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On The Town Review


Excellent
In the 1949 musical On the Town, you'll find a lot of things that might seem familiar from other musicals - big set pieces and a whimsical, can-do attitude - but at least one or two that will seem completely foreign. Top of the list: Frank Sinatra himself playing a detail-oriented nerd of a guy more interested in seeing the sights than he is scoring with a big-city dame. Also up there: the women in the film are much brassier than just about any actresses you'd see on screen these days, but more on that later.

Starting with the beyond-iconic framing number "New York, New York," which blasts out with unalloyed gusto just as the film's three sailors come tumbling off their boat with a mere 24 hours' shore leave to take in all the sights and sounds of New York, the film is an unapologetically muscular toe-tapper of a show. This is most clearly due to Adolph Green and Betty Comden's script and songs that come piling out in quick succession, practically elbowing each other out of the way with the help of Leonard Bernstein's score. The intended effect is to convey the feel of a bustling American city during all its phases (from the quiet, just waking-up opener "I Feel Like I'm Not Out of Bed Yet" to the nightlife epic "On the Town"), and it's nearly perfectly conveyed.

Continue reading: On The Town Review

Auntie Mame Review


Excellent
Think of it as the flipside of Breakfast at Tiffany's: Here's what happens when a brassy city-girl socialite winds up with an orphaned nephew in her care and marries a southern plantation owner. Hilarity ensues as cultures clash galore. Set during the Great Depression, Auntie Mame is a very funny and touching story, even if it rambles endlessly, clocking in at nearly 2 1/2 hours long.

Singin' In The Rain Review


Essential
Being a child of Star Wars and Pretty in Pink, it's usually hard for my generation to appreciate frou-frou musicals.

Not so with Singin' in the Rain, probably the best musical ever made and 50 years after its original production, its special edition DVD proves it's just as great now as when it was originally produced. If somebody doesn't like this movie, they're either dumb, dead, or both.

Continue reading: Singin' In The Rain Review

The Barkleys Of Broadway Review


OK
Ten years after what everyone assumed would be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' last joint venture, they reunited for a final time. Unfortunately the result is a tepid Technicolor musical with little to recommend it aside from its historical value. The story is barely worth mentioning: Backstage histrionics surrounding a pair of Broadway theatricals and their power play. The dancing isn't much more noteworthy, mainly recycled Gershwin tunes that have been put to better effect in other films -- including ones starring this famous duo.
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