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Kathryn Grayson, 1922 - 2010

2.18.2010

My favorite Kathryn Grayson scene is from a film I've never seen. It's called It Happened In Brooklyn (1947), and she co-stars with Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, and Peter Lawford. I know it's nothing new to say 'when they start singing together in this public space, it's so romantic' becuase, duh, it's a musical. But seriously. They have so much singing chemistry, it kills me. If you only want to watch a small part, watch 1:28 to...to...



My God, isn't that the most charming thing you've ever seen? He's so earnest, she's so sassy. And poor Peter Lawford, always the jilted lover.

In order of preference, I like Kathryn best with Frank, Gene Kelly, or Howard Keel. I know she and Mario Lanza were always paired together, but I've never been very interested in that outside of this little number that I always loved featured in That's Entertainment, "Be My Love" from The Toast of New Orleans:



Her face is classic when he jumps up and joins her, not to mention David Niven's.

To be fair, Gene had her first in 1943's musical military revue, Thousands Cheer. Here she sings "Let There Be Music" to him, and I'll be damned if he's not one of the best 'listeners' during other actors' solo numbers. The way he looks at Debbie Reynolds or Judy Garland when they're singing to him? You're his whole world.



Then Frank joined the couple for Anchors Aweigh (1945), one of my all-time favorites. Here they were in a love triangle together. In this scene Kathryn's character finally breaks into the movies with a screen test with Jose Iturbi:



It's ridiculous how cute her face (especially mouth) is.

Feel free to skip right over The Kissing Bandit with Frank, and head straight to the arms and mustache of Howard Keel. Kathryn and Howard first starred together in the remake of Showboat (1951). Watch them sing "You Are Love" (though I'd prefer to show you "Make Believe" if only I could find it...):



Can we just take a second here to appreciate that Howard Keel's character's name is Gaylord Ravenal? Ok. In Keel she found her second leading man who could match the power of her pipes (Lanza being the first).

My favorite of her roles is when she turned her Pollyanna-Sweetheart typecast on its head as Kate in Kiss Me Kate (1953), one of MGM's finest EVER. Some say she didn't have enough bite for the role, but I thought she really stepped up. There's so many scenes I'd love to post from this movie, but I'll give it all to you in the trailer:



Kathryn, you were a marvelous actress and singer, and will be missed.

1 comment:

Deb said...

A gracious and talented lady. RIP, Kathryn