Film Society of Lincoln Center Kicks Up Its Heels with Summer Slate of Gene Kelly Musicals (CLIPS)

by Jacob Combs
June 24, 2013 3:41 PM
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Now, we've written before about how movie musicals these days often end up being partial or complete disappointments.  But the 40s and 50s were the golden age of American film musicals: big, set piece-heavy stories that were written specifically to be films.  In truth, they're a piece of our national heritage, and we always welcome the chance to see them on the big screen.

Clearly, the Film Society of Lincoln Center agrees; they're going with a singing and dancing theme for their July and August Family Films screenings, which are packed with Hollywood musicals from the 40s and 50s, largely featuring screen legend Gene Kelly.

First up on July 6 and 7 is Bob Cormack's "Make Music Mine," an early Disney film of unrelated segments set to music cobbled together when much of the studio's staff was drafted into the Army during World War II.  Later that month, Lincoln Center will screen Busby Berkeley's "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, and "For Me and My Gal," which teamed up Kelly and Judy Garland.

August is about Broadway on the big screen, with Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of Lerner & Loewe's Scottish musical "Brigadoon," starring Kelly, Van Johnson, Cyd Charisse and dancer Jacques D'Amboise, as well as composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricists Betty Comden & Adolph Green's must-see "On the Town," a playful homage to New York City starring and directed by Gene Kelly.  The Kelly festival continues through the month, with George Sidney's "The Three Musketeers," the Cole Porter-composed "The Pirate" and, of course, the one and only "Singin' in the Rain."

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  • Gina | June 24, 2013 11:07 PMReply

    Sounds wonderful!

  • Jamie | June 24, 2013 9:12 PMReply

    Make Mine Music is a great film and most of the individual pieces are on You Tube. My favorites are the Whale Who Wanted to Sing Opera At the Met or Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet. Gene Kelly is wonderful in all of the films though The Pirate is pretty lame as to content and Brigadoon is missing half the beautiful songs from the Broadway Play because the stars were dancers not singers.

  • Brian | June 25, 2013 12:59 PM

    Lame? THE PIRATE is one of Gene Kelly's best musicals, almost on a par with SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and ON THE TOWN. I was just watching it on TCM on Sunday. Kelly is magnificent throughout. It has a multiracial cast and none of the segregation one encountered in musicals of the period, where black performers performed in segments that could easily have been cut from prints when these films played the south. In THE PIRATE, the Nicholas Brothers, two of the greatest dancers to work in Hollywood, are an integral part of the film from start to finish and they share their big number, "Be a Clown," with Kelly as full equals. That was quite an achievement and no film boasting it, esp. one made in 1948, should be dismissed as "lame."

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