08/04/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dancing and Singing Holiday Hosannas Through Movie Musicals

Okay... It's the 4th of July and the pressure's on-- Enjoy the holiday and the fireworks. Think of the country's cheer and join family and friends for a beer and a burger. Being the grump you are, all you really want is slip away into a theater and see something...

But what...? Rampaging Robots? Iraq War casualties in the making...? Well, there are other alternatives such as celebrating the summer holiday through joy and celebration of cinematic musicals.

On the heels (so to speak) of Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary, The Film Society of Lincoln Center celebrates this July 4th weekend with "All Singin' All Dancin' All Weekend!"-- a marathon of American musicals spanning six decades. From young sophisticates Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat (1935) to Prince dancing away with Apollonia in Purple Rain (1984), this song and dance fest offers lavish costumes, sets and elaborate performances on the big screen--where they are rarely seen-- from Friday, July 3rd through Sunday, July 5th at the Walter Reade Theater.

Of the five new 35mm prints specially made for this series three include such classics as The King and I (1956) starring Yul Brynner which garnered him a Best Actor Oscar; Pal Joey (1957) with Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak; and Carol Reed's five-time Oscar winner Oliver! (1968). Tommy! (1975), Ken Russell's cinematic fever dream of The Who's incendiary rock opera; and cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).

From the opening film, Gene Kelly's Singin' in the Rain (possibly the greatest musical ever) to his On The Town the series offer old-school classics to rock revisionist takes on the musical like Ken Russell's Tommy(another of the new prints) and Milos Forman's version of Hair.

Besides those two top-flight picks, there are some of my faves I hope to see, if not on this occasion, then hopefully next year. Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell star in Howard Hawks' 1953 hit Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Astaire and Rogers are also in George Stevens' Swing Time (1936); then there's Carmen Miranda in Busby Berkeley's The Gang's All Here plus one of my all-time favorite movies, Bob Fosse's masterpiece Cabaret (1972).

[In addition to individual tickets, There are two different passes: a Day Pass (admitting one person to every screening on that day) or a Series Pass (admitting one person to five films in the series).]