On The Town

A widely-respected, much-loved musical that’s light and fun, with just the one dance routine that hasn’t aged too well in the interim. The six leads – three sailors on 24 hr shore leave and the three women they meet in New York City – are all likeable and directors Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly create a sense of excitement from the off, combining the joy affored by brief freedom with the buzz of New York City at night; it does not have any lulls thereafter. On a side note, a one sheet for this film depicts Frank Sinatra in some kind of Sid James-esque, leery sex-pest pose, which is quite amusing given his character’s reticence when taxi driver Hildy (Betty Garrett) repeatedly invites him back to hers for a quickie. Kelly’s movement is as fantastic as always, and who has been better at lurching from chipper glee to myopic, bottom-of-a-bottle sadness in the space of a scene? (****)