Stanley Donen (born April 13, 1924) is an American film director and choreographer hailed by David Quinlan as “the King of the Hollywood musicals”. His most famous work is Singin’ in the Rain (1952), which he co-directed with Gene Kelly.
Donen started at Metro Goldwyn Mayer as a choreographer and dancer in Best Foot Forward (1943) with Lucille Ball. Donen appeared with Kelly in Cover Girl (1944) for Columbia Pictures, for which Donen also directed a sequence of Kelly dancing with his double on a darkened Manhattan street. His first chance to direct an entire movie was an adaptation of the Comden and Green musical about sailors on leave in New York City, On the Town (1949), with some songs by Leonard Bernstein, which Donen co-directed with Gene Kelly. This was the first movie musical to be filmed on location.
With Kelly again, Donen co-directed Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and by himself directed such classics as Royal Wedding (1951), where Donen directed Fred Astaire dancing… read more
M-G-M was the largest and most powerful studio in Hollywood when Gene Kelly arrived in town in 1941. He came direct from the hit 1940 original Broadway production of “Pal Joey” and planned to return to the Broadway stage after making the one film required by his contract. His first picture for M-G-M was For Me and My Gal (1942) with Judy Garland. What kept Kelly in Hollywood were “the kindred creative spirits” he found behind the scenes at M-G-M. The talent pool was especially large during World War II, when Hollywood was a refuge for many musicians and others in the performing arts of Europe who were forced to flee the Nazis. After the war, a new generation was coming of age. Those who saw An American in Paris (1951) would try to make real life as romantic as the reel life they saw portrayed in that musical, and the first time they saw Paris, they were seeing again in memory the seventeen-minute ballet sequence set to the title song written by George Gershwin and… read more