On the Town
Three sailors - Gabey, Chip and Ozzie - let loose on a 24-hour pass in New York and the Big Apple will never be the same! Gabey falls head over heels for "Miss Turnstiles of the Month" (he thinks she's a high society deb when she's really a 'cooch dancer at Coney Island); innocent Chip gets highjacked (literally) by a lady cab driver; and Ozzie becomes the object of interest of a gorgeous anthropologist who thinks he's the perfect example of a "prehistoric man". Wonderful music and terrific shots of New York at its best.
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★★★★★ review by Sam Van Hallgren on Letterboxd
Come for Kelly and Sinatra; stay for Betty Garrett's Brunhile "Hildy" Eserhazy, Vera-Ellen's Ivy Smith and Ann Miller's ... legs. Especially after watcng the leaden direction of The Music Man last week, the breezy confidence of Kelly and Donen's direction here was a revelation. An abundance of wit and good cheer.
Nearly five year son was thrown a bit by the identical sailors' outfits - often confusing Kelly for Sinatra for Munshin - but it didn't dampen his enthusiasm for the film at all. He cackled wildly at the sight of the sailors disguised in ladies clothes, dancing outside the "coochie" club and put on his own Kelly-inspired dance on his way to bed, singing made up lyrics to the tune of New York, New York, It's a Wonderful Town.
★★★★ review by Joe on Letterboxd
I sometimes have a hard time getting into really broad musical comedies like this, and a lot of the wacky mugging is a little grating. But it ended up winning me over in the end, due to a variety of factors.
First is the movie's refreshingly unfussy smart-alecky tone, which is perfect for comedy and floats the rare quieter more "serious" moments really effectively. There are funny pop-culture references and even some proto-Laugh-In blackout gags. Even the ending is pretty hip - nobody gets married, nobody vows to be different from now on.
The late-40s New York City location shooting is just gorgeous, and pretty radical for the time. I loved that early shot of a Walgreens.
The ballet sequence is a perfect showcase for Gene Kelly, like sort of a warm-up for similar scenes in movies like Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris.
I just don't understand how we're supposed to believe that Frank Sinatra has never been to New York before.
★★★★★ review by trolleyfreak on Letterboxd
The energetic male stars of Take Me Out To The Ball Game (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin) were reunited later in the same year for one of the all-time great movie musicals.
Kelly and Stanley Donen joined forces behind the camera to bring the story of three sailors on a days' shore leave in New York to the screen.
The piece combines humour with satire and pathos to deliver a complete package that works on every level.
Magnificent old-fashioned entertainment..
★★★★ review by Em on Letterboxd
It's easier to stomach random musical numbers when a film doesn't take itself at all seriously. On the Town finds a nearly perfect balance.
Just for fun, I'm going to break down the impossible opening montage of the sailors sightseeing:
- Go from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the Brooklyn Bridge
- Cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot
- Pass through Wall Street
- Snack in Little Italy
- Browse Chinatown
- Go to the southern tip of Manhattan to catch a boat
- To the Statue of Liberty
- Take boat back to Manhattan
- Walk down some street
- To catch a train
- To Washington Square Park
- Then take a cab
- I'm temporarily lost, but they visit a few landmarks
- Before ending up in Central Park
- Where they enjoy a horse & carriage ride
- And then just ride horses
- And then bikes
- Then find a tour bus
- That takes them to 30 Rock
- They go to the top to take in the views
- And go back down for a finale in Rockefeller Center
This is done in 3.5 hours in the film. Assuming they took reasonably fast transportation everywhere, this would surely take at least 8 hours rushed. That's not even accounting for time spent dancing!
★★★½ review by Ryster on Letterboxd
Here's the thing with On the Town, it's a rather silly musical but it was very enjoyable. I think Frank Sinatra is one of the greatest singers in the world and here we get some good catchy songs, but there's a few silly or annoying songs. On the Town is about three sailors who have only got 24 hours in New York City and they plan to do everything but while on the subway Gene Kelly sees Vera-Ellen on a poster and falls head over heels in love and he'll stop at nothing to find her. So he drags Frank Sinatra and the other one along to try and find her. On their journey Frank Sinatra and the other one find girls they like and laughter and songs ensues. Actually a funny film, I laughed quite a bit at some of the jokes and even some of the songs. Every character is enjoyable and there's not a bad or un-likeable character in sight. Some of the songs go on a bit and the whole stage-play scene I thought was pointless and quite boring. There's a scene where Gene Kelly sees a poster for a play and thinks that it's about his day in New York, the following scene has no talking, only dancing and music. The dancing is amazing and I what I saw was entertaining but the whole scene is just exactly the same as we've already seen the whole film just in stage play form. But besides that a very enjoyable musical.
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