Skip to main content

ON THE TOWN

USA, 1949 (MIFF 1994, Retrospectives)

Director: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen

The ground-breaking, irresistible 1949 MGM musical On The Town brings song, and most especially dance, out from the ballroom and into the streets, fulfilling the creative vision of the film's brilliant star/choreographer/co-director, Gene Kelly, who states "The fact that make-believe sailors got off a real ship in a real dockyard and danced through a real New York was a turning point in itself."

Those sailors, zestfully played by grinning Kelly, goofy Jules Munshin and young Blue-eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, burst onto the Big Apple to take on as much fun and romance as 24 hours shore leave will allow. Along their merry way, our three bell-bottomed boys join forces with a trio of wonderful girls, fleshed out with toe-tapping dash and self-assertive charm by Ann Miller (a lusty anthropologist), Betty Garrett (a man-hungry cabbie), and Vera-Ellen (a Miss Turnstiles winner and part-time Coney Island "cooch" dancer). Almost every number in the carefully integrated score is a winner, perhaps the most exuberant highlights being "New York, New York" (It's-a-helluva-town!), Miller's libidinous take-charger "Primitive Man", the lovely, intimate, soft-shoe shuffle "Main Street", the up-and-at-'em title song (atop a nicely stylised Empire State Building) and the rollicking ensemble "You can count on me".

All up, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's debut feature provides a bright, brash good time, its blasting sounds and images made all the more impressively bold by this mint Technicolor print, immaculately re-constructed and restored, and receiving its first screening at MIFF 94.

See also...

BECKY SHARP

BECKY SHARP, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, was the first feature film shot in full colour, that is, in three-strip Technicolor. ... Loosely based on William Thackeray's VANITY FAIR. BECKY SHARP was ... More »

MACBETH

Shot in 23 days at the Republic Studios in Hollywood on a budget of $ 50 000. Orson Welles' adaptation of Shakespeare's ... play has been restored by the Film Archives at the University of ... More »

TOLL OF THE SEA

TOLL OF THE SEA complements the screening at this year's festival of BECKY SHARP, the cinema's first three-colour::.;..: Technicolor feature. TOLL OF THE SEA is the first two-colour Technicolor ... More »

REMEMBER THE NIGHT

As a bonus adjunct to our Festival highlight, Preston Sturges: Tlie Rise And Fall Of An American Dreamer, we are delighted to be screening a brand new 35mm print of the last film to be scripted by ... More »

TABU

... ... It's hard to imagine a more unlikely pairing than that of F.W. Murnau and Robert Flaher­ty. Mumau was a mystic, theoretician and fatalist; Flaherty, an optimist, a dreamer, an authentic ... More »

THE BAT WHISPERS

Made at a time when stodgy stage adaptions were the rule, The Bat Whispers is every bit a movie of great pictorial inventiveness. There are scenes which hark back Do the bravura gestures of silent ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director