This was a quickie TV special, made to profit from the popularity of Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill. I'll declare quite openly that figure skating doesn't remotely interest me unless I find the female skater very sexy, such as Belita or Sonja Henie or the early Tonya Harding. I respect Dorothy Hamill's achievements, and she seems earnest and sincere, but her bland personality puts me right off. If Gene Kelly hadn't been in this special, I wouldn't have watched it at all.
There's a low-key opening number, with Hamill skating languidly while the offscreen Kelly sings a lullaby about 'a girl from Riverside, Connecticut' (that would be Hamill), so you know the next line of the lyric will end in 'etiquette'. Gene Kelly had previously proved his ability on roller skates; here, when he takes to the ice, he shows an easy grace ... but he's clearly not in Hamill's league.
A 6-year-old figure skater named Carrie Weber also demonstrates her abilities. She shows some presence, and her skating is impressive ... but, like Kelly, she pales in comparison with Hamill. There's a weird exhibition here, in which Weber stands at rinkside and calls out skating manoeuvres while Hamill performs them. In addition to her distinctive short hairstyle (shown to advantage here), Hamill was apparently best known for inventing a skating manoeuvre called the Hamill Camel. At Carrie Weber's command, Hamill demonstrates her Camel. I'm damned if I see the point of this thing. It doesn't remotely resemble a camel: I assume that this name was chosen only for the rhyme. Several of Hamill's other moves and combinations are far more impressive, so what's the point of this so-called Camel?
Later, Kelly joins Hamill in ice-skating versions of a couple of his famous numbers from his MGM glory days. I was hoping we'd see "Singin' in the Rain" with ice cubes instead of raindrops. Instead, Hamill and Weber perform 'The Worry Song'. This was the song which Kelly had originally sung in 'Anchors Aweigh', memorably dancing with an animated cartoon of Jerry the Mouse (from Tom and Jerry). Here, we have little Carrie Weber togged out in a mouse costume (looking too cute for words) skating alongside Hamill while the latter sings Kelly's former lyric. It would have been very impressive indeed if Weber could have duplicated Jerry's cartoon dance steps from the movie, but the bulky mouse costume suppresses her movements considerably.
I'll rate this sporadically interesting special 3 points out of 10, but people who like ice skating will likely rate it higher. I prefer Belita.
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