IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER

(1955, Dir. Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen)

Warner Archive Blu-ray $21.99
101 min. / Technicolor / 2.55:1 / Subtitles

Three brave soldiers, comrades and friends true, return from Europe, 1945, and vow to reunite in ten years in the same New York bar as good a friends as ever. Ten years later, Dan Dailey has given up his dreams of going to Europe and painting to draw cartoons for TV commercials; Michael Kidd owns a hamburger joint in upstate New York; Gene Kelly is a two-bit boxing promoter; and none of them can stand the other. And this is what MGM decided to bill as "A Gigantic and Joyous Musical!"

What I liked about it:

- "Baby, You Knock Me Out" with Cyd Charisse and a gym full o' mugs dancin' and singin'.
- Gene Kelly dancing on roller skates.
- Kelly, Dailey, and Kidd dancing with garbage can lids on their left feet.
- Delores Gray, hilarious as the self-centered TV "personality" who is easily recognizable as a parody of a LOT of 1950s female TV personalities.
- A funny song written to the tune of the Blue Danube Waltz; Allan Sherman would be proud.

That's what I liked about the film. That, and the fact that at 101 min. it moves quickly. Other than that, I have to admit, I was disappointed that it wasn't more like the MGM musicals I like. I well appreciate that it was an attempt to do something different, but it was conceived as a sequel to On The Town, one of the most joyous musicals I've ever seen, and the joy in this one is just too sparse. Maybe I'll appreciate it more as the years go by. Maybe.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Miss Charisse, after Kelly hits on her and she surprises him with a giant wet smooch: "Remove the initiative of the rude male and he'll retire in confusion. Now, while you're retiring in confusion, I'll do a little work."

Beautiful Blu-ray by the way, with a 16-min. documentary on the making of the film (Donen and Kelly, co-directors, fought every minute and rarely spoke again; Kelly had Michael Kidd's big scene cut out, and tried to get Dailey's solo cut, too), a couple of beautiful HD cartoons, one in Cinemascope, deleted scenes and outtakes, and a beautiful, beautiful remastered transfer in 5.1 sound. I guess it's bound to be a disappointment after An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain, but it's not without its grand pleasures and the bonus material adds an awful lot to the value of the BD.