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.”