It’s Always Fair Weather (1955): MGM (Cynical?) Musical, Starring Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey and Michael (Choreograher of Seven Brides) Kidd

The last of MGM dance-oriented musicals, It’s Always Fair Weather relied on the collaborations of such pros as Betty Comden and Adolphe Green (who co-penned Singin’ in the Rain and The Band Wagon), something is missing in this satire to make it a great genre item.

Once again, the plot centers on a trio of ex-G.I.s: Ted Riley (Gene Kelly), Doug Hallerton (Dan Dailey) and Angie Valentine (Michael Kidd, better known as choreographer), who have become friends after serving in WWII.

Originally, Comden and Green conceived this film as a sequel to the more upbeat, entertaining and entertaining On the Town, reuniting Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin.

In the first act, set in October 1945, they dance in the streets celebrating release from the service (“The Binge”). At a favorite New York bar, they vow camaraderie, determined to reunite exactly ten years later at the same spot.

In the next decade, the three have taken different paths (“10-Year Montage”). Riley, whose dream was to become an idealistic lawyer, is a fight promoter and gambler.

Hallerton, dreaming to become painter, is in the advertising world, struggling to keep his marriage.  Instead of becoming a chef, Valentine is running a hamburger stand in Schenectady, N.Y.

Meeting at the bar ten years, they realize that they now have nothing in common. Hallerton and Riley view Valentine as a “hick,” while Riley and Valentine think Hallerton is a “snob,” and Hallerton and Valentine think Riley is a “punk.”  They express their regrets in “I Shouldn’t Have Come,” to the tune of “The Blue Danube.”

Some individuals from Hallerton’s ad agency, like the sexy and bright Jackie Leighton (Syd Charisse), who plans to reunite the trio on a TV show hosted by Madeline Bradville (Dolores Gray).

Jackie joins Riley at a gym, where she displays her boxing skills while cavorting with beefy boxers (“Baby You Knock Me Out”).

Riley refuses to fix a fight, and trying to escape from the gangsters, he skates out of a ring. Realizing Jackie’s affection and his newly regained self-esteem, he dances on roller skates (“I Like Myself”). Hallerton, meanwhile, has misgivings about corporate life (“Situation-Wise”).

Reluctantly coaxed into TV reunion, they defeat the gangsters, which brings them back together.

At the end they are friends again, but go their separate ways without making plans for another reunion (“The Time for Parting”), reaffirming the movie’s predominant cynical, downbeat tone, which deviates from the great (and not so great) MGM musicals of the golden era.

Among the highlights is the trio dancing on trash can lids in the “Binge” number.


Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen
Written by Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Produced by Arthur Freed
Cinematography Robert J. Bronner
Edited by Adrienne Fazan
Music by André Previn
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date: September 2, 1955
Running time 102 minutes
Budget:  $2,771,000
Box office $2,374,000