Cover Girl (1944): In Memory of Gene Kelly

***A quick note before the start of my post: I actually started writing this a few days ago but didn’t get a chance to finish it. When I got online today, I discovered that it is the 16th anniversary of the death of legendary actor and dancer Gene Kelly, one of the subjects of this post. The timing is totally coincidental since I didn’t realize this day was coming up, but I just wanted to say a quick word to acknowledge the date, which I know is a very sad one for many of his fans, and dedicate this post to his memory.***

Gene Kelly in Cover Girl (1944)

Do you love Gene Kelly? I do! But it had been so long since I’d watched one of his movies that I had forgotten just how much I loved him and his dancing. When I watched a YouTube video of one of his dance numbers from the movie Cover Girl (1944), it reminded me that I really needed to get back into watching his movies. Since I thought the aforementioned dance routine, commonly referred to as his “Alter Ego” number, looked amazing and I had yet to see Cover Girl, I decided to watch it earlier this week.

On a side note, I found that video in a series of blog posts put together by Kelli, one of the contributors to a site devoted to Gene Kelly called Gene Kelly Fans. I’d encourage you to visit that site to learn more about him and also to read her six part series highlighting an interview she did for a documentary called “Dancing in the Rain: Gene Kelly” which celebrates Gene’s life and career. If you love Gene Kelly, you will really enjoy them. If you are not yet a fan, I think there is a good chance you will be after you get to know him better. :-)

I would also recommend watching the movie Cover Girl, which I loved, even if you are not necessarily a fan of musicals. It’s not my favorite type of movie to watch, but I do enjoy them on occasion and this was one of my favorites. It contains some enjoyable musical numbers featuring the music of Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin and their Academy Award nominated song “Long Ago (and Far Away),” great choreography by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, and wonderful chemistry between the three leads Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth, and Phil Silvers. There were also two other visual elements that really stood out to me.

Gowns Designed by Travis Banton

First were the gowns designed by Travis Banton, a costume designer I first discovered when I saw his designs in the movie, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945), which I reviewed last year. I gave some biographical information in that post if you would like to learn more about Travis, the designer that Edith Head credits with being a big influence on her career. I’m not really a huge fan of TechniColor, however, I didn’t mind it in this movie as it allowed for the beautiful colors of his designs to be on full display. I love the gown that Rita Hayworth is wearing in this picture.

 

Real Life Magazine Cover Girls

The other thing I loved was a number set to the movie’s title song, which featured real life cover girls participating in a fashion show with their images then appearing on the cover of various magazines. While I enjoyed viewing the model’s fashions, the main reason I enjoyed it was because of the pictures of the magazines themselves.

Somewhere along the line I developed a keen interest in the history of magazines; when they were created, how they’ve evolved over the years, and if they are still in print today. I wrote down the titles of all the magazines, and now I have a fun research project for the future. :-) Some of the magazines they showed were Cosmopolitan, McCall’s, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Woman’s Home Companion, The American Home, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Redbook, Farm Journal, and Look.

Are you a fan of Gene Kelly? What is your favorite Gene Kelly movie and/or dance number?

 

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7 Responses
  1. Thanks for the mention. Always glad to meet other GK fans. :)

  2. Ginny says:

    You’re welcome! I’m always happy to share great new sites with my readers. :-)

  3. John says:

    Gene Kelly was wonderful in Cover Girl. I enjoy his dancing very much. But what sometimes gets overlooked is his unique singing voice. It is special and seems to give heart to many songs.

    Gene Kelly was great in all the musicals. However I enjoyed him very much in the classic Inherit The Wind. The interaction between Kelly and screen giant Spencer Tracy is unforgettable.

  4. John says:

    I would like to recommend another fine Gene Kelly performance where he doesn’t dance. It is from 1943 called The Cross Of Lorraine. It is basically about French prisoners during WW2 and the brutality they suffer under the Germans. This dramatic performance by Gene Kelly got him recognized. Kelly also considers this one of his best performances.

  5. John says:

    Gene Kelly teamed with Judy Garland in his first film called For Me And My Gal and learned a lot from her.

    Kelly quoted, “It was Judy who pulled me through. She was very kind and helpful, and more helpful then she ever realized because I watched her to find out what I had to do. Judy was only twenty but had been in pictures six years. I was amazed at her skill: she knew every mark and every move. All I could do for her then was help her with the dancing. She wasn’t a dancer but could pick up a step instantly and as a singer she was incredible-she had to only hear a melody once and it was locked in her mind. I learned a great deal about making movies doing this first one, and much of it was do to Judy Garland.”
    Credit goes to Tony Thomas and The Films Of Gene Kelly book for this GK quote.

  6. john says:

    When Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth do the song Long Ago And Far Away from the musical movie Cover Girl, it is just movie magic. Chills definitely run up and down your spine if you have any feeling at all.

    Those musicals of the 30s, 40s, and 50s were very special. It is a time and place in America we can never go back to and that is quite sad. Thank God we have these films to fill our souls. Gene Kelly was a special dancer and actor. I miss him very much.

  7. [...] is evidenced in her dance with Gene Kelly to the song “Long Ago (and Far Away) in the movie Cover Girl and in her dances with Fred Astaire in the movie You Were Never [...]

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