"Thanks a Lot, But No Thanks"

It’s Always Fair Weather is one of the fascinating MGM musicals that gets lost in the shuffle of On the Town or Singin’ in the Rain, et al. Made in 1955, toward the end of the peak of the Freed unit, the film was originally rumored to be a sequel to On the Town, when that proved impossible, it became more of a loose follow-up where three WWII buddies reunite ten years after the end of the war, only to discover that they have very little in common anymore. The film, surprisingly cynical and dark-edged for a musical, stars Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse (who has a fantastic dance number set in a boxing ring), Dan Dailey, Michael Kidd and Dolores Gray.

Gray was a musical comedy star, winnings raves for the original London production of Annie Get Your Gun and on Broadway in Two on the Aisle and the flop Carnival in Flanders, which netted her the Tony award and the record for shortest Tony-winning run (the show closed after six performances in 1954). The following year, she would find herself under contract to MGM, where she made this and also the film adaptation of Kismet as the seductress Lalume. Her tenure as a major supporting player would end a couple years later after two more films: The Opposite Sex, a semi-musical remake of The Women and in the highly-underrated Designing Woman, a comedy starring Lauren Bacall and Gregory Peck (and featuring choreographer Jack Cole in a supporting role). Gray would soon return to Broadway in Destry Rides Again with Andy Griffith, and focus the remainder of her career on stage and concert work (including the flop Sherry! and the original London cast of Follies).

Playing a shameless television star, who is also an incredible self-promoter, this is her big number from the film, done as part of her live TV event. I first became aware of the song when I heard Audra McDonald sing it in her New Year’s Eve Live from Lincoln Center concert. The music’s by Andre Previn with lyrics by Comden and Green. Enjoy.