Before Grace Kelly, there was Gene Kelly!
By 1940, the dancer was a hot property on Broadway, taking the lead role in Rogers & Hart’s musical “Pal Joey“. Hollywood wanted a piece of the action and it was producer David O. Selznick who eventually persuaded Kelly to sign a contract.
With Kelly due into Hollywood in October 1941, Selznick began thinking about what the dancer’s first picture should be. In August 1941, Variety reported that Kelly had been informed that none other than Alfred Hitchcock, who had just finished work on Suspicion (1941), might be the director…
..and this was reported again in another Variety article the following month on September 19th…
Kelly has inked a David O. Selznick deal and will be featured in next Alfred Hitchcock film for Selznick. After that he expects to co-star with his brother, Fred, on Broadway in William Saroyan’s “Sweeney in the Trees.”
Ultimately, Selznick failed to find anything suitable and he sold part of Kelly’s contract on to MGM, where he went on to star in such films as For Me and My Gal (1942), Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951) and Singin’ in the Rain (1952).
Alas, sadly the world was denied the opportunity to see what a Hitchcock dance spectacular might have looked like!
So, which Hitchcock film do you think would have benefited from a song and dance number? I’d like to suggest Anthony Perkins singing “Oh, Mother!” and doing a mop dance whilst cleaning up the motel bathroom after Janet Leigh’s murder in Psycho :-)