Just two of the many reasons that the still-underrated 1955 “It’s Always Fair Weather” ranks very high on my list of my all-time favorite film musicals is it’s sardonic yet cheerful send-ups of advertising and this new medium called television as well as its brilliant use of the brilliant song-and-dance gal Delores Grey. This clip has all three in spades. (Ms. Grey appears at the 1:23 spot.)
Just for the record, yes, that’s the immortal Frank Nelson (uncredited) as the announcer, and Gene Kelly (who codirected with Stanley Donen), Dan Dailey and dancer-choreographer Michael Kidd in a rare acting gig near the beginning. The music is by Andre Previn, best known these days as a conductor and arranger, with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, who wrote every single golden word in this movie and, as far as I’m concerned, deserved the Nobel Prize for World Literature, though that’s probably just me.
It’s time for me to take a moment to reflect a bit on what I learned from my rather hectic but definitely fun and enlightening time at the TCM Fest. As previously reported here and everywhere else, it turned out to be a fairly roaring success and is promised to be repeated next year in Hollywood. Because of time constraints and because I wasn’t able to enjoy the truly titanic number of films seen by, say, a Dennis Cozzalio — currently working on a detailed and sure to be great summary of the event — I’m going to limit myself to a few random observations covering material I have not mentioned in prior TCM-centric posts. (Here, here, and here.) Naturally, it’ll still turn out to be much longer than I originally intended.
Borgnine, Donen, Rainer
As someone with parents in their eighties and nineties, I’ve become especially interested lately in the way things work for people of a certain age. So it was with some some special interest that I listened to the words of 100 year-old thirties star Luise Rainer, 93 year-old star character actor Ernest Borgnine (“Marty,” “The Wild Bunch”), and 86 year-old directing great and one-time boy genius, Stanley Donen — best known for co-directing “Singin’ in the Rain” and other MGM musical classics with Gene Kelly but also an outstanding director in his own right of both musicals and “straight” films.
I’ve been staying up late a lot lately trying to finish various projects before the holiday lull. I wish I could be as energetic right now at 1:30 a.m. as Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor were in 1953’s “Singin’ in the Rain.” Of course, they’d just decided to make a musical. More people should do that.
I’ve had a real keister-kicker of a day today — mostly in a good way. Nevertheless, I basically have no energy left and not a brain cell to spare for any wondrous words of filmic wisdom for you tonight. So, instead I present the cure for what ails me, energy wise. The leggy, chubby-cheeked dancer extraordinaire of the classic era, Ms. Ann Miller, here ably assisted by Betty Garrett, Jules Munshin, Gene Kelly, and Frank Sinatra.
This clip, by the way, is from “On the Town” which will be included in an upcoming Bullz-Eye feature. Stay tuned.