Anchors Aweigh Reviews
Two sailors, one a womanizer lady killer and the other a shy, sheltered young man trying to break out of his shell, take Hollywood by storm while on shore leave. The experienced sailor tries to teach the naive sailor how to scoop women; but when they both fall for the same girl, things get complicated.
"I'll bring your sadness to an end."
George Sidney, director of Bye Bye Birdie, Annie Get Your Gun, Young Bess, Viva Las Vegas, Pal Joey, The Swinger, Pepe, Show Boat, and Key to the City, delivers Anchors Aweigh. The storyline for this picture is just average but the characters, songs, and script is well done. The acting is excellent and the cast includes Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Dean Stockwell, Kathryn Grayson, and Pamela Britton.
"You deserve to be lonesome. Lonesome is too good for you."
This was added to Netflix with a host of other Sinatra films not too long ago and I added them all to my wish list. This was just above average and could have been better; however, I did love watching Kelly and Sinatra play off each other and the stories told and sang by Kelly were solid. I recommend seeing this once for fans of the classics.
"I don't want to join the police. I want to join the navy."
This was the first collaboration between Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, and while it sounds like an unlikely duo, they actually work well. It's clearly shown in one of the dance numbers where the two are in sync with one another, and Frankie didn't know how to dance real well. Gene taught him, and the results are incredible. Gene also does a lot of solo dances and are pretty impressive, particularly in a dream sequence with Jerry the mouse.
I enjoyed the cast in this. Besides Kelly and Sinatra, there's Kathryn Grayson as the female lead and she can sing really well (I was the only one in the family who thought she could). Jose Iturbi is a very talented musician and several sequence show off his piano-playing talents, and these sequences are some of the best in the film.
If I enjoyed the cast, the musical talents, and the dancing choreography, then what did I not like about Anchors Aweigh? Well, for starters, it's too long. The film is two hours and 20 minutes, and the pacing is super slow, especially for a musical (which is weird cause some of the best musicals ever made, such as The Sound of Music, are much longer). Also, I was not that impressed with the songs. Aside from "The Worry Song" (the song featuring Jerry) and songs called "Susie" and "We Hate to Leave", everything else is dull, dull, dull, with the Frankie songs being the worst offenders. The redeeming part of the Frankie songs are his singing quality.
The film also has some good comedy, particularly in the "Susie" number. It was fun to see Gene Kelly playing a piano by repeatedly sitting on it.
While the pacing was slow and the majority of the songs were dull, Anchors Aweigh has a great cast, some incredible dance choreography, and some phenomenal singing talents. It's a good watch, but you'll get more out of Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain and Frank Sinatra in High Society.
An Oscar BEST PICTURE nominee (5 nominations and 1 win for George Stoll's music score), directed by versatile and prolific Hollywood journeyman George Sidney, my second film from his filmography after SCARAMOUCHE (1952, 6/10), ANCHORS AWEIGH runs approximate 140 minutes, collects an ever-high-octane Gene Kelly (it comes as a big surprise that he had earned only one Oscar nomination through his entire career, which is from this film), third-billed from the opening-credit, who however, splendidly embraces his efflorescence by spearheading as a multifaceted showman in transmitting his vigor and life-force into this otherwise average hedonism burlesque, the highlight surely is Kelly's duo dance with Disney's Jerry Mouse, a technique pioneers the animation-cum-live-action trend, and it is seamlessly dovetailed with utter originality, to which one can barely imagine how audiences could react during its premier over 70 years ago. And what's more relevant to present viewers, now we can realize from where the archetype of Jean Dujardin in THE ARTIST (2011, 8/10) comes and Kelly is much more competent.
Sinatra in his incipient thirties, willowy as ever, his character may be flat and dopey, once he sings, one just wonders how miraculous is his slender figure could hone up to a marvelous instrument and produce that voice! Almost the same can be applied for Grayson only if she could veil her obvious contempt every time being addressed as "Auntie Susan". Apart from the triad, among the supporting group is a genial Spanish conductor Josť Iturbi plays himself, his symphony of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 with a dozen of pianists is a plain grandstanding but also a virtuoso achievement beside the point. And if I haven't perused the credits, I can never suspect that the young boy is Dean Stockwell, his big screen debut, also for Pamela Britton, unfortunately she doesn't even has a name in the film and billed as the girl from Brooklyn.