Vera-Ellen and Gene Kelly, On the Town
On the Town (1949, directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly) is such a wonderful musical – each time I see it, the same thoughts swirl around my head….
- We simply do NOT talk enough about Vera-Ellen. She was an absolute treasure and treasures should be loudly celebrated.
- Frank Sinatra, while (deservedly) celebrated for his music, voice, entertainment skills, and charisma, does not get enough credit for his acting. He had so much talent as an actor and was VERY versatile. Drama, musicals, comedy – there wasn’t a role out of his reach.
- Betty Garrett was the very definition of a flawless performer. She was mesmerizing in every role, every scene… so much energy and always so fun to watch. Whatever film this actress made, she made you fall in love with her character AND her!
- Jules Munshin was an absolute GENIUS… he managed (with aplomb!) not to get lost in scenes with not one but TWO iconic legends in Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Seriously.. how does one even think about pulling that off? What’s more, he even manages to steal a few scenes. This wonderful performer should have been given more roles. He was truly something else!
- Speaking of “should have been given more,” one of the first names that always comes to mind with these words is the stunningly beautiful and talented Ann Miller. She was never anything less than a knock-out and, like Jules, a complete scene-stealer… yet, Hollywood consistently relegated her to supporting roles or the “second female.” She was capable and deserving of so much more.
On the Town was the third (and final) movie Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra made together. Frank Sinatra would go on to say in an interview, “I could never dance, but Gene Kelly made me look like I could.”
Could have fooled me!
Betty Garrett and Frank Sinatra
Ironically, when I first saw the movie (as a teenager), my initial response to the pairing of Betty Garrett and Frank Sinatra was negative…. okay, hugely negative. Why? I have no idea. But I distinctly remember the characters all showing up on my tv screen and my mentally pairing them up differently… Frank Sinatra with Vera-Ellen, Gene Kelly with Ann Miller, and Betty Garrett with Jules Munshin.
Yes… pairing them completely different than they were in actuality! When it became apparent how each couple was to be paired, I was okay with two of the three but completely not buying into Betty and Frank.
Long story short, they won me over before the movie was even half over. What’s more, guess which pair is my favorite each and every time I revisit this movie. You guessed it, Frank and Betty.
Having said that, I love each couple with all my heart, but… well… feel a little something extra for the one I took a few minutes to warm up to.
Ann Miller and Jules Munshin