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Very entertaining. Like Singin' In the Rain set in New York with lots of great gags.
Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra get into their sailors' uniforms four years after Anchors Aweigh for another shore leave movie, On the Town. This is Stanley Donen's first collaboration with Kelly and heads and shoulders above Anchors, but really, Kelly's fingerprints (footprints?) are all over it. Donen didn't direct An American in Paris, but the two abstract dance numbers in On the Town are clear precursors to American's show stoppers, and Donen didn't direct that. I love the opening number ("New York, New York", but not that "New York, New York") and how it's echoed in the finale, and really, all the numbers are fun even if the melodies aren't necessarily catchy. The story, of course, is thin and silly. Three sailors have 24 hours ashore and decide to find some girls and go out on the town. That's it. It's cool that those women are very forward, post-War dames, and while Ann Miller is a stand-out performer, Betty Garrett steals the show as Brunhilde the cab driver who takes a shine to Sinatra. She's hilarious. Even in the songs, this flick leans into the comedy part of musical comedy, and is the better for it. A fun, flighty dream, with enough charm to make you forgive the dated cultural insensitivity of the museum number.
Loved it. Great cast, songs, and dancing numbers, with a lot of humor. I wouldn’t put it near Singin in the Rain, but I only mention that to counter other reviewers here. Highly recommend, especially for Gene Kelly fans.
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In 10 official lists
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This movie ranks #67 in BFI's 100 Film Musicals
This movie ranks #138 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #218 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #218 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #277 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #624 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #656 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #680 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #800 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #950 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films