aspect ratio of the footage, with the newest and oldest material window-boxed, while the relative handful of widescreen films are letterboxed at 1.85:1 or 2.35:1, depending upon how they were shot. What is curious is that thanks to the restoration work done on the vintage clips, which make up about 95 percent of the movie, it's now the contemporary 1974 segments that seem flat, soft, and dullish, as well as reminding viewers constantly of what the movies lost in their look -- in both color and black-and-white -- from the 1930s and '40s through today. Still, one is here to see the vintage material, so that variation is at least acceptable -- the classic material should look glorious and it does. Apart from a trailer, the only special feature of any note is an introduction by movie scholar Robert Osborne, of Turner Classic Movies, who gives the movie some historical perspective and an account of its origins. They missed an opportunity here for a truly first-class commentary track -- they could have, say, gotten together Miles Kreuger and a film scholar or two and discussed every aspect of what we're seeing, whence it came, and its importance. As it is, it's still great entertainment (as though one didn't pick that up from the title), and as far as this disc goes, it's fine as that -- but it could and should be so much more that the wasted opportunity is a shame, and the whole idea of a DVD of this movie is so intrinsically pregnant with possibilities. The disc opens on an easy-to-use menu that allows one to start with Osborne's new introduction and access the trailers, and the 32 chapters pretty well allow one to jump to whatever part of the movie one wishes.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/12/2004
UPC: 0012569592827
Original Release: 1974
Rating: G
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Time: 2:15:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; All-new 30th anniversary digital transfer; Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1; Introduction by Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred Astaire Narrator
Bing Crosby Narrator
Gene Kelly Narrator
Frank Sinatra Narrator
Donald O'Connor Narrator
Elizabeth Taylor Narrator
Liza Minnelli Narrator
James Stewart Narrator
Mickey Rooney Narrator
Debbie Reynolds Narrator
Peter Lawford Narrator
Judy Garland Actor
Esther Williams Actor
Joan Crawford Actor
Cary Grant Actor

Technical Credits
Jack Haley Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Claude Binyon Asst. Director
David Blewitt Editor
Lyle J. Burbridge Sound/Sound Designer
Bud Friedgen Editor
Allan Green Cinematographer
Ennio Guarnieri Cinematographer
Jesse Kaye Musical Direction/Supervision
Ernest Laszlo Cinematographer
Henry Mancini Score Composer
Wiliam L. McCaughey Sound/Sound Designer
Daniel Melnick Executive Producer
Russell Metty Cinematographer
Gene Polito Cinematographer
Aaron Rochin Sound/Sound Designer
David Silver Asst. Director
Harry W. Tetrick Sound/Sound Designer
Hal Watkins Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Widescreen
1. Overture [3:14]
2. Singin' in the Rain [4:32]
3. The Broadway Melody [3:57]
4. Indian Love Call [3:47]
5. Begin the Beguine [4:16]
6. The Melody of Spring [4:32]
7. Thou Swell [2:59]
8. Abba Dabba Honeymoon [5:57]
9. Transition to Sound [4:19]
10. Reckless [4:46]
11. Dear Mr. Gable [2:57]
12. Mickey and Judy by Any Name [3:49]
13. Babes in Arms [4:22]
14. The Babbitt and the Bromide [4:35]
15. Heigh Ho [3:52]
16. You're All the World to Me [3:52]
17. Esther Williams [6:39]
18. I Wanna Be Loved by You [:24]
19. I Gotta Hear That Beat [3:30]
20. Cotton Blossom [5:52]
21. By Myself [5:09]
22. New York, New York [3:59]
23. Singin' in the Rain [2:32]
24. La Cucaracha [5:55]
25. You're Off to See the Wizard [4:05]
26. The Trolley Song [2:50]
27. Going Hollywood [4:33]
28. Hallelujah! [5:47]
29. Gigi [4:13]
30. An American in Paris Ballet [2:51]
31. End Credits [5:34]
32. Exit Music [2:26]
Side #2 -- Standard
1. Overture [3:14]
2. Singin' in the Rain [4:32]
3. The Broadway Melody [3:57]
4. Indian Love Call [3:46]
5. Begin the Beguine [4:16]
6. The Melody of Spring [4:32]
7. Thou Swell [2:58]
8. Abba Dabba Honeymoon [5:57]
9. Transition to Sound [4:19]
10. Reckless [4:46]
11. Dear Mr. Gable [2:56]
12. Mickey and Judy by Any Name [3:50]
13. Babes in Arms [4:22]
14. The Babbitt and the Bromide [4:35]
15. Heigh Ho [3:52]
16. You're All the World to Me [3:52]
17. Esther Williams [6:39]
18. I Wanna Be Loved by You [:25]
19. I Gotta Hear That Beat [3:30]
20. Cotton Blossom [5:53]
21. By Myself [5:09]
22. New York, New York [3:59]
23. Singin' in the Rain [2:32]
24. La Cucaracha [5:54]
25. You're Off to See the Wizard [4:05]
26. The Trolley Song [2:50]
27. Going Hollywood [4:33]
28. Hallelujah! [5:47]
29. Gigi [4:13]
30. An American in Paris Ballet [2:51]
31. End Credits [5:34]
32. Exit Music [2:26]

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That's Entertainment! 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago