I admit it. I’m a musical theater loving geek. I’m especially a movie musical nerd. Give me a classic singing and dancing tale from the 1940’s/1950’s….and I’m IN TO IT.
As a former (reformed?) dance student, Gene Kelly was one of my icons of dance movies. He portrayed the “every man” to Fred Astaire’s debonair gentleman. He starred in such classics as “Singin’ in the Rain”, “An American in Paris”, “Anchors Aweigh”, and my personal favorite, “On the Town”. I can’t get enough of that one. Anytime it’s on TCM I will sit and watch it. A musical about Navy Sailors? In New York? Dancing through the tourist places of New York City? And a ballet at the end? Yes please.
So, knowing how obsessed I was about Gene Kelly, I picked up the following biography of Gene Kelly:
Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams
To say I loved it is an understatement. I have read it three times in the past couple of years and I make sure to loan it out with incredible frequency to my fellow old Hollywood fanatic friends—-shout out to Leslie!
It traces his life from growing up in Pittsburgh to becoming one of the most outspoken critics of McCarthyism. It even touches on his later years choreographing and receiving awards. Of course, the juiciest stuff is in the middle during the golden age of movies. Touching on other stars as well (most notably Judy Garland), this book really has a great all encompassing view of that era of movies.
And, if you hate to read (which is weird….b/c why are you reading my stuff then…..but whatevs), just watch the movies anyway. They are classics that everyone should see at least once. A majority of the Kelly movies are super funny too….granted, it’s early movie humor, but anyone should appreciate them.
Also, randomly…..Gene Kelly reminds me of my Grandpa. Or at least movie Gene Kelly does. Always smiling, always the glue that holds the group together, and just an all around good guy.