That's Entertainment! The Ultimate Anthology of M-G-M Musicals [Rhino Box Set]

Performers Various Artists

Rhino | April 25, 2006 | Compact Disc

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Composers: Cole Porter; Vicente Paiva; Jararaca Paiva; Irving Berlin; Jimmy McHugh; Kay Thompson; Al Stillman; Nacio Herb Brown; Ralph Blane; Arthur Schwartz; Harold Arlen; Burton Lane; Hugh Martin; Richard Rodgers; Harry Warren .
Lyricists: Cole Porter; Edgar Leslie; Chet Forrest; Fred E. Ahlert; Joe McCarthy ; Bob Cole; Gus Kahn; Harold Adamson; Howard Dietz; Irving Berlin; Helen Deutsch; Dorothy Donnelly; James F. Hanley; Jerry Leiber; Jimmy Durante; Jo Trent; Adolph Deutsch; Adolph Green; Johnny Mercer; Kay Thompson; Kermit Goell; Lew Brown; Marty Symes; Mike Stoller; Otto Harbach; Andy Razaf; Ralph Blane; Ralph Freed; Ray Gilbert; Roger Edens; Saul Chaplin; Arthur Fields; Arthur Freed; Shelton Brooks; Ted Fetter; Ted Koehler; Walter Donovan; Walter Jurmann; Ben Ryan; Sammy Cahn; Betty Comden; Ira Gershwin; Mack Gordon; Oscar Hammerstein II; E.Y. "Yip" Harburg; Lorenz Hart; John Latouche; Alan Jay Lerner; Hugh Martin; Jack Norworth; Leo Robin; Bob Wright; Channing Pollack.
Personnel: Jimmy Durante (vocals, piano); Clark Gable, Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards, Connie Russell, Cyd Charisse, Dan Dailey, George Sanders , Douglas McPhail, Dorothy Wilkerson, Jim Burroughs, Debbie Reynolds , Jimmie Garland, Dinah Shore, Dolores Gray, Donald O'Connor, Doris Day, Polly Moran, Jules Munshin, Ralph Rlane, Ed Hall, Charles King, Robert Taylor , Elvis Presley, Jerry the Mouse, India Adams, Ethel Waters, Eugene Cox, Alice Ludes, Fanny Brice, Elva Kellogg, Kenneth Rundquist, Judy Matson, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly , Betty Jaynes, George Chakiris, Ginger Rogers, Gloria DeHaven, Grace Kelly, Johnny Jonston, Margaret O'Brien, Ralph Brewster, Charles Pavalato, Hal Hopper, Bill Lee, Harry Dean Stanton, Rex Dennis, Howard Keel, Dorothy McCarty, Arnet Amos, Claude Martin, Jack Buchanan, Lee Gotch, Dorothy Jackson, The Williams Brothers, Jane Powell, Janis Paige, Jeanette MacDonald, Jimmy Stewart , Joan Crawford, Joan McCracken, Jud Conlon, Judy Garland, June Allyson, Kathryn Grayson, Kay Armen, Kay Thompson, Keenan Wynn, Lee Wiley, Lena Horne, Leslie Caron, Louis Armstrong, Louis Calhern, Louis Jourdan, Loulie Jean Norman, Mario Lanza, Marjorie Lane, Marjorie Main, Allan Jones , Mary Moder, Allen Jones , Mel Ferrer, Mickey Rooney, Nancy Walker, Nanette Fabray, Nelson Eddy, Pete Roberts , Peter Lawford, Ann Miller, Ann Sothern, Ray Bolger, Ruth Clark, Arvell Shaw, Sophie Tucker, Tony Martin, Trudy Erwin, Vic Damone, Barrett Deems, Virginia O'Brien, Yvonne De Carlo, Maurice Chevalier, Betty Hutton, Betty Lynn, Hermione Gingold, Billy Kyle , Oscar Levant, William Warfield, Bing Crosby, Trummy Young, Bobbie Canvin, Carleton Carpenter, Carol Richards (vocals); Robert Tucker, Roger Edens (piano).
Liner Note Author: George Feltenstein.
Ensembles: Dodge Twins; Berry Brothers.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Stereophonic Sound; Eleanor Powell; Fred Astaire.
Arrangers: David Raksin; Wally Haglin; Wayne Allen; Albert Sendrey; Lloyd "Skip" Martin; Maurice DePackh; Conrad Salinger; George Bassman; Calvin Jackson; Harry Richman; Henry Mancini; Herbert Stothart; Leo Arnaud; Bob Van Eps; Murray Cutter; Jack Matthias; Frank Skinner; Robert Van Epps; Robert Franklyn; Edward B. Powell; Ted Duncan; Adolph Deutsch; Lennie Hayton; Leonard Bernstein; Marc Shaiman ; Nacio Herb Brown; Andr' Previn; Nelson Riddle; Percy Faith; Pete Rugolo; Roger Edens; Saul Chaplin; Sy Oliver; Ted Fetter; Benny Carter ; Alexander Courage; David Rose; Arthur Schutt; Axel Stordahl.
It should be stated that this 2006 edition of Rhino's six-CD box That's Entertainment: The Ultimate Anthology of MGM Musicals is a prodigious effort, in both its scope and quality, as well as the audio engineering, though it may well frustrate owners of the earlier 1995 edition, which used the same title but had different cover art and a different song lineup, especially on disc six. Indeed, at the time of the latter's release in the mid-'90s, this was easily the most comprehensive overview of a movie studio's music output to be found on CD. For starters, Rhino was the first audio licensee of this material, since the days when MGM had its own record label -- and they weren't always known for being sticklers for quality -- to have access not only to first-generation original audio sources, but, in this instance, restored audio sources. In some instances, this means that one is getting the unmixed music tracks off of the original film recording sessions -- something few people were ever privileged to hear prior to the '90s -- while in other cases, it allows one to hear the mastering elements off of which finished, restored film soundtracks are struck. And in this edition, about a third of the material has been remastered using the more advanced technology available in the subsequent decade, as well as better sources that have been uncovered; and some material, mostly from better-known movies that are now represented by expanded soundtracks of their own, has been deleted, so there is less of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney here, and fewer songs from the 1951 Show Boat are represented. But the music is in its optimum state; and that means that the basses and percussion are deep and booming, the vocals are out in front and soaring, and the brasses and horns have the kind of bite that one associates with high-fidelity recording, all within the limits of 21st century technology and vault research. In fairness, not every track here blossoms the same way in its sound; some of the medleys -- especially "Singin' in the Rain" -- that are keyed to the actual That's Entertainment or That's Entertainment, Pt. 2 movie sequences, are easier to appreciate if you have seen the movies; and it's difficult to imagine anyone buying this set who has not seen both movies a lot more than once.
Discs one and two take us through That's Entertainment's musical highlights, while discs three and four are devoted to That's Entertainment, Pt. 2. In every instance on the material from those movies, the tracks represent complete numbers, rather than the edited excerpts used in the two anthology movies -- and considering that most of the movies represented here pre-date the late '40s and, thus, never had soundtrack releases of their own, that only enhances the value of this set (one can "square" its value for serious musical buffs). The fifth disc is a direct reissue of the 1994 That's Entertainment, Pt. 3 soundtrack CD. The major difference between this set and the previous edition lies in disc six, which has been changed completely -- instead of tying up loose ends from the other anthologies, that disc now contains 25 outtakes from the MGM vaults, many of them never heard before or only previously available in low-quality dubs, and among the highlights are Fanny Brice's complete rendition of "My Man" from The Great Ziegfeld and a Lee Wiley demo of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," and Kay Thompson performing "Weekend at the Waldorf." Some fans will be upset at the loss of certain tracks that were on the sixth platter of the original edition and, in fact, this re-release has proved somewhat controversial in that regard, and perhaps a seven-disc set would have been preferable -- or an eventual separate release of disc six here, for those who already owned the old set.
On a technical level, one must point out the inevitable weaknesses in a set like this. Most important, there is always going to be some compression on music of any kind recorded before the end of the '40s, even if it is preserved perfectly, but the Turner Entertainment and Rhino archivists and engineers have put together a remarkably satisfying body, several hundred artists and tracks strong, covering territory from the '20s to the '70s. Secondly, although the musical credentials involved with 99-percent of what's here are impeccable, this was, at root, an effort to make visually stimulating material, so there will be some element missing from the allure of much of what is here, in terms of what it was intended to do. But that doesn't mean that, divorced from the visuals, elements of the music can't blossom in their own right. The whole set makes for a few weeks' worth of listening to be properly absorbed. ~ Bruce Eder

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: April 25, 2006

Genre: General

Style: Stage & Screen

Number of Discs: 6

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 2006

Label Name: Rhino

UPC: 081227319229

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That's Entertainment! The Ultimate Anthology of M-G-M Musicals [Rhino Box Set]

Performers Various Artists
Producer George Feltenstein (Compilation)

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: April 25, 2006

Genre: General

Style: Stage & Screen

Number of Discs: 6

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 2006

Label Name: Rhino

UPC: 081227319229


Title Track Time
0.DISC 1: --
1.Overture - MGM Studio Orchestra --
2.Singin' In The Rain: Singin' In The Rain - Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards/Jimmy Durante/Judy Garland/Ge --
3.Main Title (That's Entertainment) - MGM Studio Orchestra --
4.Broadway Melody - Charles King --
5.Indian Love Call - Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy --
6.Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody, A - Allan Jones/MGM Studio Orchestra --
7.Begin The Beguine - The Music Maids/MGM Studio Orchestra --
8.Song's Gotta Come From The Heart, The - Frank Sinatra/Jimmy Durante --
9.Honeysuckle Rose - Lena Horne/Benny Carter & His Orchestra --
10.Take Me Out To The Ballgame - Frank Sinatra/Gene Kelly --
11.Thou Swell - June Allyson/Eugene Cox --
12.Varsity Drag, The - June Allyson --
13.Aba Daba Honeymoon - Debbie Reynolds/Carleton Carpenter/MGM Studio Chorus --
14.It's A Most Unusual Day - Jane Powell --
15.On The Atchison, Topeka, And The Santa Fe - Judy Garland/Cyd Charisse/Ray Bolger/Virginia O'Brien/Ma --
16.Gotta Feelin' For You - Joan Crawford --
17.Easy To Love - James Stewart --
18.Puttin' On The Ritz - Clark Gable/MGM Studio Chorus --
19.Medley - Judy Garland --
20.Babes In Arms - Douglas MacPhail/Judy Garland --
21.They Can't Take That Away From Me - Fred Astaire --
22.I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan - Fred Astaire/Jack Buchanan --
23.Dancing In The Dark - MGM Studio Orchestra --
24.I Wanna Be Loved By You - Helen Kane --
25.Be My Lover - Mario Lanza/Kathryn Grayson --
0.DISC 2: --
1.I've Gotta Hear That Beat - Ann Miller --
2.Make 'Em Laugh - Donald O'Connor --
3.Ol' Man River - William Warfield --
4.By Myself - Fred Astaire --
5.New York, New York - Frank Sinatra/Gene Kelly --
6.Worry Song, The - Gene Kelly --
7.Singin' In The Rain - Gene Kelly --
8.Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland --
9.But Not For Me - Judy Garland --
10.Trolley Song, The - Judy Garland/MGM Studio Chorus --
11.Boy Next Door, The - Judy Garland/MGM Studio Chorus --
12.Under The Bamboo Tree - Judy Garland/MGM Studio Chorus --
13.Get Happy - Judy Garland/MGM Studio Chorus --
14.Going Hollywood - Bing Crosby/MGM Studio Chorus --
15.Well, Did You Evah? - Bing Crosby/Frank Sinatra --
16.True Love - Bing Crosby/Grace Kelly --
17.Hallelujah! - Tony Martin/Vic Damone --
18.Barn Dance - MGM Studio Orchestra --
19.Gigi - Louis Jourdan --
20.American In Paris Ballet, An - MGM Studio Orchestra --
0.DISC 3: --
1.Overture - MGM Studio Orchestra --
2.Medley - Fred Astaire/Jack Buchanan --
3.For Me And My Gal - Judy Garland/Gene Kelly --
4.Fascinating Rhythm - Connie Russell/Six Hits & A Miss --
5.I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin' - June Knight --
6.I Wanna Be A Dancin' Man - Fred Astaire --
7.Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo - Leslie Caron/Mel Ferrer --
8.Be A Clown - Judy Garland/Gene Kelly --
9.From This Moment On - Ann Miller/Tommy Rall --
10.All Of You - Fred Astaire --
11.Lady Is A Tramp, The - Lena Horne --
12.Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - Kathryn Grayson --
13.Easter Parade - Judy Garland/MGM Studio Chorus --
14.Temptation - Bing Crosby --
15.Zing! Wen't The Strings Of My Heart - Judy Garland --
16.Taking A Chance On Love - Ethel Waters --
17.Swingi' The Jinx Away - Francis Langford/MGM Studio Chorus --
18.Lover Come Back To Me - Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy --
19.Wedding Of The Painted Doll - James Burroughs --
20.Inka Dinka Doo - Jimmy Durante/Harry James & His Orchestra --
0.DISC 4: --
1.I Got Rhythm - Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney --
2.Manhattan - Mickey Rooney/Bill Lee --
3.Good Morning - Gene Kelly/Debbie Reynolds --
4.Triplets - Fred Astaire/Nanette Fabray --
5.Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland --
6.Steppin' Out With mY Baby - Fred Astaire/The Mel-Tones --
7.Ten Cents A Dance - Doris Day --
8.I Got Rhythm - Gene Kelly --
9.Ol' Man River - Frank Sinatra --
10.You're Sensational - Frank Sinatra --
11.I Fall In Love Too Easily - Frank Sinatra --
12.I Begged Her - Frank Sinatra/Gene Kelly --
13.Girls, Girls, Girls - Maurice Chevalier --
14.Last Time I Saw Paris, The - Dinah Shore --
15.Love Is Here To Stay - Gene Kelly/MGM Studio Orchestra --
16.Stairway To Paradise, (I'll Build A) - Georges Guetary --
17.Couple Of Swells, A - Judy Garland/Fred Astaire --
18.Now You Has Jazz - Bing Crosby/Louis Armstrong --
19.There's No Business Like Show Business - Betty Hutton/Howard Keel --
20.I Love Myself - Gene Kelly --
21.I Remember It Well - Hermione Gingold/Maurice Chevalier --
22.That's Entertainment Finale - Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers --
23.End Credits - MGM Studio Orchestra --
0.DISC 5: --
1.Overture - Hollywood Bowl Orchestra --
2.Good Morning - Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney --
3.Three B's, The - June Allyson/Gloria DeHaven --
4.Just One Of Those Things - Lena Horne --
5.Hollywood --
6.Shakin' The Blues Away - Ann Miller/The Mel-Tones --
7.Pass That Peace Pipe - Joan McCracken/MGM Studio Chorus --
8.Heather On The Hill, The - Gene Kelly/MGM Studio Orchestra --
9.I Wish I Were In Love Again - Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney --
10.You Are My Lucky Star - Debbie Reynolds --
11.Swing, Mr. Mendelssohn - Judy Garland/St. Brendans Boys' Choir --
12.Lady Loves, A - Debbie Reynolds/MGM Studio Orchestra --
13.Baby, You Knock Me Out - Carol Richards/MGM Studio Chorus --
14.Thanks A Lot But No Thanks - Dolores Gray --
15.Who? - Judy Garland/MGM Studio Chorus --
16.You Stepped Out Of A Dream - Tony Martin/MGM Studio Chorus --
17.March Of The Doagies - Judy Garland/Joe Karnes --
18.Stereophonic Sound - Fred Astaire/Janis Paige --
19.Shakin' The Blues Away - Doris Day --
20.Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley --
21.That's Entertainment - Fred Astaire/Jack Buchanan --
0.DISC 6: --
1.Swing Trot - MGM Studio Chorus (previously unreleased, extended version) --
2.Lock Step, The - (outtake) --
3.Poor Little G-String - Bing Crosby (outtake) --
4.Fly Away To I-Oway - Jimmy Durante (outtake) --
5.Buds Won't Bud - Judy Garland (outtake) --
6.Let's Pretend It's True - June Knight (outtake) --
7.It's Fun To Be In Love - George Chakiris/Dan Dailey (outtake) --
8.Weekend At The Waldorf - Kay Thompson (demo) --
9.Follow Me - Joan Crawford (outtake) --
10.You Won't Forget Me - Lena Horne (outtake) --
11.Too Beautiful To Last - Tony Martin (outtake) --
12.I Have A Dream - Joann Greer (outtake) --
13.And There You Are - Howard Keel (outtake) --
14.Message From The Man In The Moon, A - Allan Jones (outtake) --
15.Baby Doll - Gene Kelly (outtake) --
16.Some Of These Days - Sophie Tucker (unused complete version) --
17.Woman Without A Man, A - Ethel Waters (outtake) --
18.Make It Another Old Fashioned, Please - Ann Sothern (outtake) --
19.You Belong To My Heart - Yvonne De Carlo (outtake) --
20.Something's Gotta Happen Soon - Joan Crawford (outtake) --
21.Deep In My Heart, Dear - Jane Powell/Vic Damone (demo) --
22.Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man - Lee Wiley (demo) --
23.My Man - Fanny Brice (complete version) --
24.I Told Ev'ry Little Star / The Song Is You - Kathryn Grayson/Johnny Johnston - (outtake) --
25.End Credits - Hollywood Bowl Orchestra --

Editorial Notes

Composers: Cole Porter; Vicente Paiva; Jararaca Paiva; Irving Berlin; Jimmy McHugh; Kay Thompson; Al Stillman; Nacio Herb Brown; Ralph Blane; Arthur Schwartz; Harold Arlen; Burton Lane; Hugh Martin; Richard Rodgers; Harry Warren .
Lyricists: Cole Porter; Edgar Leslie; Chet Forrest; Fred E. Ahlert; Joe McCarthy ; Bob Cole; Gus Kahn; Harold Adamson; Howard Dietz; Irving Berlin; Helen Deutsch; Dorothy Donnelly; James F. Hanley; Jerry Leiber; Jimmy Durante; Jo Trent; Adolph Deutsch; Adolph Green; Johnny Mercer; Kay Thompson; Kermit Goell; Lew Brown; Marty Symes; Mike Stoller; Otto Harbach; Andy Razaf; Ralph Blane; Ralph Freed; Ray Gilbert; Roger Edens; Saul Chaplin; Arthur Fields; Arthur Freed; Shelton Brooks; Ted Fetter; Ted Koehler; Walter Donovan; Walter Jurmann; Ben Ryan; Sammy Cahn; Betty Comden; Ira Gershwin; Mack Gordon; Oscar Hammerstein II; E.Y. "Yip" Harburg; Lorenz Hart; John Latouche; Alan Jay Lerner; Hugh Martin; Jack Norworth; Leo Robin; Bob Wright; Channing Pollack.
Personnel: Jimmy Durante (vocals, piano); Clark Gable, Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards, Connie Russell, Cyd Charisse, Dan Dailey, George Sanders , Douglas McPhail, Dorothy Wilkerson, Jim Burroughs, Debbie Reynolds , Jimmie Garland, Dinah Shore, Dolores Gray, Donald O'Connor, Doris Day, Polly Moran, Jules Munshin, Ralph Rlane, Ed Hall, Charles King, Robert Taylor , Elvis Presley, Jerry the Mouse, India Adams, Ethel Waters, Eugene Cox, Alice Ludes, Fanny Brice, Elva Kellogg, Kenneth Rundquist, Judy Matson, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly , Betty Jaynes, George Chakiris, Ginger Rogers, Gloria DeHaven, Grace Kelly, Johnny Jonston, Margaret O'Brien, Ralph Brewster, Charles Pavalato, Hal Hopper, Bill Lee, Harry Dean Stanton, Rex Dennis, Howard Keel, Dorothy McCarty, Arnet Amos, Claude Martin, Jack Buchanan, Lee Gotch, Dorothy Jackson, The Williams Brothers, Jane Powell, Janis Paige, Jeanette MacDonald, Jimmy Stewart , Joan Crawford, Joan McCracken, Jud Conlon, Judy Garland, June Allyson, Kathryn Grayson, Kay Armen, Kay Thompson, Keenan Wynn, Lee Wiley, Lena Horne, Leslie Caron, Louis Armstrong, Louis Calhern, Louis Jourdan, Loulie Jean Norman, Mario Lanza, Marjorie Lane, Marjorie Main, Allan Jones , Mary Moder, Allen Jones , Mel Ferrer, Mickey Rooney, Nancy Walker, Nanette Fabray, Nelson Eddy, Pete Roberts , Peter Lawford, Ann Miller, Ann Sothern, Ray Bolger, Ruth Clark, Arvell Shaw, Sophie Tucker, Tony Martin, Trudy Erwin, Vic Damone, Barrett Deems, Virginia O'Brien, Yvonne De Carlo, Maurice Chevalier, Betty Hutton, Betty Lynn, Hermione Gingold, Billy Kyle , Oscar Levant, William Warfield, Bing Crosby, Trummy Young, Bobbie Canvin, Carleton Carpenter, Carol Richards (vocals); Robert Tucker, Roger Edens (piano).
Liner Note Author: George Feltenstein.
Ensembles: Dodge Twins; Berry Brothers.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Stereophonic Sound; Eleanor Powell; Fred Astaire.
Arrangers: David Raksin; Wally Haglin; Wayne Allen; Albert Sendrey; Lloyd "Skip" Martin; Maurice DePackh; Conrad Salinger; George Bassman; Calvin Jackson; Harry Richman; Henry Mancini; Herbert Stothart; Leo Arnaud; Bob Van Eps; Murray Cutter; Jack Matthias; Frank Skinner; Robert Van Epps; Robert Franklyn; Edward B. Powell; Ted Duncan; Adolph Deutsch; Lennie Hayton; Leonard Bernstein; Marc Shaiman ; Nacio Herb Brown; Andr' Previn; Nelson Riddle; Percy Faith; Pete Rugolo; Roger Edens; Saul Chaplin; Sy Oliver; Ted Fetter; Benny Carter ; Alexander Courage; David Rose; Arthur Schutt; Axel Stordahl.
It should be stated that this 2006 edition of Rhino's six-CD box That's Entertainment: The Ultimate Anthology of MGM Musicals is a prodigious effort, in both its scope and quality, as well as the audio engineering, though it may well frustrate owners of the earlier 1995 edition, which used the same title but had different cover art and a different song lineup, especially on disc six. Indeed, at the time of the latter's release in the mid-'90s, this was easily the most comprehensive overview of a movie studio's music output to be found on CD. For starters, Rhino was the first audio licensee of this material, since the days when MGM had its own record label -- and they weren't always known for being sticklers for quality -- to have access not only to first-generation original audio sources, but, in this instance, restored audio sources. In some instances, this means that one is getting the unmixed music tracks off of the original film recording sessions -- something few people were ever privileged to hear prior to the '90s -- while in other cases, it allows one to hear the mastering elements off of which finished, restored film soundtracks are struck. And in this edition, about a third of the material has been remastered using the more advanced technology available in the subsequent decade, as well as better sources that have been uncovered; and some material, mostly from better-known movies that are now represented by expanded soundtracks of their own, has been deleted, so there is less of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney here, and fewer songs from the 1951 Show Boat are represented. But the music is in its optimum state; and that means that the basses and percussion are deep and booming, the vocals are out in front and soaring, and the brasses and horns have the kind of bite that one associates with high-fidelity recording, all within the limits of 21st century technology and vault research. In fairness, not every track here blossoms the same way in its sound; some of the medleys -- especially "Singin' in the Rain" -- that are keyed to the actual That's Entertainment or That's Entertainment, Pt. 2 movie sequences, are easier to appreciate if you have seen the movies; and it's difficult to imagine anyone buying this set who has not seen both movies a lot more than once.
Discs one and two take us through That's Entertainment's musical highlights, while discs three and four are devoted to That's Entertainment, Pt. 2. In every instance on the material from those movies, the tracks represent complete numbers, rather than the edited excerpts used in the two anthology movies -- and considering that most of the movies represented here pre-date the late '40s and, thus, never had soundtrack releases of their own, that only enhances the value of this set (one can "square" its value for serious musical buffs). The fifth disc is a direct reissue of the 1994 That's Entertainment, Pt. 3 soundtrack CD. The major difference between this set and the previous edition lies in disc six, which has been changed completely -- instead of tying up loose ends from the other anthologies, that disc now contains 25 outtakes from the MGM vaults, many of them never heard before or only previously available in low-quality dubs, and among the highlights are Fanny Brice's complete rendition of "My Man" from The Great Ziegfeld and a Lee Wiley demo of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," and Kay Thompson performing "Weekend at the Waldorf." Some fans will be upset at the loss of certain tracks that were on the sixth platter of the original edition and, in fact, this re-release has proved somewhat controversial in that regard, and perhaps a seven-disc set would have been preferable -- or an eventual separate release of disc six here, for those who already owned the old set.
On a technical level, one must point out the inevitable weaknesses in a set like this. Most important, there is always going to be some compression on music of any kind recorded before the end of the '40s, even if it is preserved perfectly, but the Turner Entertainment and Rhino archivists and engineers have put together a remarkably satisfying body, several hundred artists and tracks strong, covering territory from the '20s to the '70s. Secondly, although the musical credentials involved with 99-percent of what's here are impeccable, this was, at root, an effort to make visually stimulating material, so there will be some element missing from the allure of much of what is here, in terms of what it was intended to do. But that doesn't mean that, divorced from the visuals, elements of the music can't blossom in their own right. The whole set makes for a few weeks' worth of listening to be properly absorbed. ~ Bruce Eder
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