From Gene Kelly taking an umbrella for a blissful spin around a rain-soaked street, to Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta driving a Ford Deluxe convertible off into the clouds, nothing encapsulates the magic and escapism of cinema quite like a good old Hollywood musical.
And with recent films like The Greatest Showman and La La Land blowing up at the box office, the genre is experiencing something of a renaissance right now. Which is why it's the perfect time for the British Film Institute to dedicate a whole season to it.
From this October to January 2020, BFI Southbank hosts the greatest ever season dedicated to the on screen musical — featuring sing-along screenings, quiz nights, and Q&As with some of the genre's biggest stars.
As well as Golden Age classics like An American In Paris and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, cinephiles are invited to discover less widely-known musicals from around the world. There's the Indian historical epic Mughal-e-Azam; Soviet pastoral romance Cossacks of the Kuban; and Singing Lovebirds, a Japanese comedy with music ranging from jazz to Jōruri.
The season also explores musicals that engage with socio-political issues — think West Side Story's portrayal of racism and xenophobia, or the devastating critique of political apathy presented in Cabaret.
Other highlights from the season include a very special evening with Patricia Ward Kelly, the wife and biographer of late Hollywood legend Gene Kelly; a celebration of powerhouse performer and LBGTQ+ icon Barbra Streishand; and all manner of insightful talks from film historians.
It's not just Londoners who get to have all the fun, either. Musical fans up and down the country can enjoy BFI UK-wide re-releases of Gene Kelley classic Singin’ in the Rain, rock opera Tommy, and Jacques Demy's magnificent The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
Click here to see what's on and get ready to discover how diverse the musical movie genre truly is.
BFI Musicals: The Greatest Show On Screen, October 2019-January 2020 at BFI Southbank.