Anchors Aweigh (1945)

Anchors Aweighanchors aweigh poster
Directed by George Sidney
Written by Isobel Lennart suggested by a story by Natalie Marchin
1945/USA
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
First viewing/Netflix rental

Anchors Aweigh, my boys,/ Anchors Aweigh. Farewell to foreign shores,/ We sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay./ Through our last night ashore,/ Drink to the foam,/ Until we meet once more./ Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home.

Take out Gene Kelly’s dancing, and there’s not a whole lot left.  But what dancing!

Joe (Gene Kelly) and Clarence (Frank Sinatra) are awarded the Silver Star and four days leave in Los Angeles as the movie starts.  Seems that Joe rescued Clarence after a firefight in which both displayed conspicuous bravery.  Joe is the kind of sailor with a girl in every port and is anxious to hook up with his LA lady Lola.  Clarence, on the other hand, is shy around women and is looking for Joe to provide him with some leads and tips.  He figures that, since Joe saved his life Joe is responsible for him.

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Joe can’t shake Clarence.  Then the two sailors get stuck seeing home a lost little boy (Dean Stockwell) who wants to join the navy.  The boy’s Aunt Susie turns out to be the girl of Clarence’s dreams.  She aspires to be a professional singer and Joe gets Clarence to promise her an audition for Jose Iturbe.  Complications ensue.

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This is one of those musicals that feels more like a contrived way to showcase various talents than an integrated story.  Even if the plot did matter, though, it is fairly trite.  Kelly has three boffo numbers, Sinatra sings the Original Song nominee, Grayson trills through two, and Iturbi leads the orchestra in the title tune.    It all doesn’t add up to much in my opinion.

George Stoll won the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture.  Anchors Away was nominated for Oscars in the categories of Best Picture; Best Actor (Kelly); Best Cinematography, Color; and Best Music, Original Song (“I Fall in Love Too Easily” by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn).

Trailer

 

8 thoughts on “Anchors Aweigh (1945)

  1. I think you’ve got this one nailed–it’s a cobble put together to give us some good songs and some great dance numbers, but as an actual film, it doesn’t really hold together. It’s hard to dislike it completely because of the talent on screen, but Best Picture material? Really? In a year with The Lost Weekend and Mildred Pierce?

    Jerry the Mouse is pretty fun, though.

    • Tastes really change, I guess. I can think of at least three films I prefer to either Anchors Away (the weakest), Spellbound, or The Bells of St. Mary’s. On the other hand, I’m finding that the mediocre films really predominate in 1945. I’m getting impatient to finish it up.

  2. I think I actually liked this one better than you did. In fact, of the three Gene Kelly musicals I have recently watch this is the best of them. The selling point here is Frank Sinatra. Having his voice in the movie can save even a stinker of a movie. In fact I was quite impressed until Kathryn Grayson starts singing. She is just awful. Also I admit that the story is often patchy and often mere vehicles, but not more than I have come to expect in musicals.

      • Yes he was, and that had me thinking quite a bit. So far all I can come up with is that at the time I had come to expect a lot from musical and On the Town let me down. Now my expectations are low again and so I am easier to impress. No very consistent I admit. For the record I also prefer On the Town to An American in Paris.

        • I find the day has too much to do with how I rate a movie sometimes. I was at the end of a year that was making me cranky by the time I got to Anchors Aweigh.

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