...I was traveling last week and unable to post a detailed tribute on the centennial of Gene Kelly's birth, but I'd like to at least briefly express my great appreciation not simply for his work, but for his role in helping to launch me on a lifelong love affair with the movies. I believe the first classic film I saw on a big screen was SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952), which our family saw at the Mayfair Theatre when I was 9 or 10. A double bill of ON THE TOWN (1949) and SUMMER STOCK (1950) was another very early big screen experience; the movies made such an impact on me that it scarcely mattered they were shown on little more than a sheet, with the machine guns of a James Cagney film next door bleeding through the thin walls. Love for Kelly and his films was passed on to the next generation; my oldest daughter wrote a report on his life and films back in elementary school.
...IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER (1955) was another Kelly film I saw on a big screen at an early age, so I especially enjoyed reading Jacqueline's take on it at Another Old Movie Blog.
...There are lots more terrific Kelly posts which were part of the Gene Kelly Centennial Blogathon, and at the NY Post Lou Lumenick discusses Kelly's early years at MGM. Over at Out of the Past, Raquelle describes her experience seeing SINGIN' IN THE RAIN on a big screen last week.
...Here's an interesting new book for musical theater fans: LOVERLY: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MY FAIR LADY by Dominic McHugh. It's described as "a completely new, behind-the-scenes look at the five-year creation of the show" which continues the show's history up to the present day.
...There are always interesting things going on over at 50 Westerns from the 50s: Toby's been chatting with former child actor Jimmy Hunt about his work with Joel McCrea and also hosting a discussion of relatively obscure Westerns we'd like to see on DVD.
...At Journeys in Classic Film Kristen discusses PINOCCHIO (1940). I've always had trouble warming up to this early Disney film, as it's exceptionally dark, but it does have its wonderful aspects including, of course, "When You Wish Upon a Star."
...Glenn Erickson has reviewed Warner Archive's Forbidden Hollywood Volume 4 collection at DVD Savant.
...I really enjoyed seeing SLAUGHTER ON TENTH AVENUE (1957) at the Noir City Festival in Hollywood last spring. I was glad to hear this film has also just been shown at Noir City Chicago, where it was reviewed by Marilyn Ferdinand at Ferdy on Films.
...Yesterday was Tyrone Power Day in TCM's Summer Under the Stars festival. Power's 1940 gangster film JOHNNY APOLLO (1940) received detailed reviews from both Cliff at Immortal Ephemera and Kristina at Speakeasy.
...Kay pays tribute to another of TCM's Summer Under the Stars honorees, Irene Dunne, at Movie Star Makeover. She's got lots of great photos!
...As we head toward Labor Day weekend and prepare to say farewell to summer, here are some great photos of movie stars enjoying summer fun, posted by Page earlier this month at My Love of Old Hollywood.
...Here's another fun round of brief reviews by John at Greenbriar Picture Shows.
Directed by Billy Wilder, featuring the double bill of FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO (1943) with Franchot Tone and Anne Baxter paired with A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948) starring Jean Arthur, John Lund, and Marlene Dietrich. The box art is not yet finalized. (Update: The cover at the right is now the final version.)
...Great news for Dodgers fans: Vin Scully will return to the broadcast booth next year!
...Notable Passings: Muppeteer Jerry Nelson, otherwise known as Count Von Count, has passed on at the age of 78...Charles Huggins, the longtime head of See's Candy, has passed on at the age of 87. Years ago I wrote to protest when my favorite candy, Dark Patties, was discontinued, and -- similar to an anecdote in this obituary -- Huggins later wrote me back with the good news the candy was coming back and included a gift certificate...Somehow it was a shock to hear that Neil Armstrong, one of the heroes of my childhood, had died at the age of 82. I was touched by his family's statement and also the words of his colleague, Buzz Aldrin.
Have a great week!