On the Town is a glorious, old-fashioned MGM musical. This
was Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra's third movie together and the second
time they played sailors. Besides the obvious fact that between them
they possessed the greatest singing and dancing talents of their
generation, they also had a natural camaraderie together. Jules Munshin,
Ann Miller, Vera-Ellen and Betty Garrett costar in this screen
adaptation of the popular Broadway musical.
Kelly, Sinatra and
Munshin are Gabey, Chip and Ozzie, three sailors on 24-hour shore leave
in The Big Apple. They leave the ship at 6:00am and during a montage of
shots, while the guys are singing 'New York, New York', they visit
Liberty Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Chinatown, Washington
Square Park, Rockefeller Center, and even manage to horseback ride and
bike ride through Central Park. When the song ends Frank Sinatra says,
'Come on fella's, it's 9:30 and we haven't been anywhere yet.'
Later, Gene Kelly sees a poster of 'Miss Turnstile for the month of
June' (Vera-Ellen) on the subway, he mistakenly assumes her to be a big
star, and is instantly smitten with her after a brief chance encounter.
He then drags Sinatra and Munsin all over the city in a quest to find
her. Along the way they meet a hot-to-trot lady cab driver (Garrett) who
lusts after the naïve Sinatra, and a beautiful anthropologist played by
Ann Miller, at the Museum of Natural History.
They decide to
split up in their search, agreeing to meet at the top of the Empire
State Building at 8:30pm. As the clock ticks along Gabey finally locates
Miss Turnstile and so the three young couples reunite at the top of the
city's tallest point. They go on to have a truly memorable evening
together; including my favorite song, the joyously infectious title
number performed by all six leads, and being chased by the cops at Coney
Island. The movie ends where it began. The three sailors return to the
ship at dawn, as three new sailors head off for their day of adventure
in the big city.
On the Town has all the necessary
ingredients to be a great musical. Great songs with witty lyrics and
catchy melodies, inventive, energetic dance numbers, talented performers
playing sympathetic characters with funny dialogue in ridiculous