Invitation to the Dance: Gene Kelly @ 100

Summer Stock

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Summer Stock
Charles Walters, 1950
USA | 108 minutes

Reunited again after For Me and My Gal and The Pirate, Gene Kelly and Judy Garland romance each other in this delightful musical about an unquenchable love of show business. When Kelly’s theater troupe needs a place to perform, Garland’s farm ultimately becomes the place—forcing the latter to join the show when her actress sister (Gloria DeHaven) throws a hissy fit and drops out. This leads to drama within the local farm community, especially as Kelly and Garland’s characters grow closer. Both stars deliver knockout song-and-dance performances, such as Garland’s sexy “Get Happy” number and Kelly’s dynamic dance with a squeaky floorboard and old newspaper. In the latter—which is often considered one of Kelly’s most imaginative numbers— the star smoothly integrates the dance sequence with the larger narrative, as his joyous and curious investigation of the surrounding space becomes the foundation for a kinetic and passionate dance. Directed by Charles Walters and with music and lyrics mostly by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon (Saul Chaplin, Harold Arlen, and Ted Kohler were also involved), Summer Stock is an enjoyable excursion into the mishaps and victories of both life on a farm and the world of entertainment.

Series: Invitation to the Dance: Gene Kelly @ 100

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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