March 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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It's Always Fair Weather - 1955 M-G-M musical  
Music by André Previn
  Available on RHINO RHM2 7766  
Running Time: 79:11

fair weather

M-G-M's It's Always's Fair Weather belied its title for this was a down-to-earth musical, darker, more realistic than the norm for a musical of its period. It starred Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Dolores Gray and Michael Kidd. The story took as its basic premise three American servicemen returning as close buddies (like in On the Town except that the trio in that film were sailors whereas here they are in the army) and then demonstrating how 10 years separation has changed them so much that they discover they have nothing in common when they meet as arranged one decade later. This incompatibility is manifested in the brilliant, hilarious and ironic song, 'I Shouldn't Have Come' sung by all three over Johan Strauss's The Blue Danube - " I shouldn't have come it's a mistake… This thing's a frost I must get lost …he's a snob…he's a hick…he's a goon…" Betty Comden and Adolph Green's lyrics sparkle here and throughout this unusual musical.

André Previn's colourful jazzy score is full of vitality. Particularly vivid is the mordant characterisation and wicked wit and irony of the 'Ten Year Montage' where the CinemaScope screen is divided into three to show, simultaneously, the developing lives of all three soldiers: Kidd settling for a modest fast food career and a home life, Dailey climbing up the ladder of a seamy advertising career and Kelly as a small time fight fixer dallying with lots of women. The numerous dance numbers like the Drinking Montage and the Binge are also memorable, especially Kelly's exuberant number 'I Like Myself' in which Gene dances on roller skates.

The album includes outtakes, alternate versions of songs and demos sung by Comden and Green.

Very enjoyable and a must for all M-G-M musicals fans.

Ian Lace

4

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