ON THE TOWN (1949) C 98m dirs: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
w/Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Jules Munchin, Vera-Ellen, Florence Bates, Alice Pearce, George Meader, Bern Hoffman
The successful Broadway show by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green receives the Hollywood treatment. The result is an entertaining, tuneful, brilliantly choreographed and directed musical about three sailors on liberty in NYC.
From The Movie Guide: "[ON THE TOWN is] stolen by a tapping whirlwind named Ann Miller, flying through the Museum of Natural History in a blaze of green gingham. But New York City never looked more beautiful or exciting on screen than in ON THE TOWN, a breakthrough film that, for the first time, took the musical out of the claustrophobic sound stages and onto the streets for on-location shooting. Perfectly fusing story, songs, and dances, with no production number staged merely for its own sake, ON THE TOWN is so energetic and vital that the screen barely contains it; the actors seem ready to leap off and dance up the aisles. ...
"Louis B. Mayer [head of MGM] didn't want the film to go on location, while Kelly wanted to shoot the entire picture in New York, leading to a compromise in which Kelly was allowed one frantic week of location shooting, filming in the Bronx, the Battery, Coney Island, Brooklyn, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Fifth Avenue, Radio City, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, Carnegie Hall, the subway, Wall Street, Grant's Tomb, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Perhaps it was the short shooting schedule that contributed to the frantic pace of the film, a jampacked tour without a wasted second. There may have been better songs and even better performances in other musicals, but for effervescent energy nothing has yet come close to the joyous, influential ON THE TOWN."
ON THE TOWN was awarded an Oscar for Best Score (Roger Edens, Lennie Hayton).