Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gene Kelly

While listening to NPR today, I found out that today would have been Gene Kelly’s 100th birthday, were he still alive.
Why would I care?  It’s strange; I always admired his dancing style, but I really didn’t know why until I took a film class while I was in college.  Toward the end of the semester we had to take a film, (one from a short list chosen by the professor) treat it like any other piece of literature, and then write 10 pages on a particular thesis of our choosing.

I wrote on the topic of the fakery that is Hollywood, by using the film “Singin’ in the Rain.”  I believe that the title I used was, “Not all that Glitters is Gold,” something like that, anyway.  I know that I got an A- on it.  But in the course of writing, and rewriting, I watch that film… probably a dozen times (maybe more) inside of a week’s time.  Over and over again, getting quotes, describing pivotal scenes, (getting a little bit of a crush on Debbie Reynolds), I even watched all of the bonus features on the DVD, which told me that Gene Kelly had a 103 degree fever the day they filmed the iconic “Singin’ in the Rain” dance, where he was totally wet and most likely totally miserable.
I think that it was then that I really, really began to like Gene Kelly’s performing ability.  He wasn’t like Fred Astaire, all dapper in tails and top hat.  He was, for lack of a better term, everyman.  He was athletic, fun, dancing in dockers and a t-shirt, or a rumpled suit.  Granted, his shirts were usually sewn to his pants (what better way to keep your shirts from becoming untucked?), I guess what I’m trying to say (badly) is that he wasn’t elitist in his style, like other dancers of his time.  He was fun to watch, he was a comedian in dance shoes with his large smile and exquisite timing.

Oh, heck… I’ll let his dancing speak for its self:
 

1 comment:

Soozcat said...

And he was a huge champion of a masculine, American dance style. It bothered him that so many little boys didn't go into dance, not because they didn't want to, but because "dancing was for girls." He did a great job of proving that you can be both a manly man and a hell of a great dancer.

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