Plot: What’s it about?
Clarence and Joe are sailors, who just gained a leave to explore Hollywood before they head off to the next port of call. After they tell their fellow crewmen how sad they are about having to replace the pinup girl pictures with the real McCoy, the two head off in search of romance, adventure, and whatever else comes their way. While Joe (Gene Kelly) knows his way around the ladies, Clarence (Frank Sinatra) is not so suave, so he asks Joe for his help to track down and impress a lady. After a brush with the police, the two find a little boy, Donald, wandering around all alone. Of course, they do the good thing, and return to Donald to his home, and stay with him until his relatives returned home. The guys have a fun time, playing with guns and other guy things, and then Donald’s aunt, Suzie comes home. Of course, love sparks begin to fly, but which one of these sailors will end up with the dame on his arm?
This is another Gene Kelly/ Frank Sinatra musical where they play sailors, the other being On The Town. While comparisons are bound to arise, I feel they both merit the same praise, since they’re so similar. While I usually don’t like musicals from this period, this one won me over, mainly because the footloose and fancy free attitude the characters have. This movie has romance of course, but the focus seems to be on fun, which is something I am always interested in. You’ve got to like musicals and dance numbers to like this one though, so if those turn you off, stick with whatever makes you happy. One dance number in particular from this movie raised eyebrows at the time, which is a scene where Gene Kelly dances with Jerry, the mouse from the cartoon Tom & Jerry. While the work is somewhat primitive, the overall visual impact is good, and for the time, it looks incredible. Need a fun movie with some songs you can sing along to? Then pick up this disc. Warner has issued a nice treatment, so a rental or purchase will be justified for those who like the film or musicals in general.
The main focus of the cast is on those scamps we all know, Frank “Old Blue Eyes” Sinatra and Gene Kelly, two of the finest cinematic musical performers of their time. Kelly (Singin’ In The Rain, Brigadoon) is perhaps the greatest singing and dancing actor of all time, and appears in a great number of the classics of the genre. While I don’t like his work outside of musicals, he does kick up the shoes better than anyone of his era, and that’s what he does here. Sinatra (Pal Joey, Guys and Dolls) is no slouch either, giving his fair share of blockbuster performances. Where Sinatra trails Kelly in the musical department, he leaves Gene far behind in dramatic and traditional acting. If you like the work of these two, be sure to look up On The Town, which is in a very similar vein. The film’s love interest and eye candy is Kathryn Grayson (Ziegfield Follies, The Kissing Bandits) who manages to do some decent acting while looking very nice for the camera. The supporting cast here includes Jose Iturbi as himself, Dean Stockwell (The Player, Dune), Pamela Britton (D.O.A.), Rags Ragland (Girl Crazy) and Billy Gilbert (His Girl Friday, Reach For The Sun).
Video: How does it look?
Anchors Aweigh is presented in a full frame transfer, which is the original aspect ratio. Once again, Warner has issued a wonderful visual transfer for an older film. The color scope is wide and rich, yet no errors occur. The contrast is also in top form, with high grade detail and shadow depth. The transfer shows no signs of compression errors either.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is presented via the original mono track, which provides about the best sound possible, given the mono format limitations. The songs sound good, and dialogue is clean and clear also.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains talent files and a brief featurette, which includes an interview with animation pioneers Hanna and Barbera. While I liked the idea behind this featurette, it runs only two and a half minutes, so you don’t find much out. The theatrical trailer is also here, along with bonus trailers for On The Town and Take Me Out To The Ballgame.