Gene Kelly and Bruce Lee (vs. Fred Astaire)

This entry is part 12 of 13 in the series Essays / Analyses.

Bruce Lee and Gene Kelly, “not quite dance and not quite violence.”

In her essay “Punchin’ in the Rain,” Violet Glaze compares Gene Kelly and Bruce Lee — both of whom, the author writes, are “small, powerfully built men, each five foot seven inches of hard-earned muscle, […] incredibly competitive, natural athletes with an insatiable thirst for exertion, and blessed with the kind of charisma […] that transfers easily to celluloid.” Indeed.

Glaze then contrasts the two stars with Fred Astaire, whose weightlessness, she delightfully points out, is most certainly “unrivaled by anything NASA can cook up.” However, what Astaire lacks that both Lee and Kelly share, Glaze claims, is “unadulterated power.”

I’ll quit summarizing now and let you read the post. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Is this an apt comparison between the two/three stars?


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  • Stephen Heise

    All you have to do is watch Three Musketeers and see Gene doing his stunts to see where Bruce Lee got some of his ideas. There is such a connection, plus the fact that Bruce Lee was the Cha Cha Champion of Hong Kong in the mid sixties.

    • Thanks for sending the essay our way, Steve!

  • Lana

    I’ve read many articles here and haven’t comment. I just had to comment on this one, because I have been a fan of Bruce Lee since, at least, high school and love martial arts. I have been a fan of Gene Kelly since college, and I have –never –thought of looking at their similiarities, but since I read this post, I am so bewildered as why I hadn’t before. It was a wonderful idea and I enjoyed it.