|Editor's Choice -
Best of the Month for April
THE ULTIMATE ANTHOLOGY OF M-G-M MUSICALS (2006)
6 CD Set with 108 page booklet
CDs 1 & 2: THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974) = 25 tracks + 20 tracks
CDs 3 & 4: THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT , PART 2 (1976) = 20 tracks + 24 tracks
Cd 5: THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! III (1994) = 21 tracks
CD 6: THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! BURIED TREASURES = 25 tracks
Produced by George Feltenstein.
Engineering, Mastering, and Audio Restoration by Doug Schwartz.
Art Direction: Al Quatrocchi and Jeff Smith.
Turner Classic Movies Music / Rhino Movie Music R273192
So far the combined production team of Turner Classic Movies Music and Rhino Movie Music have released over 200 classic soundtracks, mainly from the great M-G-M archives. This new collection actually follows the previous 6 CD set produced by Marilee Bradford, Bradley Flanagan and George Feltenstein and released in 1995 (R2 72182). While the differences may not be appear to be major ones, this new 6 CD set does have many advantages over the earlier set.
First the basic facts. There are 135 tracks spread over 6 CDs. That means nearly 8 hours of great music from more than 75 M-G-M musicals, from THE BROADWAY MELODY of 1929 to GIGI in 1958. The first 5 CDs contain tracks from the three THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT films with improved sound quality.
The sixth disc is the most unusual of all, subtitled: "BURIED TREASURES - Outtakes From M-G-M Musicals." The 1995 CD set also had a 6th disc, and it was designated THAT'S MORE ENTERTAINMENT! (25 tracks).
But most of that music was not the same as on this new 6th disc with outtakes and vault rarities. For example, there's the great Harold Arlen-E.Y. Harburg standard, "Buds Won't Bud" sung by Judy Garland from ANDY HARDY MEETS DEBUTANTE (1940). There are also some real surprises, for example: "I Have A Dream" (outtake, track 12) from JUPITER'S DARLING (1956) a lovely song sung by JoAnn Greer (for Esther Williams) and George Sanders (yes, that's the actor and what a strong voice he has!); and Howard Keel-- the best male singer from the M-G-M musicals--singing the beautiful song,"And There You Are" (track 13) from I LOVE MELVIN (1953). In addition, there's such earlier classics as Sophie Tucker's rendition of "Some Of These Days" from BROADWAY MELODY OF 1938; and Fanny Brice's complete recording of "My Man" from THE GREAT ZIEGFELD (1936). From the early years there are some rarities like "The Lock Step" sung by The Dodge Twins" and Bing Crosby singing the cute song, "Poor Little G-String," (the violin string, not the stripper's garment!). Both of these songs are from the uncompleted musical, THE MARCH OF TIME (1930)(CD 6, tracks 2-3). The sound of these early tracks is extremely clean, especially for their age.
Among the other gems on this new THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT set are three classic duets from Cole Porter's HIGH SOCIETY (1956): Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra warbling their witty and slighty risque song, "Well, Did You Evah?" (CD 2, track 15); Bing Crosby this time with Grace Kelly for the lovely Oscar-nominated ballad, "True Love" (CD 2, track 16); and Bing Crosby once again, this time with Louis Armstrong joining forces for "Now You Has Jazz" (CD 4, track 18).
Other newly included songs are: Janis Paige and Fred Astaire in "Stereophonic Sound" from SILK STOCKINGS (1957)(CD 5, track 18), and Elvis Presley in his best remembered dance number, the title song from JAILHOUSE ROCK (CD 5, track 19)(1957).
The sound on all 6 CDs is excellent. Kudos to Doug Schwartz, who did such an outstanding job on the audio restoration. The collection itself is also well designed with a format that opens like a book so the CDs can be easily found and taken out. The beautifully designed and profusely photo illustrated 108 page booklet slips into a side pocket of the box set. This is a major improvement over the previous CD set which was very awkward to handle.
The 1995 Rhino set was produced by Marilee Bradford and Bradley Flanagan, and they compiled the basic foundation. This new 6 CD set has expanded and improved upon that foundation with a more colorful booklet and cleaner remastered sound that goes down smoothly, like a finely aged wine.
Highest praise of all must go to George Feltenstein of Turner Entertainment Co., who has produced over 60 soundtrack releases since 1996 for the Turner and Rhino partnership. Any lover of the great musicals from Hollywood's past should be extremely grateful to Mr. Feltenstein for his dedication and appreciation of this extremely important film heritage from the past.
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT is a beautifully boxed collection of treats that should satisfy any film lover who wants to relive the great legacy of M-G-M musicals.
For any lover of Hollywood musicals from the Golden Age, this superb 6 CD set is a must have!
--Roger Hall, 20 April 2006
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For a photograph of Judy Keel holding her later husband Howard Keel's autobiography, Only Make Believe: My Life in Show Business, click on this link:
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