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.