I'm not sure what I could say about Gene Kelly that someone else hasn't already said before, perhaps in a documentary with lots of cool dancing footage. Today's his birthday -- he would have been 94, but died in 1996. I decided against a typical photo from Singin' in the Rain, because most of us know the image even if we haven't seen the movie. I really wanted a photo of Kelly and the Nicholas Brothers in The Pirate, but couldn't find one. Instead I found this lovely still from An American in Paris, with Leslie Caron. I haven't seen An American in Paris yet, because I keep waiting for it to play on a big screen, feeling that the TV will not do it justice.

I'm sorry to say that the last time I saw Kelly onscreen in a theater was during a trailer for the film Viva Knievel!, as I'd prefer to forget the later days of his career. I'd rather remember the first time I saw him, in For Me and My Gal, which I watched as part of a big Judy Garland marathon on TV when I was growing up. I'm also fond of On the Town, in which he costarred with Frank Sinatra, and in which Ann Miller plays a dancing anthropologist. You can see Kelly's influences everywhere in film ... for example, I loved Jackie Chan's Singin' in the Rain tribute in the otherwise undistinguished Shanghai Knights.
categories Features, Cinematical