Stanley Donen  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

While living in England Stanley Donen became a fan of the British variety show Beyond the Fringe and wanted to work with the show's comedy duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The resulting film was Bedazzled, an updated version of the Faust legend in 1967. It was written by Cook with music by Moore, and also starred Eleanor Bron and Raquel Welch. Moore plays a lonely young man whose unrequited love of his co-worker (Bron) drives him to attempt suicide. Just then the devil (Cook) appears and offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul. The film's fun-loving association with the Swinging London of the 1960s divided critics, but Roger Ebert called its satire "barbed and contemporary ... dry and understated", and overall, a "magnificently photographed, intelligent, very funny film." On the other hand, Time magazine called it the feeblest of all known variations on the Faust theme. The film was a hit and was especially popular among American college students. Donen considered it a favorite among his own films and called it "a very personal film in that I said a great deal about what I think is important in life." It was remade as Bedazzled by director Harold Ramis in 2000.

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Stanley Donen (April 13, 1924 – February 21, 2019) was an American film director and choreographer whose most celebrated works are On the Town (1949) and Singin' in the Rain (1952), both of which starred Gene Kelly who co-directed. His other films include Royal Wedding (1951), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Funny Face (1957), Indiscreet (1958), and Charade (1963). He began his career in the chorus line on Broadway for director George Abbott, where he befriended Kelly. From 1943, he was in Hollywood and worked as a choreographer before beginning to collaborate with Kelly. After On the Town, Donen worked as a contract director for MGM under producer Arthur Freed producing critically well-received box-office hits. Donen and Kelly co-directed the musical Singin' in the Rain, released in April 1952, which has appeared on lists of the best films ever made. Donen's relationship with Kelly deteriorated during their final collaboration, It's Always Fair Weather (1955). He then broke his contract with MGM to become an independent producer in 1957. He continued making films throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, often financial successes that gained positive attention. His film output became less frequent in the early 1980s and he briefly returned to the stage as a director in the 1990s and again in 2002.

Donen is credited with having transitioned Hollywood musical films from realistic backstage dramas to a more integrated art form in which the songs were a natural continuation of the story. Before Donen and Kelly made their films, musicals – such as the extravagant and stylized work of Busby Berkeley – were often set in a Broadway stage environment where the musical numbers were part of a stage show. Donen and Kelly's films created a more cinematic form and included dances that could only be achieved in the film medium. Donen stated that what he was doing was a "direct continuation from the AstaireRogers musicals ... which in turn came from René Clair and from Lubitsch ... What we did was not geared towards realism but towards the unreal."

Donen is highly respected by film historians; however his career is often compared to Kelly's, and there is debate over who deserves more credit for their collaborations. Donen and Kelly's relationship was complicated, both professionally and personally, but Donen's films as a solo director are generally better regarded by critics than Kelly's. French film critic Jean-Pierre Coursodon has said that Donen's contribution to the evolution of the Hollywood musical "outshines anybody else's, including Vincente Minnelli's". David Quinlan called him "the King of the Hollywood musicals". Among his awards are an Honorary Academy Award in 1998 and a Career Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival in 2004. Donen married five times and had three children. Film director and comedian Elaine May was his partner from 1999 until his death in 2019. He was the last surviving notable director of Hollywood's Golden Age.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Stanley Donen" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools