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Friday, October 16, 2009

PERSONAL NOTE: Gene Kelly is a Sexpot!

I was sick this past week. Very, VERY sick. Confined to my bed, there was nothing for me to do but stare at the ceiling or the television, so I opted for the latter. In my codeine induced delirium, I was having trouble picking a movie to watch, so I thought to myself, "Hey, I should just go through my DVD collection alphabetically, watching one film of each letter..." (I got to N in 4 days, by the way). First up was Anchors Aweigh, which had been sitting in my stash collecting dust since I bought it. It was my first time seeing the film, and now I am kicking myself for waiting so long to watch such a gem!

I have never considered myself a huge musical fan, but after watching this film I may be a classifiable junkie. Aside from noticing the enjoyable story, catchy tunes, and the extreme skinniness of Frank "Blue Eyes" Sinatra, I was left with one very clear impression: Gene Kelly is phenomenal! Not just as an actor, a singer, or a dancer, but as a man who so easily blends all three categories into one charismatic goldmine of masculinity and grace that he makes all other men look like boys.

It's strange, for I have seen Singin' in the Rain, Cover Girl, etc, but never before have I been so impressed by Kelly's profound athleticism. He doesn't jump, he soars; he doesn't dance, he destroys! He can take the entire frame and fill it up with his own virile frame like it's some kind of magic trick. Then there is the thing I can't put my finger on, which is his incredible essence, his power. Unlike Astaire, whom I equally adore, Kelly leads not with an endearing bashfulness, but with a profound confidence. Both men are graceful, talented, cocky in their own way, but Astaire is innocent and classic, while Kelly is seductive and modern. Indeed, there was one scene at the beginning of Anchors when Kelly is on the phone with his never seen "booty-call," Lola, and as he sensuously strokes the receiver I found myself going, "Whoa! How did that make it past the censors?!?!" 

Perhaps I am not well-versed enough in Kelly's filmography, but I felt that this role was a bit of a departure for him. I always thought of him as a "nice guy," a "gentleman," the "boy-next-door-who-dances." In this film he is a bit more dangerous. He plays the lady killer, ironically opposite the innocent Frank Sinatra character (haha). While he is not a rogue by any means, he has more edge, even if he proves to be more talk than action. He's a bad boy, but the bad boy who is a lover and not a fighter. The typical macho, Alpha male in the package of a graceful body and a trustworthy face, Kelly could have gone on to play truly dangerous men. His immediate likability would make him the perfect predator. I know Kelly did perform in some dramas, and I am interested to see how they turned out.

In any case, if you haven't seen Anchors Aweigh, I suggest you do posthaste, if only for the famous dance sequence Gene Kelly does with the cartoon mouse Jerry of "Tom and Jerry"- (another great thing about Kelly was his innovative way of using technology to expand the possibilities of dance, such as the scene in which he dances with himself in split-screen in Cover Girl). In the mean time, if you have any other good Kelly movies to recommend, I'm all ears!


  1. Hey! If you went groovy about Kelly in this film... you really should see him in "The Pirate"! (if you have not, I mean). There's one mighty, athletic, powerful choreography about bloodthirsty, plundering pirates.

    As for "dramatic" Kelly, I've been told that "Christmas Holiday", with Deanna Durbin, is worth watching.

    Oh, and Off-Topic: I saw your comment on the "Long Voyage Home" blog post on Laughton, which makes me think you'd like to check my Laughtonian blog ;D

  2. Thanks for the tip! Just added The Pirate to my ever expanding netflix queue. I will definitely check out the CL Blog!!!

  3. Oooh! I was going to suggest The Pirate too! As soon as you started talking about Kelly's bad boy persona in Anchors Aweigh, I thought of Serafin (his character in The Pirate). He's not quite as serious as Joe, but he's got some cockiness of his own - not to mention a - ahem - definite affinity for the ladies.

  4. I was actually watching Singin' In The Rain today and that's exactly what I thought. I would fuck that dancing bastard

  5. Thanks, Amanda. Can't wait to watch it. I am pretty sure at this point that it is Gene who cured me of my ailment. He literally danced my sickness away like a magician! Mr. F, you are hysterical!!!

  6. There's much more of Kelly... Try, for example, "For me and my Gal" (his first picture) as well as "Cover Girl" - He had a light scar on his face, in fact, a very sexy scar... pay attention to it. It is just a detail to sexy Gene!

  7. Oooh! I have such a terrible crush on Gene Kelly! He is too sexy. I think "Anchors Aweigh" is probably my favorite of his but he's super cute in "Summer Stock." His comedic timing is brilliant.

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  9. I've always wondered how Kelly got away with stroking that phone mouthpiece like a breast.
    Then he topped himself by feeling up Judy Garland in "The Pirate."
    Not only supremely talented but also one sexy guy.

  10. Well, my dear Meredith. welcome to the Gene Kelly Gone-Head-Over-Heels-In-Love-With Fan Club! Kelly was one of the greatest and most important artists of the 20th Century in THE art form of the 20th Century. I would suggest you check out his performance in The Cross of Lorraine where his character, Victor LeBiche, is tortured by the Nazis in the POW camp in which he and his French compatriots are held. It is important that you understand the euphemisms used in the 1940s to understand just what his character endures: When the Commandant of the POW camp says "We amputated his enthusiasm", understand that what he means is that they castrated Victor. This will make Victor finding his courage again all the more meaningful to you as the audience. It is wonderful for all of us who know Kelly and his contributions to both Art and to Culture to see so many people like yourself discovering this sexy, gorgeous, creative genius and his work. Come on over to the numerous fan sites dedicated exclusively to Gene Kelly to learn lots more. Here's a couple with which to start:
    In Appreciation of Gene Kelly
    The Gene Kelly Fan Club