Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

When it comes to classic movies, and musicals in particular, a few names come to mind. The likes of Judy Garland stand out for the females and Gene Kelly for the men. During the Arthur Freed days at MGM, the musicals were the ones that raked in the cash and awards. Almost from the time that movies started to "talk", they were doing musicals. An early Best Picture winner was Broadway Melody which found new life as a dance segment in the now classic Singin’ in the Rain and Gene Kelly brought that to life! The early musicals are something that lasted from the 40’s to the late 60’s (almost "ending" with Kelly’s own Hello! Dolly), but its an era that made Hollywood. Though the films ranged in tastes and quality from The Wizard of Oz to The Sound of Music, each had its own appeal and it’s the performers that made it work. Gene Kelly is one such performer…

Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer is a documentary, so there’s really no plot involved. Like most, it follows his early days as a child and then as an aspiring actor. Through a series of interviews, we learn that he was a perfectionist and a very hard worker, that can be evidenced in his work. The program follows his progress as an up and comer to some of his earlier work with Frank Sinatra (On the Town and Anchors Aweigh) and the woes of teaching "’Ol Blue Eyes" how to dance! Though a lot of this same material is covered in the recent Singin’ in the Rain DVD, there is a lot of new information here. We see of his teaming with Judy Garland and even Jerry (of "Tom and Jerry") the mouse. Odds are that there won’t be many more like Gene Kelly, combining the good looks, athleticism and raw talent; but if there are more to come, they need but look to him to see how the game is played.

Video: How does it look?

The DVD is composed of interviews and footage from older movies or interviews, so it’s really hard to determine a "defacto" rating for how this looks on disc. Still, the scenes do seem a bit dated, but they look as good as can be seen on DVD. The edges are crisp and even some of the very early footage (from rehearsals and such) look very good. The newer material obviously looks better, but on the whole its nothing to complain about and not that we should, this is something that you watch because you want to; not to judge the video quality.

Audio: How does it sound?

As can be expected, the audio here is a basic Dolby Surround mix. We can expect a movie to be re-mixed with Dolby Digital 5.1, but this is more of a compilation of interviews and old film footage. Dialogue is very clear, and only some suffers from the ravages of time. There’s not a lot else to say here, you can hear the words and they make sense, that’s about all you need.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Some additional interviews are included, but nothing else. If you got this as part of the "Gene Kelly Collection" then you got your money’s worth, otherwise I’d only recommend this single disc for die hard fans of Mr. Kelly.

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