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That’s Dancing (1985)

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‘That’s Dancing!’ is a 1985 American documentary film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that looked back at the history of dancing in film.

Unlike the That’s Entertainment! series, this film not only focuses specifically on MGM films, but also included films from United Artists and the Associated Artists Productions library. It also included more recent performances by the likes of John Travolta (from Saturday Night Fever) and Michael Jackson and performances from the then-popular films Fame (1980) and Flashdance (1983) as well as classic films from other studios, including Carousel, released by 20th Century Fox, and Oklahoma!, released by Magna Corporation (roadshow) and RKO Radio Pictures (general release).

A highlight of the film was the first theatrical release of a complete dance routine by Ray Bolger for his “If I Only Had a Brain” number that had been shortened in The Wizard of Oz.

The hosts for this film are Gene Kelly (who also executive produced), Ray Bolger (his last film appearance before his death in 1987), Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr., and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Pop singer Kim Carnes was commissioned to sing an original song, “Invitation to Dance”, that plays over the closing credits.

This film is sometimes considered part of the That’s Entertainment! series, especially since its starting credits contain a card with the That’s Entertainment! III title (not to be confused with the 1994 film), but even though it shared studio and producers, it is considered a separate production. Jack Haley Jr., who wrote, produced and directed the first That’s Entertainment! film, also wrote and directed this one, co-producing with longtime friend David Niven Jr. Haley’s father, Jack Haley, had co-starred with Bolger in The Wizard of Oz.

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