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On the Town (1949)

Three sailors on a day of shore leave in New York City look for fun and romance before their twenty-four hours are up.

Writers:

Adolph Green (screenplay), Betty Comden (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gene Kelly ... Gabey
Frank Sinatra ... Chip
Betty Garrett ... Brunhilde Esterhazy
Ann Miller ... Claire Huddesen
Jules Munshin ... Ozzie
Vera-Ellen ... Ivy Smith
Florence Bates ... Mme. Dilyovska
Alice Pearce ... Lucy Shmeeler
George Meader George Meader ... Professor
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Storyline

Three sailors - Gabey, Chip and Ozzie - let loose on a 24-hour pass in New York and the Big Apple will never be the same! Gabey falls head over heels for "Miss Turnstiles of the Month" (he thinks she's a high society deb when she's really a 'cooch dancer at Coney Island); innocent Chip gets highjacked (literally) by a lady cab driver; and Ozzie becomes the object of interest of a gorgeous anthropologist who thinks he's the perfect example of a "prehistoric man". Wonderful music and terrific shots of New York at its best. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They're painting the town red, white and blue! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 December 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un día en Nueva York See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,111,250 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When On the Town premiered at Radio City Music Hall, the line to get in was the largest in that theater's history. After its initial success, Arthur Freed, the producer of the film recalled, his unit was in the MGM commissary passing the Joe Pasternak unit (which made less expensive musicals); one member of the Pasternak unit said, "There goes the royal family." Indeed, this movie was, at the time, the second largest-grossing in MGM history, next to Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). See more »

Goofs

In the dance studio when Gaby tells Ivy what time to meet him, they both mouth "seven-thirty", but a voice overdub corrects both to "eight-thirty", which is the time Gaby set with the rest of the group. See more »

Quotes

Claire Huddesen: How'd you feel if someone broke your dinosaur?
Ozzie: Never had one. We were too poor.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the actual credits the film opens with an embossed card on a silver dish, reading: "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Silver Anniversary Picture." Most of the studio's 1949 releases opened with this. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chico & Rita (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Prehistoric Man
(uncredited)
Music by Roger Edens
Lyrics by Adolph Green and Betty Comden
Sung by Ann Miller
Danced by Ann Miller, Jules Munshin, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Betty Garrett
See more »

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User Reviews

"Gotta See The Whole Town, From Yonkers On Down To The Bay ... In Just One Day"
26 January 1999 | by stryker-5See all my reviews

The Bronx is up and the Battery's down, and Kelly and Sinatra are back in sailor suits, in this effervescent MGM musical. The three matelots (our two heroes are joined by Jules Munshin for this caper) have a 24-hour shore leave in which to savour New York City. "What can happen to ya in one day?" asks a shipyard worker, and the guys answer the question by picking up girls, destroying a dinosaur and getting chased to Coney Island by the cops... in just one day.

Leonard Bernstein composed the tunes, and the writers of the stage show (Green & Comden) provided the lyrics, supplemented by Bernstein himself and the associate producer, Roger Edens. Of the songs, "On The Town" and "You Can Count On Me" are nerve-tingling showstoppers. "Prehistoric Man" is much weaker, but saved by crisp, playful choreography. The two expressionist ballets, "Miss Turnstiles" and "A Day In New York" bear the hallmark of Kelly's directorial style, which first reached its maturity in this picture. Kelly's slide on his knees towards the 'Miss Turnstiles' poster is a piece of cinema magic.

Kelly plays Gabey, a supposedly worldly-wise lady's man who turns out to be a Mid-Western innocent in the big city, and who falls in love with a struggling hoofer(Vera-Ellen), a girl he takes to be a celebrity. Sinatra is the serious-minded Chip, the enthusiastic sightseer who gets snapped up by Hildie Esterhazy (Betty Garrett), a knowing cabbie who has one aim - to get Chip alone in her apartment. Ann Miller sings and dances impeccably as Claire Huddesen, the bluestocking who gets turned on by Ozzie's primitive quality.

"On The Town" has a daffy story, as musicals often do, but it fizzes with flirtatious youthful energy. Each of the three couples has its own song and/or dance, and these are sensitively tailored to suit the individuals' personalities. The Empire State Building observation platform set is a knockout, and the film's sense of fun even extends to a sly Ava Gardner joke at Sinatra's expense. Notional time runs from 6am at the start of the boys' leave ('boys', or 'kids' as they are twice described, is not quite accurate - Kelly was 37 and the other two 34 at the time of filming) until 6am the following morning, as it ends. Three new sailors come charging down the gangway to start their 24 hours in the Big Apple, reminding us that love and youth are eternal, and New York's a wonderful town.


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