It’s Always Fair Weather (1955) – full review!

It’s Always Fair Weather (1955) – full review!

Directed by Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly and written by Betty Comden & Adolph Green (The Band Wagon (1953)) whose story & screenplay earned them their second (and last) unrewarded Academy Award nomination this average Musical picks up where On the Town (1949) left off though it’s not a sequel. André Previn’s Score was also Oscar nominated. Gene Kelly does star as one of three World War II veterans who’ve returned to New York and their old bar hangout where its proprietor Tim (David Burns) casts doubt on the three keeping in touch and/or remaining friends as time goes by. Ted Riley (Kelly) challenges Tim’s assertion as do the other two Doug Hallerton (Dan Dailey) and Angie Valentine (Michael Kidd). So they make a bet with Tim to return exactly 10 years later (October 11 1955 at 12 noon) tearing a dollar bill into three pieces to remind each of their pledge before going their separate ways. Cyd Charisse (who surprisingly doesn’t dance with Kelly in this one) Dolores Gray and Jay Flippen round out the cast.

Ten years later each of the war buddies actually does return though Tim doesn’t really recognize them as each of the old friends have undergone more than a physical change: educated Ted who’d been the “most likely to succeed” with plans to become a lawyer or more heartbroken that his sweetheart got married while he was serving his country lived the high life partying & bar hopping with different women every night gambled and lived day-to-day such that he’s got no savings and his current gig managing an up-and-coming boxer (Steve Mitchell uncredited) needs to pan out for him; artist Doug who’d hoped to become a famous painter one day finds himself in a failing childless marriage after selling out settling for drawing caricatures for an advertising agency’s campaigns; and blue collar Angie the happiest of the three who’s running a roadside diner called the Cordon Bleu with his wife with whom he has several young children. Needless to say the reunion isn’t a very happy one as the three discover they not only have nothing in common anymore but really don’t like each other or what they’ve become either. Each begins to go their separate ways again before Jackie Leighton (Charisse) who works for the same ad agency as Doug has an idea to exploit the soldiers’ reunion as a replacement idea for Madeline Bradville’s (Gray) radio show that night. Jackie’s a successful working woman whose exceptional brain bores most men and Madeline’s an egotistical star who exploits common people for her human interest-type program.

To keep the former friends occupied until the 11 PM radio show sponsored by Klenzrite Jackie & Doug’s boss Mr. Fielding (Paul Maxey uncredited) is assigned to keep the artist occupied while Madeline dines with Angie and Jackie takes Ted who’s surprised at her sudden interest given her earlier standoffish attitude towards him. She goes with him to the gym where (the film’s best song & dance routine “Baby You Knock Me Out” featuring Charisse and the gym rats is performed) Ted learns from Rocky (Hal March uncredited) his boxer’s planned opponent that night that mobster Charlie Culloran (Flippen) has fixed the fight. Meanwhile Doug is getting drunk and making a mess of things at Mr. Fielding’s house while Angie looks wistfully at the more upscale environs he’s experiencing. Ted and Jackie have a heart-to-heart during which he learns that she’d been scorned once before also; she begins to see him in a new more positive light too which burns even brighter when Ted starts to live up to his old ideals and with her help stops his kid Mariacchi from participating in the fix. Everything leads to a madcap evening on Madeline’s radio show beginning with each of the three former war buddies admitting to their disillusionment but ending much more positively as Ted Doug & Angie brawl Culloran and his gang who are eventually rounded up by the police. The amazingly collected and flexible radio hostess gets the program she wants and the “boys” return arm in arm to Tim’s bar where he finally remembers them and they win their $4 bet (kept overhead in a light fixture) to pay the tab. Angie stops putting on airs Doug phones his wife who saw the show such that they’re on the mend and Jackie arrives to join Ted.

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