An American in Paris

  • Directors: Vincente Minnelli
  • Producers: Arthur Freed
  • Writers: Alan Jay Lerner
  • Genres: Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Nina Foch

Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an exuberant American expatriate in Paris trying to make a reputation as a painter. His friend Adam (Oscar Levant) is a struggling concert pianist who is a long time associate of a French singer, Henri Baurel (Georges Guétary). A lonely society woman, Milo Roberts (Nina Foch) takes Jerry under her wing and supports him, but is interested in more than his art. Jerry remains oblivious to her feelings, and falls in love with Lise (Leslie Caron), a French girl he meets at a restaurant. Lise loves him as well, but she is already in a relationship with Henri, whom she feels indebted to for having saved her family during World War II.

At a raucous masked ball, with everyone in black-and-white costumes, Milo learns that Jerry is not interested in her, Jerry learns that Lise is in love with him, but is marrying Henri the next day, and Henri overhears their conversation. When Henri drives Lise away, Jerry daydreams about being with her all over Paris, his reverie broken by a car horn, the sound of Henri bringing Lise back to him.

Meet Me in St Louis

  • Directors: Vincente Minnelli
  • Producers: Arthur Freed
  • Writers: Story, Sally Benson, Screenplay, Irving Brecher, Fred F Finklehoffe
  • Genres: Family, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Judy Garland, Margaret O Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Marjorie Main

The backdrop for Meet Me in St. Louis is St. Louis, Missouri on the brink of the 1904 World’s Fair.

The story centers on the middle-class Smith family, who lead a comfortable and happy life. The family has four daughters, Rose, Esther, Agnes and Tootie and a son, Lon. Esther, the second eldest daughter (Judy Garland), is taken with the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake), although he does not notice her at first.

The film starts out with Mrs. Smith (Mary Astor) and Katie the maid (Marjorie Main) making ketchup. Esther Smith then walks in and asks Katie to ask Mrs. Smith if dinner can be an hour early because Rose (Lucille Bremer) is expecting a long distance phone call from Warren Sheffield (Robert Sully). Esther then leaves and Katie asks Mrs. Smith if dinner can be an hour early. Mrs. Smith agrees, but when Mr. Smith comes home, he refuses to have dinner an hour early. Everybody is eating when the telephone rings. Mr. Smith answers but says he will not accept the long distance call. Rose starts crying and that is when Mr. Smith finds out about Warren Sheffield. The phone then rings again, and Mr. Smith lets Rose answer it. The whole family is expecting Warren to propose to Rose. Instead, Rose endures an awkward phone call, in which she and Warren talk mainly about the weather.

Esther ascends the stairs and finds Tootie sitting by the window in the bedroom she shares with Agnes. Tootie is awake and waiting for Santa Claus while looking down into the Smith garden at the snow people she’d made earlier with her sisters and brother. Esther sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to her. The emotional climax of the movie occurs when Tootie cannot cope with the disruption of her social world, and experiences a violent breakdown in the yard full of snowpeople. Mr. Smith then decides after seeing this that the family would not move. He rouses the entire family. It’s noted that only Mr. Smith and Esther are still in party clothes. Everyone else is in nightclothes. He announces that the Smith family will not leave St. Louis. Before they can really rejoice, Warren Sheffield bursts in and declares his love for Rose and states that they will marry at the first possible opportunity and then absentmindedly wishes the family a Merry Christmas and a good night. The movie ends when all of the family attends the World’s Fair.

On the Town

  • Directors: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
  • Producers: Arthur Freed, Roger Edens
  • Writers: Jerome Robbins, Betty Comden, Adolph Green
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Jules Munshin, Vera Ellen

As three sailors – Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra), and Ozzie (Jules Munshin) – begin their shore leave, Gabey falls in love with the picture of “Miss Turnstiles”, who is actually Ivy Smith (Vera-Ellen). The sailors race around New York attempting to find her in the brief period they have (“New York, New York”).

They are assisted by, and become romantically involved with, two women, and pair up: Ozzie with Claire (Ann Miller), an anthropologist; and Chip with Hildy Esterhazy (Betty Garrett), an aggressively amorous taxi driver; and eventually, Gabey with Ivy, an aspiring actress. Hildy invites Chip to “Come Up to My Place”. Claire claims that she’s found her passionate “Prehistoric Man” in Ozzie at the Museum of Natural History. Gabey takes Ivy on an imaginary date down “Mainstreet” in a studio in Carnegie Hall. Later, Chip sincerely falls for Hildy telling her “You’re Awful”–awful nice to be with. That evening, all the couples meet at the top of the Empire State Building to celebrate a night “On the Town”.

But when Ivy must leave early to work as a cooch dancer, the friends tell a despondent Gabey, “You Can Count on Me”, joined by Hildy’s hilarious roommate, Lucy Schmeeler (Alice Pearce). They have a number of adventures reuniting with Ivy at Coney Island before their 24-hour leave ends and they must return to their ship to head off to sea. Although their future is uncertain, the boys and girls share one last kiss on the pier as a new crew of sailors heads out into the city for their leave (“New York, New York reprise”).

Singin in the Rain

  • Directors: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
  • Producers: Arthur Freed
  • Writers: Betty Comden, Adolph Green
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Gene Kelly, Donald O Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is a popular silent film star with humble roots as a singer, dancer, and stunt man. Don barely tolerates his vapid, shallow leading lady, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen).

One day, to escape from overenthusiastic fans, Don jumps into a passing car driven by Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). She drops him off, but not before claiming to be a stage actress and sneering at his undignified accomplishments. Later, at a party, the head of Don’s studio, R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell), shows a short demonstration of a talking picture, but his guests are unimpressed. Don runs into Kathy again at the party. To his amusement and her embarrassment, he discovers that Kathy is only a chorus girl, part of the entertainment. Furious, she throws a cake at him, only to hit Lina right in the face. Later, Don makes up with Kathy and they begin falling in love.

After a rival studio releases its first talking picture, The Jazz Singer, and it proves to be a smash hit, R.F. decides he has no choice but to convert the new Lockwood and Lamont film, The Dueling Cavalier, into a talkie. The production is beset with difficulties (most, if not all, taken from real life[citation needed]), by far the worst being Lina’s comically grating voice. A test screening is a disaster. In one scene, for instance, Don repeats “I love you” to Lina over and over, to the audience’s derisive laughter (a reference to a scene by John Gilbert in his first talkie[2]).

The premiere of The Dancing Cavalier is a tremendous success. When the audience clamors for Lina to sing live, Don, Cosmo, and R.F. improvise and get Lina to lip-synch while Kathy sings into a second microphone while hidden behind the stage’s curtain. Later, while Lina is “singing,” Don, Cosmo and R.F. gleefully open the stage curtain behind her, revealing the deception — Lina then flees in embarrassment. When Kathy tries to run away as well, Don stops her and introduces the audience to “the real star of the film.”