Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The play's the thing wherein we'll rehash the whole damn plot

This one is squarely in my wheelhouse. Somehow I managed to watch a million 40s and 50s musicals in my 20s--probably thanks to the likes of AMC and TCM--and this was one of them.

I'd forgotten how reversed the gender roles are in the film. It's the girls who drag the sailors back to their places for a little afternoon delight, the girls who are in the know, the girls who grease palms to make things happen, the girls who convince the cops to not only drop the charges against them but to aid them . . . all while the men are damned clueless. And by "the girls" I mean Hilde and Claire, not Ivy. Ivy annoyed me. I wish she'd been a perky blonde with some personality rather than just an obviously more modest than every other girl in the film blonde, even if she is a "cooch dancer" and "Miss Turnstiles" is, well, a tad suggestive.

My only other slight annoyance was the ubiquitous-to-this-period-of-musical-and-Gene-Kelly-films extended dance number. We've no one's conscience's to catch, but we have to rehash everything that's happened so far. I actually considered whether I had time to clean the litter box during the number and not miss anything.

Otherwise, I like the movie a lot. It's fun and there's dancing and I think it basically holds up--it wouldn't get a shout out in Glee if it didn't, right?

And, drum-roll please . . . . the book says: "The left-wing aspect of Kelly's life and career is often overlooked. On the Town has, lurking under its surface alongside that sex drive, a political aspiration: This 'city symphony' . . .is truly an ode to the joys and woes of ordinary workers, cramming experiences into the cracks of a punishing schedule" but what the book focuses on for most of the entry is the double-entendres that bubble up through the shiny happy naive surface of the film. So, we're supposed to see this one before we die because it's fun and a little subversively raunchy  . . . and it's subversively pro-working guy/gal. Whatcha' think of that, brainmate?


  1. Nice link to Glee! And yeah, Ivy annoyed me as well, especially since she had such awesome broads to live up to. I liked that the other girls totally supported her ruse, without even being asked. I want to be friends with Claire and Hildie. This one was a lot better for women than I ever dared dream.

    I must admit, I didn't catch the pro-worker thread, and I'm usually pretty sensitive to that. Now that the book mentions it, you do have the dock worker opening and closing the film with his dirge, but other than that, the lefty stuff was *too* subversive for me to catch. Working looks like fun in this movie for the most part--Hildie drives the cab because she wants to, Ivy has time to take dance lessons, Claire is an academic, etc. Did you catch a rise of the proletariat vibe?

  2. Thanks :) That episode is full of classic NY tributes.

    I didn't catch it either. I see how it's supposed to work but I don't really buy it. Sailors may be working guys but they're not the same as dock workers.