100 Reasons to Celebrate Gene Kelly #4: ‘Cause One Film Is All It Takes

This entry is part 4 of 16 in the series Reasons to Celebrate Gene Kelly.

I’m a Gene Kelly fan because of Singin’ in the Rain (1952), which I watched on January 1 of this year. Ever since, I knew that this man was worth my interest. As a result, I slowly began immersing myself in all things Gene Kelly. I ran up my iTunes bill renting out his films (mostly musicals) and was glued to the Turner Classic Movies schedule for any chance that a film of his would be on.

I also began reading the few books out there on Gene Kelly. I’ve read all three of his “major” biographies, even hunting on the internet for Clive Hirschhorn’s (right). I adored reading about him and was astonished by his background and personal life as well as saddened by the decline of his career to the point of it being painful to read (trust me I was contemplating whether or not I should read it at the time).

Believe it or not, Singin’ in the Rain is not my favorite Gene Kelly musical. On the Town (1951) is. There is something about that musical that has me hooked from start to finish. I guess I’m just stuck on Gabey and sailor suits (image below).

My favorite dance number is what’s commonly called (among Gene fans at least) as the “Squeaky Floorboard and Newspaper Dance” from Summer Stock (1950), a musical film Gene did with the lovely Judy Garland. The whole dance takes my breath away: so simple in its construction, but it progressively becomes something more as Gene dances. I think that’s why I love his dances so much. They were so inventive and phenomenal! None of them is really the same, and each often leaves a happy grin on your face afterwards. I love it!

It’s quite obvious why I fell for him in the first place. Gene was no doubt a handsome man. I absolute go head-over-hills for his smile. So bright and so wide, and just so darn lovely. It gets me every time! But not only that, his presence on the screen just gets to me. Such a direct command for attention, which seems a little jarring at first, but when he smiles…

I adore Gene Kelly in every way. He was the man that got me back into film musicals and had inadvertently made me a classic films fan in the process (I’m still a baby though, haven’t seen all the greats…yet). I am forever grateful that I discovered him on that January morn.

About 

I'm a somewhat new Gene Kelly fan, but I find the man absolutely wonderful in any way. Apart for my shared interest in Gene Kelly, I'm a full-time college student of 19 (going on 20) currently going for my Associates in Art. I'm shy and reserved, but once you get to know me I'm usually fun to be around.

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  • Michelle

    This is such a cool essay about how you were introduced to Gene Kelly & his work. I think everyone has their own personal story of their first and favorite Kelly film, dance, look or quote. In your quest for more information on this fascinating artist, I would recommend to continue checking this great site. Also, I like Aunt Suzy's site at http://www.freewebs.com/geneius; where you can get a plethora of fun facts, pictures & news stories on Gene Kelly. I really love the pictures on this site!

    I hope that you have not read the biography by Alvin Yudoff; the writing style is really of poor quality, among many other things–strictly my opinion! I would recommend "The Memory of All That" written by Gene's first wife, the late Betsy Blair. It is a very interesting perspective of Gene early life in Hollywood & how it relates to Blair's life and her later departure to Europe. Again, there is a comprehensive book review of all of Gene's biographies. Although it is based on the Aunt Suzy's opinion, I totally agree with her assessment of these books.

    Finally, try to visit the Paley Center in New York or California. You would be in "media heaven" with all of Gene's movies, scripts, videos, radio shows etc. During my first visit, I was like a "kid in a candy shop!" I plan to schedule my second visit this fall.

    Anyway, good hunting! (As Gene once said in, On the Town (1949). I think you knew that already!)