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20 August 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Gene Kelly!

This post is written in conjunction with the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Sittin' on a Backyard Fence and ScribeHard on Film. A full day of Gene Kelly films will air on TCM on August 23, which would also be Mr. Kelly's 100 birthday!

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a very big fan of Gene Kelly. I definitely land myself in the Fred Astaire camp when it comes to classic Hollywood hoofers. But there have been several Gene Kelly movies I have enjoyed over the years, and most of them will be showing on TCM this week. These films are considered must-sees for any classic film enthusiast, so if you haven't seen them, I recommend getting your hands on a copy ASAP.

8:00 am: ANCHORS AWEIGH (1945)
The first of three films Gene Kelly would make with Frank Sinatra also starred Jerry the Mouse of Tom and Jerry fame.

Another film with Frank Sinatra also stars swimming sensation Esther Williams as the owner manager of the Wolves baseball team. Although one of the boys (Sinatra) promptly falls head over heals in love with her, the other (Kelly) is not happy having a woman manager, least of all a beautiful one. I don't care for this movie.

2:45 pm: THE PIRATE (1948)
Judy Garland co-stars in this film directed by her director husband Vincente Minelli. This film includes some catchy Cole Porter song and dance numbers like "Be a Clown."

6:15 pm: ON THE TOWN (1949)
Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra's final film together is not so different from their first, only this time the sailors are picking up chicks in New York rather than Los Angeles. ON THE TOWN is by far my favorite of the two, and Kelly was very proud of the work they did for this film.

10:00 pm: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951)
This classic is chock full of beautiful song/dance numbers. George and Ira Gershwin wrote the music and lyrics for the songs, including "I Got Rhythm," "S' Wonderful," and the epic American in Paris ballet sequence, starring Leslie Caron in her film debut.

12:00 am: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952)

One of the most iconic films of the 20th century, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is a great film for all ages. It's a good transition movie for young people who aren't used to "old movies" because it has such great dances and catchy songs and witty dialogue. Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen give superb performances.

I hope you enjoy celebrating Gene Kelly special day on TCM. Please take the time to fill out the short survey for this blog by clicking the "Survey" button in the right sidebar. I am very grateful for your feedback!


  1. I really like how you structured this post, with photos & a brief description of each movie. Nicely done.

  2. My favorite Gene movie is On the Town. It's so cheerful! take me out to the Ballgame has nice songs and is also funny, and Anchors Aweigh is a little too long for a musical, but some numbers are great, like Frank singing "I fall in love so easily".
    I need to watch The Pirate now!

    1. I think THE PIRATE is probably my favorite, but that's just because I love Judy Garland!

  3. Thanks for the great retrospective...I hope I can get home in time for On The that film.

  4. Lovely! Loved reading this. A good summary of what I missed while I was at work today. ;) Thanks so much for your comments on mine. It was wonderful having the chance to see "Rain" on the Grauman's screen this year, and "Paris" last year. I'm very fortunate. I hope you get a chance to. It seems to be so much more popular!

  5. Great stuff! I wish we had a fraction of this programming in the UK - but glad there was such a great celebration for Kelly's 100th birthday in the US. I'm more of an Astaire fan myself too, but do like Kelly as well. The two great dancers were close friends, so it is a pity they didn't work more together.

    1. I'm in the UK now and it's a bummer that even the Netflix over here doesn't have as many old movies.
      Thanks for your comment. I love the short bit Astaire and Kelly did for ZIEGFELD FOLLIES (1946): "The Babbit and the Bromide":


Can't wait to hear your thoughts!