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Gene Kelly


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#16 Giannina

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 01:52 PM

"American in Paris" was my favorite movie for eons; I dug it out today and watched it again. You have to put yourself into the mind-set of the time the movie was made; at that time it was like no other musical and it was sensational. It won an Oscar for Best Picture of the Year. As Carbro says, it didn't hurt to have all that gorgeous Gershwin music in the background; watching Oscar Lavant play it was thrilling. I think Kelly was at his best in that movie.

Giannina

#17 dirac

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 02:41 PM

Please note the following is Just My Opinion and I mean to impugn no one's taste, but An American in Paris is one of my least favorite musicals. I can fully understand how appealing the movie must have been at the time, but I have to say the only number that really stands up for me is Georges Guétary's charming "Stairway to Paradise." Otherwise, well – it looks good, and there's Leslie Caron in all her youthful bucktoothed charm. I find the dancing especially disappointing. The balletic style is not Kelly's strong suit, and the choreography in the big Yes, Virginia, Another Dream Ballet is hardly more than posing. It's also worth noting that the big romantic duet has little impact – see also "Singin' in the Rain." (Kelly is sexy but not romantic. I've always loved him best in his solos, and he is by nature primarily a hoofer and not a ballroom or balletic dancer.)

Funny Face, thank you for pointing out that Kelly was often persuasive in straight roles. I happen to query the idea of casting someone so very Irish as Noel Airman (even in a version of the book that completely eliminated ANY Jewish references!!!), but he was good elsewhere. I quite enjoyed his d'Artagnan, too.

#18 Old Fashioned

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 03:30 PM

You have to put yourself into the mind-set of the time the movie was made; at that time it was like no other musical and it was sensational.

I just came upon it this summer and thought it was sensational! I thought the love story was a bit underdeveloped, but the music, singing, and dancing made it for me. All of the songs are now among my favorites and as for the dream ballet at the end, I only saw it as jazz en pointe, not as a serious attempt at creating a ballet. Whatever you want to call it, I thought it was enjoyable, nontheless.

#19 Funny Face

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 05:36 PM

Dirac, just had to ask, despite Kelly not being Jewish, didn't you think his conversation with the mother was incredibly believable? That conversation at the table when the parents are visiting South Wind is the crux of the story. And his well-controlled seething as he defends himself is extremely credible to me. Even though I am not Jewish, that movie and book were rites of passage for me. And without Kelly in the part, I never would have loved that movie like I did. Kelly has such a range in that film -- when he tearfully pleads his case, stripping himself of all dignity, before the money backers of his play -- doesn't every girl just want to comfort him?

And again, he just looks so much like my dad, he's like "Everyman" -- he's so much the essence of the American male. (Who more to compare a guy to than a girl's dad?!?) :)

#20 Alina

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 05:45 PM

Have any of you read the book by Kelly's former wife, Betsy Blair "The memory of all that". The first half in particular is a fascinating and her referances to him are always with great respect and love. I personally thoroughly enjoyed this book. Her later life is very interesting in it's own right!

#21 floss

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 06:24 PM

My favourite Gene Kelly movie is Brigadoon. I know, I know, it is very hammy, dancing, story. But... I just like it.

#22 Mel Johnson

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 06:33 PM

Brigadoon isn't too bad; its worst flaw is that it's really a stage show done on a sound stage and not a location. Movies had come a long way from Lugosi's Dracula, and there was no reason to do a show in that manner. Clearly not Kelly's fault.

#23 floss

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 06:47 PM

That it isn't done on location is something that I like about the movie. For some reason I think that it hightens the fantasy element of the movie, maybe making it seem like a story from a fairy-tale book come to life. I can't really explain fully why I like it, I just do.

#24 glebb

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 06:51 PM

It's been a while since I've seen it, but I remember especially liking Judy and Gene in 'The Portland Fancy' dance from "Summer Stock." :grinning:

#25 Funny Face

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Posted 30 August 2003 - 06:01 AM

Does that book mention the fire in which he lost all the memorabilia of his work?

#26 Alina

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Posted 30 August 2003 - 08:00 AM

Yes it does. Also, wonderful stories of their life together and friendship in later years.

#27 dirac

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 08:57 AM

Funny Face, I actually thought Kelly was good in MM, considering he was, IMO, miscast (and too old). It's not ethnicity so much as type.

I understand both Kelly and Minnelli wanted very much to do Brigadoon on location, but the studio said no.

#28 Estelle

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 07:10 AM

I saw "The Pirate" yesterday: wow!! :hyper: The plot is completely silly, but it was so funny to watch, and those crazy costumes (ah, Judy Garland's hats, Gene Kelly's purple belt and cloak... :)) And did he have nice legs! :wub:

#29 canbelto

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 07:45 AM

Kelly was also a good comedian, in a kind of snarky, understated way. Singin' In the Rain gets much of its appeal from Kelly's famous "Dignity, always dignity" monologue. Marilyn Monroe also had this quality -- she could be funny and seem like she wasnt trying to be funny.

#30 Giannina

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 04:59 AM

When released, "The Pirate" was one of my favorite Gene Kelly movies. I've recently seen it again and tho it pales in time it still has wonderful stuff in it. And I can hum most of the score. Mack the Black!!

Giannina


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