Invitation to the Dance: Gene Kelly @ 100

Anchors Aweigh

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Anchors Aweigh
George Sidney, 1945
USA | 143 minutes

Made famous by the fact that Gene Kelly tap dances with an animated mouse (Jerry of Tom & Jerry fame), Anchors Aweigh marks both a high point in Kelly’s experimentation with dance onscreen and the debut of Kelly and Frank Sinatra’s successful pairing (a union repeated later in Take Me Out to the Ball Game and On the Town). Confident and “wolfish” Joe (Kelly) and timid Clarence (Sinatra) are two sailors on leave in Hollywood. They grow entangled in the life of aspiring singer Susan (Kathryn Grayson) after her nephew (a young Dean Stockwell) becomes obsessed with Joe and Clarence becomes enamored with Susan. Delightfully funny love triangles and lies ensue. Famous conductor and pianist José Iturbi stars as himself, leading and playing some beautiful orchestral pieces, like “The Donkey Serenade.” Besides Kelly’s musical number with Jerry, Anchors Aweigh also consists of numerous dynamic songs (“I Begged Her” and “What Makes the Sun Set”) and dances (Kelly’s “Mexican Hat Dance” foreshadows his later work with children). Anchors Aweigh mixes the patriotism of wartime America with the world of Hollywood as its setting. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and Kelly received a Best Actor nomination.

Series: Invitation to the Dance: Gene Kelly @ 100

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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