It Certainly Is
Stars from MGM such as Gene Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra take us on a nostalgic trip through the history of MGM, their stars and their musicals from 1929 to the 1950s.
I've always had a thing for musicals and to be honest I didn't know why as if someone took me to the theatre to watch a show I wouldn't be bothered about it and growing up musicals were not what the family watched on the box. Yet some how I have grown to like them and as I watched "That's Entertainment!" I realised why and to use the words of Frank Sinatra "You can sit around and hope but you will never see the likes of this again". It is the sheer spectacle of a good musical which appeals to me from the amazing sets, the incredible dance routines and that glamour that only a star cast from the golden age of Hollywood can deliver. And that is what you get from "That's Entertainment!" except you get the best parts of so many classic MGM musicals.
But "That's Entertainment!" is not just some simple compilation of old musicals introduced by former stars it is both a tribute to all those that worked on MGM musicals but also an informative trip down memory lane. Along the way whilst we revisit some classical musical moments we get to learn various things such as the song "Singin' in the Rain" was actually first performed in the musical "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" and before it appeared in the famous musical of the same name Judy Garland sang it in "Little Nellie Kelly". We also get to see through the narration of James Stewart how when the talkies appeared the careers of silent stars ended as they just didn't have the voices for talkies let alone musicals.
What you also get from "That's Entertainment!" is a real appreciation of how spectacular an MGM musical was. Seeing line after line of dancer on a never ending staircase surround a star and then you see it again in another clip from a musical and if you hadn't thought about it all begins to become clear that these were epic productions. But at the same time you also get to appreciate the skill of the stars when they appear in a more stripped back scene such as one featuring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse dancing in a park. And I could go on because with scene after scene from musicals as we are taken on a journey from 1929 through to the mid 1950s there is so much good stuff for those who long for old Hollywood glamour and the nostalgia of the past.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "That's Entertainment!" might appeal to those who love musicals it is also a wonderful journey through the nostalgia of Hollywood and MGM when it was at its best. But in many ways watching "That's Entertainment!" is actually quite sad because it make you realise that we will never see the likes of the movies and musicals shown in this movie again or the glamour of the stars and the industry in general.