Gene Kelly brought athleticism, ballet, and his own unique vision of storytelling through dance to film. With his trademark casual dress, his muscular build and expressive face, he portrayed a sort of "every man" in his movies. He was someone the average person could relate to.
After a successful run of Pal Joey on Broadway, Kelly signed with David O. Selznick, who announced that he would be in Hitchcock's next film. The didn't happen, and Selznick had difficulty finding a suitable project for Kelly. In the mean time, Judy Garland wanted Kelly for her next film at MGM, For Me and My Gal. The film was a hit, and Kelly moved to MGM.
During his time at MGM, Kelly choreographed, danced and acted in what became classic musicals, including Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, and On the Town. On loan to Columbia, he danced with Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl. Frequent co-stars were Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, and Frank Sinatra. He even danced with Fred Astaire in Ziegfeld Follies.
"Kelly should be remembered for magnificent set pieces of choreography — enormously complex as in An American in Paris, and perfectly simple as in Donen's raining street set. … He was seen most touchingly in Jacques Demy's The Young Girls of Rochefort, a little like the ghost of his dancing past" — David Thomson
The Stanford Theatre is dedicated to bringing back the movie-going experience of Hollywood's Golden Age. It is one of the few places where you can still watch movies on a big screen projected the way they were intended — in 35mm prints. Great classic films were not made to be watched on a video screen in your living room. They depend on a larger-than-life image, and the shared reactions of a real audience.
The Stanford Theatre first opened in June of 1925. For decades nearly every important Hollywood picture played there on its first release. The people of Palo Alto saw them all for the very first time in this theatre.
In 1987 the Packard Foundation bought the theatre and restored it to its original condition. It quickly became America's most popular classic movie house. More people saw Casablanca there on its 50th anniverary in 1992 than at any other theatre in America.
The non-profit Stanford Theatre Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and public exhibition of films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. This means classic movies in a classic movie palace, complete with Wurlitzer organ rising from the orchestra pit every night before and after the 7:30 show, or providing the accompaniment to “silent” films.
Note: This is an unofficial posting of the Stanford Theatre schedules, from published information. This site is in no way connected with the Stanford Theatre nor the Stanford Theatre Foundation. Please check out the official site at http://www.stanfordtheatre.org in case this schedule isn't quite up-to-date! Programs are subject to change. For information, call (650) 324-3700.
(Showtimes in parentheses are for the Saturday and Sunday screenings.)
Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Van Johnson, Jimmy Thompson, Elaine Stewart, Barry Jones, Eddie Quillan.
Two Americans (Kelly and Johnson) stumble upon a magical village in Scotland, which comes to life once every hundred years. In stereophonic sound.
Songs by Lerner & Loewe include: Down on MacConnachy Square, Waitin' for My Dearie, I'll Go Home With Bonnie Jean, The Heather on the Hill, Almost Like Being in Love, Entrance of the Clans, Wedding Dance, The Chase.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 27, 1990; last played June 2013
Gene Kelly (Don Lockwood), Donald O'Connor (Cosmo Brown), Debbie Reynolds (Kathy Selden), Millard Mitchell (R.F. Simpson), Jean Hagen (Lina Lamont), Rita Moreno (Zelda Zanders), Cyd Charisse (Dancer), Douglas Fowley (Roscoe Dexter).
Perhaps the most popular film musical of all time is set in Hollywood at the dawn of talking pictures. Silent stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are making their first sound picture. When Lina's voice doesn't quite match her glamorous image, up-and-comer Kathy Selden steps in.
Singin' in the Rain has been the eleventh most widely attended
film at the Stanford Theatre — 47,820 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre July 27, 1991; last played June 2018
Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, June Allyson, Frank Morgan, Van Heflin, Angela Lansbury, Vincent Price, Keenan Wynn, John Sutton, Gig Young, Robert Coote, Reginald Owen, Ian Keith, Patricia Medina.
Gene is perfection as the swashbuckling D'Artagnan, who joins the Three Musketeers in their duty to protect the kingdom.
Gene relished this opportunity to take on the role Douglas Fairbanks had originally played.
"I loved playing this part. As a boy I idolized Fairbanks, Sr. and I raised myself to be a gymnast." Gene Kelly
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 24, 1948; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation
Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Walter Slezak, Gladys Cooper, Reginald Owen, George Zucco, the Nicholas Brothers.
The young Manuela (Judy Garland) mistakes circus clown Serafin (Gene Kelly) for the notorious pirate Macoco in this Cole Porter musical.
Songs by Cole Porter include Nina, Mack the Black, Be a Clown, and Love of My Life. Gene dances with the Nicholas Brothers.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 12, 1948; last played May 2011
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Vera-Ellen, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Tom Dugan, Florence Bates, Alice Pearce.
Three sailors on 24-hour leave take in the sights of New York. Joyous and exuberant, On the Town was filmed (partly) on location amidst mobs of enthusiastic fans.
The original 1944 stage version, with music by Leonard Bernstein, ran for 462 performances on Broadway. The film version, which contains additional songs with music by Roger Edens, was a major MGM hit.
On Broadway the lyric ran "New York, New York, a helluva town!" Prudish Hollywood had to change it to "a wonderful town," but On the Town remained a helluva film.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 13, 1994; last played Sep 2002
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Betty Garrett, Jules Munshin, Edward Arnold, Richard Lane, Tom Dugan.
The three leads from On the Town star in this attractive period musical about a turn-of-the-century baseball team unexpectedly taken over by a female owner (Esther Williams).
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 24, 1949; last played Jul. 1994
Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson, Jose Iturbi, Sharon McManus, Carlos Ramirez, Dean Stockwell, Pamela Britton.
Two sailors on leave in Los Angeles look for romance. Gene Kelly does his famous dance with Jerry the cartoon mouse.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 28, 1945; last played Jul. 1994
Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, George Murphy, Marta Eggerth, Ben Blue, Richard Quine, Horace McNally.
A couple of small-town vaudevillians dream of playing at the Palace Theatre in New York. This was Gene Kelly's first movie.
Songs include For Me and My Gal, Oh, You Beautiful Doll, and When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 13, 1942; last played Sep 2006
Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly, Lee Bowman, Phil Silvers, Jinx Falkenburg, Leslie Brooks, Eve Arden, Otto Kruger.
A Brooklyn chorus girl becomes a top fashion model (with a wealthy suitor), but she can't forget where she really belongs, and who she left behind.
Gene Kelly was borrowed from MGM to make Cover Girl for Columbia Pictures, with the promise that he could choreograph. This was Rita Hayworth's third major musical; her first two were with Fred Astaire.
"Big time from the word go, Cover Girl deserves to stand among the best film musicals of all times... The dancing of Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly is superb... All of these statements of facts leave a reviewer slightly breathless. But that's the way Cover Girl leaves an audience." Hollywood Reporter
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 30, 1944; last played July 2009
Gene Kelly, Kay Kendall, Mitzi Gaynor, Taina Elg, Jacques Bergerac, Leslie Phillips, Henry Daniell, Patrick MacNee.
A former showgirl publishes her memoirs and is sued by another former showgirl for defamation of character. The resulting trial explores the differing viewpoints of the participants, in the spirit of Rashomon.
Les Girls was Cole Porter's final score. While it may lack the energy of MGM's top musicals, it features the wonderful Kay Kendall as Lady Wren, the author of the scandalous memoirs. This was Gene Kelly's final musical with MGM.
"There are many enjoyable moments in Les Girls and most of them include Kay Kendall" Tony Thomas
first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 23, 1999; last played Apr 1999
Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Dolores Gray, Michael Kidd, David Burns, Jay C. Flippen.
Three soldiers return from the war vowing to remain friends. They meet ten years later, disillusioned with their lives, and find their friendship has also undergone a change.
first showing at the Stanford Theatre
Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken, Gloria De Haven, Marjorie Main, Phil Silvers, Ray Collins, Nita Bieber, Carleton Carpenter, Hans Conried.
Judy Garland's last film for MGM was this story of a girl and the troupe of actors who stay at her farm for the summer and put on a show.
Songs include Get Happy and You Wonderful You.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 14, 2001; last played June 2001
Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Dorléac, George Chakiris, Jacques Perrin, Gene Kelly, Danielle Darrieux, Grover Dale, Michel Piccoli.
Charming musical about twin sisters (played by real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac) and their mother (Danielle Darrieux), who find love during an open-air festival in their small French town. The girls teach dance and music, and Gene Kelly plays a pianist who falls in love with hopeful composer Dorléac.
This was director Demy's homage to classic Hollywood musicals.
first showing at the Stanford Theatre
Gene Kelly (Jerry Mulligan), Leslie Caron (Lise Bouvier), Oscar Levant (Adam Cook), Georges Guetary (Henri Baurel), Nina Foch (Milo Roberts).
American painter Jerry Mulligan (Kelly) pursues Parisian gamine Lise Bouvier (Caron). Best Picture of 1951 and six other Oscars. The famous ballet (inspired by Renoir, Rousseau, Toulouse-Lautrec, and other French painters) is one of the greatest artistic creations in the cinema.
An American in Paris has been the twenty-ninth most widely
attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 28,774 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre June 22, 1990; last played July 2015