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Wednesday, May 3

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Betty Comden’s Birth

Introduced by Amanda Green, Daughter of Adolph Green

(1955, Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen) Kelly, Donen, Comden and Green’s On the Town follow-up, as wartime buddies Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd find their 10th anniversary reunion a bust, but still manage to stop the show with their widescreen-trisecting “garbage can ballet” - plus knock-out Cyd Charisse, and Gene’s dazzling dance on roller skates. 35mm. Approx. 102 min.

Tonight, on the 100th anniversary of her birth, we pay tribute to Brooklyn-born librettist, lyricist, screenwriter, and entertainer Betty Comden (1917-2006), whose last public appearance was at Film Forum. This special screening will be introduced by actress, singer and Tony-nominated lyricist/songwriter Amanda Green, daughter of Adolph Green, Betty’s writing partner for over 60 years.


“Howling with derision at such recognizable idiocies of TV as singing and slobbering commercials, audience-participation shows, give-away plugs for mundane products and the wise-talking agency boys, Miss Comden and Mr. Green fling some pretty sharp barbs in this bright film. And they are gaily assisted by a bevy of dandy helpers mustered up by M-G-M. First on the list is Gene Kelly, that veteran of Comden-Green shows whose sly eyes and nimble feet are measured among the happiest adornments of the screen. As his pals in contemporary turmoils are Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd the brilliant choreographer, who is making his acting debut in this film. And then there is Cyd Charisse, performing as an advertising genius who can dance, and Dolores Gray as a siren who shrills weekly on the ‘Throb of Manhattan’ TV program… So much and so many clever things are happening, one after another.”
– Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

“In ironic refusal of its title, It’s Always Fair Weather is a moody movie that takes the temperature of ‘the American Dream’ and finds it lukewarm at best, dominated by money, ‘the fix’ and the phoniness of that new plague, television… Punctuating the characters’ ennui is a series of spectacular numbers. Aside from the trash can lids dance, we get a typically leggy show-stopper from Charisse in which she’s surrounded by lugs in a boxing gym... Most astoundingly, we get Kelly tapping through the streets on roller skates, applauded by admiring bystanders. This jaw-dropping scene is truly one for the time capsule.”
– PopMatters

It’s Always Fair Weather is an excellent showcase for dancing, marked by innovative, impressionistic routines that have Kelly tapping in roller skates, then with a trashcan lid attached to one foot, then in the middle panel of a three-way split-screen. Throughout, the movie maintains a mood of sorrowful post-war disappointment, as the men who opened the movie dancing together spend the rest of the film dancing alone.”
– AV Club

“At its bleakest, It’s Always Fair Weather challenges the notion of friendship, depicting it as a fragile bond of convenience that crumbles into nothingness unless diligently maintained… Onscreen and off, Fair Weather was characterized by infighting, clashing egos, and personality conflicts, which helps give the film a bracing tension rare for musicals of any period, but especially the 1950s. Where the ebullient On The Town is giddy and manic, It’s Always Fair Weather is depressive and moody. Where On The Town is a crowd-pleaser, It’s Always Fair Weather is gloomy but inspired, an unabashed downer that purposefully, brilliantly denies audiences much of what they’d come to expect from musicals, such as likeable protagonists and an upbeat sensibility… It’s Always Fair Weather has an elegiac quality… It’s Always Fair Weather is among the darkest and most cynical of classic Hollywood musicals, which might help explain why it’s also among the most contemporary-feeling.”
– The Dissolve