Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Gene Kelly

Movie Dearest continues our daily previews of Turner Classic Movies' month long "Summer Under the Stars" celebration:

Now Playing Star Profile for Gene Kelly - Stardates: Born August 23, 1912, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; died 1996. Star Sign: Virgo. Star Qualities: Grace and masculinity in equal measures, cocky charm, endless enthusiasm. Star definition: "His career stands as an example for all of us how a performer can produce an unforgettable work of art." -- Mikhail Baryshnikov. Galaxy of Characters: Harry Palmer in For Me and My Gal, Gabey in On the Town, Jerry Mulligan in An American in Paris, Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain.

On the Town was not only Kelly's directorial debut (with co-director Stanley Donen), but it was also the first movie musical ever to be shot on location. And that location was, of course, "New York, New York".

The Big Apple is seen extensively in that opening number (belted out by Kelly and his fellow "sailors on leave", Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin), from the Statue of Liberty to Rockefeller Plaza to the Brooklyn Bridge ... and they see it all in the span of a three-minute song. As they say, "what a wonderful town" ... and a wonderful movie, too.

On the Town airs tomorrow on TCM at 8:00 PM EST as part of their Essentials, Jr. series.

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