Scripted by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, It's Always Fair Weather (1955) revisits On the Town (1949), but with a satirical, revisionist bite. In this send-up of musical and post-war optimism, the dreams of Army buddies Kelly, Dan Dailey, and Michael Kidd all fall apart, and their ten-year reunion is a "frost"; Dailey's bitter song "Situation-wise" takes aim at the stultifying effect of the quintessentially 1950s life of an advertising executive. Even though the trio finally bonds over a disastrous TV appearance, Fair Weather takes further aim at television's plastic insincerity and technical poverty. The film's slightly anxious putdowns of television are underlined by its own imaginative, almost competitive use of CinemaScope, particularly in the trio's energetic, un-pan-and-scannable trash can ballet, and the use of triple split screens and masking to visualize the friends' alienation. Even the musical joy emanating from the garbage can number and Kelly's impressive roller skate dance down a New York street cannot quite smooth over the underlying bitterness in It's Always Fair Weather, turning it into one of the more intriguing productions from MGM's storied Freed Unit.
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Cooked up by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, It's Always Fair Weather could well have been titled On the Town Ten Years Later. Like 1949's On the Town (also a Comden/Green collaboration), this MGM musical follows the exploits of three servicemen buddies, played by Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd. The difference here is that the threesome has just been discharged from service. The boys agree to get together again exactly ten years after their parting. Flash-forward to 1955: Kelly, who'd dreamed of being a show biz entrepreneur, is a small-time boxing promoter, heavily in debt to the Mob; Dailey has abandoned his plans of becoming an artist in favor of a stuffy, grey-flannel existence as an ad executive; and Kidd, who'd aspired to being a master chef, is running a modest diner. On behalf of TV-personality Dolores Gray, network-staffer Cyd Charisse contrives to reunite the three men on a This is Your Life style TV special, but all three are hostile to the notion.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola