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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Star of the month... Gene Kelly

"I took it as it came and it happened to be very nice" - Gene Kelly

See Gene Kelly dance up a storm as our Star of the Month throughout August 2012 - coinciding with the centenary of his birth...

One of Hollywood's most original and versatile film stars, Gene Kelly was a dancer, actor, singer, acrobat, stuntman, film director, innovator, producer and choreographer - there was nothing which he did not do.

His talent and enthusiasm for dance literally leaps off the screen, while dazzling audiences with his athletic grace and style. 

Born Eugene Curran Kelly on 23 August 1912 in Pittsburgh. When Gene was 8 years old, his mother enrolled him into dance classes, which he initially hated. After finishing high school, he planned to study journalism at college, but was forced to defer his study due to the stock market crash of 1929. To make additional money for his family, Kelly and his brother Fred danced in local talent contests and local nightclubs.  In 1931, Kelly studied economics at the University of Pittsburgh, where he became involved in musical productions. After appearing in small roles in a number of Broadway shows throughout the late 1930's, he was given a leading role in 'Pal Joey' in 1940.

After appearing in 'Pal Joey', Kelly appeared in the MGM film 'For Me and My Gal' (1942) with the intention of returning to Broadway. The film made him a star, and Judy Garland was the first of his many glamourous leading ladies. Due to the success of the film, he stayed in Hollywood. After appearing in some b-grade war films, he was first given the opportunity to try some of his own ideas in the film 'Cover Girl' (1944), with the dazzling Rita Hayworth. 

Gene joined the navy during World War II. During his services, he directed war documentaries which helped him develop filmmaking skills he would use brilliantly upon his post-war return to Hollywood.

Gene went on to become one of MGM's biggest musical stars in a very prolific movie career spanning almost 50 years.  With his superb dancing and innovative choreography, Gene received universal recognition as a first class dancer.

In the late 1950s Gene hung up his dancing shoes to focus on choregraphy and film directing.

In 1952 Kelly was presented with an honorary Academy Award for his achievement in film. He was presented with Lifetime Acheivement Awards by the Kennedy Centre, American Film Institute and Screen Actors Guild. 

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Gene Kelly as the 15th Greatest Male Star of all time.

Gene Kelly died on 2 February 1996 from complications after two strokes.

In the centenary month of his birth, fliXposed is delighted to present the films of Gene Kelly in a series of blog posts throughout August.

Featured films

Early career

  • For Me and My Gal (1942)
  • DuBarry was a Lady (1943)
  • Pilot #5 (1943)
  • Thousands Cheer (1943)
  • Cross of Lorraine (1943)
  • Cover Girl (1944)
  • Christmas Holiday (1944)

Gene Kelly with Frank Sinatra
  • Anchors Aweigh (1945)
  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949)
  • On the Town (1949)

The Essentials

  • The Pirate (1948)
  • The Three Musketeers (1948)
  • Summer Stock (1950)
  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • Brigadoon (1954)
  • Les Girls (1957)
  • Xanadu (1980)

Guest appearances

  • Ziegfeld Follies (1945)
  • Words and Music (1948)
  • Deep in my Heart (1954)
  • Let's Make Love (1960)
  • The Muppet Show (1981 - TV SERIES)

Gene Kelly rarities

  • Living in a Big Way (1947)
  • Black Hand (1950)
  • It's a Big Country (1951)

Directed by Gene Kelly

  • Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • It's Always Fair Weather (1955)
  • Invitation to the Dance (1956)
  • Hello Dolly (1969)

Musical documentaries

  • MGMs 25th Anniversary (1949)
  • That's Entertainment (1974)
  • MGM's 50th Anniversary (1974)
  • Just One More Time (1974)
  • The Lion Roars Again (1975)
  • That's Entertainment Part II (1976)
  • An Evening with Gene Kelly (1977)
  • That's Dancing (1985)
  • MGM: When The Lion Roars (1952 - TV SERIES)
  • That's Entertainment Part III (1994)
  • Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer

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