Five Gene Kelly Classics @ TIFF, Toronto [from 25 March to 22 April]

Five Gene Kelly Classics

- 22
13:00 - 14:00

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350 King Street W., Toronto, Ontario M5V3X5
«If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I'm the Marlon Brando.» — Gene Kelly

Timeless, effortless, elegant, the creative genius (dancer, actor, singer, film director, producer, and choreographer) gets a five-film tribute this Spring, every Sunday afternoon:

Singin' in the Rain on 35mm 🎞️📽️
Sun, Mar 25 1pm
(directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly!)
One of the most famous and beloved musicals of all time, Singin' in the Rain is set in a 1920s Hollywood on the cusp of the sound era, where a swashbuckling matinee idol (Gene Kelly) falls in love with a bright-eyed newcomer (Debbie Reynolds) while trying to duck his jealous, narcissistic onscreen romantic partner (Jean Hagen), whose parrot-squawk of a voice makes her distinctly unsuited for the new talking pictures.

An American in Paris on 35mm 🎞️📽️
Sun, Apr 1 1pm
Vincente Minnelli's enduring musical classic stars Gene Kelly as a former G.I. trying to make a living as a painter in the City of Lights. Chafing under the attention of the lonely society doyenne (Nina Foch) who has become his patron, the hapless artist falls instead for a young Frenchwoman (Leslie Caron), who is reluctantly engaged to the old family friend who protected her during the war. With a rich score of classic numbers by George and Ira Gershwin, including «I Got Rhythm» and «S'Wonderful,» this lavish romp culminates in a groundbreaking, 16-minute-long ballet (mounted at the then astronomical cost of half a million dollars).

The Young Girls of Rochefort
Fri, Apr 6 6:30pm
Shot in the eponymous seaside town, which was transfigured by Demy into a white-and-pastel dream world, The Young Girls of Rochefort stars Catherine Deneuve and her real-life sister Françoise Dorléac as musically inclined twin sisters Delphine and Solange. Demy's exuberant tribute to Hollywood musicals fills the widescreen frame with sisters in matching Boeing-sized bonnets, lovesick sailors in butt-hugging bell-bottoms, songs both gay and grisly (one about an axe murder), and Gene Kelly suavely embodying an American in Rochefort (he supplied his own wonderful choreography).

On the Town on 35mm 🎞️📽️
Sun Apr 8 1pm
(directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly!)
Gene Kelly and his choreographic collaborator Stanley Donen took the directorial reins for the first time for this classic musical, which became instantly famous as the first Hollywood film to shoot musical numbers on location. That milestone arrives in the film's opening moments, as sailors Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin tumble off their ship in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and take in the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Liberty Island, Washington Square, and the top of the Rockefeller Center while tunefully saluting this «wonderful town.»

Cover Girl: the Movie
Sun Apr 15 1pm
Gene Kelly takes second billing here to Rita Hayworth as the «cover girl» of the title, an NYC dancer who becomes an overnight sensation when she winds up on the front of a slick uptown magazine; Kelly plays her nightclub-owner boyfriend, who at first resents her rise to stardom and then resolves to renounce his love so as not to stand in her way. Graced by a Jerome Kern-Ira Gershwin score — including the lovely «Long Ago (and Far Away)» — Cover Girl also features the first of Kelly's great «fantasy» dance numbers, the «Alter-Ego» sequence in which he duets with his own phantasmal double.

Les Girls
Sun Apr 22 12pm
The last of Gene Kelly's '50s musicals and perhaps the least-known, Les Girls nevertheless deserves a prideful place in the pantheon of great Hollywood musicals. Derived from a novel by Laura author Vera Caspary, directed by the great George Cukor and featuring songs by Cole Porter, the film takes place in Rashomon-style flashback, as a London libel trial leads to a recounting of the tangled professional (and romantic) history of a dance troupe comprised of brash Barry Nichols (Kelly) and the multinational «girls» of the title.
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