Friday, 26 October 2012

The Review - On the Town

So the other weekend I was in the mood for watching a musical movie - which is great, because I own probably 10 times more movie musicals than your average person. I went through a phase of collecting them when I was around 15-16 years old, and I still love them. Watching musical films also makes me think of my mum a lot, because every Friday after doing the grocery shopping we would cook prawns with chilli sauce on rice and watch a 1940s-50s musical (as you can see, I was clearly one of those rebellious, delinquent teenagers).

Anyway, so I was in the mood to watch On the Town,which I have seen 2 or 3 times before. I couldn't put my finger on exactly why I wanted to watch this one as opposed to any of the other 20 or so musicals I own, but upon seeing it again I remembered why I love it so much.

On the Town is a 1949 film adaptation of the 1944 Broadway show by the same name. The music was done by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens. I'd never really noticed before, but Bernstein has a very unique composition style. Perhaps I've listened to the West Side Story soundtrack too many times, but there's something quite quirky and almost musically erratic about his style.

Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, the film stars Kelly himself, Frank Sinatra, Ann Miller, Betty Garrett, Jules Munshin and Vera Ellen. I always thought it would be kind of strange to both direct and star in a movie, but I guess if you're that good then you can get away with anything.

The film's storyline is pretty basic. Three navy sailors arrive in New York. They are on leave for only 24 hours and although they start out sightseeing, they quickly decide the girls are the nicest sight to see in New York. Funnily enough, this musical is where the song New York, New York comes from.

 Fun Fact #1: This was the first musical feature film to be shot on location. In a TCM interview, Ann Miller took the credit for pleading with and persuading Louis B. Mayer to do the shoot on location because she had "never seen New York".

[attempting to escape from the police]
Gabey:  Hilde, do you know where we can hide?
Hilde: Sure, I know a place right across the Brooklyn bridge where they'll never find us.
Gabey: Where is it?  
Hilde: Brooklyn!

 Fun Fact #3: According to information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the Academy of Motion Pic Arts & Sciences Library, the Breen Office refused to allow the use of the word "helluva" in the song "New York, New York [it's a helluva town]." MGM later changed the word to "wonderful".

Claire: How'd you feel if someone broke your dinosaur?
Ozzie: Never had one. We were too poor.

Fun Fact #2: Robert Williams, who plays the police sergeant in Car 44, also played the policeman who chases Gene Kelly off the street at the end of the title number in Singin' in the Rain.

So what was the real reason that I wanted to re-watch this 1940s classic, as I finally realised? Answer: The dresses. More particularly this dress:

 Isn't it just the most delightful dress you've ever set eyes on? My heart melts every time I see it. The beautiful turquoise colour. The black and white plaid. The breathtaking line and flow of it. And when Ann Miller dances in it, wow. Just wow. 

This is why I have added the following to my wish list:

 Yes, that's right: there is a lady on the Etsy online marketplace named Cynthia who has a wonderful store called Heart My Closet, and she makes reproductions of this dress. Although the dress isn't currently in her "shop", she may still make it - well, at least I hope she still does, because this is my dream dress. 

So how many months away is my birthday?

Actually, from watching this movie I also rediscovered my love for Ann Miller. She has such vitality on stage, and almost steals the show from Sinatra and Kelly. Or maybe it's her dress that does? Anyway, On the Town is definitely worth watching just for this dress, and there are other nice dresses as well.

Time for the preview:

Until next time :)

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