Saturday, August 6, 2011
26. "The Worry Song" from Anchors Aweigh
Ah, the magic of movies.
Gene Kelly departs the world of Anchors Aweigh and heads off into a storybook land, where Jerry the mouse sits on a lonely throne with a case of the blues. Turns out it's nothing a little song and dance can't cure. This was huge. The mingling of live action and animation is pure movie magic, and this number right here heralded the rise of Kelly and the man behind the curtain, Stanley Donen (the number was his brainchild), not to mention setting the bar for what movie musicals could achieve ridiculously high. Musicals and animation already had a long shared history together, but this effortless merger with live action almost single-handedly ushered in a golden age for the genre that would eventually be overtaken by the rush to adapt every stage musical on Broadway. Again, this was huge.
Truthfully, Anchors Aweigh isn't all that spectacular. The plot is tedious and few of the songs really stick in your head. But there's no denying Kelly's magnetism, and people seem to like that Sinatra guy too. When it rolls along, "The Worry Song" is a welcome break from the rest of the film, but regardless of everything before it, this pulls you back in. And in retrospect, it's probably not nearly high enough on this list, but Gene Kelly is already the best represented actor on here (that is, in the most films, not numbers), and I had to fight the temptation to include even more.