Take 3: Anchors Aweigh Review

This is it, my 200th movie review! It’s hard to believe I’ve reached this accomplishment in only two years! The recent occurrence and my participation in Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Joe Pasternak Blogathon caused me to choose Anchors Aweigh as the next movie to review! This film was recommended to me by The Classic Movie Muse from the blog, The Classic Movie Muse. Anchors Aweigh is also the fourth Frank Sinatra picture I’ve written about in 2020. When reading about Joe Pasternak in the announcement post for the blogathon, I learned that Joe put a lot of thought into the films he produced. Prior to joining the event, the only movie of his I’ve seen is The Unfinished Dance. Back in April, when I reviewed the project, I said it was a good, solid picture! I also mentioned how the movie did a good job at exploring thought-provoking ideas, such as the disappearance of truth. I’m looking forward to talking about Anchors Aweigh, as it is very different from The Unfinished Dance!

Anchors Aweigh poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, M-G-M Cartoons, and Loew’s Inc. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anchors_aweigh.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Anchors Aweigh is the fourth movie of Frank Sinatra’s I’ve seen, as I said in the introduction. His performance as Clarence “Brooklyn” Doolittle was different from his roles in Marriage on the Rocks, High Society, and Ocean’s Eleven. This is because his on-screen personality was sweet-natured. It was a good contrast to Gene Kelly’s character, Joseph “Joe” Brady. In Anchors Aweigh, Gene displayed a confident and headstrong personality. This set of opposites is what helped Gene and Frank become one of the best on-screen duos I’ve ever seen in film! Despite watching only one of Joe Pasternak’s films, I have noticed how the female characters are intelligent women who always hold their head up high. Kathryn Grayson’s character, Susan Abbott, is a great example! Even though she is a single parent, she never gives up on her dreams of being a singer. Because of a believable performance, Kathryn made Susan someone worth rooting for! While Pamela Britton appears in Anchors Aweigh for a limited time, I really liked her character! She not only had a good on-screen personality, but she also had good-screen chemistry with Frank Sinatra. Watching Pamela in Anchors Aweigh was a joy to watch, as her presence brought a bright light to any of her scenes!

The comedy: I found Anchors Aweigh to be a genuinely funny movie. That’s because the humor in this film was well-written and delivered! When Susan and Clarence are on their way to dinner, Clarence suggests that Joe join them. When Joe asks Clarence why he should go, Clarence tells him he won’t know what was said in Joe’s phone conversation. Not only was this conversation clever, but it was also executed well by Frank and Gene. Another funny scene involving Gene and Frank is when Joe is chasing Clarence around the service lodge. This moment was caused by Joe sleeping in, making him miss his meeting with Lola.

The musical numbers: In Anchors Aweigh, the musical numbers were definitely a highlight! There were so many good scenes, it is difficult to choose a favorite. Gene’s dancing talents were utilized to their fullest extent, from his duet with Jerry (the animated mouse) to his Latin inspired solo. These dance numbers were very colorful. The costumes and set design were bright and cheery, allowing the overall mood to be light-hearted and joyful. Frank’s singing abilities were also well incorporated into the story. His solos were slower, ballad pieces. This choice complimented the more romantic moments of the narrative. Having Frank and Gene perform together was a great decision! They were able to keep up with each other’s fortes as well as work well with one another. “I Begged Her” and “If You Knew Susie” showcases this creative partnership wonderfully!

The joining of animation and live-action: In one scene, Joe finds himself in a magical make-believe land where he interacts with animated animals. This is because he is telling a story to the children of Hollywood Day School how he earned his Silver Star. This part of the movie looked really good, especially for a film released in the mid-‘40s! It felt like Gene was actually in that world, as the technology of the time appeared top-notch. I also liked the quality of the animation! It contained bright colors and clear lines, reminding me of the older films from Disney.  Seeing Gene and Jerry dance together was impressive, as it seemed like they were in the same room. Before the actual dance routine, Gene led Jerry onto the ballroom floor by holding his hand. Because of how good the technology looked, this interaction between these two characters was convincing!

The Joe Pasternak Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/08/21/announcing-the-joe-pasternak-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A drawn-out conflict: The main conflict of Anchors Aweigh shows Joe and Clarence trying to set up an audition for Susan. While conflicts take time to be resolved, I wasn’t expecting the conflict in this film to last the entire story. Quality script-writing made the conflict itself interesting. But I honestly feel it could have been resolved sooner.

Less Tom, More Jerry: Tom and Jerry, the famous animated cat and mouse, are listed in the opening credits of Anchors Aweigh. I was not expecting this special guest appearance, so seeing these characters in the film was a pleasant surprise. Even though I liked Jerry’s duet with Gene, Tom showed up for only a few seconds. I found their cast listing misleading, as an equal amount of screen time is expected when Tom and Jerry are included in a program.

I had this patch lying around my house and thought it would be perfect to include in this review! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

My overall impression:

For someone who had never seen any of Frank Sinatra’s films, I have really made up for lost time in 2020. By selecting Anchors Aweigh for the Joe Pasternak Blogathon, I gave myself an opportunity to watch one of Frank’s earlier works. It also gave me an excuse to see more of Joe’s films. I can honestly say Anchors Aweigh is, so far, the best movie I’ve watched this year! There is so much to like about this project and it was pleasantly joyful! I spent most of my time smiling and laughing, as the humor was one of the strengths of this story. The entire movie was well thought out, showcasing an engaging film that was also entertaining. Thank you, Classic Movie Muse, for suggesting this film to me. If not for your recommendation, I might have never seen this delightful movie!

Overall score: 8.9 out of 10

Have you seen any of Joe Pasternak’s films? If so, which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

11 thoughts on “Take 3: Anchors Aweigh Review

  1. Pingback: The Joe Pasternak Blogathon is Here! | pure entertainment preservation society

  2. Dear Sally,

    What a great article! I’m so glad to hear that you are a fan of this movie, which has been one of my favorites for years. This was one of the first Joe Pasternak films I ever saw, since I have been watching it as far back as I can remember. It was also my first Kathryn Grayson movie. I’m thrilled that you have finally gotten to see it. You really did justice to this great film. Thank you for joining the blogathon!

    Yours Hopefully,

    Tiffany Brannan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great article! Anchors Aweigh is so fun! Welcome to the world of Frank’s acting. You picked some great ones to start with. I agree that Frank and Gene work so well together. I highly recommend watching their other two collaborations – On the Town and Take Me Out to the Ballgame. You will really be able to see how Frank’s dancing skills improve from Anchors Aweigh. He’s okay in this, but you can tell how much he watches Gene in the “I Begged Her” scene. Frank and Gene play similar characters; those with Frank being the shy one and Gene being the aggressor. They work so well together. Sorry to gush, but they are one of my favorite pairings! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for reading my review, Kristen! In the ‘I Begged Her’ scene, I could tell Frank was following Gene’s lead. However, I still found their routine entertaining. On 18 Cinema Lane’s Pinterest account, I have a board where I post film recommendations from my followers, readers, and visitors. ‘On the Town’ and ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ will be added to that board right away!

        Like

    2. You’re welcome, Tiffany, and thanks for checking out my review! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this movie too! I always appreciate film recommendations from my readers, followers, and visitors, so I will continue to accept as many suggestions as possible!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. moviecriticqueen

    Congrats on 200 reviews! That is quite the accomplishment! I am a great fan of Gene Kelly, but I’ve never been able to watch this one. I, too, haven’t seen many Frank Sinatra films, but one that I saw fit the first time this year that I liked was called Young at Heart (1954). I reviewed it if you have any questions. Looking forward to your next 200!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading my review, Moviecriticqueen! I have been recommended ‘Young at Heart’ by another movie blogger, so I’ll definitely try to find time to watch it! Your review of that movie is one I will check out as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Crystal Kalyana Pacey

    Hi Sally. How are you? I know this is not the type of message to post here, but unfortunately my email has been hacked and I’m locked out of it – so I can’t email you directly. Anyway, the reason I’m messaging you is to let you know that I’ve announced my Sixth Annual Barrymore Trilogy Blogathon and you are cordially invited to participate. Here is the link below.

    https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2020/09/15/announcing-the-sixth-annual-barrymore-trilogy-blogathon/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny you bring this blogathon up because I was just thinking about joining! Since ’20th Century’ and ‘Young at Heart’ have been recommended to me, I’ll review both movies for your blogathon!

      Like

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