Stanley Donen

"Was there ever a director who brought more joy to the screen? A Broadway dancer turned Hollywood choreographer, Donen made some of the best, and best-loved, musicals of all time." - Matt Glasby (A to Z Great Film Directors, 2015)

Stanley Donen

Director / Producer
See also Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
(1924- ) Born April 13, Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Key Production Countries: USA, UK
Key Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Musical Romance, Musical Comedy, Farce, Drama, Comedy Drama, Sophisticated Comedy
Key Collaborators: Cary Grant (Leading Actor), Richard Marden (Editor), Audrey Hepburn (Leading Actress), Christopher Challis (Cinematographer), Cedric Gibbons (Production Designer), Fred Astaire (Leading Actor), Jane Powell (Leading Actress), Eleanor Bron (Leading Actress), Frances Goodrich (Screenwriter), Albert Hackett (Screenwriter), Jack Cummings (Producer), Jim Clark (Editor)

"It would seem that if Donen is to be involved in good movies in the future, it will be more as a genial catalyst than as a creative force. Donen seems too much the congenital team player ever to display a marked individuality, and the Donen "touch" remains as elusive as ever... Still, if a director acts as a pleasant enough catalyst long enough, he may come to be accepted as a creator if only in the most passive form permitted the claim of creation." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)
"Donen's oeuvre demonstrates a reaction against the presentation of musical numbers on the stage, choreographing them instead on the streets of everyday life. It is this combination of a visual reality and a performing unreality (a performing reality is some type of stage that is clearly delineated from normal, day–to–day activity) that creates the tension inherent in surrealism. Donen geared the integrated musical towards the unreal; our functional perception of the real world does not include singing and dancing as a means of normal interpersonal communication." - Greg Faller (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"A dancer and choreographer on Broadway, Stanley Donen came to Hollywood and made a spectacular success of staging numbers for MGM musicals, working with Gene Kelly on four films... His solo work includes the exuberant Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Funny Face (1957), notable for their visual quality." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"Inventive choreographer and director who, with Gene Kelly and Vincente Minnelli, brought a fresh, intrinsically cinematic style and vigour to the film musical at MGM during the late 1940s and early 1950s. When the cumbersome screen versions of pre-sold stage musicals took over, he turned with less success to sophisticated thrillers and romantic comedies… The best of his later films have been the crisp mystery comedy Charade (1963) and Two for the Road (1967)." - Margaret Hinxman (The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972)
"By the late Fifties he was diversifying into sophisticated romantic comedies, varied by comedy-thrillers in the Sixties. Then his career began to falter, with a five-year gap between the laboured homosexual study Staircase (1969) and the odd musical fantasy The Little Prince (1974). Donen has not been able to find other genres that suited him as well as the classic musical; but his achievement there is enough to establish for him a distinguished place in film history." - The Illustrated Who's Who of the Cinema, 1983
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Funny Face (1957)
Recommended
The Pajama Game (1957) [co-directed by George Abbott], Charade (1963)
Worth a Look
Royal Wedding (1951), Give a Girl a Break (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Indiscreet (1958), Two for the Road (1967)
Approach with Caution
Kiss Them for Me (1957), The Grass is Greener (1960), Bedazzled (1967), Staircase (1969)
Not Recommended
Blame it on Rio (1984)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Funny Face
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