Gene Kelly Collection: 4 Film Favorites [4 Discs] [DVD]

This movie collection for fans of extraordinary dancer Gene Kelly offers a selection of four Kelly favorites, For Me and My Gal, Invitation to the Dance, Summer Stock, and On the Town.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

On the Town
Three sailors on a 24-hour pass -- Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra), and Ozzie (Jules Munshin) -- decide to soak up the sights and sounds of New York. Each one finds romance within those 24 hours: Gabey with aspiring dancer Ivy Smith (Vera-Ellen), Chip with lady cabbie Hildy Esterhazy (Betty Garrett), and Ozzie with paleontology student Claire Huddesten (Ann Miller). That's all, right? Wellll....Ivy passes herself off as a celebrity, but she's actually a kootch dancer in Coney Island. Claire and the boys inadvertently topple a dinosaur replica at the Museum of Anthropological History. And Hildy breaks any number of speeding laws attempting to get the lovers together and straighten out all misunderstandings. Adapted from the Broadway musical by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Leonard Bernstein, On the Town is one of the freshest, most exhilarating musicals turned out by the old MGM regime. The stars' verve and camaraderie are contagious, and the songs are staged by legendary musical director Stanley Donen and Kelly himself with wit and innovation. Highlights include the opening "New York, New York" number, shot on location and flat-cutting from one image to another at a dizzying pace, and Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen's ""Miss Turnstyles Ballet."" ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Invitation to the Dance
MGM's Invitation to the Dance was the fruition of Gene Kelly's long-standing dream to create a plotless "concert" feature. Eschewing dialogue, Kelly tells three stories entirely through the medium of dance. The first sequence is a mime-like Pagliacci story, with Kelly as the Clown and Igor Youskevitch and Claire Sombert as the Lovers. The second vignette, "Ring Around the Rosy," tells the story of a bracelet as it is passed from owner to owner. The best is saved till last: "Sinbad the Sailor," wherein Kelly shares screen time with a plethora of animated cartoon characters, courtesy of MGM house cartoonists William Hanna and Joe Barbera. Carol Haney appears briefly as Scheherezade, and also posed for the writhing cartoon serpent. Considered totally unsellable by the MGM higher-ups, Invitation to the Dance was shelved upon its completion in 1952, and didn't see the light of day for nearly four years. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

For Me and My Gal
For Me and My Gal, a leisurely period musical, represents the first on-screen dancing of MGM's new star Gene Kelly. Judy Garland plays a member of a vaudeville troupe consisting of herself, George Murphy, Ben Blue and Lucille Norman. She leaves the act to join up with Kelly, who promises to propel her to the big time. Two unsuccessful years later, Garland and Kelly are still struggling in the small time, while Murphy and his bunch are headliners. Kelly nearly throws Garland over for singer Marta Eggerth, but Judy remains loyal--at least until Kelly deliberately breaks his hand to avoid serving in World War I. Having lost her brother Richard Quine to the war, Garland denounces Kelly as a coward and walks out. Kelly redeems himself by joining an overseas entertainment troupe, saving several lives when he finds himself under attack on the front. Judy and Gene are at last reunited in Paris. A major break for both Gene Kelly and Judy Garland (who proved once and for all in this film that she was no longer just a "juvenile"), For Me and My Gal was based on a story by Howard Emmett Rogers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Summer Stock
Summer Stock represented Judy Garland's swan song at MGM. Garland plays the owner of a New England farm which entrepreneur Gene Kelly hopes to convert into a summer theatre. Gloria DeHaven, a member of Kelly's troupe, also happens to be Garland's sister. Aware that the farm is having financial difficulties, DeHaven talks the recalcitrant Garland into allowing the troupe to set up shop in the barn. All sorts of romances wind their way through the summer air as Kelly mounts his production. In the long-anticipated finale, Garland herself steps into the leading-lady slot vacated by her petulant sister DeHaven, and of course the show is a smasheroo. To watch Garland joyfully perform such numbers as "Friendly Star," "If You Feel Like Singing, Sing," and her legendary "drag" specialty "Get Happy," you'd never suspect that she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown (the film opened while Garland was recovering from a suicide attempt). Adding to the overall exuberance of Summer Stock are such dependable supporting players as Eddie Bracken, Phil Silvers, Marjorie Main and Hans Conried (cast as the troupe's resident romantic baritone!) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Gene Kelly
    Gene Kelly - Gabey
  • Frank Sinatra
    Frank Sinatra - Chip
  • Betty Garrett
    Betty Garrett - Brunhilde Esterhazy
  • Ann Miller
    Ann Miller - Claire Huddesen
  • Jules Munshin
    Jules Munshin - Ozzie
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