THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, PART II is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's follow-up to their enormously successful compilation of 1974 which celebrated four decades of MGM musicals. PART II continues with more of the same, but also throws in the studio's comedies as well as excerpts from several classic
dramas. Additionally, there are new sequences, hosted by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, and directed by Kelly, in which the pair sing and dance their introductions to the various segments. The result is not nearly as coherent or well-organized as its predecessor, but it's still a fairly enjoyable
potpourri for film buffs.
The film begins with a title sequence designed by Saul Bass which spoofs classic credit design cliches. Then a clip from THE BAND WAGON, in which "That's Entertainment" is sung, segues into a new sequence of Astaire and Kelly singing and dancing, adding new lyrics to the song to intoduce a medley
of clips, including scenes from the full range of MGM product, including comedies, dramas, and musicals. This is followed by excerpts from various black-and-white movies, such as GOING HOLLYWOOD, CABIN IN THE SKY, BORN TO DANCE, and THE BROADWAY MELODY. Songwriter Sammy Cahn intros a series of
films which deal with composers, including WORDS AND MUSIC, THREE LITTLE WORDS, and THE GREAT WALTZ. Gene Kelly roller-skates around the Eiffel Tower and intros clips from Paris-set films, including GIGI and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. A special tribute to Frank Sinatra includes scenes from THE TENDER
TRAP, TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY, ANCHORS AWEIGH, and HIGH SOCIETY. A segment on comedy includes sequences featuring the talents of Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and Abbott and Costello. Dramatic highlights include a wide range of titles from GONE WITH THE WIND and GRAND HOTEL to A TALE OF TWO
CITIES and LASSIE COME HOME. A special salute to Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy includes PAT AND MIKE, ADAM'S RIB, and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. Other musical excerpts are then shown (in no particular order), including scenes from such evergreens as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS,
and lesser known titles like INVITATION TO THE DANCE and SMALL TOWN GIRL. There are also a number of very short clips from various comedy and action-adventure films, including TARZAN, THE APE MAN, and THE THIN MAN, as well as brief shots from the series of Technicolor TRAVELTALKS shorts. The film
ends with a new song and dance routine by Astaire and Kelly, set to "That's Entertainment."
The best part of THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, PART II is actually Saul Bass's extremely witty title sequence, which offers up a clever parody of virtually every type of credit sequence ever made: the turning pages, the typewriter, the cash register, the file cabinet, the message in a bottle, the sunset,
etc. It's a great start, but the collection of clips which follows, while enjoyable by themselves, are a disappointment in terms of structure and overall design. The low point is when a group of clips are lumped together simply because they're in black and white, replete with a new production
number featuring the color being drained from the set as Kelly sings and dances.
Basically, the feeling one gets is that there was so much musical material left from THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! that they just threw the rest into PART II, and then decided to expand on it with comedy and drama in order to be able to show The Marx Brothers, Greta Garbo, and others. Also, while it's a
joy to be able to see Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly dance together in the new sequences directed by Kelly, the cheap looking sets, silly songs, and cheesy interpolated Hanna-Barbera animation leaves an overall impression of tackiness. In the end, the movie is really just a kitchen-sink style
compendium culled from the vast MGM vaults, and on that level it succeeds. By the time the next sequels in the series, THAT'S DANCING (1985) and THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! III (1994) were made, the age of video had taken over, and these kind of theatrical compilations were redundant and irrelevant.
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- Released: 1976
- Rating: G
- Review: THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, PART II is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's follow-up to their enormously successful compilation of 1974 which celebrated four decades of MGM musicals. PART II continues with more of the same, but also throws in the studio's comedies as well as… (more)