He was practically everything a man in Hollywood (and in show business) could be: dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, film director and producer. He made classical music and ballet in musicals modern and accessible for the audience with brilliant visual ideas, athletic and energetic movements and dance steps, and by often playing likeable and cracker-barrel characters. He was, all in all, a perfect and revolutionary musical film star!
I once wrote to a fellow Gene Kelly-fan, who asked me which Gene Kelly-movie I liked the best, and I answered:
Oh, what a hard question! I don’t know if it’s his ingenious news paper dance in “Summer Stock”, his playful fencing scene in the beginning of “The Three Musketeers”, his incredible acting in “Anchors Aweigh”, the long and beautifully artistic sequence in “An American in Paris”, the lovely couple dancing with Judy in “For Me and My Gal” and “The Pirate”, or the legendary dance scenes in “Singin’ In The Rain”? These are just a few memorable examples of his huge talent and I really can’t choose! He’s just so wide-ranging in every aspect, like a chameleon, yet he always managed to add his own personal style to it. He really was one of a kind!
Of course he can't be anything but gorgeous in all of his movies and his performances are impeccable (he was, after all, a perfectionist). However, I watched "Anchors Aweigh" the other day and I was once again confirmed in the view that he - besides being a fantastic dancer and a pretty good singer - also was an incredible actor.
This is my personal favorite top 10-list of Gene Kelly's movies (which I really can recommend to watch):
- The Pirate (1948)
- Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
- An American in Paris (1951)
- Anchors Aweigh (1945)
- For Me and My Gal (1942)
- On the Town (1949)
- The Three Musketeers (1948)
- Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)
- Summer Stock (1950)
- Invitation to the Dance (1956)