Three things about Michael Kidd, the award-winning choreographer (Guys and Dolls and Can-Can on stage, The Band Wagon and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in films) who died Sunday night at his home in Los Angeles. One, he was straight. Two, he talked like a New York cab driver or newsstand vendor. And three, he gave a snappy and amusing performance as a choreographer hired to finesse a stage show for a Santa Rosa teenage beauty pageant in Michael Richie‘s Smile (’75).
(l. to r.) Michael Kidd, Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen on the set of It’s Always Fair Weather; cover art for DVD of Michael Ritichie’s Smile
It’s worth renting or buying this DVD regardless, but Kidd’s performance has a lot of sass. His character has one of those “okay, let’s get this over with” attitudes of an old veteran on the downslide. I love guys like that, and I liked Kidd the second he walked on-screen in this very dry satire of middle-class culture. Seen it all, knows it all, cut the crap, whatever.