Around the time that "That's Entertainment" came to movie theaters in 1974, there was a TV special narrated by Fred Astaire on the history of the 20th Century Fox musical, beginning with the early talkies (when it was just plain "Fox Studios") and going up to "Hello, Dolly!" In 1993, "That's Entertainment III" included some outtakes found at MGM which showed various stars including Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse and Astaire himself in segments that had been cut. Other studios interested in nostalgia started digging into their archives, and this lead to many of the Fox outtakes being brought together for two different segments of "Hidden Hollywood", both glorious and necessary viewing for fans of old films and the many stars that still shine today.
Back for more is Joan Collins, as glamorous as ever, and giving insight into the culture of the day, showing clips cut from movies both musical and comical, and even a few dramatic moments. There's rare footage of dramatic star Kay Francis attempting to talk/sing (taken over by her three co-stars in "Four Jills in a Jeep"), and shows wisecracking Phil Silvers assailing funny lady Martha Raye with her reacting in an equally hysterical way. The Ritz Brothers get a few moments to show their somewhat dated style, perfectly acceptable to those who understand the humor of the 1930's, and even glimpses of various co-stars of the comics breaking up and trying hard not to show that they are stifling a laugh.
The great Alice Faye proves herself to be a great sport with the constant pie in the face re-takes needed for "Hollywood Cavalcade", having been one of those stifling a laugh during the antics of the Ritz Brothers in "On the Avenue". Collins gives us some behind the scenes looks at what happened during the pie throwing sequence, adding an understanding to the audience of what it was like to make movies during the golden age. Today, some audiences can't understand the appeal of someone like Sonja Henie, but to see her skating in these exotic skatings reminds us of Adolph Menjou's line in her first film, "One in a Million" where he exclaims, "Why it's like dancing on ice!" A lengthy bit of outtakes from "Tin Pan Alley" shows the great deal of edited footage cut out of the musical number "The Shiek of Araby" and features several different takes of the great Nicholas Brothers as well as Billy Gilbert singing and dancing as the title character in that number.
The highlight of the film is the much talked about excised scene from "Tales of Manhattan" where W.C. Fields inherits the cursed suit and gives a speech at the temperance party of society matron Margaret Dumont which includes spiked coconut milk. The legend of Dumont not understanding the humor being tossed about around her (created from her days working with the Marx Brothers) is proved false as you see her in these outtakes stifling a laugh, adding much humanity to the actress known for playing uppity society matrons. There's also an amusing segment cut from the all-star "We're Not Married" where Walter Brennan visits with hard working and obviously unhappily married Hope Emerson (the evil matron in "Caged") with lascivious intentions that are changed when he gets to read the letter from justice of the peace Victor Moore. These segments gave me a chance to smile just like the great stone face Buster Keaton does here in one bit of newsreel footage, and after so many of these segments, I too wanted to dance "The Charleston" like Ginger Rogers does in "Roxie Hart", a segment unfortunately cut out of the story that came from the same source as the musical "Chicago".
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