Twenty-five years ago, the Film Society celebrated the opening of the Walter Reade Theater with a screening of On the Town, which was part of the series “Great Beginnings: First Films by Great Directors.” A directorial collaboration of musical star Kelly and choreographer Donen (who would re-team on Singin’ in the Rain), On the Town was the first Hollywood musical to feature extensive location shooting—and in Technicolor! “The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down,” and Kelly-Donen managed to include both—and a dozen New York landmarks breathlessly in between—in this rollicking comedy about three lookin’-for-a-good-time sailors (Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin) on 24 hours’ leave in a Big Apple that has rarely looked so gorgeous and exciting. The effervescent music is by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens; costars include Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, and Vera-Ellen.
Introduction by Joanne Koch and Richard Peña
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