Anchors Aweigh (1945)
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Still reeling from the excitement of Sinatra and Kelly – singing, dancing, and romancing, as the caption says. I loved the quiet, shy Frank Sinatra. The poor fellow, getting tutored in love from the scheming, sneaky Gene Kelly. But – what dancing! What excitement! The stretches of musical routine fit perfectly into the story – the classical music from Jose Iturubi (thrilling!), the cartoon sequence (a little stretched-out, but crazy unique and effective), Kelly’s dance to Kathryn Grayson (wonderfully blended into the real-life tale). Love the Navy, love the little boy who adored Kelly, love the happy, happy feeling I get watching it.
I've seen a number of Gene Kelly movies at this point, and I'm always impressed by his physical prowess, but do all his characters have to be jackasses? I'm often wondering if that's him, his type-casting, what the era considered to be a leading man, or what. And yet, he always finds a way to redeem himself by the end. He's the cad that only needs the love of a good woman, and he'll mend his ways. Maybe I've just answered my own question. That's a fantasy for at least some women. I may also be exaggerating, but Anchors Aweigh is certainly in that mold, and worse than most. It's a bit too long for a sailors-on-leave musical, with many sequences you could cut without affecting the story structurally or emotionally. But could we really lose the first ever live action-cartoon integration scene in cinema history? (Oh, and Tom and Jerry?! I didn't expect celebrity toons! And wow, Jerry's a real good dancer too!) I guess it also takes time to give Kelly a proper ethical out to go after his buddy's girl (Frank Sinatra was never so thin nor so timid). Bonus Dean Stockwell as a kid; that's so weird.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #3 in 100 Musicals (BFI Screen Guide)
This movie ranks #149 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #152 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey