Pity the makers of this year’s Oscar “In Memoriam” package, who now have to rearrange everything in Premiere Pro to fit Stanley Donen in. The last surviving director of note from Hollywood’s Golden Age, he was often referred to as the “king of the musicals”.
Starting off as a Broadway dancer, he soon developed a friendship with another young toe-tapper by the name of Gene Kelly. Switching to Hollywood in the late 40s, he brought the spirit of Busby to post-war cinema, and gave us films like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Damn Yankees, Charade, and his two major works with Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain and On the Town. He left the studio system in 1957 and continued as a maker of successful, critically acclaimed movies, until the disaster that was Blame It On Rio soured him on cinema and he effectively retired as a director in 1984.