“If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I’m the Marlon Brando.”
– Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly would have been 97 years old today. Time to celebrate with a few of my favorite moments from his MGM musicals. There are so many more I could have included! The hours of happiness this man has brought me…
An American in Paris – “Tra-La-La-La”
Even more than “Our Love is Here to Stay,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” or the “American in Paris Ballet”, this number is my favorite in An American in Paris. Kelly captures that giddy, glorious, drive-everyone-else-nuts feeling that comes with new love perfectly. Grumpy Oscar Levant is a hoot, and Gene creatively dances up a storm in a tiny space.
Plus, he looks really good in his undershirt, shallow as that sounds. It’s like that old saying goes – you’d give your heart to Fred Astaire, but save your body for Gene Kelly. Um, yes. Gene was masculine, gorgeous and had sex appeal to spare.
Singin’ in the Rain – “Moses Supposes”
Kelly and Donald O’Connor give their elocution instructor a hard time. This is one of the most hilarious, spirit-lifting moments in a movie full of hilarious, spirit-lifting moments. If you don’t have a huge grin on your face while watching this, you might need to get some psychological counseling for depression!
Donald O’Connor gave Gene Kelly a lot of credit for expanding his abilities as a dancer. Before Singin’ in the Rain, O’Connor said, he was more of a hoofer, concentrating mostly on his feet, but Kelly taught him how important it was to dance with his entire body.
Summer Stock – “You, Wonderful You”
This dance blows my mind. Can you imagine the hours and hours and HOURS of rehearsal it must have taken to make that stuff with the newspaper work? And the creativity Kelly had to even come up with such a thing. He makes it look so easy and spontaneous, like he’s just improvising as he goes along, no big deal. Brilliant!
An American in Paris – “Our Love is Here to Stay”
The lyrical, romantic side of Gene Kelly. So beautiful. Even in an elegant dance like this one with Leslie Caron, his strength and power as a dancer come through.
Dear Gene, I love him so! Happy Birthday to one of the greats.