May 11, 2010

Context-free delight #3

Today's delight comes courtesy of On the Town, which marks the first union of the creative team that would go on to make Singin' in the Rain (director Stanley Donen, director/star Gene Kelly, and the writing duo of Adolph Green and Betty Comden). And is it blasphemy to say that OTT is nearly as good as its famous cousin? Kelly and his costar Frank Sinatra are in top form (with Sinatra as a nerd!), and lovely ladies Ann Miller, Betty Garrett, and Vera-Ellen bring boundless wit, talent and energy to three roles that are surprisingly modern even today. Every number is a gem, but in the interest of not just handing over any of the bigger or later ones to you, check out "Miss Turnstiles." It displays Vera-Ellen's great physical prowess and has lots of fun artifical setpieces that foreshadow the "Beautiful Girls" number in Singin in the Rain (skip to about 1:17 to see what I mean). Enjoy, and watch the whole film when you get a chance!

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