It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
It’s Always Fair Weather – Musical #150
Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Michael Kidd, Dolores Gray, David Burns, Jay C. Flippen, Madge Blake (uncredited)
After serving in World War II, three Army pals — Ted Riley (Kelly), Doug Hallerton (Dailey) and Angie Valentine (Kidd) — promise to continue to stay friends and meet 10 years later. When they meet again, they find themselves changed and living entirely different lives. Doug and Angie have settled down with families, and Ted is living a fast life with gambling and women.
• Originally set to be a sequel for ON THE TOWN, but Frank Sinatra turned down the film and Jules Munshin wasn’t available.
• This was the last directorial collaboration between Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. Their other films were Singin’ in the Rain and On the Town.
• Carole Richards dubbed Cyd Charisse’s singing voice. Jud Conlin dubbed Michael Kidd’s singing voice.
• Michael Kidd’s first acting role.
• Dolores Gray’s first credited film role.
• Stanley Donen’s last film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
• The beginning dance sequence, including dancing with trash can lids on their feet.
• The montage that takes us through the 10 years
• The “I Shouldn’t Have Come” number
• Dolores Gray is hilariously over the top.
• Gene Kelly tapping on roller skates during “I Like Myself.”
• “Thanks A lot, But No Thanks” performed by Dolores Gray
• “I Shouldn’t Have Come” performed by Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Michael Kidd, dubbed by Jud Conlin
• “Baby, You Knock Me Out” performed by Cyd Charisse, dubbed by Carole Richards
• “I Like Myself” performed by Gene Kelly
• “Once Upon a Time” performed by Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Michael Kidd, dubbed by Jud Conlin
Compared to most MGM musicals of the 1950s, there’s something different about IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER (1955).
The film’s themes are a bit more serious than most musicals: adapting to civilian life, life expectations and goal falling flat, and people changing which shifts friendships. While those sound a bit grim, this Betty Comden and Adolph Green story is still told with humor and color.
The story looks at three soldiers (Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Michael Kidd) who return home from World War II, and think they will always be best friends. When a bartender doubts this, they say they will meet again in 10 years. When they meet again, they find that they have all changed: One a snob, another a hick and another a lug.
IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER is interesting to me, because like most musicals of the era, it’s not all about romance. It’s more about friendship and shifting relationships. But then … perhaps it is about love and romance. One big reason why Gene Kelly’s character live fast, gambles and carouses is because he receives a “Dear John” letter as soon as he returns home. There is, of course, a romance between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, two people in the film who kept love at arm’s length after being hurt.
I love Cyd Charisse’s character in this movie. She’s a forward thinking career girl who is intelligent with lots of fact in her brain. I love the scene where she kisses Gene Kelly in the cab so he won’t continuously hit on her.
The musical numbers in this film are also innovative and unique. Cyd Charisse dancing in a boxing gym to “Baby You Knock Me Out” is sort of bizarre, but it’s fun and interesting. I love a dance number in a different setting.
The “I Shouldn’t Have Come” number is humorous and interesting. Set to the tune of “The Blue Danube,” Kidd, Kelly and Dailey each sing to themselves about how they shouldn’t have had this reunion.
Then of course we have fantastic dance innovations like the trio tap dancing with a trash can lid on their feet in the opening number, and then of course, Gene Kelly tap dancing with roller skates on in the “I Like Myself.” As someone who can tap dance but can’t roller skate, I don’t know how he did this without falling.
But the true highlight to me in this film is Dolores Gray. She is hysterically over the top. Does she steal the whole movie? Maybe.
One thought I had while watching: Why didn’t these men write each other or call each other before meeting up? Men, I guess. The whole film also takes place in half of a day, which makes it even more interesting.
Why did the end of this movie make me teary? Friendship, I guess. A must see movie that is more than just a little bit of fluff.
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