Vincente Minnelli - Rotten Tomatoes

Vincente Minnelli



Vincente Minnelli was celebrated for bringing new levels of sophistication to the movie musical in the 1940s and 1950s. While such musicals as Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and An American in Paris (1951) made his name, Minnelli also directed highly regarded dramas, including the Hollywood story The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and frothy comedies. Though his career faltered with the studio system's demise, his distinctive, fever-pitch sensibility endeared him to European and American cinèastes, ensuring his lasting reputation. Born to a Midwestern travelling theater family, Minnelli spent his childhood shuttling between relatives in Delaware and Chicago. After high school, he headed to Chicago to pursue a creative career, landing a job as a window dresser at the Marshall Fields department store. Honing his visual skills in this and subsequent work as a photographer's assistant and costume designer for live shows at premiere Chicago and New York movie houses, Minnelli earned accolades for his 1930s work as a costume/set designer and then as a stage director in New York theater. After an aborted attempt at movies in 1937, Minnelli finally heeded Hollywood's siren call, via MGM producer Arthur Freed, in 1940. Unimpressed with the state of movie musicals (except for Fred Astaire's work), Minnelli headed West to learn moviemaking as a low-ranking part of MGM's burgeoning Freed Unit. After staging numbers for the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney vehicles Strike Up the Band (1940) and Babes on Broadway (1941), Minnelli earned his shot at directing with the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky (1943). Stylishly mounted on a low budget, Cabin in the Sky became a modest, critically praised hit. His third directorial try subsequently sealed his reputation as a singularly gifted musical director. With Freed behind him, Minnelli overcame resistance from the studio and recalcitrant star Garland to craft the musical hit Meet Me in St. Louis. A critical and popular smash, Meet Me in St. Louis established Minnelli as the Freed Unit's maestro and won him his first of four wives in Garland; their collaboration on the lyrical non-musical romance The Clock (1945) confirmed Minnelli's versatility. While his mobile camera injected life into the revue Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Minnelli's prodigious imagination was given even freer reign in two troubled musicals, Yolanda and the Thief (1945) and The Pirate (1948). Centering on romances between shady men and innocent girls in ornate fantasy settings, Yolanda and The Pirate each suffered from mismatched leads (Astaire and Lucille Bremer in the former, Gene Kelly and an unstable Garland in the latter) and what some considered an excess of art direction at the expense of story. Still, such charged numbers as "Coffee Time" in Yolanda and "Mack the Black" and "Be a Clown" in The Pirate made the films required viewing for musical fans. Despite the birth of daughter Liza, Minnelli and Garland's marriage fell apart after The Pirate and he took a break from musicals. Rather than harm his career, however, the hiatus made him even more valuable to MGM. Not only was his skill at translating his elaborate imagery to the needs of drama underlined by his version of Madame Bovary (1949), but the deft pacing of his musicals served him well when he turned to comedy with Father of the Bride (1950). Starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor, Father of the Bride made light of wedding traumas while hinting at Tracy's paternal anguish. Father became an enormous hit, begetting the sequel Father's Little Dividend (1951). Minnelli returned to musicals when Freed chose him to helm the ambitious An American in Paris (1951). Starring Gene Kelly and young ballerina Leslie Caron, scored with classic Gershwin songs, An American in Paris merged high art and pop entertainment in the story of an aspiring painter's romantic entanglements. Inspired by The Red Shoes (1948), the climactic 16-minute "American in Paris Ballet" rapturously soared

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Essential Classic American Musicals
  • Director
2007
No Score Yet A Matter of Time
  • Director
1976
100% On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
  • Director
1970
10% The Sandpiper
  • Director
1965
No Score Yet Goodbye Charlie
  • Director
1964
No Score Yet The Courtship of Eddie's Father
  • Director
1963
No Score Yet The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  • Director
1962
100% Two Weeks in Another Town
  • Director
1962
78% Bells Are Ringing
  • Director
1960
100% Home from the Hill
  • Director
1960
80% Some Came Running
  • Director
1959
No Score Yet The Reluctant Debutante
  • Director
1958
77% Gigi
  • Director
1958
78% Designing Woman
  • Director
1957
No Score Yet Tea and Sympathy
  • Director
1957
100% Lust for Life
  • Director
1956
57% Kismet
  • Director
1955
80% The Cobweb
  • Director
1955
83% Brigadoon
  • Director
1954
38% The Long, Long Trailer
  • Director
1954
100% The Band Wagon
  • Director
1953
No Score Yet The Story of Three Loves
  • Director
1953
96% The Bad and the Beautiful
  • Director
1953
95% An American in Paris
  • Director
1951
100% Father's Little Dividend
  • Director
1951
93% Father of the Bride
  • Director
1950
No Score Yet Madame Bovary
  • Director
1949
71% The Pirate
  • Director
1948
No Score Yet Undercurrent
  • Director
1946
75% Ziegfeld Follies
  • Director
1946
80% Yolanda and the Thief
  • Director
1945
100% The Clock
  • Director
1945
100% Meet Me In St. Louis
  • Director
1944
80% Cabin in the Sky
  • Director
1943
No Score Yet I Dood It
  • Director
1943

Quotes from Vincente Minnelli's Characters

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