Title: The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection
Silent or Talkie: Talkie
Warner Bros. is paying tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes with a staggering amount of collections aimed at showcasing the beloved crooner’s film career. Pairing Sinatra with Gene Kelly, one of the most incredible dancers of all time, The Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection is a triple-play display of smooth moves and silky sounds! By the time Gene Kelly began working with Sinatra, he was still a relatively fresh face on the screen. His first film was in 1942, though he followed that with appearances opposite Lucille Ball (in 1943’s Du Barry Was a Lady) and Rita Hayworth (in 1944’s Cover Girl). Sinatra began his film career around the same time, but his initial roles were uncredited stints as a singer in Tommy Dorsey’s band (in 1941’s Las Vegas Nights and 1942’s Ship Ahoy).
Anchors Aweigh (1945)
Directed by George Sidney, who had just finished Bathing Beauty with Esther Williams, Anchors Aweigh stars Frank Sinatra as Clarence Doolittle and Gene Kelly as Joseph Brady. Clarence and Joseph have a four-day leave after spending months at sea. They hit Hollywood, California. Joe is a ladies man and plans to spend his time in Hollywood with a girlfriend. Clarence, on the other hand, is shy and takes girl-advice from Joe. Before either one of them can think about romance, they’re involuntarily roped into helping the police find a boy named Donald Martin (Dean Stockwell), who has run away to join the navy. They find Donald and take him home to his aunt, Susan Abbott (Kathryn Grayson). It doesn’t take long for Clarence to fall in love with Susan. The two men return to Susan’s house the next day and meet Bertram Kraler (Grady Sutton), a platonic friend whom Joe believes is romantically linked to Susan. Looking out for Clarence, Joe tells Bertram that Susan is a Navy “favorite” in order to scare him away from dating her. Joe soon learns that Susan wanted Bertram to introduce her to José Iturbi, a famous musician. Joe tries to cover his mistake by claiming that he and Clarence know Iturbi personally and can set up a meeting. A plot full of love twists, funny moments and a famous Gene Kelly dance routine with a mouse fill this classic! Bonus features include: Archival interview with animation legends William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Excerpt from the MGM: When the Lion Roars Documentary Series, and 3 Theatrical trailers.
On the Town (1949)
On the Town has the distinction of being the first musical feature film to be shot on location. Three sailors, Chip (Frank Sinatra), Gabey (Gene Kelly) and Ozzie (Jules Munshin), set out to court New York City’s finest ladies during a short leave. The three sailors see a poster of Ivy Smith (Vera-Ellen) on the subway, and envision her springing to life in a dance routine. As they get off the train, the three are shocked to find Ivy doing a photo shoot. Gabey is extremely taken with her and tries to make a good impression. But although he manages to take a photo with her, she hurries off before he can work his charm. Chip and Ozzie vow to help Gabey find his dream girl. They cramp into a taxi and look around town, all the while accompanied by Brunhilde Esterhazy (Betty Garrett), a flirty woman who seems bent on snagging Chip for herself. Searching high and low for Ivy, the group finds their way to the Museum of Natural History, where Ozzie meets Claire Huddeson (Ann Miller), and falls in love with her. The search for Ivy continues at various places throughout the city. Everyone decides that splitting up might prove more effective, so they agree to meet later that evening at the Empire State Building. Gabey finally locates Ivy at a dance studio and convinces her to go on a date with him. When the whole gang reunites that evening, they set out for a crazy night on the town. But the jubilant occasion comes to an abrupt end when Ivy vanishes and leaves a note behind. Gabey is heartbroken despite the futile attempts by his friends to cheer him up. With only a few hours left of their leave, the events of the whirlwind evening come to a head! Interesting trivia: When On the Town premiered at Radio City Music Hall, the longest line in the theater’s history (at that time), waited outside for tickets. Bonus features include: the theatrical trailer.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)
Directed by legendary choreographer Busby Berkeley, Take Me Out to the Ball Game stars Frank Sinatra as Dennis Ryan and Gene Kelly as Eddie O’Brien. Dennis and Eddie are players on the 1906 Wolves baseball team who spend the off-season as Vaudeville entertainers. As the off-season ends, they join their teammates in Sarasota, Florida. Eddie and Dennis spend their time recounting the days of their youth when they could chase women without having to follow a regimented schedule. A new season is on the horizon; but before they can celebrate, they’re hit with the news that the team has been left to K.C. Higgins (Esther Williams), a relative of the recently deceased owner. The guys are against the idea of a female owner until K.C. gives Eddie a highly informative batting lesson. K.C.’s training methods are harsh, and Eddie, in an attempt to soften her, sends Dennis to charm her. It doesn’t work as planned. The season opener begins with Dennis, Eddie and another teammate, Nat Goldberg (Jules Munshin), performing a clown act on the field. Joe Lorgan (Edward Arnold), is a shady character who is betting a lot of money on the Wolves. The team soon has a winning streak on the road and Lorgan’s betting is paying off handsomely. Lorgan realizes he can fix the game in his favor by switching strategies and convinces Eddie to pursue a full-time entertainment career. Eddie takes the bait and his non-stop practicing hurts his athletic performance. K.C. thinks that Eddie’s poor playing has to do with romantic feelings towards her and throws herself at him to “bring him back”. But everyone has an agenda and they soon realize that keeping it a secret is far too difficult. Eddie, K.C., Lorgan, and the rest of the characters fall into an eruption of epic proportions! Interesting trivia: Baseball is widely known as America’s pastime. But the game never really took off in England with the same ferocity, so the film’s title was changed to Everybody’s Cheering for English audiences. Bonus features include: Deleted Musical Numbers – Baby Doll and Boys and Girls Like You and Me, Notes on Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, and 3 Theatrical trailers.
Whether you choose to go with Ol’ Blue Eyes, the Chairman of the Board, Frankie Baby, or just Sinatra, there’s no denying the incredible mark that Frank left on the world. His music legacy will live forever, but the Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection is proof that his contributions to film are not to be overshadowed. These three melody-laden romps are highlighted further by Frank’s co-star, the amazing Gene Kelly. Kelly’s physical style of dance combined with Frank’s smooth demeanor makes for one wild good time!
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