Tag: George Sidney

May 26, 2006 / / Film Notes

Written by Jeremy Quist

USA, 1946. 110 min. MGM. Cast: Astaire, Kelly, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Lena Horne, Esther Williams, and William Powell; Music: George & Ira Gershwin, Arthur Freed, Roger Edens, Giuseppi Verdi; Dance Director: Robert Alton; Produced by: Arthur Freed; Directed by: Vincent Minnelli, George Sidney, Charles Walters, et al.

Unless you are familiar with the elements that constituted the Follies shows, you might expect an actual plot from Ziegfeld Follies, the 1946 musical extravaganza from producer Arthur Freed. You might also assume the film to be a sequel to the blockbuster The Great Ziegfeld, winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture ten years prior. But this is not a continuation as much as a reference, and instead of a story there is simply a concept. The title refers to the elaborate theatrical revues created by Florenz Ziegfeld in 1907. These lavish productions were essentially Broadway variety shows, mixtures of sketch comedy and grand musical performances. Around the early 1930s, the popularity of the Follies died when Ziegfeld himself did. How appropriate that the film should begin in heaven.

May 26, 2006 / / Film Notes

USA, 1945. 142 min. MGM. Cast: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Dean Stockwell; Music: George E. Stoll and Jule Styne; Choreography: Gene Kelly; Produced by: Joe Pasternak; Written by: Natalie Marcin and Isobel Lennart; Directed by: George Sidney

There is an old Hollywood story that goes something like this: only three years and six movies into his acting career, Gene Kelly had a novel idea for his next film, 1945’s Anchors Aweigh. He wanted to dance with an animated character and his first choice, unsurprisingly, was Mickey Mouse. Kelly and his assistant Stanely Donen brought it before Walt Disney. Walt was impressed and encouraging, but Mickey Mouse would never work in an MGM film.