Mar 6, 2007


Whether he's splashing in puddles or swooning over subway posters (will he ever find you, Miss Turnstiles?!), practicing plies or parlez-ing francais in the streets of Paris, Gene Kelly is a genius.

Oh. Did I mention he was devastatingly handsome, too?

Yes, Turner Classic Movies has done it again with an entire 31 days devoted to divine dancer, singer, actor, director, and choreographer Gene Kelly, a man with incredible vision who infused his film legacy with seemingly-unattainable perfection in nearly every facet of his most popular films. Gifted in many areas of acting and ruthless in his pursuit of excellence, Kelly often commandeered many aspects of film-making in his two most impressive decades at MGM, the 1940s and '50s: from casting for his leading ladies (he launched the careers of relative unknowns Leslie Caron and Debbie Reynolds in roles opposite him, in 1951 and 1952, respectively) to rewriting the scripts he was given, Kelly clambered over the heads of studio execs to leave his indelible mark on Hollywood. Bruised egos aside, I do believe Tinseltown is all the better for his aspirations.

So here's to you, Gene-o - fifty-five years and we're still dancing, and singin, in the rain.

Don't forget to tune in Monday nights for fabulous Kelly fare - everything from barely-known dramas like Black Hand and glorious Techincolors like Cover Girl to unprecedented classics like Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris. Are you a new fan of Gene's? I highly recommend the above-mentioned four films, along with 1945's Anchors Aweigh, 1949's Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and 1950's Summer Stock. You'll be in love in no time at all!

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Paging Ms. Turner

Identify this box-office beauty from the portrait below, taken during her earliest years in Hollywood:

Update, 3/6: Resourceful poster Kathleen correctly recognized this brunette as silver-screen sweetheart Lana Turner!

Congratulations, Kathleen, and thanks for stopping by!

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Today's Your Day To Be A Rip-Off

Call me what you will, but classic movies are something I hold very dear - it's a little extreme, perhaps, but they truly are very important to me, and my interest in them has allowed me to meet people and travel to places that otherwise, wouldn't have held the significance that movies give them. So when I see my beloved actors and stories used for mere advertising these days - especially when the product being advertised really has no correlation to movies whatsoever - I must admit, I am perhaps more disgusted than your average consumer.

Case in point: The new JC Penney commercials. They depict contemporary actors re-enacting the greatest scenes from classic film as part of their 2007 "Today's Your Day To Be A Star" campaign. I actually thought my head was going to implode from the sheer force of so many of my favorite movies in the span of about thirty seconds: Holly Golightly, Mary Poppins, that unforgettable scene on the lamppost - they're all there, set to a delicious song from 1973's Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. If you haven't seen it, check out the video below:

I know, I know, it's a cute and respectable commercial, but it still feels like sacrilege to me...And besides, has anyone ever shopped for clothes at JCPenney? Come on!

Discussion Junction: Do you consider using iconic scenes, images or sounds to advertise products in the current day and age to be an homage or an affront to those scenes and images? Do you feel that enough people, particularly those at whom such marketing is aimed, will recognize and appreciate these images in 2007? Post your answers below.