Where Music & Dance Fall Face First Into The Internet

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Living In A Big Way (1947)

After looking at IMDB, I notice Living In A Big Way might be the last Gene Kelly movie I'll ever see for the first time. Honestly that makes me a little sad, because there's nothing like seeing a Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire movie for the first time. I was expecting this to be a bad movie from what I read online, but I enjoyed it for the most part. It was far from perfect, but I would suggest watching it. It's about a soldier who gets married just before being shipped off to WW2. When he returns he finds that his wife has become rich, well known, spoiled & doesn't want anything to do with a marriage that never really got started. So to start off the movie is about Gene trying to win her love back, and later it becomes about Marie McDonald (plays Gene's wife) trying to win his love back after he gives up on her spoiled rich ass. Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You" could have worked so well on this soundtrack. :p

First I'll hit the negatives. This movie was Gene's final black & white film, and it's one that really needed to be in color. It was 1947, and the decision to save money by going black & white was just stupid. Not only was it in black & white, but I felt that the whole movie was lit by candle light. I kept thinking over & over again, "Why is everything so dark?"

My other complaint is the musical numbers. The first routine was a bit uninspired, but Gene did have 2 fun & creative routines later on. My complaint about the musical numbers isn't really the quality of the routines, but just that they didn't seem to belong. I enjoyed the chemistry between Gene & Marie, and thought this movie could have stood on it's own as a romantic comedy. At one point you have Gene, who is apparently really depressed after a fight with Marie, who does a 180 into a cheerful & upbeat song & dance medley of children's games. The routine was pretty cool, but the whiplash the viewer gets at the sudden change kinda sucks.

Ok...now the positives. As I mentioned there were some good routines in the film. I couldn't find "Fido And Me" on YouTube, but it was my favorite. It involves Gene dancing with a dog & a statue. I did find the medley routine on YouTube, and it's something you've probably seen if you've watched any bio of Gene. Toward the end of the rather long number Gene pulls off some fairly athletic tricks.

The other positive I want to mention is the supporting cast. Clinton Sundberg does an amazing job as the smart alec butler, and Jean Adair is endearing as the sly grandmother of Marie who takes a liking to Gene. Throw in veteran character actors like Spring Byington & Charles Winninger as Marie's parents, and there's not much to complain about as far as performance. IMDB says Barbara Billingsley & Shelley Winters make uncredited appearances in this film, but I didn't notice them.

Traditional Children's Song Medley
If this embed stops working, here's a link to the second half of this routine.

It Had To Be You
This number really wasn't all that memorable, but it's the only other number from the film I could find on YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment