This past week I watched MGM's 1945 classic Anchors Aweigh featuring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson. I know I saw this one a long, long time ago, but I had only a dim recollection of not liking it for some reason. This seemed unlikely, since I like Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, and many World War II musicals are among my favorites. So it seemed appropriate to give this another try. I still didn't like it.
Joe (Kelly) and Clarence (Sinatra) are two sailors on a 4 day leave. They are coerced into helping little Dean Stockwell return home after he runs away to join the Navy. They meet his beautiful Aunt Susie, an aspiring singer, played by Kathryn Grayson, and Clarence falls for her. Joe tells her they will get her an audition with Jose Iturbi so she will go out with Clarence. They then try to meet Iturbi and set up an audition. In the meantime, Joe and Susie fall for each other and Clarence realizes he's better suited to a sassy waitress from Brooklyn. By chance Susie meets Iturbi, who does give her an audition everything works out in the end.
This two and a half hour musical doesn't contain any memorable songs, isn't very funny, and doesn't even have a lot of good dancing in it. Of course it contains the famous dance with animated Jerry Mouse. Although I know this was very impressive for the time, I didn't particularly like it. I much preferred the Mexican Hat Dance Scene:
Courtesy of SpaceComics on YouTube
This movie did have a few bright spots, though. First was seeing Gene Kelly in his skivvies. Second was Joe and Clarence convincing another suitor that Susie is very friendly with the entire US Navy. And third was Clarence mistaking Jose Iturbi for a piano tuner.
This isn't a bad movie, but if you want to see Kelly and Sinatra as sailors on leave, watch On the Town instead.