The Phantom of Hollywood (1974)

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 (1935)

“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.

The Hollywood Revue of 1929

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.