In the clip above, from the 1998 Oscars, Martin Scorsese presents that year’s winner of the Honorary Academy Award, Stanley Donen. There’s a lovely montage featuring some of the best scenes from Donen’s movies and then the man himself steps out, receives his Oscar and goes on to sing and dance! One of the best … Continue reading Stanley Donen, 1924–2019
WHAT A JOY! IT’S M–G–M‘S TECHNICOLOR MUSICAL! ”An American in Paris” first saw the light of day in 1928. A jazzy orchestral piece, it was written by George Gershwin and inspired by his years in Paris, an attempt to capture the city’s sights and sounds. In later interviews, he called it a ”rhapsodic ballet” that … Continue reading An American in Paris: Art, Dance & Romance
Compiling a list of what you believe are the greatest films ever made is a daunting task. Every critic and movie buff has a more or less available list hidden somewhere in their minds (or plainly written down, carefully cultivated). I have resisted to do the latter for many years, even though my list really … Continue reading My 12 Favorite Films
THEY PAINT THE TOWN WITH JOY! After several successful collaborations between Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen in the 1940s, MGM gave them a chance to direct a movie. They had choreographed and worked in other ways on films like Anchors Aweigh (1945) and Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949). When they decided on … Continue reading On the Town: Beyond Broadway
FLASHING…. SMASHING SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT! DAZZLING IN ITS BEAUTY… PACKED WITH GLORIOUS MELODIES! The king of Broadway, “the glorifier of the American girl”, Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell) is getting bored up in heaven and conjures one last, grand “Follies” show. Powell repeated his acclaimed performance from The Great Ziegfeld (1936) in a brief intro – the … Continue reading Ziegfeld Follies
SINGIN’ SWINGIN’ GLORIOUS FEELIN’ TECHNICOLOR MUSICAL! I’m a little bothered by the fact that some of the movies we consider to be absolute masterpieces were actually received with much less fanfare by both critics and audiences at the time of their premiere. When Singin’ in the Rain opened in 1952, few people thought of it as a … Continue reading Singin’ in the Rain: Wet and Wild
In 1890, matchmaker Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) leaves New York City for Yonkers to set up a successful, grumpy businessman (Walter Matthau) with a future wife… but love is a complicated thing. The Broadway musical became an opportunity for Gene Kelly to make a colorful, expensive Hollywood blockbuster in an era when its kind were … Continue reading Hello, Dolly!
THEY’RE THE MOST VIVACIOUS… VEXACIOUS… FLIRTATIOUS PERSONALITIES IN GAY PAREE! Sybil Wren (Kay Kendall) is sued for libeling Angéle Ducros (Taina Elg); they were both part of a dance troupe led by Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly), but everyone disagrees on what really went on behind the curtain. Probably the only musical ever to be inspired … Continue reading Les Girls
Several critics had considerably less than kind words for Hollywood’s most lavish adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas perennial, probably because of all the stars in the cast fighting for attention. Still, it’s not a bad film; director George Sidney knew how to put on a good show and Gene Kelly is enthusiastic although hardly believable … Continue reading The Three Musketeers
Roughly ten years after That’s Entertainment! and its sequel, documentaries that collected the best stuff from countless MGM musicals, director Jack Haley, Jr. apparently felt there was a need for a chapter that only focused on the famous dance sequences of those old movies. Those hosting this documentary all know how to shake a tail … Continue reading That’s Dancing!
The last film Gene Kelly directed was this sequel to That’s Entertainment! (1974). A few welcome changes to the concept have been made. The hosts have been reduced to only two – Fred Astaire and Kelly, the “aristocrat” and “proletarian” of Hollywood musicals. They do a lovely job and are also given the chance to prove that … Continue reading That’s Entertainment, Part 2
BOY! DO WE NEED IT NOW! A popular compilation of memorable clips from nearly one hundred MGM musicals, which serves the purpose of celebrating the studio’s 50th anniversary. No other studio in Hollywood managed to make musicals this good, which means this is a peek at the very best Tinseltown has to offer in the … Continue reading That’s Entertainment!