. In the continuing BBC series, Talking Pictures, GENE KELLY is seen in three interviews he gave in the UK .
The earliest interview is in black and white from 1956 when he was in the UK to promote INVITATION TO THE DANCE.
“I wanted to make a film about dancers and by dancers. There’s no dialogue, it’s all dancing.”
“… I did work hard at developing a style of my own.”
In 1974. When THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT was released, Gene was back in England being interviewed by Barry Norman. After a clip of “Ballin’ The Jack ” from FOR ME AND MY GAL, Gene said,” Working with Judy – I was automatically in a hit – she was such a big star.”
Barry Norman said, ” You brought muscle and sweat and athleticism .”
” I put on white tie and tails – I look like a truck driver!”
After a clip of the title song from ON THE TOWN, Gene said,”The studio thought going to New York was the most ridiculous thing in the world.”
(It was Gene ‘s idea to go on location.)
After a clip of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN”, Gene told Barry how Arthur Freed had asked him what he was going to do with the song ( which had been filmed twice before in previous films).
“It’s gonna be raining and I’m gonna be singing!”
“It was one of the easiest dances I had to put together.”
“I think people like to see joy on the screen.”
In 1975, it was Gene’s turn to be on Michael Parkinson’s show as THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT 2 came out.
“Fred Astaire’s success was his elegance – no one could dance like him. Fred represents the aristocracy and I represent the proletariat.”
“My brother taught me to tap dance- we would go into speakeasies and amateur nights- whoever got the most applause got the $5.”
“We were gymnasts in high school and got an act on roller skates and we put acrobatics into it.”
Gene was asked if there was any problem teaching Frank Sinatra to dance.
” Yes, first he didn’t know how to dance but he was very good at rhythm. He asked me if I’d work with him. He became quite adept and a very good partner.”
On COVER GIRL, Gene had to do the ballad ‘Long Ago and Far Away’ – (he didn’t like doing ballads.)
“Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin had written this song. I was ready to record it and in walked Mr Kern. I was scared to death.
I came out and said, ‘Mr Kern, I can do better than that. He said, ‘That’s fine!”.
There was regret when Gene said,
“I was scheduled to do GUYS AND DOLLS- Sam Goldwyn wanted to borrow me from MGM, but they wouldn’t lend me.”