Gene Kelly in his iconic performance in Singin’ in the Rain | MGM

“I didn’t want to move or act like a rich man. I wanted to dance in a pair of jeans. I wanted to dance like the man in the streets.” –Gene Kelly

If you’re in New York City, don’t miss the Gene Kelly film retrospective by the Film Society of Lincoln Center starting July 13 and running through July 26, 2012. Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene’s widow, will be on hand for two events on July 20 and 21 to talk about her husband’s life and career. As a former dancer, I can’t wait!

On the 21st, Mrs. Kelly will let the audience in on conversations she had with her late husband about his work as a dancer, choreographer, actor, singer, and director, as well as his contributions to cinematography and animation. Twenty-three films will be shown, including a restored 70MM print of Hello, Dolly! Yes, that’s the Barbra Streisand/Walter Matthau film, and Gene Kelly is not in it. But did you know that he directed it? Yes, he did.

Gene Kelly and Judy Garland in Summer Stock | MGM

So, why the sudden attention for Gene Kelly? He would have turned 100 years old this year. He passed away in 1996 at the age of 83. It’s the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the handsome icon of film and dance.

Screenings are at the Walter Reade Theatre at 165 West 65th Street, and ticket prices are reasonable. (Select any two films in the series for just $20 for general public and $15 for members, students, and seniors. Single screening tickets are $13 for general public, $9 for students and seniors, and $8 for members.)

The 23 films include An American In Paris, On the Town, Invitation to the Dance, The Pirate, and Summer Stock, as well as lesser seen films like Brigadoon and Gigot, a tearjerker I have loved since childhood, directed by Kelly and starring Jackie Gleason as a big-hearted deaf man who loves funerals. Singin’ In the Rain will not be included in the festival, however, because it has been released in theaters nationwide this year for its 60th anniversary.

To buy tickets and see the full schedule, visit the Film Society of Lincoln Center website. Then, watch for my coverage of the events with Mrs. Kelly.


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