Monday, August 3, 2009

Gene Kelly might not be human

Whenever I watch old movies, it strikes me how much more talented you had to be back in the day to make it in Hollywood. Yesterday, walking through the East Village in the pouring rain, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon a movie theater playing, appropriately, "Singin' in the Rain," starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor. My boyfriend made the mistake of admitting that he'd never seen it. So of course, I dragged him in.

I love "Singin' in the Rain"-- it's funny, clever, and the dancing is spectacular. The three leads are all triple threats. Nowadays, you can be a "star" just by looking pretty. I mean, is there a Shia Labeouf equivalent in the golden age of filmmaking? Is what Gene Kelly does on camera at all related to what Jennifer Love Hewitt does?

I'm posting a video with a clip not from "Singin' in the Rain," but from a lesser-known Gene Kelly flick, "It's Always Fair Weather." In it, Gene Kelly tap dances. ON ROLLER SKATES.


Suzanne said...

Like you, I sometimes miss Gene Kelly, Natalie Wood, et. al. when I see some of the crap that surfaces these days. It's hard to compare, though, because the style of acting in film today is so different.

I think now it's all more about creating an entirely new personality with each new role. Back then, it was about promoting a popular screen persona.

J.A.G. said...

Natalie Wood, bless her, was more of a single threat. Come to think of it, the three Singin' leads weren't vocal superstars. Gene and Donald had their charm and fancy footwork, and Debbie worked hard to keep up. Mainly they knew how to sell it.

I miss the good musicals these days but also the character actors. Where are the Martin Balsams, the William Powells?

Aaron Leichter said...

Shia LaBouf '59 = Jeffrey Hunter. But point taken.

I think we're in the pink, character actor-wise. Guys like Paul Giamatti can spend '07 doing The Nanny Diaries, Shoot 'Em Up, & Fred Claus; hit HBO for John Adams in '08; & split the difference in '09 with Duplicity & Lost Souls. (Too bad he's not doing stage-work anymore!)

Deadford said...

I'd venture to say that there may not be a person alive today who could pull off that roller skate tap routine. Wowza. (just catching up on old blog entries ;-) )