Gene Kelly Course: Handout on Anchors Aweigh (1945)

Gene Kelly Course: Handout on Anchors Aweigh (1945)

I’m now halfway through teaching my course at Facets Film School on Gene Kelly and the evolution of cine-dance.

So far, we’ve covered the definition of cine-dance as well as a brief history of the concept via works from Busby Berkeley (Dames), Fred Astaire (Top Hat‘s “Cheek to Cheek”), and of course, Gene Kelly. We have also screened most of Anchors Aweigh (1945; at 140 minutes, it’s SO LONG) and all of The Pirate (1948) and On the Town (1949). Next week is An American in Paris (1951).

Specific numbers the students and I have looked at in depth are

  • Anchors Aweigh‘s “The Worry Song” (the one with Jerry, the mouse),
  • The Pirate‘s ballet fantasy (which actually features little cine-dance comparatively), and
  • On the Town‘s joyous if not horny opening sequence, “New York, New York.”

Via these (and other) numbers, we talked about the melding of camerawork and body movements, and with On the Town we discussed the unusually fast editing, a result of the five-day on-location shooting which was limited to roughly three days because of poor weather.

Each week, I create handouts tailored to each film consisting of an outline, questions to consider as we watch, and quotes by Kelly, others working on his films, and/or his biographers. For those who’ve inquired about the course and those who wanted to attend but couldn’t, I’ve embedded the handout for our lecture on Anchors Aweigh. I’ll try to post the others when I have a chance. Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!