Tag: gene kelly

MOVIE REVIEW | On the Town (1949)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s the kind of thing that I can only describe as good clean fun, before immediately hating myself for using the phrase ‘good clean fun’ with zero sarcasm.”

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“You know, somewhere in the world there’s a right girl for every boy.”

There are movies I definitely had to age into.  As a young kid, I assumed black and white meant boring.  As a teenager I discovered the awesomeness of the 70s, but was still a decade or so away from the realisation that embracing older movies, from Hollywood’s golden age and earlier, just meant I had more great ones to discover.  Even then, I was still opposed to the idea of classic musicals.  There was a corniness factor I just couldn’t get past. Until I saw Singin’ the Rain.  It really was the watershed moment where I realised that the corny campness, when done well, was exactly what made old school musicals so entertaining.  And it was exactly that kind of corny camp that I was hoping for with On the Town.

Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra) and Ozzie (Jules Munshin) are three sailors on 24 hours leave from the navy when their ship docks in New York City.  Singing and dancing their way across a few familiar landmarks, these small town boys are fascinated by the big city.  But one sight in particular grabs the eye of Gabey, a Subway poster for Miss Turnstyle (Vera-Allen as Ivy), a local beauty contest winner.  When he coincidentally meets her in person leaving the subway station, he is officially smitten.  As she rushes away, Gabey decides the only way to make the most of his short leave is to spend it with her. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
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“Lina, you’re a beautiful woman. Audiences think you’ve got a voice to match. The studio’s gotta keep their stars from looking ridiculous at any cost.”

I’m not anti movie musicals, but it’s a genre I rarely seek out. I think it’s because I’m a slave to story and plot in movies. By necessity, musicals usually have to have the simplest and most predictable of stories, so there’s plenty of room for all the singing and dancing. At least, I always thought that was the case. Then, one day, I looked past the preconceptions I had of corniness, and watched Singin’ in the Rain. An amazing musical, but more impressive than that, it’s just an amazing movie. And I think the main reason for that is its ability to tell a real story, while still finding room for some of the best singing and dancing I’ve ever seen in any movie musical.

In 20s Hollywood, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) has worked his way up from the worst vaudeville stages to become the biggest star in silent cinema. Along with his best friend and musical accompanist, Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) and regular leading lady, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagan), they’ve just released another smash hit. On screen, Don and Lina are the hottest couple in Hollywood. The delusional Lina believes that’s the case off screen as well, no matter how many times Don lets her know that he has zero interest in her. (more…)