When you start to watch a musical made in 1954, starring Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds, with the same songwriters as Meet Me in St. Louis, you might think you have a pretty solid concept of what’s to come before you’ve even hit play. But … Read More
Royal Wedding has an astoundingly formidable pedigree within the world of classic musicals: it boasts two featured dance numbers in That’s Entertainment, a cast that includes Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, and Peter Lawford, and a director (Stanley Donen) who was … Read More
Few directors have made as lasting and beautiful a contribution to musical films as Vincente Minnelli, the filmmaker responsible for helming such enduring classics as An American in Paris, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Pirate, The Band Wagon, and Gigi. Happily, in a … Read More
On the surface, The Phantom of Hollywood, a TV movie from 1974, may seem like it’d only appeal to the most devoted of B-horror aficionados. A retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, the film has plenty of inventive killings and questionable dialogue to satisfy those viewers, but it also holds value for fans of classic films—particularly those interested in MGM. That’s because The Phantom of Hollywood was actually filmed on the MGM backlot as it was being parceled off and torn down. The movie makes great use of that decaying, yet familiar, setting, and also creates a fun, rebellious, pro-film anti-hero as its villain.
“La Fiesta de Santa Barbara” is a very colorful, very wacky musical comedy short from MGM, featuring a collection of many of their greatest stars at the time. It ostensibly takes place at a Spanish/Mexican-themed festival in Santa Barbara (though it certainly appears to be a backlot production), and it’s narrated in the classic newsreel style so as to properly highlight all of these famous faces.
MGM golden girl Joan Crawford is to thank for a number of uncommon treats airing on TCM this month, including, happily, a rare film featured in That’s Entertainment:The Hollywood Revue of 1929. This film is most notable for being the first onscreen depiction of the now-classic “Singing in the Rain,” but there’s a LOT of other things going on in here as well… and the lack of focus, in turn, is probably why it’s not been seen more widely.