Sunday, August 3, 2014

#1,448. That's Entertainment! III (1994)

Directed By: Bud Friedgen, Michael J. Sheridan

Starring: Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller

Line from this film: "MGM's dream factory created a rich, romantic, compelling world of illusion"

Trivia: This marked the final screen appearance of Gene Kelly

Produced some 18 years after That’s Entertainment, Part 2, That’s Entertainment III was released to coincide with the 70th anniversary of MGM, the studio behind some of the greatest musicals of all-time.

Much like Parts One and Two, That’s Entertainment III takes us on a journey through Hollywood’s illustrious past, presenting clips from musicals of the 1930s (Broadway Melody of 1938), ‘40s and ‘50s (the Jailhouse scene from Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock is prominently featured). While the film does switch things up a bit by having Granvile Van Dusen act as narrator (in the other two entries, a parade of celebrities presented the various clips), it follows the tradition set out in the first two movies, putting the focus squarely on both the musicals and the celebrities that made them famous.

Along with the usual parade of recognizable classics (Easter Parade, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz), That’s Entertainment III has segments dedicated to such stars as Gene Kelly and Esther Williams (who even makes an appearance in the movie, marking the 1st time she'd been in front of a camera in over 30 years) while also delving into a number of lesser-known pictures, like The Hollywood Revue of 1929, the first all-singing, all-dancing movie ever produced in America. There’s even a segment, hosted by Lena Horne, that takes a long, hard look at the role minorities played in making these films classics.

While That’s Entertainment III doesn’t bring anything new to the table, it’s nonetheless a loving tribute to a now-forgotten age, and a reminder of just how extraordinary Hollywood can be.

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