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.
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.
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).