On the Town (1949)
I really just don't have it in me to review this movie...but we're going to try anyway. "On the Town" is not so disgusting as to rival "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" as the epitome of horrid and insulting musicals; but its mindless and spectacle-laden antics make it a close second if there ever was one.
An innocent and equally insipid movie, "On the Town" is the story of three men trying to get lucky throughout the course of one day on shore-leave.
Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra), and Ozzie (that other guy) are three sailors in the navy who have twenty four hours in New York to sightsee and have sex before they return to the boat. Keep in the mind the year, everything is in innuendos.
Miraculously, in three and a half hours, the trio manages to see all of the sights worth seeing in New York. Only Chip remains unsatisfied with the landmarks visited, but the other two have women on the mind and they decide that now is as good a time as any to start looking for tail.
Bingo! On a train, a poster is put up for "Miss Turnstiles" a woman randomly selected as a rider of the train every month. This month's edition: Ivy Smith (Vera-Ellen). Gabey immediately falls in love with the blonde-haired and blue-eye beauty and thinks that he has a chance with her if he ever got to meet her in person. After a fleeting moment, he becomes determined to track Mrs. Smith town and date the crap of her....creepy.
Meanwhile, in just as ridiculous fashion, Ozzie has met an anthropologist at a museum who is attracted to him because she thinks he looks like caveman and it takes her a seven minute tap dance number to explain that to us, the nonplussed and uncaring audience.
As far as idiocy goes, musicals have it hard to convince you that people would burst out in song without the aiding of a psychedelic drugs.
Chip has met the girl of his nightmares in the form of a cabbie driver who wants nothing more than to get Chip's pants off and insists on them returning to her house so they can...you know...whatever.
"On the Town's" musical numbers consist of blithe and overly cheerful pieces of puff nonsense that are supposed to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside and instead made my stomach turn sour at the sight of them.
It's boring, childish, immature, unfair, cheap, and above all else...just plain stupid. My opinion meaning not much, I won't hold back.
"On the Town" insists that these men are real men and these ladies are actual ladies. What I see is a cookie-cutter formula for pumping out one cheap musical after the other. There is some Cinderella-esque trope that has our lead man loosing his lady just before midnight. The thoughts of others are given way too much weight and the humor of the movie consists of making fun of an ugly girl with a cold...wow, that's like beating a three-legged dog to death with a baby....funny!
As much as I hate "On the Town", you do have to admire Gene Kelly's perky athleticism which somehow comes across as effortless in all his movies. As part of the director team here, Kelly does give himself more of the spotlight and a dancing, fanciful, re-interpretation of the whole movie wasn't a necessary ten minutes that I needed to waste out of my life. I sat through the movie, I don't need a can-can to remind me of what I just saw.
"On the Town" won an Oscar for its score and has remained in the canon of musical lore and I cannot understand why. If you're just itching for a nonsensical and hilarious musical, watch "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"...it's much better.
This is just....bad.
Posted by Micah Jones