US, 1945, 139 minutes, Colour.
Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson, Jose Iturbi, Sharon Mc Manus, Carlos Ramirez, Dean Stockwell, Pamela Britton.
Directed by George Sidney.
Anchors Aweigh was a very popular musical of the war years. Produced at M.G.M. at the beginning of its spectacular period for musicals, and directed by George Sidney who was to direct such films as The Harvey Girls and Annie Get Your Gun. the film really introduced to the screen in a big way, its main stars. Frank Sinatra had achieved fame as a crooner and Gene Kelly was emerging as a dancer and as a choreographer. They match very well in this film and were to appear together in Take Me Out To The Ball Game, and in the musical classic On The Town. Kathryn Grayson was also emerging as a popular singing star whose range included opera and popular songs. There is a brightness about the film, especially in its morale-boosting atmosphere during the war. A highlight is a song and dance routine with Gene Kelly and Jerry the Mouse, a good example of humorous animation. Dated by still very enjoyable.
1. The status of this musical as an M.G.M. classic of the '40s? Its appeal, impact, qualities? Impact in the '40s. wartime, now?
2. The impact of the large scale M.G.M. musicals of the time: the presentation of the songs, choreography, colour, stars, sets and costumes, fantasies? A never never world ? of warmth and comedy and sentiment?
3. The impact of the stars at the beginning of their careers? Frank Sinatra and his personality., comic style., singing? In combination with Gene Kelly and his singing and choreography? Kathryn Grayson and her singing? A pleasing combination?
4. Jose Iturbi and his presence as himself. at the beginning with the orchestration, conducting, the particular pieces that he played, the variations, skill,, gimmicks? His importance at M.G.M. studios, for the plot and Suzy's success? The fantasy features of the film and Gene Kelly's choreography as the Zorro type of character. his dancing with Jerry the Mouse?
5. World War Two and its background, morale-boosting? The presentation of the Navy, the title song and the way it was sung at beginning and end? Bravery, decorations? The presentation of sailors and patriotism? The subplot with Donald and his admiration for the Navy and wanting to join? How does this seem now, why?
6. The stereotyped presentation of sailors? On leave? Fraternity, yarns told? Joe's reputation as a wolf and Clarence trying to learn? Attitudes towards the girls in every port? The phone line-up and the listening in, the songs about dating girls etc.?
7. Joe and Clarence as a combination? The particular styles of the two actors ice as the leading man. Clarence and his shyness? The bond because of the saving of life. Joe's responsibility? Clarence and his following Joe and wanting to learn from him? Their songs together? Joe's talk, looking after Clarence., putting words into his mouth? Clarence and his inability to communicate, his real feelings but his shyness? Joe's perennial quest of Lola?
8. The sentiment and humour in the subplot of Donald, the police and his not giving them the information, Joe getting it immediately? Clarence singing him the lullaby, the school sequence and ice telling the story and the fantasy with Jerry the Mouse?
9. Aunt Suzy and her looking after Donald, her work as an extra, her hopes, her songs in the restaurant, in the fantasy? Her admiration for Clarence, falling in love with Joe? The Mexican fantasy with ice? The encounter with Jose Iturbi, the talk with him, the singing and the emphasis on the screen test as a chance for Kathryn Grayson to sing yet another song? The happy ending?
10. Joe and his clash with Suzy, his continued talking, trying to argue his way out of things, when did he realise the change?
11. Clarence and the bond with Brooklyn? Clarence as the not so bright but genial sailor? The butt of jokes? The comedy routines with Brooklyn? The happy ending?
12. Dream fulfilment, success? Appropriate for this kind of musical at this time?
13. The musical qualities, fantasy, singing and dancing? Hollywood, dreamland? Expectations of this kind of film and its fulfilment?