Latest Issue


He made Fred Astaire dance on the ceiling and Gene Kelly sing in the rain. But Stanley Donen's later work was as dark as Caravaggio's. What changed?

By Mark Cousins   November 2008

In may this year, film director Stanley Donen sued Gap for $5m for using footage from his 1957 film Funny Face in an advert. Many people must have been surprised to learn he was still alive. Donen, who made Singin’ in the Rain, is firmly in Hollywood’s pantheon, responsible for its pre-modern burnish and joy. He made Fred Astaire dance on the ceiling, filmed Gene Kelly’s rapture as he skipped along a rain-drenched pavement, choreographed Cyd Charisse and Rita Hayworth, directed Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra, and modernised the American screen musical. In Empire magazine’s recent poll of the best…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect