Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… Anchors Aweigh (1945)

Now we’re shipping out to sea, with the classic 1945 MGM musical Anchors Aweigh, starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly!

While on leave, sailor Joe Brady (Gene Kelly) is looking for a good time with his girlfriend Lola, and his shy shipmate Clarence Doolittle (Frank Sinatra) wants his help and advice on finding a girl for himself.  Before they can get too far, the police ask for their help with a young kid (Dean Stockwell), who has run away from home to join the navy. They take him back to the home of his aunt, Susan Abbott (Kathryn Grayson), whom Clarence decides he wants to go out with. Joe tries to help him out (and get him off his back), but they find themselves in a lot more trouble than they bargained for when Joe lies and tells her they know movie star José Iturbi (himself) and can get her a screen test. They try to talk to Iturbi, but they just keep missing him. Meanwhile, Joe is developing feelings for Susan, and Clarence realizes that he likes the waitress at the restaurant that Susan works at.

This movie is mainly noted for being the first of three movies that paired together Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. This movie contains a number of famous songs and dances, including Frank singing “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and Gene’s solo dance to “La Cumparsita.” But the movie is probably best-known for “The Worry Song,” the famous dance duet between Gene Kelly and Jerry the mouse of “Tom and Jerry” fame (and Tom makes a quick cameo, too). And I always find it interesting they had originally been planning to borrow Mickey Mouse. But, at the same time, I think Jerry the mouse works better, as I just can’t imagine Mickey in the situation we were given, which was that of a king (Jerry) who couldn’t sing or dance and therefore banned his subjects from singing or dancing on the basis that the king should be able to do everything at least as well as his subjects. Again, that just doesn’t sound like Mickey at all.

Personally, I consider this movie to be the least of the three Sinatra-Kelly movies. At two hours, twenty minutes in length, it feels LONG. With a mixture of then-new songs and some old, I feel like the older stuff was better. On a great many levels, I just do not like the Sinatra-Kelly duet of “I Begged Her,” and I feel like several of Gene’s dances, most particularly the “Mexican Hat Dance,” could be dropped and the movie would be better for it (and believe me, I hate saying that about any of the dances). Despite my complaints, I do like this movie, but I have a hard time recommending it.

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD individually, and on Blu-ray as part of the five-film Frank Sinatra Collection from Warner Home Video.

Film Length: 2 hours, 20 minutes

My Rating: 5/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Frank SinatraTake Me Out To The Ball Game (1949)

Rio Rita (1942) – Kathryn Grayson – Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

For Me And My Gal (1942)Gene KellyZiegfeld Follies (1945)

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