“You know, somewhere in the world there’s a right girl for every boy.”
Three sailors on leave for the day in New York City become romantically involved with a trio of girls: Ozzie (Jules Munshin) encounters a sexy scientist (Ann Miller) in a museum; Chip (Frank Sinatra) is aggressively pursued by a cab driver (Betty Garrett); and Gabey (Gene Kelly) falls for the girl of his dreams (Vera-Allen) when he spots her on a poster as “Miss Turnstiles”, not realizing she actually hails from a small town.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary accurately notes that this “irresistible, cheer-you-up Betty-Comden-Adolph Green musical” — “directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen” — features “lively” songs and “exuberant” dancing. He points out that Kelly’s character “is extremely likable” (note how sweet he is to his “ugly blind date” [Alice Pearce]), and notes how nice it is “to see how well the three female characters get along”, despite having just met each other hours earlier. Of the female leads, Garrett is especially memorable — and “really appealing” — in a hilariously aggressive turn as a “spunky cabbie” who immediately knows what she wants from Sinatra’s “initially shy” character. As for Vera-Allen, while Peary argues that she “makes a good dancing partner for Kelly because she also has an athletic style”, he complains that she lacks the “‘star power’ of some of his other partners”; I agree that she’s well-cast but not all that charismatic in the role.
Peary complains that the wonderful “Bernstein-Edens score could use a couple of more standards to go with ‘New York, New York'”, but I heartily disagree; there are enough clever, memorable songs strewn throughout this one (“Come Up To My Place”, “You’re Awful”, and “Count On Me”, to name just a few) to satisfy most musical lovers, and the accompanying choreography is consistently enjoyable. Meanwhile, the film’s fabled location shooting — particularly during the opening sequence — is deservedly noteworthy; one wishes for even more. Although the storyline is incredibly simple and straightforward — the biggest conflict revolves around Miss Turnstiles’ hidden identity, which we know won’t be a problem for amiable Kelly — this allows us to simply sit back and enjoy the show, which remains enormously entertaining up until the tiresome final chase sequence (but who’s quibbling).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine location shooting in the charming opening musical sequence, “New York, New York”
- Many enjoyable musical numbers and dance sequences
- Betty Garrett as Hilde
- Alice Pearce as Lucy Schmeeler
- A memorable score by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens (with fun lyrics by screenwriters Adolph Green and Betty Comden)
Yes, as a genuine musical classic. Nominated by Peary as one of the Best Films of the Year in his Alternate Oscars.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)