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George Sidney
Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson, José Iturbi, Dean Stockwell, Pamela Britton, Rags Ragland, Billy Gilbert, Henry O'Neill
Writing Credits:
Natalie Marcin (story), Isobel Lennart

On waves of song ... laughter and romance! Two love-lost sailors on a four-day leave of fun and frivolity!

Two sailors go on a four-day shore leave in Hollywood where, in their relentless effort to pick up girls, they become involved with a charming, fatherless boy who want to join the Navy and his beautiful aunt who's trying to get an audition with famous pianist José Iturbi.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
French Dolby Digital Monaural
Castillian Spanish Dolby Digital Monaural
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital Monaural
Latin Spanish
Castillian Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish
Castillian Spanish

Runtime: 140 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 5/5/2015

• “Hanna and Barbera On the Making of ‘The Worry Song’” Featurette
Football Thrills of 1944 Short
Jerky Turkey Short
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Anchors Aweigh [Blu-Ray] (1945)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 28, 2015)

Like many kids, I first heard of Gene Kelly via clips from 1945’s Anchors Aweigh. What made that flick such a notable introduction to the performer’s talents? The famous sequence in which Kelly dances onscreen with Jerry the cartoon mouse, of course.

Not that Jerry has a whole lot to do in Anchors. Navy boys Joe Brady (Kelly) and Clarence Doolittle (Frank Sinatra) receive medals for war heroism and get to embark on four days leave in Hollywood. Joe is the lady-killer of the pair, and he’s set to scoop up sexpot Lola Laverne. Less skilled in the art of seduction, Clarence tags along to try to learn some skills.

While on their way to find some ladies, the cops pick up our sailors to help them with a problem. Very young Donald Martin (Dean Stockwell) wants to join the Navy and he won’t tell anyone where he lives. The police use the sailors to get the info out of him, and they all escort him back to his place.

At first, this infuriates Joe since he wants to connect with Lola. Matters improve when they meet the orphaned Donald’s guardian, his Aunt Susan (Kathryn Grayson). It turns out Susie’s a babe, and both Joe and Clarence fall for her. The movie follows the love triangle and related complications.

While I admit I can find it tough to take many movie musicals, I can fall for the charms of some, especially those from this era. I like Sinatra and Kelly, so the chances Anchors would entertain me seemed good.

Despite those odds, I’m glad I placed no bets, as I couldn’t find much about Anchors that I liked. Its lead actors are almost the only aspect of the flick that makes it tolerable. During the first act, Kelly’s performance grates somewhat; he plays loverboy Joe in an aggressive manner that proves a bit off-putting. However, he tones down his attitude as the flick progress and soon becomes his usual charming self.

Sinatra does even better as the mild-mannered Clarence. I imagine that by 1945, Sinatra had scored with many a babe, so the idea of him as girl-shy and meek seems like a stretch. Old Blue Eyes pulls it off, though, as he appears truly shy and innocent. He creates an enjoyable performance that consistently delights.

Other than those two, the only positives I take from Anchors come from the beauty of Grayson. She’s absolutely adorable, though she’s not much of an actress. She makes Susan deathly dull, and she never shows life in the role. Well, at least she’s gorgeous.

“Deathly dull” also applies to too much of Anchors as a whole, unfortunately. The movie lasts a lengthy two hours, 20 minutes, and it feels even longer. It boasts an awfully thin plot for so much screentime, though it tries desperately to fill out the running time with production numbers.

That’s inevitable, as musicals often go down that route. However, most films in the genre at least use their song and dance numbers to tell a little story.

Most of the bits in Anchors serve no plot purpose whatsoever. Take the famous scene with Kelly and Jerry. This exists solely as a cinematic device and doesn’t connect to the rest of the film in even a vague manner. It’s there because it’s a cute idea, not because it makes sense for the story.

I’d guess at least half of the musical pieces have nothing to do with the plot, and the presence of pianist/conductor Jose Iturbi contributes mightily to the ennui. Anchors often feels like an Iturbi infomercial; if we don’t see him at work, we hear about his greatness from others. It probably doesn’t help that no one born after 1930 has the slightest clue who Iturbi was, but even if he remained a recognizable celebrity in the 21st centiry, his prominence here makes no sense.

If the performance numbers dazzled, much of this could be forgiven. Alas, there’s very little pep on display in Anchors Aweigh. It stands as a decidedly bloated and slow musical that wears out its welcome well before it actually ends.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Anchors Aweigh appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not the best-looking transfer I’ve seen, I thought Anchors mostly looked good.

Sharpness usually came across well. A little softness entered into some shots, mainly during interiors, but those instances didn’t create notable distractions. The majority of the movie displayed positive delineation.

I saw no signs of shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws failed to mar the presentation, so we got a clean image.

Colors came across pretty well. The Technicolor elements offered nice vivacity throughout the film – usually, at least. A little bit of a brown feel appeared at times, but the tones were largely lively. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and low-light shots offered good clarity. I felt pleased with the image.

The DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Anchors seemed acceptable for its age. Speech sounded a bit flat, but the lines were intelligible and lacked edginess or other issues.

Music and effects also failed to demonstrate great range, but I didn’t expect a lot from them. Both of those aspects of the track showed adequate clarity and didn’t suffer from any problems. Nothing here stood out as memorable, but the audio worked fine for a 70-year-old recording.

How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2008? Audio didn’t show much more range, but it was cleaner. Visuals showed considerable improvements, as the Blu-ray delivered a tighter, more dynamic image that eliminated the DVD’s many source flaws. The Blu-ray became a major improvement over the DVD.

The Blu-ray includes the DVD’s extras plus a couple of new ones. Hanna and Barbera On the Making of “The Worry Song” lasts a mere two minutes, nine seconds as William Hanna and Joseph Barbera tell us a little about how the famous sequence was created. We also find out that MGM originally hoped to get Mickey Mouse in the piece but Walt Disney wouldn’t loan out his most famous character. The basic facts offered here are interesting, but the piece is too short to tell us much.

In addition to the trailer for Anchors, we find two period shorts. We get Football Thrills of 1944 (8:30) and Jerky Turkey (7:32). In Thrills, we get highlights from a bunch of 1944 college football games, while Jerky offers an animated piece about a Pilgrim who tries to bag a turkey for Thankgiving. Neither offers great entertainment value, but they’re interesting for historical purposes.

Contrived and dull, Anchors Aweigh disappoints. I like its stars – and found myself smitten by its leading lady – but the flick’s excessive length, absence of much plot and many pointless production numbers makes it tough to take. The Blu-ray offers strong visuals along with average audio and minor supplements. Though I don’t think much of the movie itself, this Blu-ray presents Anchors in a satisfying manner.

Note that you can buy this Blu-ray of Anchors Aweigh on its own or as part of a package called the “Frank Sinatra 5-Film Collection”. This set also includes Blu-rays of On the Town, Guys and Dolls, Ocean’s 11 and Robin and the Seven Hoods.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of ANCHORS AWEIGH