Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Gene Kelly. Even above Robert Redford, Gene Kelly is the film star I adore, the man who makes me go weak at the knees, the man upon whose face I gaze stupidly…oh you get the idea. Why Gene, you ask? Allow me to show you:
Tall, dark and handsome. Amazingly athletic and graceful. A great singing voice and a good actor. And of course, along with Fred Astaire, the greatest dancer the movies have ever seen. Swoon.
I have already posted about my love for Singin’ In The Rain, to my mind the greatest musical ever made and the film by which Gene is best remembered due to his virtuoso dance routine in the title song (although my favourite dance routine in the movie is actually Moses Supposes – take 3 minutes out of your day and fail to be awed by Gene, I dare you!).
On a particularly cold morning last week I watched An American In Paris for the millionth time. From the opening scene where Kelly gets up and goes about his morning routine in his tiny garret in Paris, every scene is beautifully choreographed and shows his exquisite grace and timing. The film marks the English language debut of Leslie Caron, one of the few “MGM Golden Age” actresses still working today, most recently onscreen in Le Divorce, a Merchant-Ivory production. And the orchestral dream sequence starring the pianist Oscar Levant is genius. (Also, the Black and White Ball in the film looks like so much fun – I’d love to go to a modern version of it.)
Although the storyline in An American In Paris is slight, the movie is very enjoyable primarily for Gene Kelly’s performance and the songs of George and Ira Gershwin, which include the classics Embraceable You, I Got Rhythm, Our Love Is Here To Stay and ‘S Wondeful. Kelly’s charm, magnetic charisma and dancing talent are second to none. If you haven’t seen it, it’s one I’d very much recommend.