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1. Alice Through the Looking Glass
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2. Singin' in the Rain
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3. Alice in Wonderland
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4. Beau Geste
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5. Francis the Talking Mule
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1. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Director: Harry Harris
list price: $19.99
our price: $17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303212220
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 96
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Alice returns from Wonderland only to discover she's on the wrongside of her living room mirror at the beginning of the second half of IrwinAllen's 1985 production, with teleplay by Paul Zindel and songs by SteveAllen (the three-hour film was broken into two parts for video, the firsttitle being Alice in Wonderland). Before you can say "curiouser andcuriouser" the jabberwocky is after her. It chases Alice back to a strangeland where life appears to be one giant game of chess with pieces portrayedby the likes of Carol Channing and Harvey Korman. The 7-year-old longs to behome, but that doesn't stop her from enjoying some song and dance withTweedledum and Tweedledee (Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme), watching a boutbetween the lion (Ernest Borgnine) and the unicorn (Beau Bridges), or beingrescued by the White Knight (Lloyd Bridges). Despite the oddly low-techvisual effects from Star Wars's John Dykstra--the jabberwocky is soclearly a guy in a dragon suit--this thrillingly kitschy movie ablyentertains. Where else will you see Merv Griffin as a train conductor,Sally Struthers and Donna Mills catfighting with Vegas-worthy flowerheaddresses, and Jonathan Winters as a crabby Humpty Dumpty before the fall?Adults who fondly remember the '70s and '80s and children 4 and older shouldenjoy this version of the fabled tale. --Kimberly Heinrichs ... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Alice
When I was five, I saw this on tv for the first time and was enthralled. For me, this is the ultimate Alice Through the Looking Glass--so many stars, so many songs and so like the actual story till the end. I've looked for it everywhere but until today it was only a memory. Now I can't wait till it comes in the mail. We had taped it off of tv on a Beta tape years ago but lost the second half so now I can't wait to own it! If you've read the book or have only heard of our Alice, this is the movie to see.

5-0 out of 5 stars Baaaa-tter, Much Baaaaa-tter!
This movie has stuck with me and my brother for so many years! We taped it off of TV when we were kids, and as everyone knows, "TV Tapes" never last very long in anyone's home. Now, my brother and I live together, and we every so often start singing the movie's songs, or reciting its lines! Our favorite scenes are the train and on the beach with the Tweedles. I am buying a copy of the movie today to give my brother for his 24th birthday, and I know that he will be thrilled to have it! (As will I...)

5-0 out of 5 stars #1 on my childhood movie collection!
when i was a kid i was so in love with this movie, it was my get away from a bad day at school. the charaters are so magical and realistic. i could only find this movie here and im so glad i could add this to my collection so i could share this great movie to my children.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best movie ever!!!
Ilove this Alice Through the Looking Glass! It's certainly curiouser and curiouser. It follows the original story the most closely out of all the Alice movies I've ever seen. My favorite part is when the jabberwocky comes out of Alice's present box. When I first saw that I jumped! The only thing I didn't like about the whole movie was that it didn't show the looking glass insects. Other than that I thought it was great! All alice lovers buy this today!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Jabberwocky
When I was a young child, I had a horrible fear that the Jabberwocky from this version of Alice Through the Looking Glass. I used to believe that he was living in my closet and that someday he would pull me through the large mirror hanging on the inside of my closet door. Over the years I have come to wonder why I was so afraid of him and I have been dying to see this production again. I was so happy when I bought it online and found out how afraid I was of a cheezy dragon costume! This video is absolutly adorable and any fan of Alice in Wonderland will love it! ... Read more


2. Singin' in the Rain
Director: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0790743507
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 53
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (223)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Citizen Kane of musicals
So many films in my collection are "important", "serious", "disturbing", or "great", and as much as I treasure them (films like Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and Ran), there is only so much self-importance a person can take before the pores fairly scream out for something just plain fun; something slight, buoyant, silly, and full of energy. Singin' in the Rain is just that kind of movie. The funny part is, I generally HATE musicals!

In 1951, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen took a collection of songs by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown and - assisted by a pitch-perfect screenplay from the writing team of Adolph Green and Betty Comden - sculpted one of the great classic fusions of popular cinematic art and precision dance craft. It is the Citizen Kane of musicals: a virtual catalog of musical film technique, executed flawlessly.

But that alone would not be enough to separate Singin' in the Rain from the kind of musical I can't stand (which is to say, just about every other musical ever made). No, what makes this one special is that it knows what it is and celebrates it. It never for a moment asks you to forget you're watching a movie and then grinds to a screeching halt for the musical number. Instead, it deconstructs itself before your very eyes (and ears) as a razor-sharp, self-aware satire of the movie industry - as well as a joyous expression of the pure ecstasy of great song and dance. In that sense, it is one of the few so-called musicals that actually achieves a genuine symbiosis of drama, music, and kinetic performance art.

If all this sounds rather gushing and pretentious, so be it. This is great film-making. It is Rolex Oyster Perpetual film-making. This DVD edition sparkles with ultra-saturated colors, digitally remixed Dolby 5.1 sound, and some terrific extras (even if you're not particularly into musicals).

My favorite sequence is the eerily fluid dance work between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse against a Dali-esque background near the end of the film. Charisse is spellbinding as she trails a gravity-defying veil that must be 30 feet long. It hangs in the air, suspended by wind machines as she uses her extraordinary dance skill (and fantastic legs) to affect a wordless seduction of Kelly's naive, love-struck hero. Great stuff.

Even if you don't think of yourself as the "musical type", give Singin' in the Rain a try. After all that heavy, bitter, existential cinema, it makes one helluva fine dessert.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSICAL
Once upon a time there was a place called HOLLYWOOD. It wasn't just a town or even an industry, it was a state of mind. They didn't call the studios Dream Factories for nothing. This film is the epitome of the musical art and craft. This is a real "Movie Movie," made entirely on the MGM lot. The real creme de la creme of MGM contributed to it's creation; produced by Arthur Freed, starring Gene Kelly (with a brilliant turn by the dazzling ,long-legged Cyd Charisse), contract players like Debbie Reynolds and Kathleen Freeman (still going strong, currently appearing on Broadway in "The Full Monty") with costumes by my favorite designer Walter Plunkett (Gone With The Wind, 7 Brides For 7 Brothers, etc). Check out the sumptuous designs for the "Beautiful Girls" number and the outrageous spider dress at the opening night party. The real lowdown is that Jean Hagen and Donald O'Connor practically steal the show from the leads in possibly the best performances of their careers. This film is pure joy. The script by Comden and Green is not only clever but actually goofs on a real period of transition of the American film from silent to talkie.It is also a brilliant job of recycling a trunkload of old songs. This happy film has the courage to do what American musicals and comedies do best: be silly and make you forget you troubles for an hour and a half. Next time you are in bed with the flu or trying to get over a miserable love affair, take a look at Singing In The Rain. It can't help but curl up the corners of your mouth and drive the clouds away.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Musical with Terrific Dancing -- a Trifle Dated
"Singin' in the Rain" is the definitive Hollywood musical, and charms and delights our 21st century audiences despite the (very few) characteristics of the genre that don't hold up quite so well.

There are so many high points to this movie -- the amazing cast, the songs, the choreography, and, most surprisingly, the satirical send-up of Hollywood and the "star system."

The plot is well-known. Silent film star couple, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly, who also co-directed with Stanley Donen) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are America's sweethearts. At a Hollywood premiere of their latest romance, breathless fans ignore sidekick Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor, in perhaps the best sidekick performance in film history) and scream in delight as Lockwood and Lamont pander to their adoration. Nobody, however, seems to notice that the gorgeous Lamont never speaks . . .

Her imposed silence Lamont has a voice that recalls a cat with its tail caught in a wringer, although Lamont is such a "dumb blonde" (bless Hagen -- nobody ever played this stereotype better!) that she is blissfully unaware of her screech. No matter, 'cause it's the silent film era, right? Wrong! Progress brings in "The Jazz Singer" and the era of "talkies." No longer will clever staging of press events suffice.

Soon, Don Lockwood is staring career meltdown in the face as the first Lockwood-Lamont "talkie" sends the audience into hysterics. Not only is Lamont's screech audibly offensive, they can't keep the sound synchronized to the film, and the sound editing even when in synch is as amateurish as a high-school film production.

What to do? Fortunately, Lockwood had fallen for young, beautiful Kathy Selden (a teenage Debbie Reynolds), a starlet in the making. Cosmo comes up with the idea of dubbing Selden's voice for Lamont's, and all is fixed . . . or not. Lamont, an imbecile but smart enough to know her value, insists on ruining Selden's career to preserve her own . . . and so on and so forth.

The plot, ingenious as it is, is really secondary. The main delight in this movie is the amazing dancin' and singin' that the performers offer up. While most of it is pretty silly, campy stuff (particularly the Kelly-O'Connor set pieces), they simply dazzle. Kelly is the most robust, athletic dancer of his generation, and O'Connor, well, the man doesn't have a bone in his body. While the movie's most famous scene comes from Kelly splashing in puddles during the title track, the most amazing dance number has to be O'Connor's comic flailings in "Make 'Em Laugh," where he runs up walls, flirts with a mannequin, and generally pulls out all stops.

Debbie Reynolds does a magnificent job keeping up with these two giants, and is generally a pleasure to watch, even though she's clearly outclassed as a hoofer.

While some great old films seem to get better with age (think "Casablanca," "Gone With the Wind," and "Citizen Kane"), "Singin' in the Rain" is an American classic that does not hold up quite so well in some minor respects. For example, when breaking into choreographed step, Kelly, O'Connor, and Reynolds sometimes appear too rigid, with smiles frozen on their faces, which is incongruous to those raised on more modern musicals like "Moulin Rouge," where the dancers take a more naturalistic, emotional approach to their dancing. The dancing in "Singin'" holds up, but the performers were constrained by the expectations of their audiences, which somehow demanded that the performers "look pleasant" while dancing.

Still, "Singin' in the Rain" remains one of the best tonics to a foul mood ever . . . I defy you to watch this movie and not feel a smile creeping over your face.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Musical Comedy Ever Produced!
I fell in love with this film when I was seven years old; I watched it on a B&W television on "The Early Show" in NY (circa 1957 or 1958). I didn't know who any of the stars were - it didn't matter. It was magic to me. From the Hollywood opening (dignity, always dignity), the romp of the elocution lessons (Moses supposes his toes are roses!), and the trial and mostly error of trying to record the sound ("I can't make love to a BUSH!") when the gorgeous leading lady has a voice that rivals nails on a blackboard, all the way to the grown man dancing in the rain and the final rising curtain - pure magic. In glorious black and white - at the time, I didn't even know it HAD colour! I decided then and there, this was my absolute all-time favourite movie. (One of the highlights of my adult life was seeing this wonder on a full, big screen at a revival in the 1970s.) I have seen many films since then; I have reviewed them for friends & family, written reviews for a monthly entertainment publication. I have an extensive collection of my own (VHS & DVD). I know a lot more about films and production values now.

"Singin'in the Rain" remains my all-time favourite film. (No surprise, this.) It's not just another one of "those MGM musicals." It was released in 1952. Dated stuff? Not a bit. Unlike the marvelous "An American in Paris," which was done as a contemporary film to its time, "Singin' in the Rain" is a period film, and it's based in fact.

This film (which started out to be a western for Howard Keel) takes a fond and loving look at the birthpains of the sound film (the "talkies). Set in 1927, with authentic equipment from MGM's own history (Debbie Reynolds drives Andy Hardy's old jalopy, the microphones are real), it details the frantic efforts to get on the sound bandwagon - no one was completely sure of the new technology. What makes the plot classic is the basis in fact. Many silent stars had totally unacceptable voices or speech (too nasal, unintelligible foreign accents, too high, too low, etc.) for sound production. The songs used were true to the period.

Then we have the performers. Jean Hagen was nominated for an Academy Award for her role of Lina Lamont. The character (whose voice you don't hear for the first 10+ minutes of the film, although she's on-screen) is a one-of-a-kind. [Side note: the voice dubbing Lina's line is actually Hagen's normal voice, not that of Debbie Reynold's Kathy Selden.] Reynolds does an admirable job - it couldn't have been easy keeping up with her two male co-stars. It's still a joy to see Donald O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh," and wonderful to see Gene Kelly teamed with a good male partner for "Fit as a Fiddle" and "Moses". Gene Kelly is, and always shall be, the best and this was done at his peak.

Of course, for anyone who has been living in the back of a cave under a rock (or too young to appreciate it), the title number is a delight. It looks like one continuous take, it is so smooth. This was not the first appearance of the song, but it's the one we all remember. The sheer exuberance of Kelly's performance carries us right along with him.

The extras with this set are valued items for anyone like me who is interested in the backstory of the era and this film in particular. And don't fuss for a widescreen version. This is the way it was. And now it always will be.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly entertaining musical
I have to say first of all that I am *not* at all a fan of musicals (or comedies for that matter) - I am a drama fan. I have seen a few musicals here and there over the years and tried to like them - such as 1964's "My Fair Lady" and 1961's "West Side Story." I liked both of them *somewhat,* but not too much - because I have always strongly preferred films that are realistic --> in real life, people don't burst into song when they are in one particular circumstance or another. Yet, I couldn't help enjoying myself with a smile on my face as I watched this film that landed so high (#10) on AFI's list of the top 100 American films of all time. Donald O'Connor, in particular, as Cosmo, was so perfectly cast in his role. The film was at times hilarious and at times wonderfully romantic. I definitely would recommend everyone to try this film out. B+. ... Read more


3. Alice in Wonderland
Director: Harry Harris
list price: $19.99
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Asin: 6303212301
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 484
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The king of 1970s disaster movies, producer Irwin Allen, broughttogether novelist Paul Zindel, songwriter Steve Allen, and a host ofcelebrities for a pair of 1985 TV movies paying homage to Lewis Carroll'sAlice. In this first installment, the 7-year-old girl dreams of beinggrown up enough to join the adults for tea, only to shrink to miniature size,climb through a hole beneath the door, and follow a twitchy Red Buttons inbig white rabbit ears. Whether arguing with the Mad Hatter (Anthony Newley),or trying to keep her head in the company of the Queen of Hearts (JayneMeadows), Alice is constantly running into a host of '70s and '80spersonalities like Telly Savalas, Ringo Starr, Scott Baio, and ShelleyWinters. If this roster isn't enough to make a poor girl trippy, she alsomeets up with Sammy Davis Jr. as the caterpillar, and the pair perform anentertaining hip-hop-esque tap number to "Father William." An enjoyably campyversion of Alice's wondrous journey, it features detailed sets, marvelouslytacky costumes, and mildly clever musical numbers. This 90-minute TV movie'spleasant goofiness will amuse children 4 and older as well as nostalgicallyminded adults. The TV movie has been broken into two parts on video withAlice Through the Looking Glass picking up where this one leaves off.--Kimberly Heinrichs ... Read more

Reviews (169)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Adventures of Alice Could Be Any Dream
I very much enjoyed this book because it was full of pure fun reading. Some books drag from the very beginning, but this children's story didn't. There were surprises from the start. This book is an all original example of using your imagination. Lewis Carrol was gifted enough to let his imagination go wild, and to write it down on paper. This book inspires me to write any sort of crazy thing that is worth writing. This book is about Alices adventures from the time she saw the peculiar White Rabbit with a waistcoat and watch. She meets thrilling but very arguementive creatures and charectors such as the caterpiller who smokes, the Duchess and her baby which turns into a pig, a Mock Turtle, a gryphon, and the most famous the Chesire cat and the Queen of Hearts. This book is a bit different than the Disney movie. There are other charecters in the book that are not mentioned in the animated movie. and I think the book is more bizarre.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant fun, a little something for everyone.
Its hard to imagine anyone not enjoying this brilliant book. Whether you're a young child or an experienced reader, you can't help but marvel at the charm that Lewis Carrol creates. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (The Alice books as they are often collectively referred to as) are two of the most enduring children's stories of all time. However, at the same time, they both are considered to be literary achievements in the adult crowd, due to the many societal critiques hidden withing the text.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland begins with the classic scene of young Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Soon she finds herself lost in an insane world. Drinking things make her grow into a giant or shrink to the size of a mouse. Best of all, are Alice's conversations with the many eclectic characters that inhabit Wonderland. Unfortunately, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland comes to an end within the one hundred page mark (it is a children's story, after all). Fortunately, this collection holds the book's sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. In this Alice stumbles through a looking glass and finds herself in Wonderland again. This time around she becomes a pawn in a giant game of chess. The reader follows her adventures as he tries to become a queen by making it to the eighth square. This chessboard element proves a very intersting way of advancing the storyline.

What truly gives this book its lasting charm is its characters. Whether its the Mad Hatter telling Alice about his friend Time, or the disappearing Cheshire Cat, every character is impossible to forget. Many such as the White Rabbit, remain popular icons today, well over a century later. Conversations held with these characters often prove laugh out loud funny, as Alice tries to make sense of and explain herself to these characters. From beginning to end, the reader will have a goofy grin plastered across his or her face.

Behind all these fun adventures, Carroll manages to slip in a large amount of social commentary. Some characters represent types of people, such as the overzealous monarch, to display in an exaggerated sense the foolishness of such extremes. His many poems throughout the book often have larger meanings as well: The Walrus and the Carpenter are clearly a condemnation of modern religion. Even the wild effects of drinking and eating can be interpreted as a moral on temperence. As the Duchess in the Wonderland said "Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it." Likewise, Alice is rife with various morals.

So what makes this book a classic? Reading through other people's comments, its hard to find a single person that didn't give it five stars, much less didn't like it. However, it was hard to find a definite consensus on what made it so good. Some stated its entertainment value, other enjoyed the commentary. Perhaps what makes this book so brilliant is that it has whatever you're looking for. If you want escape and adventure, it has it. If you want to laugh, there's humor. If you want intellectual thought and prose thats there too. What will the reader take away from reading is whatever they are looking for. Definitely a book that deserves its recognition as a classic of English literature.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beware the Jabberwocky!
I had seen this back in the 80's and was surprised as to the stars involved in the project. It almost plays out as a who's who of stars from the time. I especially liked Natalie Gregory as Alice. She played the role well as the naive little girl who wants to grow up but childhood wants to keep just a little longer. Sit down and enjoy it with your kids some rainy day and you all will enjoy the warm glow of family again

5-0 out of 5 stars True to the story?
I give this version of Alice in Wonderland 5 stars because to date, it does the best job of following the actual story line (even dialogue) that is presented in the books. The cheesy acting and the casting can be forgiven, after all it was the 80s.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant film!
Brilliant film. I have Alice in Wonderland taped on video and i have been looking for Alice Through the Looking Glass for a long time. While watching it last week, I discovered that Part 2 is also on it, so I saw that for the first time the other day. What can i say? Brilliant acting from the whole cast, especially Natalie Gregory who plays Alice. i recommend it to anyone. Children and adults would love it. ... Read more


4. Beau Geste
Director: William A. Wellman
list price: $14.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6300987485
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 2059
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Gary Cooper plays the oldest of three brothers who join the French Foreign Legion to cover a mysterious theft, and are soon caught up in high adventures. The opening scene in a fort full of corpses sticks in the memory forever, and Brian Donlevy's role as a sadistic sergeant makes a striking impression as well. Director William Wellman (Wings), a veteran pilot of World War I, drew--as he often did--upon the authenticity of his own experiences in battle to give this film a measure of reality. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Wren Classic on Film
This classic movie holds up pretty well to the basic storyline of Wren's novel. A few subtle changes have been made because no movie can ever reproduce a book perfectly, but everything has been done faithfully to the spirit of the original story. Readers of the book will find that the evil sarjeant is named Markov in the movie as opposed to Lajeaune in the book. The name sounds more evil perhaps! A few minor quibbles I have with the movie is that it has that 1930s Hollywood feel to it, in terms of the acting and characterizations. It would have been nice to have heard French commands in the Legion as opposed to flat American voices. Later Foreign Legion movies like "March or Die" provide this kind of detail which this classic lacks. Also, in the attacks on the fort the Arabs look foolish charging with cavalry against walls that are too high. In the book the fort's walls are described as being lower so that someone climbing up from a camel's back could almost succeed with an escalade. In the book John, Digby and their two American friends wander in the desert in Arab guise for several years. This is rather condensed in the film. The impossible shot that kills Digby from horse-back is more realistically described in the book where John relays that the Arab fired from his horse at 30 feet striking Digby as he played his bugle. A more realistic scenerio I find. Of course these are minor quibbles, none of which detract from the beauty and haunting nature of the movie. The music is also striking, in particular the opening scene when we see the dead Legioners manning the fort's walls. That scene is probably one of the most haunting in all movies, and conveys so much without being overly graphic. This is probably the best Foreign Legion movie that will ever be made. All since have been based on it. Since Four Feathers has recently survived another re-make I wonder if Beau Geste is due for another attempt? Arabs, sand and desert battles seem to be compelling these days. I wonder why?

5-0 out of 5 stars A Romantic Classic
I first saw this movie as a child, and like many others, never forgot the images of the dead soldiers at the fort, the cruelty of Markov, or the gallantry of the Geste brothers. I went on to read the book and its two sequels (which tell what REALLY happened to the Blue Water) which are dated but none the less riveting (and amusing). The author, P.C. Wren, really was an officer in the Foreign Legion, and claimed that everything he wrote was grounded in the experience of people he knew. As for the movie, my only complaint is that such very American actors were chose to play such charming young Englishmen (and were a bit old for their roles), but it is a very minor complaint, since there is nothing to fault in their performances. Otherwise, the movie spoiled me for every other Foreign Legion film I have ever seen. It could perhaps stand a remake - but only in the hands of a great director (as great as the original William Wellman) who respected his source material and didn't try to turn it into a brainless "action" film. (And it has been tried.) As others have pointed out, the wonderfully atmospheric black and white photography and the music add to the film's perfection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Needs to Be on DVD and Needs to be Updated
The story is great. The treatment is very old and dated. Seems to be sort of a forgotten golden oldie. Purhaps a remake without the silly prank section. At least the DVD should be made. Still a fun movie w the classic battle scene w the mad officer propping up the dead bodies. Great for Cooper fans.

4-0 out of 5 stars Classic melodrama
Beau Geste, a melodramatic 1939 period piece depicts the comradery of three brothers during Victorian times. It falls short of a 5 star rating as it lacks the high degree of drama seen in similar type classics such as Gunga Din and Four Feathers.

The wholesome Gary Cooper along with Robert Preston and Ray Milland play three brothers, Beau, Digby and John Geste, adopted into the affluent baronial lifestyle of English Lord and Lady Brandon. When the lord threatens to sell the family's most precious possession, the Blue Water, a huge cerulean sapphire, to finance his gambling, one of the brothers absconds with it. In a chivalrous gesture the three brothers flee and enlist in the French Foreign Legion and get shipped to North Africa.

While in the foreign legion they are cruelly commanded by star of the movie Brian Donlevy, who plays the facially scarred, sadistic heavy Sergeant Markoff. The brothers strive to survive the elements, the Arabs and Markoff while they protect the secret of the prized sapphire.

The flick is hopelessly dated but still remains hugely entertaining to a classic movie buff. A youthful and ravishing Susan Hayward plays Milland's love interest, Isobel Rivers, a ward of Lady Brandon in one of her earliest starring roles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still waiting for the DVD!
I agree with other five stars comentators/reviewers. Just a small precision, the original Trilogy "BEAU GESTE", "BEAU SABREUR" and "BEAU IDEAL" was completed with "GOOD GESTES" (wich deals with the period of service in the Legion between the separation of the three brothers and the Zinderneuf's tragedy in form of short stories) and "SPANISH MAINE" wich explains what ultimately was the fate of "The Angel of Death" ... Will not tell more for not spoiling the read to those fans as me wich will hunt this small romantic literature treasures in the out of print services... (It took me years to complete my collection of P.C. Wren's FFL novels but was well worth the time...).
Interestingly enough such a Bible on the FFL as Douglas Porch book, mentions the dislike of French Commanders with the Hollywood versions (I do not understand why because as a boy I seriously doubted where to enlist between the FFL and the NWMP as a matter of course...).
Incidentally as other reviewers say get a go at "Morocco", Cooper (younger) and Dietrich... What a pair!. There just don't do films like this anymore... ... Read more


5. Francis the Talking Mule
Director: Arthur Lubin
list price: $9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303072356
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5449
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars The two best Francis comedies make a great double feature.
Although these films were made five years apart, the later one is loaded with references to the earlier one, making this a fine double bill. FRANCIS has soldier Donald O'Connor vainly trying to convince his superior officers that he knows a mule that talks. The gimmick is a good one (the director later worked on TV's "Mister Ed"), and it's an enjoyable movie. FRANCIS JOINS THE WACS is even funnier, with O'Connor recalled to duty but in the Women's Army Corps. O'Connor plays the mule's pal more broadly this time, and the script gives him plenty of room for clowning (in one scene O'Connor has to masquerade as a WAC nurse while Francis hilariously heckles everybody). Very well done technically; you'll be amazed at how well the dialogue is fitted to Francis's facial movements. Both films have good supporting casts, especialy Ray Collins and John McIntire in the first film, Lynn Bari and Julia Adams in the second, and Chill Wills and ZaSu Pitts in both. A fun show from Universal.

4-0 out of 5 stars It Should Have Been Called Donald and A Mule
Donald O'Connor was a superior talent -- great dancer (anyone who can keep up with Gene Kelly and make it look easy is almost supernatural!), great actor (is there anyone in the world who doesn't love his smart aleck piano player, Cosmo Brown in Singin' In The Rain?)...and this series proves he was also a great comedien.

This, the first in the Francis the Talking Mule series, is touching and funny by turns. O'Connor once remarked that he enjoyed this film because it gave him a chance to intermingle a little bit of drama with the comedy. The movie opens with young second lieutenant, Peter Stirling, wounded, terrified, exhausted, and lost deep behind enemy lines in Burma. He's rescued by, of all things, a talking army mule who carries him seven miles to safety and becomes his best friend. Being a talking animal's friend has its advantages and disadvantges. On the plus side, Francis is great at ferreting out enemy positions on the island and making Peter look like a war hero. On the minus side, everyone thinks Peter is insane and he keeps finding himself inside psycho wards. O'Connor really makes you care for his slightly dense, painfully young character, and this first movie in the popular series really makes you want to see "what happens next" as the movie series progresses.

If I have any criticism at all, it's not the film's fault -- it's a product of its times. The supporting characters are sterotyped and forced, but who cares? Whenever Donald and Francis are on the screen, they make up for everything!

5-0 out of 5 stars Francis movies span the generations!!!!!!!!!
I recently introduced by 13 year old granddaughter to the Francis series. They touched a part of her funny bone that had never been reached before -- she went from giggles to belly-laughs. She doesn't understand why none of her friends have heard of them. She noticed after watching the first two movies that the humor wasn't cruel in any way -- it was just plain fun. I was truly amazed when she said -- and I quote: "They just don't make movies like this anymore, do they, Mawmaw?" Invest in the entire set and start a family night tradition. These movies can be enjoyed by ALL ages!!!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Groan
Try to find a laugh in this film. I dare you. It's a tribute to the sappiness of the 1950s (otherwise a healthy and much missed era) that this sort of thing could be a box office smash. Poor Donald O'Connor. While he's making Singing In The Rain, he's stuck in this Universal "B" series that must have embarrassed him as much as it now embarrasses the rest of us.

5-0 out of 5 stars I was going to keep this to myself. . .
(rev. 6/26)
. . .but I decided that would be too unfair.

These UNCENSORED director's cuts are the film nostalgia sensation of the decade. Here are the scenes deleted for television and the theatres: here are the scenes the director had to wrangle with the studio for so long and so hard for,in pursuit of his artistic vision.

Now we can have these -- for pennies. And they need never leave us.

You can't afford to miss these fine flicks -- not at this price. At least not until FRANCIS THE TALKING MULE VISITS THE GLUE FACTORY is re-released, complete with lost footage, previously deleted scenes, and audio digital-data re-tread and augmentation. But for that privilege, we may have to wait some time. ... Read more


6. That's Dancing!
Director: Jack Haley Jr.
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6301977637
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4638
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars "The heart, the beat, to start the feet..."
This is definitely one of the best films ever made! I loved this from the first five seconds on. I think that this is certianly a triuumph in the movie world. From ballet, to vaudeville and from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to Busby Berkley, this movie will have you tapping your toes and singing along to the beat. I never get tired of watching this!
Other good movies are the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies from the thrities.

5-0 out of 5 stars A triumph of Cinematography
This work, narrated by Gene Kelley, is devoted to the cinema musicals, starting with seldom seen footage of the silent era, and continuing with the fantastic dancing scenes of Busby Berkley. Next we move on to the Fred Astaire period, which centers attention on the individual dancer. We see beautiful performances from the likes of Ginger Rogers, Ruby Keeler as well as the incomparable Nicholas Brothers. With the advent of color, comes a never previously seen number on the 'yellow brick road' with Judy Garland and Ray Bolger. Not to forget a marvellous routine by Shirley Temple and Bojangles Robinson! Alltogether, this is the most memorable series of dance sequences that I have ever seen in half a century.

4-0 out of 5 stars Now THAT'S Dancing!
This video has gotten some play recently on TMC, but in the wrong format. It is so compressed on the screen that it is hard to appreaciate the great dancing. I would recommend buying your own copy as these are all the classic dances from the movies..from Cagney to Michael Jackson, you see some really great performances! I just watched it on TV and went right to the net and ordered it. The precision of some of these dances and the abilities of not just the stars, but the chorus dancers as well, left me in awe. You could run 27 takes with me dancing and still not come close to what the worst of these dancers can do! I understand they are adding some new footage of the St. Cyril Theatre Guild's Grease dances to the original video. Even without these new additions, That's Dancing is just marvelous!

4-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful documentary!!!
This film is a must-see for any dancer. The clips used to showcase different types of dancing in film are creatively woven together and the commentary is very informative. Many famous scenes from the old MGM musicals to the water spray scene in Flashdance are used to illustrate how diversified dancing in films can be. For ballet dancers, there is a portion devoted solely to ballet in films which is hosted by Mikhail Baryshnikov. Scenes of Rudolph Nureyev leaping through the air compliment this section as well as scenes from various ballets. Liza Minelli hosts the Broadway inspirational portion which is shorter in length. I only saw this film once but I feel that it is a must-own selection for any dancer. ... Read more


7. Out To Sea
Director: Martha Coolidge
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6304698305
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 7543
Average Customer Review: 3.81 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another comedy great buy the dynamic duo!
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon once again team up for this awsome comdey. This time around Matthau plays Charlie a gambler who decides to take his friend/brother in law on cruise to hide from a bookie to whom he owes money and to meet women. Lemmon plays Charlies friend Herb. But there is one problem, to get passage free, Charlie signed the two up as dance hosts on the cruise. Once on the cruise they meet the tight ass cruise director Gil Godwyn who is always out through the whole movie to get the two in trouble. Lots of great fun, and comedy! And even a little romance. Its great! Definletly see if you are a fan of the two. Its very funny and worothy to watch over and over. Great performances by the two, and Golden Girl's Rue McClanhan. A MUST SEE. Followed by the duos last film, The Odd Couple 2. Rated PG-13 for language.

4-0 out of 5 stars Out To Sea is boatloads of hillarious FUN!
QUESTION: What happens when Grumpy Old Men meet The Love Boat? ANSWER: You get, Out To Sea! They're at it again, Lemmon and Matthau, creating that one of a kind "odd couple chemistry" that made them such a famous comedic duo in the first place! This time,they are posing as "dance hosts" aboard a luxury cruise liner. There's a few problems, though. First of all, Charley, (played by Walter Matthau), is REALLY in search of a babe with a big bank account, and Herb, (played by Jack Lemmon), does NOT know how to dance! although there are moments of extreme silliness, all in all, I thought this movie was a riot; packed full of funny, laugh-out-loud moments! In addition,Brent Spiner is an absolute scream as the sadistic cruise director! There are many other "big" names aboard the ship, also, and they all come together on the high seas to create a very entertaining film! A "MUST" for all Matthau and Lemmon fans!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Dvd!!!!
I highly recommend using Amazon for the site to buy it from because from beginning to end is top notch service & shipment!
PLUS if you buy this & another DVD...you could qualify for free shipping & also if you buy from other sites...they tax you like Walmart.com...Amazon is about to be my only source for dvds...I do use Borders and Walmart.com but Amazon has slowly creeped up there to be my main source because they email you for future releases...even dvds not even available for pre-order yet!

5-0 out of 5 stars Tim in NC
Great Movie!!! If you like good comedy then this is a great one to see. The grumpy old men are always great together. Supporting cast is great too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I saw this movie while on vaction in New York. It was really brilliant to see. Everyone involved in the movie gave great performances. One of the best performances came from Brent Spiner as the cruise director from hell Gil Godwyn complete with English accent and everything. If you have only seen Spiner as Data in Star Trek then you are in for a nice surprise.
It is nice to see a movie though, that does not rely on big budget SFX. Nice to see actors acting for a change. ... Read more


8. Francis in the Navy
Director: Arthur Lubin
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6303072364
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 15582
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Donald Shines Twice in Navy
Donald O'Connor had wearied of the Francis series by the time he made this film, but it certainly doesn't show -- his acting is as wonderful, fresh, and funny as ever (could his weariness have had something to do, at least in part, with the fact that he missed out on making White Christmas with his friend Bing Crosby because in real life he'd contracted an illness from the mule??). In this installment, Peter is a victim of mistaken identity. When the young second lieutenant tries to rescue Francis from being sold as surplus, he is mistaken for his doppleganger, Slicker Donovan, a Navy war hero, and carted off to sea. Peter and Slicker may look exactly alike, but they couldn't be more different. O'Connor's whole face changes when he plays Slicker, the sophisticated womanizing gob. Seeing O'connor do double duty in this film really gives us a chance to appreciate his acting ability. He may not have enjoyed it, but you will!

A great highlight is the mandatory psycho ward scene. Peter has given up trying to convince people he's sane -- now he just goes along with the game with a touch of cynicism, and it's wonderful!

4-0 out of 5 stars Ahoy There Mate! Pipe me On Board!
The Grand Puba (that's Mister Puba to You!) loves Francis! These videos really are great if you are in to family fare! Something that you can let the kids watch without fear of comprimising your values. If you liked Mr. Ed - you'll love Francis! Barney? Ppphhorgetaboudit! Get Francis instead!

5-0 out of 5 stars Of the series, this is Emma's favorite.
Francis ends up as post-war surplus and the Navy auctions him off. Donald O'Conner as Peter Sterling is Francis' innocent and likeable pal who tries to save him. But enter "Slicker", a notorious, tough womanizer who happens to look exactly like Peter. Slicker's friends (look for a very young Clint Eastwood) and naval commanders get the two mixed up and Peter ends up in a Navy uniform. An old plot (even for 1955) Peter, with the help of Francis, save the day. Emma's favorite scenn is where Slicker, Slicker's sister, and Peter all meet together for the first time. Dad enjoyed seeing some of the young stars (Eastwood, Martin Milner) who went on to bigger things. Emma gives it five stars, but Dad ony give it three. ... Read more


9. There's No Business Like Show Business
Director: Walter Lang
list price: $6.98
our price: $6.98
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Asin: 6301066642
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 8686
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This 1954 dinosaur brings together two giants of Broadway, Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin, just as their moment was passing forever, to create one last hurrah: a celebration of the glories that were vaudeville. Still, it's hard to imagine that Broadway--or nightclub entertaining, for that matter--was everquite this lavish and satisfying. The story centers on a married couple, the Donahues (Dan Dailey and Merman), who live on the road as vaudeville entertainers, and since they have children, begin incorporating the kids into the act. Eventually, the kids grow up to be Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, and Johnny Ray, and they begin having interests of their own. Donald's is an ambitious showgirl (Marilyn Monroe), whose standoffish response to his romantic overtures drives him to drink. Best for its lavish, splashy production numbers built around some of the best of the Berlin songbook, including the title tune and "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody." --Marshall Fine ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Something for Everyone
This movie has something for everyone. Watched it for the first time today, then read reviews here on Amazon and elsewhere on internet. Marilyn fans think she is the best thing in the film. Ethel Merman fans rave about her performance. Hollywood musical fans rave about the extravagant production numbers. Johnny Ray fans rave about his only film appearance. Technical reviews(of DVD version) rave about the sharpness of the image, color rendition, sound reproduction and restoration process. Of course, Pseudo-Intellectual-Sophisticates like Tom Reynolds panned this film ... but pay no attention to the naysayers. This is a really fun film to watch, a gem, a blast from the past, non-stop singing and dancing from the Golden Era.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overblown but tremendous fun!
It's wonderful to have these recordings available in true stereo and the version of the title song belted out by Merman remains her most definitive recording of the song. A few oddities: Johnny Ray's vocal track for "If You Believe" is wildly out-of-synch (and re-listening to the original Decca album it does sound as if they manipulated the track with some editing. Ray was deaf.. perhaps he could not hear the click track? At any rate, Varese should have tried to edit the song so that it sounds the same as in the film) and there are a few other places where the orchestra comes in too early. Minor quibbles. More curious was the decision to drop some musical segments that were in the film: Gaynor adn O'connor doing a wicked parody of (parents) Merman and Daily; Dailey's "You'd be surprised"; Merman's "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee" and the deleted songs "Anything You Can Do" and Marilyn Monroe's unused vocal of "You'd be surprised" - but what is on the disc is great! And the set comes with good liner notes.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's the Five Donahues..............
Ok Ok. I have been a lifelong Marilyn Monroe fan since childhood, I love her. But when you are a Marilyn fan you have to put up with hit and miss movies. No Business is one of them. When Marilyn is on the screen singing and dancing, the movie is all hers. Who doesn't love the Heat Wave number? The rest of the movie is a drag and unless you are a huge Ethyl Merman fan (?) this film doesn't have much to offer.

This is a musical with a very light plot; the story of the Donahue Family in show business. The two sons grow up to be a couple of dorks. The one who wants to be a priest is just scary. He acts like a Peter O'Tool derelict with a murderous smile. The other one is driven over the edge by Marilyn's lack of interest and joins the Navy.

Like I said, if you are a Marilyn fan, there are scenes in this film that you must have. If youare not a Marilyn fan, well you got Ethyl and Berlin music.

4-0 out of 5 stars BETTY GRABLE WHY DID'NT YOU DO THIS MOVIE?
Betty Grable was supposed to play the Ethel merman part , but looked to young to be a mother of grown ups Donald O'Conner , Mitzi Gaynor and Johnny Ray so they hired Merman.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must Have Musical
I think this is one of the best musicals available. And- if you're into musicals this one you need to get. Since Hollywood refuses to make musicals you better latch on to this one while you can. I think the color and the musical numbers are wonderful! And in those days they used better color for films than they do today! For color films and for tv viewing they use cheap color. Many people has told me that they thought their tv was fading out and had a foggy color to it. I've told them it's not their tv at all. The best color was always used back in the 40's and 50's. I see nothing ethnically wrong in the film that would be wrong. People are just too too sensitive these days and now they are picking the old films apart. They need to learn how to get over it. I am so glad that they have not destroyed these old films because 98 per cent of the films today are trash and will never become classics such as this one. When all the great producers and directors and screenwriters pass away there just seems like no one can take their place. They knew what they were doing back then. The craftsmanship has been lost. ... Read more


10. That's Entertainment!
Director: Jack Haley Jr.
list price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6301977726
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 15148
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This nostalgic history lesson in the treasures of MGM musicals touches upon the obvious highlights--An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain, many others--and includes clips of wonderful though more obscure performances by Esther Williams, Jimmy Durante, Eleanor Powell, and even Clark Gable singing and dancing. It's a film lover's box of candy and perfect for musical mavens, and getting a chance to see so many legends host the whole affair (many of whom have died since the film's 1974 release) is as pleasing as the old footage. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars That's Entertainment I: Do it: big, right, and with class!
That's Entertainment I - Reviewed By David E. Shattuck

I have always liked musicals and have had my favorites but viewing "That's Entertainment I" gave me a great lesson into their history. Do you remember at Christmas ever receiving one of those exotic candy samplers in your stocking? Well watching this video gave me a taste of a lot of "fine chocolates" that I want to sample over and over again. You start out visiting the remains of the once great MGM studios hosted by various famous stars who worked for those studios such as Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelley, Jimmy Stuart , Elizabeth Taylor, Donald Connor, Debbie Renoylds,Mickey Rooney and Liza Minelli. I felt like I was in Greece touring the ruins of the gods with those gods and goddesses as my tour Guides. It made me sad to see this once great institution in ruins, those stars aging, and the art form called the musical in decline in our era. Throughout its history MGM created over 200 musicals with the high points being in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Perhaps the last great musical, the Sound of Music was in the 60s over 30 years ago. The early musicals were traced back to the 20s and were born when sound arrived in the movies. I wondered what happened to many of those silent movie stars who were the first victims of technological downsizing in Hollywood. My personal favorites have always been Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse but I learned about Eleanor Powell and found her a better partner to Fred Astaire than Ginger Rodgers who looked stressed but excellent in her numbers with Fred. There was a classic clip of Fred who proved he could dance with a hat rack ( which didn't look as good as Ginger ) and a scene from the "Royal Wedding" where he danced on the sides of the walls and the ceiling always winding down to a sitting position like he never expended a bit of energy and showing no sweat. I had many of one liner observations from the video and here they go: I enjoyed a clip from the Ziegfield Follies which turns out to be the only musical in which Gene Kelley and Fred Astair worked together; their is a rare footage of Jimmy Stuart walking in song with Eleanor Powell; a timeless dance between Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse to "Dancing in the Dark" from the "Bandwagon";scenes of Gene Kelley doing his own acrobatic stunt dances; Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney numbers from the Hardy Boys (They made a great couple); Ann Miller (the best lady tap dancer) from "Small Town Girl"; Donald Oconnor doing a classic comedy dance in "Singing in the Rain"; and of course the color and pageantry of Ester Williams swimming with the likes of Fernando Lamas, Van Johnson, Peter Lawford, Ricardo Montabaum, and even Jimmy Durante, Red Skelton, and cartoon characters Tom and Jerry. (Ester was a well sculpted figure with strong muscular legs and perhaps might be a body builder today). I thoroughly enjoyed "That's Entertainment I" and look forward to watching II and III. I pray that there will once again be a revival of the musical . Today the musical lives on in different forms such as "Riverdance" and interesting enough in the many animated movies of Disney such as Aladdin and Pocahontas . I close with a quote from the video by Frank Sinatra who said the MGM motto has always been, "Do it big, do it right, and give it class". Now that's entertainment!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for musical beginners
I bought "That's Entertainment" a few years ago and fell in love with it. Prior to that, the only musical I'd seen was "Anchors Aweigh". I feel that "That's Entertainment" is perfect for people who are interested in great MGM musicals but don't know a lot about them. I know that this helped me decide which movies and which actors I thought would be most appealing to me. For instance, watching the Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire segments greatly impressed me and I now have almost all of the two dancers' films. However, I was bored during the Esther Williams sequences in "That's Entertainment" and so I knew that I probably wouldn't enjoy her films.

Longtime fans of musicals will probably be familiar with most of the segments in "That's Entertainment". Even if you have seen all of the movies featured in the film, you still get to see your favorite stars introducing the various segments. Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Bing Crosby, and many others all make guest appearances to introduce various clips.

In conclusion, I recommend this movie to all MGM musical fans, but especially to those who don't know much about the genre and would like a chance to be able to pick out their favorite performers from a wide range of talents and abilities.

5-0 out of 5 stars FINALLY! IT'S ON ITS WAY TO DVD! Spread the joyous news!
The dream is becoming a reality. All THREE of the THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! films are coming to DVD in a boxed set from Warner Bros.

Read the juicy details and get ready for a great Xmas!

The musical of musicals makes its DVD debut on October 12, when Warner Home Video presents MGM's acclaimed musical anthologies - That's Entertainment!, That's Entertainment, Part 2 and That's Entertainment! III - in a special edition four-disc DVD giftset, That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection. Representing some of the most requested titles in WHV's vast library, That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection gets the "red carpet" treatment with each feature in the trilogy presented with a fully remastered picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and features both the 16x9 widescreen theatrical version, plus full-screen 4x3 version with letterboxed performance segments.

That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection includes a bonus fourth disc entitled That's Entertainment: Treasures from the Vault, available exclusively with the giftset featuring more than five hours of exciting extras including three great documentaries, premiere night coverage and salutes to the great behind-the-camera talents, TV specials, making-of featurettes, plus an extensive video jukebox of rare, star-packed musical outtakes from classic films, and more!

"Exuberant, extravagant..." - Newsweek

That's Entertainment! showcases 125 stars from nearly 100 films including superstars Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Liza Minnelli, Peter Lawford, Donald O'Connor, James Stewart and many more. Originally released in 1974 to mark MGM's 50th Anniversary and to celebrate the golden era of the greatest movie musicals ever made, That's Entertainment! was an unexpected surprise smash at the boxoffice, grossing $28 million at the time and firmly establishing the MGM musical within the pantheon of greatness within American film history. Written, produced and directed by Jack Haley Jr., with Daniel Melnick as executive producer, That's Entertainment! uniquely blends newly-filmed accounts of the personal memories of 11 of the stars who were at MGM from 1929-1958 during the making of these classic films with a panoramic retrospective of unforgettable musical sequences from them. Film historian Robert Osborne provides a new introduction to all three films on DVD.

"A wonderful movie...a priceless souvenir." - Pat Collins, WCBS-TV

Originally released in 1976, That's Entertainment, Part 2 continues the dazzling tradition of That's Entertainment! taking up where the other one left off, presenting fabulous sequences from movie musicals and highlighting such non-singing stars as Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and the Marx Brothers. Also featured are two of the champion song and dance men of all time, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly (together for the first time since Ziegfeld Follies of 1946), acting not only as narrators but also as performers, singing and dancing in all-new numbers directed by Kelly just for the film. That's Entertainment, Part 2 was produced by Saul Chaplin and Daniel Melnick, with narration by Leonard Gershe and additional music arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle.

"That's more than entertainment, that's pure gold." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Released in 1994 in celebration of MGM's 70th Anniversary, That's Entertainment! III brings back to the screen the stars and musical numbers that have excited audiences for generations. In the acclaimed tradition of its two predecessors, That's Entertainment! III incorporates scores of famous songs and dances from MGM films and reunites nine of the performers who rose to international stardom through their MGM association. That's Entertainment! III features astonishing classic musical moments, great comedy and romantic teams and unearths rare footage with marvelous big-star scenes originally unseen because they were cut from their films. Gene Kelly opens and closes the picture as nine starry hosts including June Allyson, Cyd Charrise, Lena Horne, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney and Esther Williams present this must-see assemblage of Golden Era treasures, none of which has been seen in either of the previous films. Written, produced and directed by Bud Friedgen & Michael J. Sheridan, the film was executive produced by Peter Fitzgerald.

An amazing fourth disc is an added bonus available only with the That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection giftset with more than five hours of extra content features sure to enthrall fans of the great MGM musicals. Entitled That's Entertainment: Treasures From The Vault, the exclusive disc includes rare extended footage from MGM's 25th Anniversary luncheon in 1949; "That's Entertainment: 50 Years of MGM" (1974 TV special covering footage from the original premiere of That's Entertainment! in Beverly Hills with Army Archerd as the 'red carpet' master of ceremonies, rare interviews and the famous assemblage of legendary MGM stars on the stage. Unseen since originally broadcast thirty years ago); "That's Entertainment! III Behind the Screen" (1994 making-of documentary about the behind the camera talent); "The Lion Roars Again" (1975 MGM short); lengthy excerpts from "The Mike Douglas Show" TV special in 1976 that featured two days of premiere coverage of That's Entertainment, Part 2; "The Masters Behind The Musicals" (a brand-new half hour documentary with Ann Miller, Jane Powell, Angela Lansbury and others); "Just One More Time" (1974 THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! featurette); and a dazzling MGM Outtake Jukebox which includes an impressive array of 16 rarely-seen deleted musical numbers from the cutting-room floor featuring such stars as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Esther Williams, Lena Horne, Jane Powell, Mel Torme and many other legendary MGM stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's COMING!!!!
Time-Warner has announced that on October 12, they will release a 4 DVD set featuring the 3 "That's Entertainment" movies in newly restored editions, with both wide-screen and pan-and-versions on the disc. Also the 4th disc will have several documentaries and other features on the making of these films. Should be a real treat for nostalgia lovers everywhere!!! This year is the 30th anniversary of "That's Entertainment!"

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Vote For A DVD!!
I was nine year old when That's Entertainment was in movie theaters but I didn't see it back then but saw it a couple of years ago on Turner Classic Movies and it is very entertaining. It has many clips from MGM musicals and is hosted by several entertainers including Fred Astaire and I recommend it and I hope it will be put on DVD! ... Read more


11. Francis Covers the Big Town
Director: Arthur Lubin
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 630343150X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 32046
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Donald Just Simply...Rules!
Frankly I was surprised when I wound up loving the Francis series. Knowing how great (and yet how under-rated) Donald O'Conner was, I was hesistant to see him in this Mr. Ed forerunner. I sat down prepared to hate the first movie and wound up being hooked and disappointed they hadn't made more of them. The mule is fun, but Donald and his comedic acting is the real attraction in this series. In my opinion, this movie is the best of the bunch. O'Conner can take a simple phrase ("Francis says goodbye, you're on your own." "My own What?") and really make it laugh out loud funny. Even an understated twitch of an eyebrow at the right time coming from O'Conner is very funny. He also makes you love his character, Peter Stirling, and emphathize when he gets into trouble...which is always! This series was a great vehicle for Donald O'Conner and a must see for any O'Conner fan. Don't miss. ... Read more


12. Ragtime
Director: Milos Forman
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 6300214257
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4121
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Fact and fiction intertwine in Milos Forman's colorful kaleidoscope of E.L. Doctorow's sprawling novel of turn-of-the-century America. Anchored in the true story of the murder of architect Stanford White (Norman Mailer) by Harry Thaw (Robert Joy) over the affections of his wife Evelyn Nesbit (Elizabeth McGovern), Forman weaves a portrait of early 1900s America in a tapestry of intertwining fictional tales. The primary thread involves the proud black pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Howard Rollins) and his demand for justice when a racist fireman destroys his automobile, which escalates into a reign of terror by Walker and a band of revolutionaries. A secondary story involves an ambitious immigrant artist (Mandy Patinkin) whose primitive flipbooks send him on the road to creating early cinema. Centering all of these stories in one way or another is an upper-class family known simply as Father (James Olson), Mother (Mary Steenburgen), and Younger Brother (Brad Dourif). James Cagney came out of a twenty-year retirement to play the irascible Irish police commissioner, a character created for the film. Forman's biggest departure from Doctorow's novel, however, is his focus on Walker's story, cutting away the other threads to little more than asides in the final half of the picture, the primary dramatic weakness of an otherwise rich evocation of America's past. Randy Newman's lyrical score and Miroslav Ondricek's understated cinematography earned two of the film's eight Academy Awards nominations --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated Classic
A complex, engaging, colorful, masterpiece. Milos Forman has never disappointed as a director. Typical of him, he captures America better than just about any American director. The cast is superb. Howard Rollins, Jr. is nothing short of amazing as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. Elizabeth McGovern, Mary Steenburgen, James Olson and Brad Dourif also give great performances.

I have admittedly not read the book, nor have I seen the Broadway musical. I don't know what EL Doctorow thinks about the movie of his book (I gather he is not crazy about it). But the film has a wonderful pace and the soundtrack is stunning as well.

I think it is a crime that the soundtrack is not available on cd and the movie not available on DVD!

5-0 out of 5 stars The ignored classic.
RAGTIME was one of Milos Forman's three great literary adaptations of the 80's, the others being AMADEUS and VALMONT. AMADEUS was a hit, but RAGTIME, which was largely ignored by the public and the critics, who badly wanted to show off the fact that they read the book, was a flop. Too bad. The original novel is like "Forrest Gump" in the early 1900's. A sketchy work in which the members of one upper class family meet with every possible type of person, real or imagined, including every famous person that you can find from that period in the encyclopedia. Forman's film, however, is a genuine masterpiece and one of the very best films ever made about America. He fleshed out the characters, eliminated the unnecessary, and concentrated basically on three main story lines. Unfortunately, the film was deemed too long, and Forman was forced to cut one of the story lines. I hope that when the DVD is released, the missing storyline is put back. Of the film as it stands now, Film Critic David Thomson said " it is a much underrated film. Complex about the time and its ideas." The only possibly distracting thing about the film is the amount of soon to be famous actors appearing in small parts, including Jeff Daniels, Samuel L. Jackson, Fran Drescher, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Milos Forman Classic
If you missed seeing "Ragtime" back in 1981, it wasn't your fault because you probably didn't even know it existed. Much like Terry Gilliam's "Adventures of Baron Munchausen", this truly great movie was poorly distributed and miserably publicized and advertised when it was released. This is too bad because both films deserved much better. Anyway...

Milos Forman has time and again proven that he is not only one of the world's best directors but also one of the sharpest viewers of American culture and history. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "The People vs. Larry Flint", and, to an extent, "Man on the Moon" have at their core an indictment of American society: its racism, its hypocrisy, its perversity, its corruption, and its insanity. However, Forman is by no means anti-American. In fact, these movies also have at their hearts a deep fascination with America and a yearning to make it better. And like few directors can do, he doesn't create a manifesto disguised as a film. His characters and dialogue are believeable, and his filming is gorgeous to watch.

Of all his films--and that includes "Amadeus"--"Ragtime" is perhaps his best, in my opinion. Its complex narratives are logically, fluidly and masterfully meshed together. But what I find fascinating about the movie is that all the complicated, volatile emotional reactions the characters experience--sometimes ending in violence--all start from simple wants. Coalhouse Walker, Jr. (powerfully played by the late Howard Rollins) wants the racists who vandalized his car to repair it. Harry Thaw (played by the underrated Robert Joy) is an erratic millionaire who simply wants a nude statue of his wife taken out of public view. A father (movingly played James Olson) simply wants to keep his family together. His brother-in-law (Brad Dourif in an extraordinary performance) simply wants the girl he loves to love him back. And a Jewish immigrant (a wonderfully manic Mandy Patinkin) simply wants to make it in America. It's when all these desires collide that the fireworks of "Ragtime" begin. And like the great American tradition of 4th of July fireworks, "Ragtime" is dazzling to watch.

5-0 out of 5 stars From a boy to a Man
I saw this film for the first time as a junior and have always thought it was a masterpiece. So, I decided to purchase the film on DVD, but to my surprise, it's not available on DVD, VHS it is. I have since watched this film a number of times and my appreciation for this work of art has continued to grow. This film is truly one of the best films ever made and is more than deserving of its place on Digital Versatile Disc b.k.a DVD...

5-0 out of 5 stars fantastic movie
What a terrific movie. The music is just wonderful and fits the movie to a 'T'. I recently bought the CD at Borders, Books and Music (Dec 21, 03), because years ago I owned the LP!!! I was disappointed to find that the movie is only available on VHS though. Guess I'll reluctantly buy it because I'd love to laugh and cry all over again. Can't even rent this anymore, it's a shame. The good movies go and the junk is always rentable. ... Read more


13. Francis Joins the Wacs
Director: Arthur Lubin
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6303072372
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13379
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Peter and Francis are Always Fun, Even in "WACs"
This isn't my favorite of the Francis films -- it just struck me as being an obvious excuse to crank out another quick money maker. But that's okay, 'cause it's still fun. If you're following the series expecting cohesion to prior plot points, however, forget it! Peter is supposed to be a West Point graduate, but in this installment he's working in a bank and is quite upset about being called out of the reserves into active duty. Go figure. If a mule can talk, a West Point graduate can work in a bank, I guess! Contrasting Peter's traditional shyness with women in the previous films, in this one he's stuck in with a whole platoon of 'em, and he handles it all quite nicely, thank you, stutter and all. We do get a chance to meet Francis' voice, Chill Wills, playing the role of a visiting General, so that's a treat! Not the best in the series, but still a fun way to spend an hour and a half! And in my opinion, Francis is still better than an awful lot of what masquerades as light entertainment now!

4-0 out of 5 stars Stars in the rating don't matter. Look at the star(let)s!!
How did this movie escape my attention for so long?

Production values? Direction? Plot?

Feh.

Buffs and especially B-movie fans should examine the cast:
Julie Adams! Mamie Van Doren! Allison Hayes! Mara Corday!

Enough said.

4-0 out of 5 stars Arguably the best Francis movie; lots of laughs
Newspaper critics in '54 said this was the funniest Francis... and they were right. Donald O'Connor plays the mule's pal a bit more broadly than usual, and the script situations are amusing (you can imagine the complications when O'Connor is drafted into the Women's Army Corps by mistake). One of the best bits has Francis heckling the cast members when O'Connor has to masquerade as a WAC nurse -- it's very funny. Chill Wills dubs the mule's dialogue expertly, and you'll be amazed at how good the synchronization is when Francis talks. A fine cast helps: Lynn Bari, Julia Adams, Mamie Van Doren, and especially the fluttery ZaSu Pitts. The video opens with the original coming-attractions trailer, but it gives away some of the jokes, so the viewer might fast-forward past this part. Picture is excellent, sound is very good (a few parts sounded a little thin but still listenable). A fun show from Universal.

3-0 out of 5 stars Likable silliness.
Donald O'Conner as Pter Sterling is re-called from the reserves to active duty. But an early computer error (we're talking a 1954 computer error) send him to a WACS unti. While there he is re-joined by his old army buddy, Francis. Suspected of being there to sabotage the women's unit during war game exercises, Peter must prove himself to the unit's commander. Francis gives plenty of advice to help Peter save his honor and get the girl. Chill Wills does double duty as the General and as the voice of Francis. As you might suspect, this mule makes a better general than a person! Emma liked seeing Chill Wills in order to put a face with the voice. She also liked the fact that the girls were able to beat the guys! Dad likes seeing the old military gear and uniforms. Dad gives it 2 1/2 stars and Emma gives it three. ... Read more


14. That's Entertainment!
Director: Jack Haley Jr.
list price: $9.94
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Asin: 0790745143
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 8866
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars That's Entertainment I: Do it: big, right, and with class!
That's Entertainment I - Reviewed By David E. Shattuck

I have always liked musicals and have had my favorites but viewing "That's Entertainment I" gave me a great lesson into their history. Do you remember at Christmas ever receiving one of those exotic candy samplers in your stocking? Well watching this video gave me a taste of a lot of "fine chocolates" that I want to sample over and over again. You start out visiting the remains of the once great MGM studios hosted by various famous stars who worked for those studios such as Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelley, Jimmy Stuart , Elizabeth Taylor, Donald Connor, Debbie Renoylds,Mickey Rooney and Liza Minelli. I felt like I was in Greece touring the ruins of the gods with those gods and goddesses as my tour Guides. It made me sad to see this once great institution in ruins, those stars aging, and the art form called the musical in decline in our era. Throughout its history MGM created over 200 musicals with the high points being in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Perhaps the last great musical, the Sound of Music was in the 60s over 30 years ago. The early musicals were traced back to the 20s and were born when sound arrived in the movies. I wondered what happened to many of those silent movie stars who were the first victims of technological downsizing in Hollywood. My personal favorites have always been Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse but I learned about Eleanor Powell and found her a better partner to Fred Astaire than Ginger Rodgers who looked stressed but excellent in her numbers with Fred. There was a classic clip of Fred who proved he could dance with a hat rack ( which didn't look as good as Ginger ) and a scene from the "Royal Wedding" where he danced on the sides of the walls and the ceiling always winding down to a sitting position like he never expended a bit of energy and showing no sweat. I had many of one liner observations from the video and here they go: I enjoyed a clip from the Ziegfield Follies which turns out to be the only musical in which Gene Kelley and Fred Astair worked together; their is a rare footage of Jimmy Stuart walking in song with Eleanor Powell; a timeless dance between Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse to "Dancing in the Dark" from the "Bandwagon";scenes of Gene Kelley doing his own acrobatic stunt dances; Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney numbers from the Hardy Boys (They made a great couple); Ann Miller (the best lady tap dancer) from "Small Town Girl"; Donald Oconnor doing a classic comedy dance in "Singing in the Rain"; and of course the color and pageantry of Ester Williams swimming with the likes of Fernando Lamas, Van Johnson, Peter Lawford, Ricardo Montabaum, and even Jimmy Durante, Red Skelton, and cartoon characters Tom and Jerry. (Ester was a well sculpted figure with strong muscular legs and perhaps might be a body builder today). I thoroughly enjoyed "That's Entertainment I" and look forward to watching II and III. I pray that there will once again be a revival of the musical . Today the musical lives on in different forms such as "Riverdance" and interesting enough in the many animated movies of Disney such as Aladdin and Pocahontas . I close with a quote from the video by Frank Sinatra who said the MGM motto has always been, "Do it big, do it right, and give it class". Now that's entertainment!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for musical beginners
I bought "That's Entertainment" a few years ago and fell in love with it. Prior to that, the only musical I'd seen was "Anchors Aweigh". I feel that "That's Entertainment" is perfect for people who are interested in great MGM musicals but don't know a lot about them. I know that this helped me decide which movies and which actors I thought would be most appealing to me. For instance, watching the Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire segments greatly impressed me and I now have almost all of the two dancers' films. However, I was bored during the Esther Williams sequences in "That's Entertainment" and so I knew that I probably wouldn't enjoy her films.

Longtime fans of musicals will probably be familiar with most of the segments in "That's Entertainment". Even if you have seen all of the movies featured in the film, you still get to see your favorite stars introducing the various segments. Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Bing Crosby, and many others all make guest appearances to introduce various clips.

In conclusion, I recommend this movie to all MGM musical fans, but especially to those who don't know much about the genre and would like a chance to be able to pick out their favorite performers from a wide range of talents and abilities.

5-0 out of 5 stars FINALLY! IT'S ON ITS WAY TO DVD! Spread the joyous news!
The dream is becoming a reality. All THREE of the THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! films are coming to DVD in a boxed set from Warner Bros.

Read the juicy details and get ready for a great Xmas!

The musical of musicals makes its DVD debut on October 12, when Warner Home Video presents MGM's acclaimed musical anthologies - That's Entertainment!, That's Entertainment, Part 2 and That's Entertainment! III - in a special edition four-disc DVD giftset, That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection. Representing some of the most requested titles in WHV's vast library, That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection gets the "red carpet" treatment with each feature in the trilogy presented with a fully remastered picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and features both the 16x9 widescreen theatrical version, plus full-screen 4x3 version with letterboxed performance segments.

That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection includes a bonus fourth disc entitled That's Entertainment: Treasures from the Vault, available exclusively with the giftset featuring more than five hours of exciting extras including three great documentaries, premiere night coverage and salutes to the great behind-the-camera talents, TV specials, making-of featurettes, plus an extensive video jukebox of rare, star-packed musical outtakes from classic films, and more!

"Exuberant, extravagant..." - Newsweek

That's Entertainment! showcases 125 stars from nearly 100 films including superstars Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Liza Minnelli, Peter Lawford, Donald O'Connor, James Stewart and many more. Originally released in 1974 to mark MGM's 50th Anniversary and to celebrate the golden era of the greatest movie musicals ever made, That's Entertainment! was an unexpected surprise smash at the boxoffice, grossing $28 million at the time and firmly establishing the MGM musical within the pantheon of greatness within American film history. Written, produced and directed by Jack Haley Jr., with Daniel Melnick as executive producer, That's Entertainment! uniquely blends newly-filmed accounts of the personal memories of 11 of the stars who were at MGM from 1929-1958 during the making of these classic films with a panoramic retrospective of unforgettable musical sequences from them. Film historian Robert Osborne provides a new introduction to all three films on DVD.

"A wonderful movie...a priceless souvenir." - Pat Collins, WCBS-TV

Originally released in 1976, That's Entertainment, Part 2 continues the dazzling tradition of That's Entertainment! taking up where the other one left off, presenting fabulous sequences from movie musicals and highlighting such non-singing stars as Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and the Marx Brothers. Also featured are two of the champion song and dance men of all time, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly (together for the first time since Ziegfeld Follies of 1946), acting not only as narrators but also as performers, singing and dancing in all-new numbers directed by Kelly just for the film. That's Entertainment, Part 2 was produced by Saul Chaplin and Daniel Melnick, with narration by Leonard Gershe and additional music arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle.

"That's more than entertainment, that's pure gold." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Released in 1994 in celebration of MGM's 70th Anniversary, That's Entertainment! III brings back to the screen the stars and musical numbers that have excited audiences for generations. In the acclaimed tradition of its two predecessors, That's Entertainment! III incorporates scores of famous songs and dances from MGM films and reunites nine of the performers who rose to international stardom through their MGM association. That's Entertainment! III features astonishing classic musical moments, great comedy and romantic teams and unearths rare footage with marvelous big-star scenes originally unseen because they were cut from their films. Gene Kelly opens and closes the picture as nine starry hosts including June Allyson, Cyd Charrise, Lena Horne, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds, Mickey Rooney and Esther Williams present this must-see assemblage of Golden Era treasures, none of which has been seen in either of the previous films. Written, produced and directed by Bud Friedgen & Michael J. Sheridan, the film was executive produced by Peter Fitzgerald.

An amazing fourth disc is an added bonus available only with the That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection giftset with more than five hours of extra content features sure to enthrall fans of the great MGM musicals. Entitled That's Entertainment: Treasures From The Vault, the exclusive disc includes rare extended footage from MGM's 25th Anniversary luncheon in 1949; "That's Entertainment: 50 Years of MGM" (1974 TV special covering footage from the original premiere of That's Entertainment! in Beverly Hills with Army Archerd as the 'red carpet' master of ceremonies, rare interviews and the famous assemblage of legendary MGM stars on the stage. Unseen since originally broadcast thirty years ago); "That's Entertainment! III Behind the Screen" (1994 making-of documentary about the behind the camera talent); "The Lion Roars Again" (1975 MGM short); lengthy excerpts from "The Mike Douglas Show" TV special in 1976 that featured two days of premiere coverage of That's Entertainment, Part 2; "The Masters Behind The Musicals" (a brand-new half hour documentary with Ann Miller, Jane Powell, Angela Lansbury and others); "Just One More Time" (1974 THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! featurette); and a dazzling MGM Outtake Jukebox which includes an impressive array of 16 rarely-seen deleted musical numbers from the cutting-room floor featuring such stars as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Esther Williams, Lena Horne, Jane Powell, Mel Torme and many other legendary MGM stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's COMING!!!!
Time-Warner has announced that on October 12, they will release a 4 DVD set featuring the 3 "That's Entertainment" movies in newly restored editions, with both wide-screen and pan-and-versions on the disc. Also the 4th disc will have several documentaries and other features on the making of these films. Should be a real treat for nostalgia lovers everywhere!!! This year is the 30th anniversary of "That's Entertainment!"

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Vote For A DVD!!
I was nine year old when That's Entertainment was in movie theaters but I didn't see it back then but saw it a couple of years ago on Turner Classic Movies and it is very entertaining. It has many clips from MGM musicals and is hosted by several entertainers including Fred Astaire and I recommend it and I hope it will be put on DVD! ... Read more


15. Singin' in the Rain
Director: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 630233683X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 35641
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

No one even bothers to argue about it any more--by any standard and international consensus, this is the best movie musical of them all. Its arcane, unlikely milieu is Hollywood during the transition in the late 1920s from silent to sound motion pictures. Its reason for being was producer Arthur Freed's desire to use the catalog of songs he had written with Nacio Herb Brown in the '20s and '30s for various shows and movies. But, ironically, it's now the soundtrack that seems cobbled together from disparate sources, while the movie itself remains seamless. That's thanks to a literate screenplay by Adolph Green and Betty Comden and ebulliant acting and dancing by the young Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. Jean Hagen is especially brilliant as the silent-screen star whose speaking voice is so screechy she has to be dubbed for talkies. Kelly codirected with Stanley Donen, and both can take credit for a masterpiece. Musical standouts are "You Were Meant for Me," "Good Morning" and "All I Do Is Dream of You." Visually, the indelible image will always be Kelly sloshing around in puddles while singin' in the rain. That said, this coupling of video with a definitive version of the soundtrack benefits from Rhino's meticulous reconstruction of the material and extensive annotations, which only enhance our grasp of this film and musical legend's gestation. ---Robert Windeler ... Read more

Reviews (223)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Citizen Kane of musicals
So many films in my collection are "important", "serious", "disturbing", or "great", and as much as I treasure them (films like Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and Ran), there is only so much self-importance a person can take before the pores fairly scream out for something just plain fun; something slight, buoyant, silly, and full of energy. Singin' in the Rain is just that kind of movie. The funny part is, I generally HATE musicals!

In 1951, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen took a collection of songs by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown and - assisted by a pitch-perfect screenplay from the writing team of Adolph Green and Betty Comden - sculpted one of the great classic fusions of popular cinematic art and precision dance craft. It is the Citizen Kane of musicals: a virtual catalog of musical film technique, executed flawlessly.

But that alone would not be enough to separate Singin' in the Rain from the kind of musical I can't stand (which is to say, just about every other musical ever made). No, what makes this one special is that it knows what it is and celebrates it. It never for a moment asks you to forget you're watching a movie and then grinds to a screeching halt for the musical number. Instead, it deconstructs itself before your very eyes (and ears) as a razor-sharp, self-aware satire of the movie industry - as well as a joyous expression of the pure ecstasy of great song and dance. In that sense, it is one of the few so-called musicals that actually achieves a genuine symbiosis of drama, music, and kinetic performance art.

If all this sounds rather gushing and pretentious, so be it. This is great film-making. It is Rolex Oyster Perpetual film-making. This DVD edition sparkles with ultra-saturated colors, digitally remixed Dolby 5.1 sound, and some terrific extras (even if you're not particularly into musicals).

My favorite sequence is the eerily fluid dance work between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse against a Dali-esque background near the end of the film. Charisse is spellbinding as she trails a gravity-defying veil that must be 30 feet long. It hangs in the air, suspended by wind machines as she uses her extraordinary dance skill (and fantastic legs) to affect a wordless seduction of Kelly's naive, love-struck hero. Great stuff.

Even if you don't think of yourself as the "musical type", give Singin' in the Rain a try. After all that heavy, bitter, existential cinema, it makes one helluva fine dessert.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSICAL
Once upon a time there was a place called HOLLYWOOD. It wasn't just a town or even an industry, it was a state of mind. They didn't call the studios Dream Factories for nothing. This film is the epitome of the musical art and craft. This is a real "Movie Movie," made entirely on the MGM lot. The real creme de la creme of MGM contributed to it's creation; produced by Arthur Freed, starring Gene Kelly (with a brilliant turn by the dazzling ,long-legged Cyd Charisse), contract players like Debbie Reynolds and Kathleen Freeman (still going strong, currently appearing on Broadway in "The Full Monty") with costumes by my favorite designer Walter Plunkett (Gone With The Wind, 7 Brides For 7 Brothers, etc). Check out the sumptuous designs for the "Beautiful Girls" number and the outrageous spider dress at the opening night party. The real lowdown is that Jean Hagen and Donald O'Connor practically steal the show from the leads in possibly the best performances of their careers. This film is pure joy. The script by Comden and Green is not only clever but actually goofs on a real period of transition of the American film from silent to talkie.It is also a brilliant job of recycling a trunkload of old songs. This happy film has the courage to do what American musicals and comedies do best: be silly and make you forget you troubles for an hour and a half. Next time you are in bed with the flu or trying to get over a miserable love affair, take a look at Singing In The Rain. It can't help but curl up the corners of your mouth and drive the clouds away.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Musical with Terrific Dancing -- a Trifle Dated
"Singin' in the Rain" is the definitive Hollywood musical, and charms and delights our 21st century audiences despite the (very few) characteristics of the genre that don't hold up quite so well.

There are so many high points to this movie -- the amazing cast, the songs, the choreography, and, most surprisingly, the satirical send-up of Hollywood and the "star system."

The plot is well-known. Silent film star couple, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly, who also co-directed with Stanley Donen) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are America's sweethearts. At a Hollywood premiere of their latest romance, breathless fans ignore sidekick Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor, in perhaps the best sidekick performance in film history) and scream in delight as Lockwood and Lamont pander to their adoration. Nobody, however, seems to notice that the gorgeous Lamont never speaks . . .

Her imposed silence Lamont has a voice that recalls a cat with its tail caught in a wringer, although Lamont is such a "dumb blonde" (bless Hagen -- nobody ever played this stereotype better!) that she is blissfully unaware of her screech. No matter, 'cause it's the silent film era, right? Wrong! Progress brings in "The Jazz Singer" and the era of "talkies." No longer will clever staging of press events suffice.

Soon, Don Lockwood is staring career meltdown in the face as the first Lockwood-Lamont "talkie" sends the audience into hysterics. Not only is Lamont's screech audibly offensive, they can't keep the sound synchronized to the film, and the sound editing even when in synch is as amateurish as a high-school film production.

What to do? Fortunately, Lockwood had fallen for young, beautiful Kathy Selden (a teenage Debbie Reynolds), a starlet in the making. Cosmo comes up with the idea of dubbing Selden's voice for Lamont's, and all is fixed . . . or not. Lamont, an imbecile but smart enough to know her value, insists on ruining Selden's career to preserve her own . . . and so on and so forth.

The plot, ingenious as it is, is really secondary. The main delight in this movie is the amazing dancin' and singin' that the performers offer up. While most of it is pretty silly, campy stuff (particularly the Kelly-O'Connor set pieces), they simply dazzle. Kelly is the most robust, athletic dancer of his generation, and O'Connor, well, the man doesn't have a bone in his body. While the movie's most famous scene comes from Kelly splashing in puddles during the title track, the most amazing dance number has to be O'Connor's comic flailings in "Make 'Em Laugh," where he runs up walls, flirts with a mannequin, and generally pulls out all stops.

Debbie Reynolds does a magnificent job keeping up with these two giants, and is generally a pleasure to watch, even though she's clearly outclassed as a hoofer.

While some great old films seem to get better with age (think "Casablanca," "Gone With the Wind," and "Citizen Kane"), "Singin' in the Rain" is an American classic that does not hold up quite so well in some minor respects. For example, when breaking into choreographed step, Kelly, O'Connor, and Reynolds sometimes appear too rigid, with smiles frozen on their faces, which is incongruous to those raised on more modern musicals like "Moulin Rouge," where the dancers take a more naturalistic, emotional approach to their dancing. The dancing in "Singin'" holds up, but the performers were constrained by the expectations of their audiences, which somehow demanded that the performers "look pleasant" while dancing.

Still, "Singin' in the Rain" remains one of the best tonics to a foul mood ever . . . I defy you to watch this movie and not feel a smile creeping over your face.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Musical Comedy Ever Produced!
I fell in love with this film when I was seven years old; I watched it on a B&W television on "The Early Show" in NY (circa 1957 or 1958). I didn't know who any of the stars were - it didn't matter. It was magic to me. From the Hollywood opening (dignity, always dignity), the romp of the elocution lessons (Moses supposes his toes are roses!), and the trial and mostly error of trying to record the sound ("I can't make love to a BUSH!") when the gorgeous leading lady has a voice that rivals nails on a blackboard, all the way to the grown man dancing in the rain and the final rising curtain - pure magic. In glorious black and white - at the time, I didn't even know it HAD colour! I decided then and there, this was my absolute all-time favourite movie. (One of the highlights of my adult life was seeing this wonder on a full, big screen at a revival in the 1970s.) I have seen many films since then; I have reviewed them for friends & family, written reviews for a monthly entertainment publication. I have an extensive collection of my own (VHS & DVD). I know a lot more about films and production values now.

"Singin'in the Rain" remains my all-time favourite film. (No surprise, this.) It's not just another one of "those MGM musicals." It was released in 1952. Dated stuff? Not a bit. Unlike the marvelous "An American in Paris," which was done as a contemporary film to its time, "Singin' in the Rain" is a period film, and it's based in fact.

This film (which started out to be a western for Howard Keel) takes a fond and loving look at the birthpains of the sound film (the "talkies). Set in 1927, with authentic equipment from MGM's own history (Debbie Reynolds drives Andy Hardy's old jalopy, the microphones are real), it details the frantic efforts to get on the sound bandwagon - no one was completely sure of the new technology. What makes the plot classic is the basis in fact. Many silent stars had totally unacceptable voices or speech (too nasal, unintelligible foreign accents, too high, too low, etc.) for sound production. The songs used were true to the period.

Then we have the performers. Jean Hagen was nominated for an Academy Award for her role of Lina Lamont. The character (whose voice you don't hear for the first 10+ minutes of the film, although she's on-screen) is a one-of-a-kind. [Side note: the voice dubbing Lina's line is actually Hagen's normal voice, not that of Debbie Reynold's Kathy Selden.] Reynolds does an admirable job - it couldn't have been easy keeping up with her two male co-stars. It's still a joy to see Donald O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh," and wonderful to see Gene Kelly teamed with a good male partner for "Fit as a Fiddle" and "Moses". Gene Kelly is, and always shall be, the best and this was done at his peak.

Of course, for anyone who has been living in the back of a cave under a rock (or too young to appreciate it), the title number is a delight. It looks like one continuous take, it is so smooth. This was not the first appearance of the song, but it's the one we all remember. The sheer exuberance of Kelly's performance carries us right along with him.

The extras with this set are valued items for anyone like me who is interested in the backstory of the era and this film in particular. And don't fuss for a widescreen version. This is the way it was. And now it always will be.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly entertaining musical
I have to say first of all that I am *not* at all a fan of musicals (or comedies for that matter) - I am a drama fan. I have seen a few musicals here and there over the years and tried to like them - such as 1964's "My Fair Lady" and 1961's "West Side Story." I liked both of them *somewhat,* but not too much - because I have always strongly preferred films that are realistic --> in real life, people don't burst into song when they are in one particular circumstance or another. Yet, I couldn't help enjoying myself with a smile on my face as I watched this film that landed so high (#10) on AFI's list of the top 100 American films of all time. Donald O'Connor, in particular, as Cosmo, was so perfectly cast in his role. The film was at times hilarious and at times wonderfully romantic. I definitely would recommend everyone to try this film out. B+. ... Read more


16. Francis Goes to the Races
Director: Arthur Lubin
list price: $9.98
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Asin: 6303072232
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 27167
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice, Amiable Sequel to Francis The Talking Mule
Donald O'Connor gave a glow to just about anything he ever appeared in. He's wonderful here, too. In Francis, the Sequel, he's back as sweet-natured, newly discharged Army Lieutenant, Peter Stirling. The film picks up where the original left off, so there's a nice feeling of continuity to it. Poor Peter can't seem to stay out of trouble, and poor Francis can't keep himself from coming to the rescue, much though he might like to. There's a nifty scene of Francis' over-imbibing and slobbering affection all over his human buddy, and a brief duet of "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" between Peter and Francis that's just enchanting. Nice film. Not the best in the series, but a fine sequel and well worth seeing.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love Donald O'Connor
People may think movies about a talking mule are for kids or for the insane but don't be quick to judge. These films are hilarious for young and old (even though some of the jokes kids wouldn't really get). These two are two of my favorites out of the six that I own. Donald O'Connor, my favorite actor(who is I think extremely underated)gives a fabulous comedic performance in both of these films. I've seen these movies hundreds of times and they always remain extremely witty and charming. Don't miss out on classic comedies like these.

4-0 out of 5 stars FAMILY FRIENDLY
The Grand Puba says "You can feel comfortable letting the kiddos watch all of the Francis movies! Loads of slapstick and fun. Load up on microwave popcorn & flop a flick into the VCR! FRANCIS, gotta love ya' baby!"

5-0 out of 5 stars Of the series, this is Dad's favorite.
The plot pretty well stay on track in this story about Francis (the talking mule, of course) and Peter Sterling (Donald O'Conner). They have just mustered out of the army and are heading back to Peter's home town when Francis meets a relative who happens to be a race horse. Emma was stunned by what the mobsters did to Francis! (No, we don't give away the tense scenes!) Emma says "Call me strange, but I liked the scene where Francis drank just a little too much." Dad wonders if everyone just dressed a lot better when they were seen in public. Did everyone really wear suits to the racetrack? Anyway, a very young Piper Laurie plays the romantic interest. It may not make you laugh out loud, but the wisecracks will bring out a smile. Emma gives this 3 stars and Dad gives it 3 1/2. ... Read more


17. Toys
Director: Barry Levinson
list price: $6.98
our price: $6.98
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Asin: 6302731232
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 13578
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (58)

3-0 out of 5 stars A visual wonder, but a misguided film
Here is a film that has some of the most wonderous sights I have seen in any film. TOYS creates a world of a toy factory that is so wonderful, so imaginative, that you wonder how this movie could possibly have gone wrong. Barry Levinson had this film in mind since before he did DINER, and he found his main star in Robin Williams after they worked on GOOD MORNING VIETNAM. It is obvious what he wants to accomplish. To show us a fantasy world that couldn't exist but that you would love it if it did, that only innocence should prevail in the world of toys. He accomplishes the first half with exuberance. He is aided by three absolutely wonderful performances: Robin Williams, Joan Cusack, and Robin Wright Penn. But he comes to a conclusion that is not only confusing but really bizarre.

Robin Williams is Leslie Zevo. His father is Kenneth Zevo, founder of Zevo Toys, a factory that doesn't so much exist in a town but in the middle of its own world. Zevo is old and dying and played by the legendary Donald O'Connor. (His funeral scene creates a nice little laugh until I remembered that O'Connor himself passed away a few months ago.) Kenneth Zevo must hand over control of his factory, but feels that his son Leslie isn't ready for this job. And his daughter Al-Sashia (Joan Cusack) isn't, well you find out at the end of the film. So he turns the factory over to his brother General Zevo (Michael Gambon) of the U.S. Army.

General Zevo clearly doesn't want the job, but the Army isn't the way he remembers it. He is the kind of soldier who would shoot a fly with his .45 sidearm instead of using a fly swatter. That creates a nice laugh, but in a really funny scene he goes to visit his father, who never tires of humiliating hiis son by showing how he outranks him. What to do? He tours the factory in a sequence that demonstrates again and again the visual wonder of this world. But this isn't his world. He begins to think that there may be a market in the world of war toys, but Willaims and everyone else at the company feels that it isn't the company's style.

General Zevo comes up with an idea. The only reason I can reveal this idea is to explain how the film goes off the rails. The company will manufacture miniature toys armed with real bullets, missiles, and bombs. They will be controlled by children who think they are playing videogames and scoring points. When his scheme is discovered by Williams and Cusack they find themselves running through the factory pursued by the miniature war toys. Bullets are soon flying, explosions are going off, and everything leads to a battle between the evil war toys and the old innocent wind-up toys. It is here when my heart started to really sink. Why couldn't Barry Levinson come up with a more imaginative solution to stop the General than having innocent toys attack (and be blown to pieces) by war toys? Surely a movie with such imaginative setting could give us a payoff just as imaginative, couldn't it?

Robin Williams was born to play this character. He is so convincing as a man who never seemed to grow up. Again and again he uses his gift for verbal improvisation that for once doesn't stop a film dead in its tracks. Joan Cusack displays a charming innocence that many times I don't always see. At the end the secret of who her character really is doesn't come across as a surprise. And there's a nice sweet romance between Williams and Robin Wright Penn as a new employee. And all during the opening, first act, and middle, is that wonderful look. The production designer Ferdinand Scafforeili was nominated for an Academy Award, and perhaps should have received a special achievement for it.

So, TOYS has a magnificent extravagant look, terrific performances, and even some really sweet and delightful music (especially the opening song). But it doesn't have an imaginative conclusion or a good third act. I guess I will recommend this film. Its good qualities really are the price of admission. But ask yourself, what was that ending all about?

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one you experience, not watch.
If some songs are enjoyable more on account of their phonic sound than the actual melody they offer, then Toys likewise, is a film that can be enjoyed more for its sheer imagery than for its none-too-profound storyline. As many critics--even the adoring ones--will tell you, this movie won't be remembered on the strength of its plot. It's an uncomplicated (if also a little thematically-preachy) story of youthful innocense, big-bully intimidation, and then conclusively, of victorious, passive retaliation. And they're all worthy concepts. However, Barry Levinson doesn't make his audiences mull them over during the movie. To the contrary, it's rather difficult to ponder much of anything in light of the devastatingly gorgeous scenery, the brilliantly simple contraptions, and the fairytale-like quality of the characters.

If ever there was a celluloid catalyst for shattering actor typecasts, this was it. Robin Williams' performance reveals a mostly unfamiliar vulnerable sincerity that, frankly, creeped me out a couple times throughout the story. Similarly, you have Joan Cusack at her most delicate and gently-spoken (with exception of course to the laughable observation she makes in regards to war being "the domain of a small..." so on and so forth). L.L. Cool J competently delivers the role of a convincingly clean, wholesome, family-valued military man caught between the warring factions of his own family, represented by a hawk (his own father, played by the appropriately casted Michael Gambon) and the dove (a perpetually juvenile Williams). Robin Wright Penn isn't given much of a stage in Toys, and consequently her performance is less than striking here. But to her credit, she nurses a few otherwise-forgettable scenes (particularly the overtly ad-libbed cafeteria scene with Williams) back to life with her disarming laugh and sincere attention.

The trivia fanatics will keenly spot the underutilized, but aptly included cameos of Yeardly Smith and Jamie Foxx.

I'm not a big movie fan, in fact I rent/buy movies reluctantly. But this one captivated me from square one and it's a hard one to let go of. Incidentally, I highly recommend the soundtrack. It's a musical revelation that does great honor to the film (with an outstanding and uncredited brief performance by the incomparable Seal).

Chances are, anyone who's reading these reviews has already seen the movie; it's not a film that is naturally attracting new audiences this long after its making. However, I'm convinced this was due in monster proportions to the lack of popular exposure that Toys received, both initially in theaters and subsequently in it's video/DVD release. I, for one, happened to see Toys only by dumb luck, and have been grateful for walking into the theater ever since. But the minimal promotion that was afforded to Toys is all right by me. This is one cinematic secret I'm happy to be in on.

1-0 out of 5 stars Get Lost!
Watching "Toys" was like watching "Teletubbies" dumbed down for an audience of subhumans.

Six Millions Jews died in concentration camps during World War II. It took the combined forces of the free world to stop this genocide. Williams and the production company that made "Toys" are just closet nazis.

Inasmuch as I watched this self-righteous piece of elitist garbage, I can say without any hesitation that if you believe that the world would be better off in the hands of some two-bit despot, then maybe you'll be stupid enough to accept the premise of this peice of unadulterated nonsense...

By the way, I'm not runblader. I just agree with him.

5-0 out of 5 stars May Innocence And Joy Prevail....
"runblader", the person who gave this movie a low-rating in which he called this movie "Anti-American Propaganda", needs to grow the hell up. This is a great film. About a man of peace. What's so wrong about that, runblader? What is it that you are lacking inside that you need to invoke images of 9/11 to attack this film? Anyone who debases this film based on notions of patriotism needs to get a smack in the head. Williams, Cusack, LL Cool J and a host of other actors make this well-directed romp a joy to view. It's actually entertaining enough for multiple viewings. The visual effects, as some reviewers more intelligent that runblader have suggested, are amazing. It's as though someone shot film straight from someone's dream. Visually impactful like The Truman Show, as an example. Shun anyone who doesn't like this film. Make them pariahs. It's no less than they deserve.

3-0 out of 5 stars This movie is still ahead of it's time, but getting closer
A strange choice of metaphors, but still a very compelling critique of the American democratic process and it's mishandling by different citizenry.
If the Toy Factory is US republican democracy, and the elder Zevo the generation leaving the country in it's current quandry this movie can make a bit of sense. The "poor" choices of the past(militaristic Uncle in charge of the factory) compell the newer generations to reorient the system(democracy as toy factory) towards it's original intent. The founder(or founders Jefferson,Madison et al) Zevo had no idea of the damage the company would tolerate and still move towards a stronger more democratic outcome. An allegory for the younger Bush administration, we should all be amazed at how our poor choices inflict harm and ruin our way of life. Catch the Tori Amos, happy worker song at the beginning of the movie and contrast this with the miltary dictatorship that insues.
It's hard to know if the intent of the father was to shake the son out of his doldrums and trivial existence, or a truly poor choice of leadership. As we relinquish our rights, it becomes harder and harder to reacquire them as the newer systems congeal. Warren Zevo has early and ample opportunity to question the decisions, but inaction allows the Uncle to overwhelm and adulterate the system. In the end, in revolutionary fashion, the jackbooted thugs are defeated and retired to a quiet existence. The world is saved, and innocence prevails. ... Read more


18. Colgate Comedy Hour
Director: Charles Friedman, William Asher, Bud Yorkin
list price: $9.99
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Asin: 6303011470
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 5353
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19. Singin' in the Rain
Director: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0792840852
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 3453
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Decades before the Hollywood film industry became famous for megabudget disaster and science fiction spectaculars, the studios of Southern California (and particularly Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) were renowned for a uniquely American (and nearly extinct) kind of picture known as The Musical. Indeed, when the prestigious British film magazine Sight & Sound conducts its international critics poll in the second year of every decade, this 1952 MGM picture is the American musical that consistently ranks among the 10 best movies ever made. It's not only a great song-and-dance piece starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and a sprightly Debbie Reynolds; it's also an affectionately funny insider spoof about the film industry's uneasy transition from silent pictures to "talkies." Kelly plays debonair star Don Lockwood, whose leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) has a screechy voice hilariously ill-suited to the new technology (and her glamorous screen image). Among the musical highlights: O'Connor's knockout "Make 'Em Laugh"; the big "Broadway Melody" production number; and, best of all, that charming little title ditty in which Kelly makes movie magic on a drenched set with nothing but a few puddles, a lamppost, and an umbrella. --Jim Emerson ... Read more

Reviews (223)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Citizen Kane of musicals
So many films in my collection are "important", "serious", "disturbing", or "great", and as much as I treasure them (films like Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and Ran), there is only so much self-importance a person can take before the pores fairly scream out for something just plain fun; something slight, buoyant, silly, and full of energy. Singin' in the Rain is just that kind of movie. The funny part is, I generally HATE musicals!

In 1951, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen took a collection of songs by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown and - assisted by a pitch-perfect screenplay from the writing team of Adolph Green and Betty Comden - sculpted one of the great classic fusions of popular cinematic art and precision dance craft. It is the Citizen Kane of musicals: a virtual catalog of musical film technique, executed flawlessly.

But that alone would not be enough to separate Singin' in the Rain from the kind of musical I can't stand (which is to say, just about every other musical ever made). No, what makes this one special is that it knows what it is and celebrates it. It never for a moment asks you to forget you're watching a movie and then grinds to a screeching halt for the musical number. Instead, it deconstructs itself before your very eyes (and ears) as a razor-sharp, self-aware satire of the movie industry - as well as a joyous expression of the pure ecstasy of great song and dance. In that sense, it is one of the few so-called musicals that actually achieves a genuine symbiosis of drama, music, and kinetic performance art.

If all this sounds rather gushing and pretentious, so be it. This is great film-making. It is Rolex Oyster Perpetual film-making. This DVD edition sparkles with ultra-saturated colors, digitally remixed Dolby 5.1 sound, and some terrific extras (even if you're not particularly into musicals).

My favorite sequence is the eerily fluid dance work between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse against a Dali-esque background near the end of the film. Charisse is spellbinding as she trails a gravity-defying veil that must be 30 feet long. It hangs in the air, suspended by wind machines as she uses her extraordinary dance skill (and fantastic legs) to affect a wordless seduction of Kelly's naive, love-struck hero. Great stuff.

Even if you don't think of yourself as the "musical type", give Singin' in the Rain a try. After all that heavy, bitter, existential cinema, it makes one helluva fine dessert.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSICAL
Once upon a time there was a place called HOLLYWOOD. It wasn't just a town or even an industry, it was a state of mind. They didn't call the studios Dream Factories for nothing. This film is the epitome of the musical art and craft. This is a real "Movie Movie," made entirely on the MGM lot. The real creme de la creme of MGM contributed to it's creation; produced by Arthur Freed, starring Gene Kelly (with a brilliant turn by the dazzling ,long-legged Cyd Charisse), contract players like Debbie Reynolds and Kathleen Freeman (still going strong, currently appearing on Broadway in "The Full Monty") with costumes by my favorite designer Walter Plunkett (Gone With The Wind, 7 Brides For 7 Brothers, etc). Check out the sumptuous designs for the "Beautiful Girls" number and the outrageous spider dress at the opening night party. The real lowdown is that Jean Hagen and Donald O'Connor practically steal the show from the leads in possibly the best performances of their careers. This film is pure joy. The script by Comden and Green is not only clever but actually goofs on a real period of transition of the American film from silent to talkie.It is also a brilliant job of recycling a trunkload of old songs. This happy film has the courage to do what American musicals and comedies do best: be silly and make you forget you troubles for an hour and a half. Next time you are in bed with the flu or trying to get over a miserable love affair, take a look at Singing In The Rain. It can't help but curl up the corners of your mouth and drive the clouds away.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Musical with Terrific Dancing -- a Trifle Dated
"Singin' in the Rain" is the definitive Hollywood musical, and charms and delights our 21st century audiences despite the (very few) characteristics of the genre that don't hold up quite so well.

There are so many high points to this movie -- the amazing cast, the songs, the choreography, and, most surprisingly, the satirical send-up of Hollywood and the "star system."

The plot is well-known. Silent film star couple, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly, who also co-directed with Stanley Donen) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are America's sweethearts. At a Hollywood premiere of their latest romance, breathless fans ignore sidekick Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor, in perhaps the best sidekick performance in film history) and scream in delight as Lockwood and Lamont pander to their adoration. Nobody, however, seems to notice that the gorgeous Lamont never speaks . . .

Her imposed silence Lamont has a voice that recalls a cat with its tail caught in a wringer, although Lamont is such a "dumb blonde" (bless Hagen -- nobody ever played this stereotype better!) that she is blissfully unaware of her screech. No matter, 'cause it's the silent film era, right? Wrong! Progress brings in "The Jazz Singer" and the era of "talkies." No longer will clever staging of press events suffice.

Soon, Don Lockwood is staring career meltdown in the face as the first Lockwood-Lamont "talkie" sends the audience into hysterics. Not only is Lamont's screech audibly offensive, they can't keep the sound synchronized to the film, and the sound editing even when in synch is as amateurish as a high-school film production.

What to do? Fortunately, Lockwood had fallen for young, beautiful Kathy Selden (a teenage Debbie Reynolds), a starlet in the making. Cosmo comes up with the idea of dubbing Selden's voice for Lamont's, and all is fixed . . . or not. Lamont, an imbecile but smart enough to know her value, insists on ruining Selden's career to preserve her own . . . and so on and so forth.

The plot, ingenious as it is, is really secondary. The main delight in this movie is the amazing dancin' and singin' that the performers offer up. While most of it is pretty silly, campy stuff (particularly the Kelly-O'Connor set pieces), they simply dazzle. Kelly is the most robust, athletic dancer of his generation, and O'Connor, well, the man doesn't have a bone in his body. While the movie's most famous scene comes from Kelly splashing in puddles during the title track, the most amazing dance number has to be O'Connor's comic flailings in "Make 'Em Laugh," where he runs up walls, flirts with a mannequin, and generally pulls out all stops.

Debbie Reynolds does a magnificent job keeping up with these two giants, and is generally a pleasure to watch, even though she's clearly outclassed as a hoofer.

While some great old films seem to get better with age (think "Casablanca," "Gone With the Wind," and "Citizen Kane"), "Singin' in the Rain" is an American classic that does not hold up quite so well in some minor respects. For example, when breaking into choreographed step, Kelly, O'Connor, and Reynolds sometimes appear too rigid, with smiles frozen on their faces, which is incongruous to those raised on more modern musicals like "Moulin Rouge," where the dancers take a more naturalistic, emotional approach to their dancing. The dancing in "Singin'" holds up, but the performers were constrained by the expectations of their audiences, which somehow demanded that the performers "look pleasant" while dancing.

Still, "Singin' in the Rain" remains one of the best tonics to a foul mood ever . . . I defy you to watch this movie and not feel a smile creeping over your face.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Musical Comedy Ever Produced!
I fell in love with this film when I was seven years old; I watched it on a B&W television on "The Early Show" in NY (circa 1957 or 1958). I didn't know who any of the stars were - it didn't matter. It was magic to me. From the Hollywood opening (dignity, always dignity), the romp of the elocution lessons (Moses supposes his toes are roses!), and the trial and mostly error of trying to record the sound ("I can't make love to a BUSH!") when the gorgeous leading lady has a voice that rivals nails on a blackboard, all the way to the grown man dancing in the rain and the final rising curtain - pure magic. In glorious black and white - at the time, I didn't even know it HAD colour! I decided then and there, this was my absolute all-time favourite movie. (One of the highlights of my adult life was seeing this wonder on a full, big screen at a revival in the 1970s.) I have seen many films since then; I have reviewed them for friends & family, written reviews for a monthly entertainment publication. I have an extensive collection of my own (VHS & DVD). I know a lot more about films and production values now.

"Singin'in the Rain" remains my all-time favourite film. (No surprise, this.) It's not just another one of "those MGM musicals." It was released in 1952. Dated stuff? Not a bit. Unlike the marvelous "An American in Paris," which was done as a contemporary film to its time, "Singin' in the Rain" is a period film, and it's based in fact.

This film (which started out to be a western for Howard Keel) takes a fond and loving look at the birthpains of the sound film (the "talkies). Set in 1927, with authentic equipment from MGM's own history (Debbie Reynolds drives Andy Hardy's old jalopy, the microphones are real), it details the frantic efforts to get on the sound bandwagon - no one was completely sure of the new technology. What makes the plot classic is the basis in fact. Many silent stars had totally unacceptable voices or speech (too nasal, unintelligible foreign accents, too high, too low, etc.) for sound production. The songs used were true to the period.

Then we have the performers. Jean Hagen was nominated for an Academy Award for her role of Lina Lamont. The character (whose voice you don't hear for the first 10+ minutes of the film, although she's on-screen) is a one-of-a-kind. [Side note: the voice dubbing Lina's line is actually Hagen's normal voice, not that of Debbie Reynold's Kathy Selden.] Reynolds does an admirable job - it couldn't have been easy keeping up with her two male co-stars. It's still a joy to see Donald O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh," and wonderful to see Gene Kelly teamed with a good male partner for "Fit as a Fiddle" and "Moses". Gene Kelly is, and always shall be, the best and this was done at his peak.

Of course, for anyone who has been living in the back of a cave under a rock (or too young to appreciate it), the title number is a delight. It looks like one continuous take, it is so smooth. This was not the first appearance of the song, but it's the one we all remember. The sheer exuberance of Kelly's performance carries us right along with him.

The extras with this set are valued items for anyone like me who is interested in the backstory of the era and this film in particular. And don't fuss for a widescreen version. This is the way it was. And now it always will be.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly entertaining musical
I have to say first of all that I am *not* at all a fan of musicals (or comedies for that matter) - I am a drama fan. I have seen a few musicals here and there over the years and tried to like them - such as 1964's "My Fair Lady" and 1961's "West Side Story." I liked both of them *somewhat,* but not too much - because I have always strongly preferred films that are realistic --> in real life, people don't burst into song when they are in one particular circumstance or another. Yet, I couldn't help enjoying myself with a smile on my face as I watched this film that landed so high (#10) on AFI's list of the top 100 American films of all time. Donald O'Connor, in particular, as Cosmo, was so perfectly cast in his role. The film was at times hilarious and at times wonderfully romantic. I definitely would recommend everyone to try this film out. B+. ... Read more


20. Gene Kelly - Anatomy of a Dancer
Director: Robert Trachtenberg
list price: $19.98
our price: $19.98
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Asin: B00006FDHJ
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 17067
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Description

The life and career of this film star and innovator whose work includes Singin' in the Rain, On the Town, and An American in Paris are vibrantly recalled in this profile of the driven genius--often narcissistic, always a perfectionist--who reenergized the movie musical and redefined dance on screen. Packed with marvelous clips (including rare footage of Kelly's breakthrough Pal Joey Broadway role) and interviews with family members and Hollywood colleagues, Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer is the definitive look at a magical talent whose story has never been fully told until now. It's a life to be watched, celebrated, enjoyed. 87 minutes. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and provocative look at a fascinating talent...
Chalk up another one to American Masters and filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg, who follow their impressive collaboration about George Cukor with this magnificent exploration of the life and times of the magnificent Gene Kelly.

The approach of Trachtenberg is unconventional from the first frame, and you know you're in for a captivating entree into life of a man who transformed the genre of movie musicals.

Plentiful film clips (primarily from Kelly's tenture at M-G-M)and frank interviews from those who knew him help to flush out a full portrait of the man and his artistry. It is a film worth watching again and again. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible!
Another top notch documentary from American Masters. This biography of G Kelly is just incredible. An excellent review of his life and films. The big ones, like Singing in the Rain and American in Paris, but also many of the lesser known films. Will leave you shaking your head on how anyone could dance like this. As pointed out in the film, his dancing appealed to men as well as women. His physical abilities made dancing look both artistic and athletic. He created dance numbers never tried before, and not seen since on the silver screen. In addition to all this, the film quality is unbelievable. Nearly every movie clip was restored to better than original condition. The colors and clarity, especially on a high def tv, are so sharp you will not believe these are 50+ year old movie clips. Bottom line, this 85 min documentary is five stars all the way.

5-0 out of 5 stars He's my lucky star...
The first movie I saw of Gene Kelly was "Singin' in the Rain". At first I thought it was going to be an okay movie. But than just watching him singing and dancing in the rain made me feel lighter than air, and so I started dancing around the tv room. Now every time I order off of Amazon, I always make sure that I buy more of Gene Kelly's greatest movies! Also other wonderful musicals that star Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, ext. This time I ordered this biography of Gene Kelly's life. This biography made me fall in love with him even more, and I just hope that all of you Gene Kelly fans will also feel the exact same way. Your're my lucky star Gene Kelly!

5-0 out of 5 stars a great tribute to Gene Kelly
This is a wonderful tribute to Gene Kelly and interviews many of his leading ladies and also his firast wife and aughter. It's a beautiful, entertaining and loving tribute about a wonderful dancer and humen being.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD for Kelly fans
If you are a fan of the wonderful Mr.Kelly,then this is the DVD for you.Lots of interesting background info,and lots of dancing! I fell in love with him when I saw "Singin' in the Rain"when I was three,and have been happily purchasing everything on DVD that is available.The quality of the DVD is excellent,as well.Now excuse me,please,while I go outside and splash around in a few mud puddles!! ... Read more


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