ON THE TOWN
1949, Warner Bros., 98 min, USA, Dir: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen

Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin are three sailors on leave in New York who find romance - and plenty of song and dance - with Vera-Ellen, Ann Miller and Betty Garrett over the course of their day at liberty in the big city. The creative team of Kelly and Donen, producer Arthur Freed and writers Adolph Green and Betty Comden would reunite three years later to make SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.


TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
1949, Park Circus/MGM, 93 min, USA, Dir: Busby Berkeley

This superbly crafted musical features an all-star team behind the camera - producer Arthur Freed, director Busby Berkeley and choreographer Stanley Donen - as well as in front. Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly are baseball players (and off-season vaudeville performers) in 1908 whose team is taken over by a woman (Esther Williams). Costars Jules Munshin and Betty Garrett hit home runs with numbers like “O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg” and “It's Fate, Baby” (the two would soon join Sinatra and Kelly in ON THE TOWN).


MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
1944, Warner Bros., 113 min, USA, Dir: Vincente Minnelli

Life seems perfect in St. Louis on the brink of the 1904 World’s Fair for the four sisters of a working-class family, until the father reveals they have to leave for New York. Adapted from Sally Benson’s short stories, originally published in The New Yorker, this gem of cinematic, picture-postcard Americana and youthful romance marked the beginning of the golden age of MGM musicals, and the golden age for director Vincente Minnelli as well: He married Judy Garland the following year. The songs became standards (remember "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"?), and the feature was one of MGM’s biggest successes in its day.


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