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Sunset and Camden : a Tribute to Gene Kelly
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Gene Kelly at Sunset and Camden

HAPPY 60th Anniversary to my all-time
favorite movie... Singin' in the Rain!!
!

Ahhh...
The moonlit corner of Sunset and Camden. At first glance, it appears to be a shadowy tree-lined street of a regular sort. But in the particularly famous town of this location, Gene Kelly a glittering town called Hollywood, that is, a legend was made. A legend of musical films... a legend named Gene Kelly.

For those who do not recognize the man in the picture, not to worry. If you have traveled to this area with curiosity, I propose to you that the next time you are asked that question, you will know!

The 1950's and 1960's were a memorable and classic era for Hollywood musical films. It was in this time that the definitive "integrated" movie musical was fashioned by director Vincente Minnelli, causing the entire industry to revolutionize its work.

Due to Minnelli's huge success with his MGM musical hits like Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Pirate (1948), and An American in Paris (1951), the entire film industry began to produce pictures which resembled stage musicals and theatre. These newer productions consisted of more than just a series of lavishly filmed songs and dances.

Now the musical had a plot, one with relative depth, and it was intricately interwoven with music, to create a wonderful new style of storytelling. The songs and dances now had a place and meaning in the narrative—refresingly revealing characters' thoughts and feelings or adding details to a plot. This made the story a more significant partner to the music, instead of the forced, mismatched dialogue of older films. Thus, the revolution of the film musical began, and it is still being enjoyed today.

In this same Golden film age, one handsome man happily sang and danced, directed and choreographed. He was Gene Kelly. Gene really got his start in films playing "Harry Palmer" opposite Judy Garland in For Me and My Gal (1942). He was "trained" from Judy Garland, who was a kindred spirit to him. In later roles, he would achieve his highest fame and critical praise while dancing out his heart in MGM Studios' award-winning musicals like An American in Paris (1951) and Singin' in the Rain (1952).

Indeed, his other musical roles included: Thousands Cheer (1943) with Kathyrn Grayson, Cover Girl (1944) with Rita Hayworth, Anchors Aweigh (1945) with Kathyrn Grayson and Frank Sinatra, The Pirate (1948) with Judy Garland, Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) with famed swimming girl Esther Williams and Frank Sinatra, On the Town (1949) with Frank Sinatra again, Summer Stock (1950) again with Judy, and Brigadoon (1954) with Cyd Charisse and Van Johnson, and even Gene Kelly's dream project, Invitation to the Dance (1956) with cartoon dancers did very well, and they are still known today.

Gene Kelly, MGM's musical star

Gene's lesser known roles are still well-liked. These musicals like It's Always Fair Weather (1955), or Jacques Demy's French (English subtitled) The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) with beautiful Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac as the "Garnier" sisters and with George Chakiris and Jacques Perrin, may not be as popular, but they are still outstanding in their dance choreography.

Gene Kelly also had roles in dramatic films, delivering memorable performances. He starred in Du Barry Was a Lady (1943) with Lucille Ball and Red Skelton, the gut-wrenching Cross of Lorraine (1943), the film-noir Christmas Holiday (1944) with Deanna Durbin, The Three Musketeers (1948), Crest of the Wave aka. Seagulls Over Sorrento (1954), and Marjorie Morningstar (1958) with the beautiful Natalie Wood. Most notably, however, Gene gave an outstanding performance as journalist E.K. Hornbeck in my favorite, Inherit the Wind (1960).

During the peak of his career, Gene did dance in variety musical films, popular at the time, like Ziegfeld Follies (1946) and Words and Music (1948). He even substitute-hosted a show called, "The $64,000 Question" (1955)! In his later years, Gene Kelly returned to the spotlight to host and narrate important documentaries about the history of musicals: That's Entertainment! (1974-1994) a three-part series for MGM, and That's Dancing! (1985), preserving the on-screen musical legacies, including his own.

Gene Kelly was an actor, a dancer, a singer, a teacher, a cinematic innovator, and of course, an entertainer. His musical roles would vary from the love-struck sailor, to the dancing pirate, to the charming, umbrella-toting movie star. Young and suave once upon a time, but then the gracefully aged and mature, Gene Kelly is the forever and timeless hero of Metro Goldwyn Meyer (MGM) Studios — one of the greatest leading men in Hollywood and one of the *BEST* there will ever be.

Roll EmWow! See Gene Kelly's home in California as well as the real "Sunset and Camden" sign! Many thanks to Ron Severdia for these fantastic pictures!

Around the Corner From Sunset and Camden:my favorite picture of gene kelly

Read Roger Ebert's Film Reviews of Gene Kelly :
Singin' in the Rain
An American in Paris
That's Entertainment, Part III!

Tv-Now: Gene Kelly on TV:
When and where you can find Gene Kelly on TV. Mark when your favorite films are showing!

Concise biography for Gene Kelly available at:
IMDB.com: Gene Kelly. Includes a list of Gene Kelly's movies, quotes+trivia.


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In 1942, Judy Garland was Kelly's first dance partner on the big screen.
Later came Leslie Caron, Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds,
Cyd Charisse, Shirley MacLaine and hundreds of Hollywood dancers and stage extras.

But of all his dance partners, none was more memorable than a black umbrella.

Gene Kelly: 1965-1996
"The song has ended, but the
melody lingers on."
— Irving Berlin

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Singin' in the Rain

The Lost Fan?

It had been a long summer and I was spending a few hours in a place I loved most: the library. Browsing classic movie and musical titles on the shelves, I picked up an MGM musical, Singin' In the Rain .

I knew the famous song, but I hadn't seen the entire musical before; sound coming to Hollywood films, the dances by Gene Kelly & Debbie Reynolds. I was only twelve years old, and Singin' in the Rain would change my life:

Of the many genres of film on our library shelves, classic films from the 1950's and 1960's have always been my favorites. Mainstream movies rarely compared with the choreographed singing and dancing in Gene Kelly's films or other classics like, My Fair Lady (1964) and West Side Story (1961). I did not know it at the time, but director Stanley Donen's Singin' in the Rain — with its happy songs and story — and Gene Kelly's powerful dancing influenced my ideals of romance, performance and comic timing.

It was the way he smiled straight at the camera. The way he danced; he was known to charm females in (and often, with) his films. And I was one of those mesmerized by Gene Kelly. He exuded such charm and confidence! For me, he re-defined the word "debonair."

When he danced, he was different from Fred Astaire; Gene Kelly was not a tuxedo-and-tails sort of guy. He danced such a masculine form of dance. It seemed like Gene Kelly could express everything a man thought or felt by outbursts of dance. Each dance was an extraordinary accomplishment.

I would watch Gene Kelly Singin' in the Rain; Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont as he danced with Judy Garland or Cyd Charisse, and I used to wish that I could join them! I dreamt that I could sing and dance in their happy musical style... To have an opportunity to join their glitzy world... To wear the costumes and gowns, And to own the stage as they did. They were impressive, and some of the dances still stop me in my tracks today... in awe.

Stars like Gene Kelly are ever-important... Not only for their films, but for the persistance for perfection and dedication to their work that made these individuals so impressive. The musical genre shaped my early love of films, music, and the arts. What about everyone else? With today's world of lukewarm pop culture, younger filmgoers should not be deprived of these artistic classics. Musicals as a genre did depreciate, but excellent modern Moulin Rouge and Chicago have received modern acclaim.

There is difficulty in balancing tastes between today's stars and Audrey Hepburn, just as it is difficult to remember Gene as "the great entertainer" while watching a star today blow something up. Remembering the purity of the film musical is necessary. At PrincessMonkey.com, with your support, I will continue to preserve the identities of these classic Hollywood stars for future audiences.

I never met Gene Kelly, so I may never really know who he truly was. I can indulge in my fascination of his work, and there are always critics. Like any fan of today's stars, I can "know" a performer like Gene Kelly through his many biographies written by those who did met him and who were close to him, by watching his films, and acknowledge the documented legacy of good deeds he has left behind. With his extraordinary charisma and talent, I shall always admire the ways Gene and other classic film stars of his time inspired the souls of their audiences with

Fans of the silver screen, fans of stars like Gene Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Judy Garland, Sinatra, Astaire and Ginger Rogers would have to agree: the jeweled, and gracefully poised women, the well-dressed gentlemen, the legendary music and dancing and, of course, the beautiful costumes and joyful narratives will always remain close and dear to our hearts.

Feature Film: Click to watch Gene Kelly in Inherit the Wind (1 hour, 53 minutes). Remake of the dramatization of the 1925 Scopes "monkey trial" in which a schoolmaster was tried for teaching evolution.

Film Clip: Click to watch Gene Kelly and Donald O'Conner in one of the best musical numbers of all time: Moses Supposes from Singin' in the Rain (3 minutes). Don't miss it! A-A-A-A-A!

Film Clip: Click to watch Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munchin the "other" New York, New York... from the film version of "On The Town" (approx. 3 minutes).

Picture: Here's a Treat: Click here for Debbie Reynolds with a cute monkey! Debbie graced a magazine cover with this adorable picture. =)

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Fond Remembrance: Quotes for Gene Kelly

Thoughts by Gene Kelly:

Gene Kelly "At 14, I discovered girls. At that time, dancing was the only way you could put your arm around the girl. Dancing was courtship. Only later did I discover that you dance joy. You dance love. You dance dreams."

"I didn't want to be a dancer... I just did it to work my way through college. But I was always an athlete and gymnast, so it came naturally."

"The way I look at a musical, you are commenting on the human condition no matter what you do. A musical may be light and frivolous, but by its very nature, it makes some kind of social comment."

"In the 1930s, when I started, Martha Graham was the only dancer doing anything modern, but she did it all to classical music. I couldn't see myself doing Swan Lake every night, and I wanted to develop a truly American style. The only dancer in the movies at that time with any success was Fred Astaire, but he did very small, elegant steps in a top hat, white tie, and tails."

"I [was] twenty pounds overweight and as strong as an ox. But if I put on a white tails and tux like Astaire, I still looked like a truck driver... I looked better in a sweatshirt & loafers anyway. It wasn't elegant, but it was me."

"Any man who looks like a sissy while dancing is just a lousy dancer."

Thoughts by those who knew Gene Kelly:

"Gene was among the wonders of the 20th century." — Stanley Donen

"He could do anything... and did everything." — Debbie Reynolds

"Gene was one of a kind. He revolutionized dancing in film...[h]e was a disciplinarian and a perfectionist... I should know." — Frank Sinatra

Movie Quotes:

Click here to scroll through my favorite quotes from Singin In the Rain.

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