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He sang and danced in the rain, proclaimed New York to be a wonderful town, and convinced a group of Parisian children that they had rhythm. One of the most influential and respected entertainers of Hollywood's golden age, Gene Kelly revolutionized film musicals with his innovative and timeless choreography. A would-be baseball player and one-time law student, Kelly captured the nation's imagination in films such as Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951), and Singin' in the Rain (1952).
In the first comprehensive biography written since the legendary star's death, authors Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson disclose new details of Kelly's complex life. Not only do they examine his contributions to the world of entertainment in depth, but they also consider his political activities - including his opposition to the Hollywood blacklist. The authors even confront Kelly's darker side and explore his notorious competitive streak, his tendency to be a taskmaster on set, and his multiple marriages.
Drawing on previously untapped articles and interviews with Kelly's wives, friends, and colleagues, Brideson and Brideson illuminate new and unexpected aspects of the actor's life and work. He's Got Rhythm is a balanced and compelling view of one of the screen's enduring legends.
The book is published by The University Press of Kentucky.
"This book should become the new definitive biography on the multitalented Gene Kelly." (James Robert Parish, author of The Hollywood Book of Extravagance)
"The Bridesons have given us a thoroughly readable biography of Kelly that is conscientiously researched and authoritative." (Page Laws, Norfolk State University)
"Readers will get a well-documented recounting of a man who, despite shortcomings, believed that 'true talent seems to show itself most often in kindness.'" (Library Journal)
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- Bryan James
Great bio of the legendary Gene Kelly
As someone who loves classic Hollywood musicals, including most of Kelly's - Singing in the Rain, An American in Paris, Brigadoon, and Invitation to the Dance, I really enjoyed this audiobook and was somewhat sorry when I got to the end, even though it's nearly 20 hours long, which It didn't feel like!
I must admit I didn't know much about Gene Kelly personally and this book expertly and interestingly charts his life from cradle to grave. It's full of surprises, did you know he almost became a lawyer? Kelly comes across as a very driven, ambitious person and somewhat of a workaholic. Despite the extensive research, there remain some unanswered questions about his private life, which he guarded fiercely. However, this is not a kiss-and-tell book and what is revealed should be enough for most readers.
He had his faults - he was a perfectionist about his work and demanded the same from the people he worked with, sometimes aggressively. But he was also kind and generous and liked to help people - he was very caring and supportive to Fred Astaire when he got old and frail, for example. All in all, I ended up still admiring and liking him. I recommend this audiobook, it's also a history of the times and the other stars and talents he worked with and came into contact with
1 person found this helpful
- Joan McAuley
Gene Kelly - a man of many talents
a long listen but worth it, facts I didn't know, a hardworking family man
- Wade Lancaster
I’m Missing Xanadu
This is a very difficult book to review. Cynthia and Sara really researched Gene Kelly in depth. Their effort and dedication to researching their subject shows. Their love for Kelly also shows throughout the book in how they decided to write about him—very lovingly and respectfully. It’s crazy that there hasn’t been any other biography written about this legend since his death. I’m thankful for the authors for correcting this wrong.
I remember growing up and watching the old musicals on a nine inch black and white television. I always preferred Kelly’s movies over the others. I always thought he was more athletic, had a better singing voice, had a unique style, and came across as just a regular guy. He didn’t seem pretentious or narcissistic at all. He just lit up the screen with his positive energy. The authors have addressed much of these traits as well.
Their coverage of his life seems exhaustive. However, since so much time has passed since his death, I wonder if his story remains somewhat incomplete especially his darker or unflattering qualities and experiences. The authors do address many of the negative aspects of his life. But, the biography definitely seems weighted in favor of the positive—it could be more well-balanced.
The narration is pretty standard. Cynthia Wallace seems to let her emotions show through in her reading. There is not a lot of variation and there doesn’t need to be. She has a pleasant voice that treats the material well.
Overall, if you love Kelly, you should get this book. If you like him, you should get it. If you’re interested in the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Communist witch-hunts, etc. you should get it. It definitely sheds light on the entertainment business and his contributions as well as his personal life.
As I always state, check out the sample before deciding.
6 people found this helpful