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
With a tagline like "The Greatest Production Since The Birth Of Motion Pictures," you get a little something like the unmanageable monstrosity that Follies ultimately becomes. Structured as a series of unrelated vignettes, directed by different people (not to mention that screenwriting credit list), it's ultimately just a jumble of parts that add up to less than a whole movie.
Continue reading: Ziegfeld Follies Review
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.
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The premise: a wealthy Parisian (Louis Jourdan) is training a young girl (Leslie Caron) to be his mistress. He and his ribald uncle (Maurice Chevalier) even sing songs like "Thank Heaven for Little Girls." It's a musical about pedophilia -- and this is one of Hollywood's most glorified song-and-dance films. Even more bizarre is that Caron was 27 when she was tapped to play young Gigi. She looks like she's about 16.
Continue reading: Gigi Review
Continue reading: Show Boat Review
It's best not to concentrate too hard on the plot itself, which mainly circles around Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames), the family patriarch, threatening to move the family from St. Louis to New York City. This causes much handwringing amongst the family members: Esther (Garland), Rose (Lucille Bremer), and Tootie, played by child star Margaret O'Brien, who pulled down an Oscar for her precocious performance. If the dialogue seems stilted and square today - Esther wonders where, oh where could Mr. Truitt's chapeau have gone off to, and those newfangled telephones are such a bother - the Technicolor style works wonderfully, particularly in the period dresses that puff and flounce through the Smith household.
Continue reading: Meet Me In St. Louis Review