Up until this month the only way to get Living in a Big Way was on tired VHS copies or if you were lucky enough to catch it on TV. This is weird, because Living in a Big Way was one of Gene Kelly’s favorite dance creations. Why something that the genius himself thought was so great was languishing for so long is beyond me. That is all in the past now because this 1947 classic is finally out on DVD courtesy of the Warner Archive.
Released in 47, this is a postwar film and like many postwar films, Living in a Big Way embraces a very familiar theme, the return of our servicemen to life on the home front. That means that at times this film does has some very serious tones – so be warned. Did a solider and his wife rush into marriage? Where will all the returning veterans live? These are the themes running through Living in a Big Way. It is an interesting snapshot of the American soldiers adjustment to peace time as interpreted by a Golden Age Hollywood dance musical (not a sentence you hear everyday).
Which means, while the film can be down right serious, the true star of the film is Kelly and his remarkable dance skills. You’ll see him cavorting with a clever dog, wooing a statue, scampering across the beams of an uncompleted apartment and joining children in a medley of games. Could you imagine how popular construction workers would be if they all had this level of dance skill?
This is another solid musical release by Warner. If you have not had the opportunity and are a Kelly fan (who isn’t), pick up your copy of Living in a Big Way on DVD today.