Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Results: What's Your Favorite Gene Kelly Musical? Not Brigadoon!

Happy New Year, Gene Kelly fans! This wasn't the post I intended to write today, but I noticed that the blog's poll closed yesterday. And as you can see, the results were somewhat predictable with Singin' in the Rain our favorite by a landslide! SITR garnered 62% of the vote with 68 votes. An American in Paris had 17 votes (15%), Anchors Aweigh had 8 (7%), The Pirate had 12 (11%) and poor Brigadoon only received 4 votes (3%). So, why is there a photo of Brigadoon here and not Singin' in the Rain? It's no surprise that SITR is our favorite - it makes "top ten" lists regularly and it's the one movie I've never heard a Gene fan say they don't like. So, what's more interesting from the poll results is...what's the deal with Brigadoon?

Now, I didn't put much thought into the five selections to be honest - it was our first poll here on the blog. Truth be told, Brigadoon doesn't even make my personal top 5 favorite Gene Kelly films. But, I didn't realize that it wasn't nearly as loved as Gene's other films. Why is that? Part of the reason is that it was not filmed on location in Scotland - that would have gone a long way in changing the look and feel of the movie. In fact, if they had at least shot it outdoors in California it would have helped. Instead, it was filmed on an indoor set and it shows, despite the hard work of the talented artists and set designers at MGM. I think that this has to be the main reason that it isn't on everyone's top five list, because it certainly isn't because of the actors!

Gene gives one of his better performances as Tommy Albright, a man who gets the idea that his life isn't what he thought it would be. The ever-lovely Cyd Charisse is beautiful as Fiona, although her Scottish accent isn't always as convincing as her acting. And the Lerner and Loewe songs are stunning - is there a fan out there that doesn't melt with "Almost Like Being in Love"? In fact, the fantasy-plot has to take its rightful place as Gene's most romantic. Falling in love at first sight? Sure, Gene's brash characters have done it before (On the Town, An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain, The Pirate...I could go on with a few more if you're not convinced by now!), but would Gaby, Jerry, Don, or Serafin have given up their lives-as-they-knew-it to live forever with their gal? Not even forever, just for one day every hundred years. That's what make the story of Brigadoon so magical! Maybe it looks like they are dancing in front of paintings, or maybe Van Johnson's character is just a bit too cynical, but in terms of pure story, Tommy's the kind of dreamer that a gal can fall in love with! So, maybe for this new year it deserves another look...I doubt it will wind up as our absolute favorite, but it's definitely worth re-watching! For a rather un-conventional "review" of the movie, be sure to visit Tom and Lorenzo for their comical take on the movie.

Stay tuned for a new poll soon! Also, feel free to comment on why you picked the favorite you did, or why you DO or DO NOT like Brigadoon!


Sandy said...

I am one of the minority 8 who voted for Anchors Aweigh as my favorite Gene movie. It has everything in it.....acting, singing, dancing, fantasy, humor, love, friendship, and a delightful story. I love the expressions and mannerisms of Gene in AA. I think he did a superb acting job, and I so do wish he would have won the Oscar for Best Actor!! Gene just melts my heart in this one!!

As for Brigadoon, indeed I have watched it many times over.....maybe 15 times. I know it well. And, yes I do like it. I love the "Heather on the Hill" song and dance. Didn't Gene say it was his favorite....and Cyd too? I feel a special charisma going on there between Tommy and Fiona in Brigadoon. It was done very well. Gene and Cyd danced beautifully together, and it takes my breath away. I totally agree with the comment about "Almost Like Being In Love." What a burst of joy with that one....it's fantastic!! OK...Yes, Brigadoon has a corny story line. Coming to life 1 day every 100 years is very silly. I think they have come to life for a total of 2 or 3 days when the movie takes place!! But, still it is a darling little village, and the dancing Gene does with Van Johnson and all the men of Brigadoon is really fun. There was a lot of work that went on to create those indoor sets. I think they had fresh Heather everyday on the set.

Gene Scene said...

Hi, Sandy! Thanks for your comments. I completely agree with your comments on both films. AA is one of my personal top five (despite Kathryn's singing, which I could do without!). Even though Brigadoon isn't in my top five, I do agree that it has its high points, all of which you mentioned.

Sandy said...

Donna, I usually fast forward through Kathryn's singing in AA, but I really like her in Thousands Cheer with the "3 Letters" song. It's so moving.... I especially like to watch Gene towards the end of the song. He has much emotion showing on his face, and his good acting skill works there for me. What do you think?? Also, I always wondered where my Mother got that "Tom, Dick, and Harry" line from....LOL!!

The Gene Scene said...

What do I think? Hmm...I think it's been so long since I watched "Thousands Cheer" that I can't seem to remember that scene! Definitely time for a re-watch...thanks!

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