Singin' in the Rain (1952)
It Makes You Laugh and Makes You Sing, Rain or no Rain
What's wrong with the way I talk? What's the big idea? Am I dumb or something? - Lina
There is a very good reason why "Singin' in the Rain" is such a popular movie and it's not just because being a musical it has numerous memorable and iconic song and dance scenes. It's popular because by the time the last big production number ends and the credits roll you will be in a good mood. Simple as that "Singin' in the Rain" is one of those movies which can lift your spirits when you're down. But it also has to be said that "Singin' in the Rain" is also a well made movie from the storyline and characters through to some seriously impressive song and dance scenes. As such "Singin' in the Rain" is a musical which is a dead cert in any top 10 musical list.
Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly - An American in Paris) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are the darlings of the silver screen starring in one successful hit after another. So popular are they that the studio promotes them as a couple both on screen and off. Unfortunately whilst Don knows there is nothing between them in real life, air headed Lina thinks otherwise and when Don falls for chorus girl Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds - Mr. Imperium), Lina is less then happy. To make matters worse is that whilst they are the stars of the silent screen, Hollywood is changing and talkies have arrived and Lina doesn't have a voice for movies. With their first talkie looking like it will be a flop, Don's best friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor - Toys) comes up with the idea for Kathy to dub all of Lina's parts something which isn't going to sit comfortably with the already jealous Lina when she finds out.
Before getting to the various impressive musical scenes in "Singin' in the Rain" it has to be said that the storyline itself is impressive. So it has the expected element, a romance as Lockwood falls for the delightful Selden and as you would presume the romance doesn't run smoothly thanks to Lina's interference, but it is both sweet and charming. But the actual impressive part of the storyline is the whole recapturing of Hollywood from a few decades earlier as it went through the transition from silent movies to the talkies. As such it has fun with the various issues such as silent stars who didn't have the voice for the talkies and the problems with mic placement, all of which is seriously amusing. And so is the storyline as Shelden ends up dubbing the voice of Lina to save the first Lockwood and Lamont talkie from being a disaster. The fact that it makes this storyline so amusing and interesting is what is so impressive.
But whilst the storyline is impressive you have to say that what "Singin' in the Rain" is memorable for are the song and dance scenes and there are plenty to mention. If you just look at the list of iconic songs such as "Good Morning", "Make 'em Laugh" and of course "Singin' in the Rain" you will get an idea of how brilliant they are. But when coupled with the dance routines from Donald O'Connor flipping off walls as he sings "Make 'em Laugh" and of course Gene Kelly singing "Singin' in the Rain" as he splashed through the street you can't but help be impressed. And there is no denying that dance routines in "Singin' in the Rain" have an energy, the speed and sharpness of every single dance routine is outstanding, it literally takes your breath away especially in the hectic routines between Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor such as the fiddle playing scene.
It also has to be said that the star cast not only impress when it comes to the musical moments but also in creating characters. Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood seems to be having a ball playing a larger than life silent screen star and Jean Hagen is a riot as his co-star Lina Lamont. And then there is Debbie Reynolds who is just wonderful as Kathy Selden, adding beauty to the proceedings but also getting the right sense of a wannabee actress who wants to make it.
But whilst Gene Kelly is the star you can't but help be impressed by Donald O'Connor as Cosmo Brown whose dancing and comic timing is staggering. The musical number, "Make 'em Laugh", which sees him delivering the now iconic flipping off the walls is breath taking and also funny with his rubber like facial expressions. But so are all his dance numbers they are so energetic and in time with Gene Kelly that you can't but help marvel at every single one of them.
What this all boils down to is that "Singin' in the Rain" is a true 5 star musical. It has everything from a brilliant storyline which gives you the expected romantic element but then gives us an amusing look at old Hollywood and it has the song and dance scenes which are iconic thanks to the memorable songs and explosive dance routines which take your breath away. There really isn't a bad word you can say about "Singin' in the Rain" as it is a rare movie which no mater how you feel when you put it on you will be in a better mood when it finishes.
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