That\’s Entertainment, Part II Film Details
Overview: The second installment in the “That’s Entertainment” trilogy features more classic scenes from MGM’s vast musical library with the addition of comedy and drama films.
Review: All three of the ‘That’s Entertainment’ films are recommended very highly, with the first film being the best. Its two follow ups are not quite as good, but anybody expecting entertainment from such a title will not be disappointed as there’s entertainment aplenty in all three. ‘That’s Entertainment II’ is the weakest and a slight disappointment after being fresh from seeing the first film, which was not perfect but when it was good boy was it good and even the word good didn’t do it justice. This said even though it is not as strong as the other two it still lives up to its name and also achieves the goals of being a delightful couple of hours, a nostalgic trip down memory lane it is affectionate, hugely entertaining and also moving and makes one want to watch or re-watch the films and scenes included, goals that the first film in particular did so brilliantly. Where ‘That’s Entertainment II’ falls down in particular is in the hosting scenes between Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. It is a joy seeing both of them dance together and so well and Astaire looks great for his age, but their dialogue aims for the wistful approach and ends up being clunky, very cheesy and corny, while also not saying enough about the personalities and life stories behind the stars. The travelogue scenes also slow the film down and look just as jarringly cheap as the dilapidated MGM backdrops and sets in the hosting segments. Also disappointing is that it doesn’t feel very ordered structurally. ‘That’s Entertainment’ had a logical, ordered and thematic structure that made sense, the structure in ‘That’s Entertainment II’ feels sprawling, random and somewhat jumpy. Not confusing or incoherent or anything, just wished it was more logical and focused. Editing can be an issue too, not always but scenes like the scene from ‘A Night at the Opera’ are too short and edited too hastily and that scene and a few others (especially “Good Mornin” do deserve better than that. However, What immediately captivated was seeing the who’s who of musical/dance/singing talent being featured. The production values are lavish and just beautiful to look at, the music dazzles and is full of emotions and the choreography is often enough to make the jaw drop. Almost all the scenes featured are great to masterpieces, with the exceptions being the ones with Bobby Van, liked the energy but the routine was just weird, and the French segment with Kelly. It is interesting to see Robert Taylor sing and Greta Garbo dance, not brilliant but a long way from bad (nowhere near to Joan Crawford bad for example). Esther Williams skiing was almost as dazzling as that incredible water ballet featured in the first ‘That’s Entertainment’. Also loved the moving tribute to Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (almost as moving as Liza Minnelli’s tribute to Judy Garland in the first film, though do have to agree that the omission of ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ was a mistake). One can’t mention the film either without mentioning the awesome title sequence, definitely the cleverest and most memorable one of all three films to me. Standout sequences are Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, Gene Kelly’s roller-skating routine, Frank Sinatra “I Got Rhythm”, Ethel Waters, Garland and Kelly in ‘The Pirate’, Eleanor Powell, Lena Horne, the use of classics like “Ol Man River” and “There’s Nothing Like Show Business” and Cyd Charisse in one of ‘Singin in the Rain’s’ most unforgettable moments. Overall, ‘That’s Entertainment II’ is the weakest of the ‘That’s Entertainment’ trilogy but it lives up to its name and meets nearly all its main objectives. 7/10 Bethany Cox
Country: United States
Duration: 133 min
Genre: Documentary, Family, Musical
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