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Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Anchors Aweigh" (1945)

This wartime musical has a thin hodgepodge of a plot but it boasts a smorgasbord of entertaining highlights. Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra are two sailors on shore leave for four days in Hollywood with one goal: girls, girls, girls. Kelly is the ladies' man and Sinatra the shy kid from Brooklyn who needs to be shown the romantic ropes. They meet and vie for the affections of aspiring actress Kathryn Grayson and her too-cute-for-words nephew, little Dean Stockwell who steals every scene he's in. Kelly shot to mega-stardom with this vehicle and it's easy to see why. He's charismatic, sexy, and his boundless athletic dancing is hard not to love, he draws you in like a tractor beam. By comparison, Sinatra is way overshadowed, he seems reticent, like he knows he's being outshined, but there's no denying he can still sell a handful of Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn numbers with that smooth baritone Voice. Grayson fulfills the requirements of lovely eye candy, plus she has a couple of faux operatic songs in her signature trilly coloratura style. The famous dance scene with Kelly jumping into an animated fairytale world and dueting with Jerry mouse still looks great.

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