For those who love to escape to the golden years of the MGM musical, the "Deluxe Collector's Edition" of "That's Entertainment III" ($125) is nothing less than a piece of paradise.
The massive package includes a bonanza of footage not seen in the film's theatrical release, along with a spectacular "Collector's Souvenir Program," eight reproductions of lobby cards, and an opportunity to send away for a limited-edition poster with stars' signatures and the original theatrical poster.
The four-disc set features seven sides that include the 119-minute director's cut with eight minutes of footage not seen in theaters (four sides are in standard play).
But the real treat is an additional 112-minute supplemental "Collector's Treasury" that for many will be the primary incentive to snap up this set. It is indeed a treasure trove of material never before seen. Ten outtake musical numbers dance out of the MGM archives. While some are not in the pristine shape we may have wanted, they are nevertheless fascinating historical footnotes that otherwise would have been lost.
Among the highlights: "My Intuition," sung by Judy Garland and John Hodiak and dropped from the 1946 "The Harvey Girls"; Frank Sinatra crooning "Boys & Girls Like You and Me," deleted from the 1949 "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"; Jane Powell singing "Why So Gloomy?," cut from the 1946 "Holiday in Mexico"; Betty Comden & Adolph Green-Roger Edens' "An Easier Way," filmed with June Allyson and Patricia Marshall and snipped from 1947's "Good News."
And there's more: Harry Warren and Arthur Freed's "Why Is Love So Crazy?," sung by Esther Williams and cut from 1950's "Pagan Love Song," and Judy Garland singing "Last Night When We Were Young," trimmed from 1949's "In the Good Old Summertime."
Judy Holliday's wonderful rendition of "Is It a Crime?" from "Bells Are Ringing," also available on the 1960 film's earlier laser release, has been restored to its original stereophonic audio sound for this edition. The final outtake: the incomparable Lena Horne singing "You Got Looks," trimmed from the 1956 "Meet Me in Las Vegas."
The care with which "That's Entertainment III" was assembled for this laser edition is indicative of the meticulous attention to detail that has become the hallmark of MGM/UA Home Video special-edition laser releases. The original film itself was reassembled on video from the original source materials so that the picture would be properly positioned for the home screen. Soundtrack elements were remixed for stereo sound from original multichannel pre-recordings, then mixed to six-track DTS digital stereo for the laser.
Detailed chapter search notes on every disc make it possible to find favorite numbers and singers easily. In addition, analog tracks offer pre-recordings of many songs from original studio sessions. They're all carefully marked, and easily found via the clear chapter search notes.
New Movies Just Out: "Getting Even With Dad" (MGM/UA, $35); "Little Buddha" (Buena Vista, letterboxed, $40); "The Favor" (Orion, $40); "Clifford" (Orion, $40); "The Birds II: Land's End" (MCA/Universal, $35); "Speed" (FoxVideo, $30); "Black Beauty" (Warner, $35); "Wyatt Earp" (Warner, $45); "Crooklyn" (MCA/Universal, $35); "Monkey Trouble" (New Line, $40); "The Cowboy Way" (MCA/Universal, $35); "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" (New Line, $40); "Jimmy Hollywood" (Paramount, $35); "The Hudsucker Proxy" (Warner, $35); "With Honors" (Warner, $35); "Golden Gate" (Touchstone, $40).
Coming Soon: Columbia TriStar will release "Brainscan," with Edward Furlong, on Wednesday at $35; Touchstone's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is due Thursday at $30.
Scheduled for Dec. 7 release: "Little Big League," featuring Jason Robards (Columbia TriStar, $40); "City Slickers II" with Billy Crystal (Columbia TriStar, $35); "Maverick," starring Mel Gibson, (Warner, $40); "Guarding Tess," with Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage (Columbia TriStar, $35).