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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Gene Kelly Tribute at Lincoln Center

The Film Society at Lincoln Center is in the midst of a Gene Kelly tribute. And although they’re more than half way through the scheduled lineup there’s still time to catch a fan favorite or two - even in the same day. So, take sometime and check out the remaining shows. If you’re clever you can create your own double feature! The Society has a special offer where you can see any two films in the series and save with their exclusive Double Feature Package!

You really don’t want to miss out on this opportunity for a classic film experience. After all, when Kelly’s dancing on the big screen, it’s really like nothing else. He was, and remains the very embodiment of the word “performer”. Not only was he one of the greatest screen dancers of all time, but he was also a darn good actor who earned an Academy Award nomination in 1945 for Anchors Away (he lost to Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend). And of course he directed several films (Hello, Dolly!), and choreographed many more (nearly all of his films). It is not too bold to say that Kelly revolutionized the look of dance on film and was responsible for some of the most beloved Hollywood musicals of all time.

So, in honor of what would have been Kelly’s 100th birthday the Film Society put together a unique 23-film salute. One that demonstrates the showman’s incredible talents both in front of and behind the lens. Including some rarely screened gems which highlight his work as a director and dramatic actor. The following lists what’s left to be seen, and every single one is a real treat!

Monday, July 23 at 6:00 pm Kelly plays an older playwright to Natalie Wood’s ingénue in Marjorie Morningstar. She is an aspiring actress coming of age on the Upper West Side who falls in and out of love with her older mentor. Also on Monday, July 23 at 8:30 pm is What a Way to Go! It’s a delightful comedy which features Kelly as one of many men Shirley MacLaine keeps marrying poor, but end up dying rich. The film also co-stars Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Dean Martin and Dick Van Dyke. This film is pure fluff and guaranteed to start your week off right. Then on Tuesday, July 24 at 3:30 pm the Society is presenting Vincente Minnelli’s romantic fantasy musical, Brigadoon. This one is choreographed by Kelly who is re-teamed with Singin’ in the Rain’s dream sequence gal, Cyd Charrise. There’s no double feature on Tuesday, but trust me - Brigadoon is a lot of Kelly to take in for one day.

Come Wednesday, July 25 you have the chance to see a whole lot of Kelly. The popular musical, Anchors Aweigh starts at 3:15 pm, followed by two of Kelly’s directing efforts: the drama Gigot at 6:15 pm, and the wonderfully sly and silly farce, A Guide for the Married Man at 8:30 pm. In the last film of the day Robert Morse gives neurotic co-worker Walter Matthau pointers on the delicate art of infidelity in this all-star ‘60s romp featuring cameos by Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Sid Caesar, Jayne Mansfield and so many more. Finally, Thursday, July 26 provides fans fans with two dramatic roles performed by Kelly later in his career. Kelly plays the reporter in Inherit the Wind at 6:00 pm. Directed by Stanley Kramer the film co-stars Spencer Tracy and Fredric March. Later, at 8:30 pm Kelly co-stars with real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac in The Young Girls of Rochefort.

As you can see, there’s still a lot from which to chose in this special Gene Kelly tribute. Likely more than you could have imagined. And some of these films are not available on DVD, so don’t wait to see them some other time. Get out there and see them now and on the big screen. When it comes to dancing or acting there’s just no other way to properly see Kelly in action. Trust me - you’ll be glad you made the effort, and you’ll come away with a memorable movie going experience. Of course when it comes to Gene Kelly I wouldn’t expect anything less.

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