Friday, May 6, 2011

Now That It's May, It's Time for Some 'Fair Weather'

“It’s Always Fair Weather”
(Warner Home Video)
Grade: A

By Steven Rosen

Cincinnati CityBeat

Any short list of the greatest movie musicals should include this inexcusably overlooked 1955 MGM masterpiece from co-directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green, a sequel of sorts to “On the Town” and “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Way ahead of its time, it’s a biting, surprisingly pessimistic satire on 1950s-era consumer culture – television, advertising, fixed boxing – and middle-aged angst, punctuated by some of the greatest dance numbers ever choreographed.

Kelly, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd dance with trash-can lids on their feet, Kelly has an astonishingly graceful yet athletic number on roller skates as he sings “I Like Myself,” Cyd Charisse goes at it with beefy boxers on “Baby You Knock Me Out,” and the wonderful Dolores Gray has two numbers as a preening TV host.

DVD extras include a Kelly/Charisse dance number (with just partial audio) cut from the film as well as a short documentary about “Fair Weather’s” history. (It’s sold separately, or part of an MGM “Classic Musicals” box that also has “Till the Clouds Roll By,” “Ziegfeld Follies,” “Three Little Words” and “Summer Stock.”)

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