Gene Kelly

Cover Girl (1944)

While working as a dancer in a nightclub, Rusty Parker (Rita Hayworth) hears about a contest being run by Vanity magazine to find a new face for their big fiftieth anniversary issue.  She goes to audition for Cornelia Jackson (Eve Arden), who isn’t impressed by her, but she does catch the eye of publisher John Coudair (Otto Kruger).  Cordelia doesn’t know what he sees in her, but it turns out Rusty is a dead ringer for a woman he had been in love with forty years earlier named Maribelle Hicks. When he finds out that Rusty is Mirabelle’s granddaughter, she wins the magazine cover.

When her magazine cover hits the newsstands, Rusty becomes a local celebrity.  Her boyfriend Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly), who also owns the nightclub she dances at, is glad to see Rusty’s dreams coming true, but he wishes she were becoming famous as a dancer instead of being just a pretty face.  He’s also afraid her newfound success will drive her away from him.  Thanks to Rusty, Danny’s nightclub suddenly becomes the hot place to be and one person who comes to see her is Noel Wheaton (Lee Bowman), the owner of a theater on Broadway.  He wants to put her in a show, but she doesn’t want to leave Danny’s club.

Noel and Coudair won’t to take “no” for an answer and keep trying to get Rusty to come to Broadway, which continues to drive a wedge between Rusty and Danny.  Eventually, Danny decides the best thing he can do for Rusty is let her go.  She finally goes off to Broadway and becomes a big star while Danny and his best friend Genius (Phil Silvers) close up the nightclub and head off to entertain the troops.  Before too long, Noel proposes to Rusty and although she doesn’t love him, she reluctantly accepts since Danny is gone.  When Danny hears about her engagement, he decides to make one last attempt to win her back.

Cover Girl is the best musical MGM never made.  It’s got Gene Kelly, great Gershwin songs, nice bright Technicolor, and is just pure, exuberant fun.  This is one of those movies I can put on when I’m having a bad day and it will never fail to cheer me up.

Cover Girl came pretty early in Gene Kelly’s career and I think it’s one of his more underrated films.  I’ve always been a huge fan of the “Alter Ego” dance scene where Gene dances with himself.  It’s too bad this was the only movie Gene made with Rita Hayworth; I really would have liked to have seen them together again.  What’s really remarkable about Cover Girl is that even though Gene had been only been making movies for two years, he was given a lot of creative control over it.  Maybe that’s part of the reason why I have a tendency to forget it was made at Columbia, not MGM.

What’s on TCM: August 2012

How is it already time for another round of Summer Under the Stars?!  As usual, TCM has done a great job of coming up with a nice blend of stars who are no strangers to the SUTS schedule and stars who have never been featured before.  The more I look at the schedule, the more excited I get to start my Blogging Under the Stars marathon.

Some of the days I’m most looking forward to are: Myrna Loy (August 2), Marilyn Monroe (August 4), Toshiro Mifune (August 9), Ginger Rogers (August 12), James Cagney (August 14), Lillian Gish (August 15), Jack Lemmon (August 22), Gene Kelly (August 23), Kay Francis (August 21), and Warren William (August 30).  I have seen woefully few Akira Kurosawa films, so I am really looking forward to Toshiro Mifune’s day.  As a fan of silents and pre-codes, I was thrilled to see Lillian Gish, Kay Francis, and Warren William got spots on this year’s line-up.  Lately, I’ve been really getting into Tyrone Power movies, so I’m glad to see he got a day this year.  And since I’ve always wanted to see more Jeanette MacDonald movies, I’ll definitely be tuning in a lot for her day.

The complete Summer Under the Stars schedule is available to be download here.

(more…)

An Evening With Kerry Kelly Novick

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending a presentation on the life and career of Gene Kelly at the Detroit Opera House as part of a series they’re hosting about dance in film.  But this wasn’t just any ordinary presentation, it was given by someone very near and dear to Gene — his daughter Kerry Kelly Novick.  For about two hours, Kerry shared memories and stories about Gene, showed clips from some of his movies, and took questions from an enthusiastic audience.

The people in the audience came up with some excellent questions about Gene.  Questions ranged from how tall he was (5 feet, 8¾ inches, and he was serious about those three-quarters of an inch) to how his political activism influenced his work (the best example being how he refused to make The Pirate unless The Nicholas Brothers could be in it).  And then there was the eternal question of whether or not Gene had a favorite dance partner.  Gene was always very tactful about answering that question and Kerry was as well, saying that he always picked his dance partners based on the style of dance the scene called for.  And although she did mention that he particularly enjoyed working with highly trained dancers, she said that even they came with their own set of challenges.

Ever wonder what Gene did to stay in shape when he was in between movies?  Surprisingly, he didn’t have a set exercise routine.  He would play various sports for fun, but that was pretty much it.  According to Kerry, “he was blessed with the best metabolism in the world.”  He would gain a little bit of weight when he wasn’t working on a movie, but as soon as he went into rehearsals, it dropped right off again.

When asked about her father’s friendship with Fred Astaire, she pointed out something interesting that I didn’t know about the movie Easter Parade.  I knew that Gene was originally supposed to star in Easter Parade but then he broke his ankle so the part went to Fred instead.  What I didn’t know is that before Gene broke his ankle, he had choreographed the first dance number, “Drum Crazy”, and they kept his choreography for that scene.  So in Easter Parade, you can see Fred Astaire doing Gene Kelly’s choreography, which is something I’m going to have to watch for next time I see that movie.

Kerry also had plenty of childhood memories to discuss.  She talked about how after dinner every night, she would choose a topic and she and Gene would read about it together in the encyclopedia.  When asked if she ever considered getting into the film industry, she mentioned briefly wanting to be a set designer, but she knew pretty early on that she wanted to get into psychology.  Earlier in the evening, while introducing “The Mexican Hat Dance” scene from Anchors Aweigh, she said that she really wanted to play the little girl in that scene, but wasn’t allowed to because she couldn’t pass as a Mexican.  One person asked if she had a favorite memory of visiting her father’s sets and she said that during the production of Singin’ in the Rain, it was interesting for her to go to the set and see adults learning new things.  When you’re a kid, you tend to think that adults just know everything.  So by going to the set and seeing Debbie Reynolds working so hard to learn the dances, it showed her that nobody ever just knows everything and how important it is to keep learning new things.

If you were wondering what Kerry herself is up to these days, she is a psychoanalyst and has lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan since the 1970s.  Together with her husband, they have written several books about child psychology and have founded the Allen Creek Preschool.

Overall, the evening was truly wonderful.  Kerry was very nice, approachable, and witty and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to hear so much about Gene from someone who was so close to him.

Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)

Hat check clerk Louis Blore (Red Skelton) works in a nightclub where one of the star performers is May Daly (Lucille Ball).  Louis is in love with May, but he has some competition from dancer Alec Howe (Gene Kelly).  May loves Alec and Alec loves her, but unfortunately for both Louis and Alec, she’s determined to marry a rich man and neither of them has much money.  But all of that changes when one day, telegram messenger Charlie (Rags Ragland) brings Louis a telegram informing him that he’s won a sweepstakes!  All of a sudden, he is a rich man and asks May to marry him.  She makes it abundantly clear that she’d only be marrying him for his money, but he doesn’t mind.  But even then, she still has reservations.

One night, Charlie, who has taken Louis’ old hat check clerk job, suggests slipping a mickey into Alec’s drink so he won’t be any competition for a few days.  Of course, this plan goes horribly wrong when Louis accidentally gets the drugged drink intended for Alec.  While unconscious, Louis dreams that he’s back in the 1700s.  In his dream, he is King Louis XV and May is Madame Du Barry.  Just like in real life, King Louis is trying to win over Madame Du Barry by showering her with lavish presents, but her love can’t be bought.  In fact, when she starts receiving mysterious notes from someone named The Black Arrow (Alec’s dream alter-ego), she insists on meeting with this Black Arrow.  She goes to see him and finds out he is leading a rebellion against Madame Du Barry and King Louis XV because he thinks Du Barry is encouraging Louis to take taxpayer’s money to pay for her extravagant gifts.  But despite this, she can’t help but be attracted to The Black Arrow.  When The Black Arrow and his posse are captured, Louis sentences them to death by the guillotine, but Du Barry pleads with him to spare The Black Arrow.  When Louis wakes up, he awakens with the realization that trying to buy love is a ridiculous idea.  By then, May and Alec have decided to get married and Louis wishes them well and the three of them decide to remain friends.

Du Barry Was a Lady isn’t one of the all time great musicals, but it is a nice bit of frothy entertainment.  Lucille isn’t used to her full comedic potential and Gene Kelly only gets one solo dance scene, but Red Skelton, Rags Ragland, and Zero Mostel do bring some good laughs.  The musical numbers generally don’t add much to the story, but they are fun to watch.  I liked Virginia O’Brien’s “Salome” number and it was nice to see so much of Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra.  It’s also worth noting that this is the first movie where Lucille Ball had her hair dyed that signature shade of red.  All in all, it wasn’t a spectacular movie, but it is light and fun and that’s exactly what I expected of it.

Live Post: The Debbie Reynolds Auction

Even though I’m broke and can’t afford to actually bid on anything in today’s auction, there’s so much amazing stuff up for sale today that I can’t resist trying to follow the auction as best I can.  So I figured I’d try my hand at live blogging and cover the auction the best I can as it happens.  I’m not going to cover every single item up for sale, but I’ll try to keep you updated about some of the more noteworthy items.  So stay tuned, sit back, relax, and live vicariously through other people who can afford to spend insane amounts of money on movie memorabilia.  And I’m just putting it out there right now: I would not be even remotely surprised if Hugh Hefner buys Marilyn Monroe’s white dress from The Seven Year Itch.  A million dollar absentee bid has already been placed on it, so it will definitely be sold for at least that much today.

If you want to follow along with the auction live, just go here, click on “Live Bidding”, then click the option to just watch the auction. There is a live video stream, but no audio.

Updates:

Note – The selling prices I list here don’t include the buyer’s premium.  If you see articles about Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz test costume selling for more than a million, that source factored in the buyer’s premium.

3:12 PM – The first lot, a 1915 35mm Bell and Howell camera just sold for $32,500!

3:16 PM – Rudolph Valentino’s matador suit from Blood and Sand just went for $210,000.

3:19 PM – Mary Pickford’s headpiece from Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall went for $3,250.

3: 21 PM- Francis X. Bushman’s charioteer helmet from 1925′s Ben Hur sold for $30,000!

3:26 PM – Harold Lloyd’s suit and hat went for $4,000!

3:34 PM – Mary Pickford’s gown from The Taming of the Shrew sold for $17,000.

3:36 PM – Lots 17 and 18, both Douglas Fairbanks costumes from The Taming of the Shrew sold for $20,000 and lot 18 didn’t sell.

3:38 PM – One of Charlie Chaplin’s infamous hats went for $110,000!

3:40 PM – A Model T used by Laurel and Hardy sold for $32,500 and a pair of their suits went for $16,000.

3:42 PM – Carole Lombard’s gown from No Man of Her Own sold for $11,000.

3:47 PM – Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra gown went for $40,000.

3:52 PM – Greta Garbo’s gown from Anna Karenina also sold for $40,000!

3:53 PM – Harpo Marx’s hat and wig went for $45,000!

4:10 PM – Lots 42, 43, and 44 are the paintings commissioned by Marion Davies and respectively went for $10,000, $11,000, and $17,000.  These really got the bidders going.

4:17  PM – W.C. Fields’ joke box sold for $35,000.

4:39 PM – Norma Shearer’s purple gown from Romeo and Juliet went for $20,000.

5:04 PM – Now we’re into stuff from The Good Earth and people went nuts for some of the furniture!  The pair of chairs went for $20,000, the opium bed for $20,000, two Paul Muni robes for $4,000 each, Luise Rainer’s shirt for $2,000, the lot of stands and other furniture for $3,500, and Luise Rainer’s jacket for $3,000.

5:13  PM – A gown worn by Norma Shearer in Marie Antoinette and Lucille Ball in Du Barry was a Lady sold for $11,000.

5:44 PM – Oh, now we’re into a busy bunch of lots!  First up was Marlene Dietrich’s outfit from “The Boys in the Backroom” number in Destry Rides Again, which went for $8,000, one of Judy Garland’s test costumes from The Wizard of Oz went for $910,000, a test pair of the ruby slippers sold for $510,000, an extra’s jacket from the Emerald City scenes of the Wizard of Oz sold for $22,500, Clark Gable’s dressing robe from the production of Gone With the Wind went for $10,000, and Basil Rathbone’s famous Sherlock Holmes caped overcoat sold for $50,000!

5:54 PM – Vivien Leigh’s suit from Waterloo Bridge sold for $16,000.

6:09 PM – Gary Cooper’s military uniform from Sergeant York went for $55,000.

6:16 PM – A couple of costumes worn by James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, the satin jockey shirt went for $27,500 and the clown outfit sold for $15,000.

6:19 PM – Not so fast, Louis!  A suit worn by Claude Rains in Casablanca sold for $55,000!

6:53 PM – Took a dinner break and missed another busy bunch of lots!  Elizabeth Taylor’s riding outfit from National Velvet went for $60,000, Judy Garland’s “Under the Bamboo Tree” dress from Meet Me in St. Louis sold for $16,000, Judy’s dress from the snowman building scene in Meet Me in St. Louis went for $10,000, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra’s sailor suits from Anchors Aweigh went for $27,500 and $15,000 respectively.

7:00 PM – $22,500 for Joan Crawford’s waitress uniform from Mildred Pierce and $5,000 for Ann Blyth’s Mildred Pierce suit.

7:05 PM – Edmund Gwenn’s Santa suit from Miracle on 34th Street just sold for $22,500.

8:12 PM – The gold lame dress worn by Ginger Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway went for $8,000.

8:51 PM – The chiffon robe worn by Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire sold for $18,000.  Then it went into a bunch of items from An American in Paris with Leslie Caron’s peacock dress from the fantasy ballet number for $15,000, Nina Foch’s white halter gown from a party scene for $3,000, and a showgirl costume from the Stairway to Paradise number for $1,100.

9:05 PM – We have reached the Singin’ in the Rain part of the auction.  First were the green and white checked suits worn by Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly, $8,000 and $14,000 respectively.  Jean Hagen’s Marie Antoinette-esque dress sold for $5,500 and Gene Kelly’s period costume went for $9,000.  Debbie’s green and white leaf print dress went for $15,000, Gene Kelly’s jacket from the Broadway Melody Ballet number went for $6,500, Jean Hagen’s black and white fur coat went for $6,000, Donald O’Connor’s “Good Morning” suit didn’t sell, Cyd Charisse’s white Broadway Melody Ballet outfit for $7,000, and Debbie’s “Good Morning” dress went for $27,500.  A pink dress worn by Gwen Carter sold for $3,750, and a bunch of costumes from the “Beautiful Girl” montage brought $5,500.

9:22 PM – Now we’re getting into some of the Marilyn Monroe and Marilyn-related items.  First up is Marilyn’s red “Two Little Girls from Little Rock” dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which brought $1.2 million!  Then came the feathered hat worn by Jane Russell when she impersonates Loreli Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, that sold for $4,250.  Lauren Bacall’s wedding dress from How to Marry a Millionaire went for $8,000 and the car used by Marilyn and Cary Grant in Monkey Business sold for $210,000.

9:48 PM – A lot of two safari outfits worn by Grace Kelly in Mogambo sold for $47,500.  A Winchester rifle used by Clark Gable in Mogambo brought in $15,000.

10:00 PM – A couple more from Marilyn Monroe.  The gold dress from River of No Return went for $510,000 and her costume from the “Heat Wave” number in There’s No Business Like Show Business brought in $500,000!

10:52 PM – After a little break, we’re back with the dress everyone’s been waiting for — the infamous Marilyn Monroe white subway dress from The Seven Year Itch.  I fully expected bidding to be out of control for this one and I wasn’t disappointed.  It brought in an astonishing $4.6 million!

11:03 PM – Now we’ve got a couple from To Catch a Thief.  A coat worn by Cary Grant brought in $15,000 and an outfit worn by Grace Kelly earned a jaw dropping $450,000!

11:41 PM – A couple of dresses worn by Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember brought in $6,000 and $11,000.

12:17 AM – One of Lana Turner’s dresses from Peyton Place sold for $4,250.

12:22 AM – Lot number 407 is rather unique because it includes things worn by both Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth in Pal Joey.  It went for $6,500.

12:29 AM – Leslie Caron’s iconic plaid schoolgirl outfit from Gigi went for $65,000.

12:40 AM – Charlton Heston’s tunic and cape from Ben Hur could have been yours for the low, low price of $320,000!

1:32 AM – Marlon Brando’s naval outfit from Mutiny on the Bounty just brought in $90,000!

2:12 AM – Elizabeth Taylor’s famous headdress from Cleopatra went for $100,000 and Richard Burton’s tunic, cape, and sword brought in $85,000.

Oh, who cares what time it is anymore?  Yes, I’m still going!  Aren’t these people tired and broke yet?!  Janet Leigh’s yellow fringed dress from Bye Bye Birdie fetched $3,750 and Bette Davis’ blood stained dress from Hush, Hush…Sweet Charlotte sold for $11,000.

Another big item to watch tonight was Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress from My Fair Lady.  I fully expected it to exceed the $200,000-$300,000 and it sure did.  It went up to $3.7 million!

I would say that the hills are alive with the sound of music, but at this time of night, I’m pretty sure that’s a noise ordinance violation.  Julie Andrews’ guitar went for $140,000, her jumper from the “Do Re Mi” number for $550,000, her turquoise and green dress for $45,000, the peasant dress went for $42,500, and a pair of the Trapp children’s outfits sold for $35,000.

And at long last we have reached the Barbara Streisand part of the auction.  First from Funny Girl is her costume from “I’d Rather Be Blue” for $65,000, a lot of the other roller skating costumes for $2,500, the black velvet dress from “My Man” for $16,000, a bunch of stuff worn by the Ziegfeld girls in the “His Love Makes Me Beautiful” number for $7,500, Anne Francis’ silk dress for $1,800, and Kay Medford’s beaded shawl for $1,400.

A jacket worn by Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid brought $8,500 and a dress worn by Katharine Ross went for $16,000.

And back to Streisand.  The purple Hello, Dolly dress went for $55,000 and the gold dress for $100,000.  Surprised the gold dress went for that little, that’s how much it cost to make that dress back in the day.

You’ll be fascinated to know that a shirt worn in the cinematic masterpiece known as Grease 2 sold for $475.

We have finally made it to the final segment of posters/portraits!  The title cards for Blind Husbands fetched $2,000, the lot of three Gloria Swanson title/lobby cards sold for $1,200, the portrait of Gloria Swanson went for $8,500, the lot of two Mabel Normand lobby cards for $800, the pair of silent title/lobby cards for $1,600, the lobby card for Lon Chaney’s The Penalty for $1,700, and the lobby card for Chaplin’s The Idle Class for $1,600.  The portrait of Jean Harlow went for $11,000!

Now it’s high time I called it a night!  Good night everybody!

The Time Gene Kelly Made Madonna Suddenly Timid


Gene Kelly and Madonna: talk about an odd couple.  But believe it or not, the two of them did briefly work together in 1993.  I had almost forgotten that little detail until I was watching my DVD of Madonna’s Girlie Show tour earlier tonight.  The story is that when Madonna was getting ready to go out on tour, there were several different choreographers she wanted to work with and Gene Kelly was one of them.  She specifically wanted him to choreograph a number for her song Rain.

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to see that Gene Kelly’s style just wasn’t going to mesh well with Madonna’s, who was then at her most outrageous.  According to her brother Christopher Ciccone, the show’s director, Gene Kelly wasn’t very comfortable working with her dancers, who had been picked more for personality than classical dance backgrounds.  But he got a number together and when Christopher saw it, he realized it just wasn’t a good fit for the show’s burlesque circus theme.  So he got Madonna to come check it out, and at first she was adamant that they keep Gene.  But then about a week later, she decided that his number had to go.  She went up to Christopher again and told him — and then asked him if he’d be the one to fire Gene.  Personally, I just think it’s absolutely hilarious that Madonna didn’t have it in her to fire Gene Kelly.  Throughout her whole career, Madonna has been the most fearless woman in the music industry.  Nothing intimidates that woman, but the thought of having to fire Gene Kelly was enough to suddenly turn her into a shy little girl.

I imagine this was a little different from her deciding that she wants to work with a different record producer, though.  Madonna is a big classic film aficionado (that tour in particular was chock full of classic film references) so I imagine she grew up watching his movies and had a lot of  respect and admiration for him as a dancer.  But I guess she must not have had any hard feelings toward him considering the show ended up including a very Gene Kelly-esque dance interlude set to Singin’ in the Rain.

The Pirate (1948)

Manuela (Judy Garland) only has eyes for one man: Macoco, the infamous pirate.  She absolutely loves everything about the myth of Macoco, but the only problem is that she’s never met him.  People aren’t even sure if he’s even still alive!  Even when her aunt arranges for her to be married to Don Pedro, the town’s mayor, she can’t let go of the fantasy of being taken away by the great Macoco.  But just before she’s supposed to marry Don Pedro, Manuela convinces her aunt to travel with her to Port Sebastian.  They arrive in town along with a troupe of actors led by Serafin (Gene Kelly).  Serafin is a real womanizer, but that all changes the second he sees Manuela.  She turns him down, but later that night, she sneaks out to go see him perform.

When Serafin spots Manuela in the crowd, he hypnotizes her in front of the crowd hoping that she’ll declare her love for him.  Oh, he gets a declaration all right.  A declaration of love for Macoco the pirate.  But he also realizes that Manuela is a spectacular singer.  So Serafin and his troupe follow her back to her hometown and Serafin begs her to join the troupe.  She refuses, but when Don Pedro finds out about Serafin showing up in Manuela’s room, he’s ready to get rid of Serafin for once and for all.  But when Serafin gets a look at Don Pedro, he recognizes him as none other than the great pirate Macoco!  Serafin uses this bit of information to force Don Pedro into allowing his troupe to perform in town.  He also decides to pretend to be Macoco in a rouse to get Manuela to like him.

Sure enough, his plan works and Manuela starts to fall for Serafin.  But when she finds out what Serafin’s scheme is, she’s absolutely livid.  In a fit of rage, she trashes the room, but when she accidentally knocks Serafin unconscious, she realizes that she really does love him.  While this is going on, Don Pedro is hard at work trying to frame Serafin as being the real Macoco and has him arrested and is set to be hanged.  When Manuela looks at the evidence a little more closely, she figures out that Don Pedro is really Macoco.  Before he is to be executed, Serafin is offered a last request and he asks to put on a final show with his troupe.  Serafin and Manuela work together to use the performance as a way to get Don Pedro to confess his true identity to the entire town.  With Don Pedro safely out of the picture, Manuela is finally free to join Serafin and his troupe!

The Pirate can be summed up in the same way I can describe a lot of musicals: Is the story far-fetched and hokey?  Yes.  But is it great escapist fun?  Absolutely!  Judy Garland and Gene Kelly always made a great duo and The Pirate is really a great vehicle for each of them.  Judy got some memorable songs like “Mack the Black” to perform and Gene gets the chance to do some great dancing as well as plenty of opportunities to generally ham it up.  MGM had some pretty high hopes for this movie, but when it was first released, it really didn’t even come close to their expectations.  First of all, Judy missed 99 days of filming out of 135.  Then when it actually was released, critics weren’t very kind to it and it went on to become the only movie Judy Garland made for MGM that lost money.  But I’m glad that it seems more people have given it a chance over time because as far as I can tell, it does exactly what a classic MGM musical should do.

The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Delphine (Catherine Deneuve) and Solange Garnier (Francoise Dorleac) are twin sisters from Rochefort.  Each of them has a creative passion; Delphine wants to be a dancer and Solange wants to be a music composer, but both of them teach classes to pay their bills.  When they get fed up with teaching, they decide to head for Paris, where they are sure they will find happiness.  But Delphine and Solange aren’t the only ones in town longing for something.  Their mother Yvonne (Danielle Darrieux) runs a snack bar and spends her days yearning for her ex-fiance Simon Dame.  She loved him, but thought his last name was ridiculous, so she had left him ten years earlier.  While working at her snack bar, she meets Maxence, a young sailor on leave from the Navy desperately seeking the girl of his dreams.  Maxence knows exactly how his dream girl is supposed to look, he’s just trying to find her.  He paints a picture of this mystery girl and hangs it in a gallery owned by Guillaume, Delphine’s boyfriend.  When Delphine drops by the gallery, she sees the painting and realizes it looks exactly like her, and goes on a quest to find the person who painted the picture.  Yvonne knows Maxence, but she never saw the painting of his dream girl.

Meanwhile, Solange stops by a music store to pick up some new paper and meets Simon Dame.  He tells her how he came to town to look for a woman who left him ten years ago because of his name, but he never met Yvonne’s twins, so Solange doesn’t know that the woman he’s looking for is her mother.  As they get to talking, he agrees to write a letter to a composer friend of his in Paris, Andy Miller (Gene Kelly) so he’d be willing to meet with her.  But little does Solange know that Andy Miller is already in town and she even literally bumps into him in the street.  When they meet, she drops the music she’s been working on and she accidentally leaves part of it behind, which Andy picks up.  He’s fascinated by the song and wants to meet the girl who wrote it again.

But to complicate things more, a carnival is in town for the weekend and the girls meet Etienne and Bill, who work for the carnival.  When two dancers with the carnival run off to be with some sailors at the last minute, Etienne and Bill recruit Solange and Delphine to perform in the show in their place.  They agree and are a great success, but still want to leave for Paris.  Come Monday, they’re all set to go, but then all the missed connections finally start to come together.  Solange and Andy meet up again, Yvonne and Mr. Dame are finally reunited, and even though Delphine hitches a ride with the Etienne and Bill to Paris, little does she know that her mystery admirer Maxence also catches a ride out of town with the carnival.

The Young Girls of Rochefort was a rather interesting movie.  It was kind of like On The Town meets Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with just a hint of Casablanca thrown in.  Only instead of everybody coming to Rick’s, everybody, except for Simon Dame, comes to Yvonne’s snack bar.  I was mostly intrigued by this movie because it had both Gene Kelly and Catherine Deneuve in it.  I didn’t really know what to expect from it, but what I got was a bright, colorful, exuberant, musical.  It was a lot of fun, but could have stood to be a little bit shorter.  I have to say, I’m really glad that Jacques Demy didn’t go with his original choice of Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot as the two sisters.  I like Audrey and I like Brigitte, but that would have been the least believable casting of sisters of all time.  Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorleac, on the other hand, actually were sisters, so Demy made a far better choice.  But if you’re not into movies that are pretty cheesy and full of random people dancing in the streets, I’d recommend skipping this one because I can easily see how this would grate on your nerves.

My Top 100, 20-11

Another week, another ten movies!  This week, I’ve got lots of musicals, some silents that have only gotten better with age, and movies with some of my favorite snappy lines.  Now, onto the movies!

(more…)

My Top 100, 90-81

Welcome to week two of counting down my top 100 favorite movies!  This week is a pretty eclectic bunch of movies.  There are a lot of lighthearted favorites, a couple of mysteries, some from the “I don’t usually like this kind of movie, but…” file, and even a few of my modern favorites.  So, let’s get to number 90…

(more…)