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Thursday, January 7, 2016

On the Town (1949)


On the Town is a 1949 musical film with music by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It is an adaptation of the Broadway stage musical of the same name produced in 1944 (which itself is an adaptation of the Jerome Robbins ballet entitled Fancy Free which was also produced in 1944), although many changes in script and score were made from the original stage version; for instance, most of Bernstein's music was dropped in favor of new songs by Edens, who disliked the majority of the Bernstein score, for being too complex and too operatic. This caused Bernstein to boycott the film.


 The film was directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, and stars Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Ann Miller, Betty Garrett, Jules Munshin, and Vera-Ellen. It also features Alice Pearce and in small, bit part, Bea Benaderet. It was a product of producer Arthur Freed's Unit at MGM, and is notable for its combination of studio and location filming, as a result of Gene Kelly's insistence that some scenes be shot in New York City itself, including at the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Rockefeller Center.


The film was an instant success and won the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Cinematography (Color). Screenwriters Comden and Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical. Judy Holliday was uncredited as the voice of Daisy Simkins.In 2006, this film version ranked No. 19 on the American Film Institute's list of best musicals.


     Gene Kelly as Gabey
     Frank Sinatra as Chip
     Jules Munshin as Ozzie
     Ann Miller as Claire Huddesen
     Betty Garrett as Brunhilde "Hildy" Esterhazy
     Vera-Ellen as Ivy Smith
     Florence Bates as Madame Dilyovska
     Alice Pearce as Lucy Schmeeler
     George Meader as Professor
     Hans Conried as François (head waiter) 

    

As three sailors – Gabey, Chip, and Ozzie – begin their shore leave, Gabey falls in love with the picture of "Miss Turnstiles", who is actually Ivy Smith. The sailors race around New York attempting to find her in the brief period they have ("New York, New York").


 They are assisted by, and become romantically involved with, two women, and pair up: Ozzie with Claire, an anthropologist; and Chip with Hildy Esterhazy, an aggressively amorous taxi driver; and eventually, Gabey with Ivy, an aspiring actress. Claire claims that she's found her passionate "Prehistoric Man" in Ozzie at the Museum of Anthropological History. Hildy invites Chip to "Come Up to My Place". 


 Gabey takes Ivy on an imaginary date down "Main Street" in a studio in Symphonic Hall. Later, Chip sincerely falls for Hildy telling her "You're Awful" – that is, awful nice to be with. That evening, all the couples meet at the top of the Empire State Building to celebrate a night "On the Town".


But when Ivy must leave early to work as a cooch dancer, the friends tell a despondent Gabey, "You Can Count on Me", joined by Hildy's annoying, but well-meaning roommate, Lucy Schmeeler. They have a number of adventures reuniting with Ivy at Coney Island before their 24-hour leave ends and they must return to their ship to head off to sea. Although their future is uncertain, the boys and girls share one last kiss on the pier as a new crew of sailors heads out into the city for their leave ("New York, New York" reprise).


Musical Songs

    "I Feel Like I'm Not Out of Bed Yet" – Shipyard builder
    "New York, New York" – Gabey, Chip, and Ozzie (Original to Bernstein's score)
    "Miss Turnstiles Ballet" (instrumental) – Ivy and ensemble (Original to Bernstein's score)
    "Prehistoric Man" – Claire, Ozzie, Gabey, Chip, and Hildy
    "Come Up to My Place" – Hildy and Chip (Original to Bernstein's score)
    "Main Street" – Gabey and Ivy
    "You're Awful" – Chip and Hildy
    "On the Town" – Gabey, Ivy, Chip, Hildy, Ozzie, and Claire
    "Count on Me" – Gabey, Chip, Ozzie, Hildy, Claire, and Lucy
    "A Day in New York" (instrumental) – Gabey, Ivy, and dream cast (Original to Bernstein's score)
    "New York, New York" (Reprise)[4] – Shipyard builders, three new sailors, and chorus
  



On the Town is a musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, based on Jerome Robbins' idea for his 1944 ballet Fancy Free, which he had set to Bernstein's music. The musical introduced several popular and classic songs, among them "New York, New York", "Lonely Town", "I Can Cook, Too" (for which Bernstein also wrote the lyrics), and "Some Other Time". The story concerns three American sailors on a 24-hour shore leave in New York City during wartime 1944. Each of the three sailors meets and quickly connects with a woman.


On the Town was first produced on Broadway in 1944 and was made into a film in 1949, although the film replaced all but three of the original Broadway songs with Hollywood-written substitutes. The show has enjoyed a number of major revivals. The musical integrates dance into its storytelling: Robbins made a number of ballets and extended dance sequences for the show, including the "Imaginary Coney Island" ballet.


The MGM film opened on December 8, 1949. It starred Gene Kelly as Gabey (who also co-directed with Stanley Donen), Frank Sinatra as Chip, and Jules Munshin as Ozzie, as well as Ann Miller (Claire), Vera-Ellen (Ivy) and Betty Garrett (Hildy). The film dispensed with many of the Bernstein songs, other than "New York, New York," and replaced them with new songs by Roger Edens.


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