#84: Singin' in the Rain [1952]


Newsflash: I’m a girl. So, it’s unsurprising that I love Singin’ in the Rain. I mean, what’s not to love? The incredibly talented cast sing, dance and generally tick all the musical extravaganza boxes going. Then there’s Gene Kelly to put the delectable icing on the already wondrous cake. What’s more, it’s all done so well. The sheer energy of the film is staggering; I felt exhausted watching the actors throw themselves around, flipping off walls and diving onto solid ground. Go find Donald O’Connor’s ‘Make ‘em Laugh’ sequence and I guarantee you’ll be in awe at how someone can exhibit so much energy in one take. I’m going to side with my Nan here, and agree that they really did know how to make films ‘back in the day’.
Not that Singin’ in the Rain is particularly dated. Sure, the relative absence of sex compared with 21st-century cinema gives it a different tone, but the humour is still hilarious, the dancing is still jaw-droppingly good, and Gene Kelly still pulls off the muscle tee satisfactorily. I frequently found myself laughing out loud at the same gags which were aimed at the original audience, proving true the wisdom of Cosmo Brown (O’Connor): entertainment is easy, you just gotta make ‘em laugh. I realise, of course, that the reasons I love this movie might not appeal to guys. This probably wouldn’t be the film of choice for most twenty-something guys out there. If you disagree then please say so below, but I’m not convinced Singin’ in the Rain can compete for the modern man’s attention. It relies more on Mums with the remote control at Christmas.
I suppose this is a film which should be watched more than it should be talked about; there aren’t a whole lot of ideas flying around. Yes, the plot deals with Hollywood’s transition from silent movies to the ‘talkies’ (during which considerable hilarity and scandal ensues), showing a self-reflective side to American cinema, but this is no Sunset Boulevard. There are some familiar issues at work, for instance the references to the Hollywood/Broadway relationship and the struggle for celebrity which crop up fairly frequently in movies of the time. Still, these are passing references at best, mainly exploited for their comedy value. Basically, this is one you should go rent/buy/borrow rather than read about. It’s a classic. It’s a great watch. Just, go see it will you?

My Challenge Assistants for this one were my family. Mum demanded that we re-watch the 'Singin' in the Rain' sequence where Gene Kelly gets soaked to the skin, which shall serve as their summary.

Comments

  1. I love this film. It is in my opinion the greatest musical of all time and I love my musicals. I adore gene Kelly. I so much want to dance like him. He moves so wonderfully. I wonder who would win in a crazy dance off between cosmo and the scarecrow in the wizard of oz. I don't know the actress that played her but lina lamont is great. Such a whiny voice. The songs are great although I'm not particularly a fan of Broadway melody is ambitious but way too long. The title sequence is one of the most magical pieces of cinema ever. The film is one of the happiest and greatest ever

    P.s if you haven't seen it watch the morecombe and wise sketch. Hilarious.

    From Chris (your no.1 fan)

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  2. Haha thanks no. 1 fan! I've been recommended that sketch a few times now... might head over to youtube...
    Her name is Jean Hagen and ironically she dubbed for the leading lady. And I agree - I love the rain scene! Apparently it was milk and water (I'm guessing so it would be seen better on screen). Ewww.

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  3. Yeah knew about the milk. Singin in the milk doesn't sound right though. I wish it would rain milk once

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  4. Possibly my favourite musical of all time. Best evs, totes amaze, and all that. Every time I watch it, I inwardly debate whether I should enrol on a tap-dancing course.

    Kyle

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