George Sidney

"Sidney's musicals were the most successful films of a valued but often forgotten career. Optimism runs throughout his work as if a smile and a catchy tune can overcome all obstacles. His musicals remain entertaining for his light directorial touch and the polished integration of song and dance with story." - Garrett Chaffin-Quiray (501 Movie Directors, 2007)

George Sidney

Director / Producer
(1916-2002) Born October 4, Long Island City, New York, USA

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Musical, Musical Romance, Drama, Romance, Comedy, Musical Comedy, Musical Drama, Adventure, Musical Western, Biopic, Swashbuckler, Costume Adventure
Key Collaborators: Cedric Gibbons (Production Designer), Charles Rosher (Cinematographer), Robert Planck (Cinematographer), Kim Novak (Leading Actress), Kathryn Grayson (Leading Actress), Howard Keel (Leading Actor), Janet Leigh (Leading Actress), Dorothy Kingsley (Screenwriter), Jack Cummings (Producer), Arthur Freed (Producer), Viola Lawrence (Editor), James E. Newcom (Editor)

“George Sidney… was one of the leading directors of musicals during the golden age of the genre at MGM. He was fortunate to be a part of the Arthur Freed Unit, a peerless group of directors, designers, musicians, writers, performers and choreographers who created a distinguished and distinctive style of musical movie. Perhaps if he had made more pictures for Freed, he would be as highly regarded as Vincente Minnelli and the Stanley Donen-Gene Kelly directing team, though he was almost as inventive and stylish… Two of Sidney's best movies were lively, non-musical swashbucklers: The Three Musketeers (1948), with Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan, and Scaramouche (1952), with its extraordinary climactic six-and-a-half-minute sword fight. For the latter, which is not far from Jean Renoir's The Golden Coach, made in the same year, Sidney conducted various experiments with incandescent lighting.” - Ronald Bergan (The Guardian, 2002)
"It can be argued that Sidney has ruined more good musicals with more gusto than any director in history, but who else has directed Esther Williams and Kim Novak in their opulent periods with such a straight face? There is a point at which brassiness, vulgarity, and downright badness become virtues, and Sidney approached that point in Scaramouche and Jeanne Engels, and was not too far behind with The Three Musketeers and The Eddie Duchin Story." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)
"After arriving in Hollywood in 1932 and working his way up to feature director in 1941 with Free and Easy, he revealed a special flair for gaily likable musical-comedies - Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Harvey Girls (1946), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Showboat (1951), Kiss Me Kate (1953). More personal and genuinely exhilarating were the period adventures, The Three Musketeers (1948) and Scaramouche (1952)… In the 1960s his films tended to become overloaded with production values, lacking the zest of his earlier MGM efforts." - Margaret Hinxman (The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972
“The son of show people, George Sidney rose from the ranks at MGM, moving up from messenger boy to sound technician, to film editor, to assistant director, and, finally - while still barely twenty - to director of the studio's screen tests… In the late fifties, Sidney became an independent producer and director, releasing his films mainly through Columbia. Highlights of this period include The Eddy Duchin Story (1956), which offset a lugubrious story with lovely music and stunningly beautiful New York photography, and Pal Joey (1957).” - Ted Sennett (Great Movie Directors, 1986)
"Some of the brightest musical comedies of the 40's are among Sidney's screen credits. He is a onetime child actor, vaudeville performer and musician who got his start in Hollywood directing shorts. In addition to musicals, Sidney has directed some lively costume pictures." - The Movie Makers, 1974
Selected Filmography
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IMDB Filmography
GF = Current ranking in the Greatest Films listing
(★★ Top 1000 1001-2000)
🅣 TSPDT 🅡 Jonathan Rosenbaum 🅢 Martin Scorsese
George Sidney / Fan Club
José Luis Guarner, Farran Smith Nehme, Martin Scorsese, David Parkinson, Bertrand Tavernier, Alain Resnais, Jean-Marc Bouineau, Pedro Olea, Patrick Brion, Jim Hillier & Doug Pye.
Annie Get Your Gun