One of the great muscial classics from Hollywood's heyday.
|A Review: Singing In The Rain|
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Singing In The Rain premiered in 1952. While many won't believe it, I was not at the first showing and, in fact, didn't actually see the movie until my cousin took me to see it in 1959. It was, by then, already recognized as a classic.
The Plot in 15 Words or Less: In 1927, a silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.
What That Means: While the plot sounds boring, Singing In The Rain was a glorious classical comedy and musical extravaganza. It starred Gene Kelly, Donald O'Conner, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen (three out of four isn't too bad ). The action centers around the release of the The Jazz Singer – the first talking picture – and its impact on the movie industry. The hero – one Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) - is a popular silent film star in the process of making his latest film when "the talkies" are launched. His studio decides that the film must be shot as a talking picture. The film is changed from an action film to a musical written by Don's best friend Cosmo (Donald O'Conner). Unfortunately, his leading lady – Lina (Jean Hagen) – can't sing. By accident, he meets a young actress – Kathy (Debbie Reynolds) – who eventually gets hired to be the voice of Lina. After many comedic twists and turns, the film is finally premiered and it is a huge success. In the finale of the movie the fans clamor for Lina to sing where she is exposed – deliberately by Don – as a fraud and Kathy is brought out as the "real star." And they lived happily ever after!
My Review: More than anything, you want a film to entertain and Singing In The Rain does that and more. The dance sequences are brilliantly done as only Hollywood in its heyday could have staged and even today they still come across as fresh because of the detail and attention they were given by the dance director – Gene Kelly. The plot, while simple, still remains satisfying both for its comedic overtones and the fact that the heroes are all good guys and the villainess is so bad . Yes, watching this movie is both a treat and a retreat back to a time when there was less gray... but then, this was the advent of Technicolor .
As great as the dancing (brilliant) and singing (wonderful) was, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that several of the songs written for this became standards. Great songs such as the title "Singing In The Rain," "Make 'Em Laugh," and "You Were Meant for Me" went on to great popularity... and without overdubbing!
My rating If you've never seen this movie – or have fond memories of the old musicals – this is a must see. I promise that by the end, you'll find your foot tapping and your face smiling. What more can you ask?
Bonus - Fun Fact: The screenwriters bought a house to use during the writing. The man who sold them the house was an old silent movie star who couldn't make the transition to "talkies." Art imitating life imitating art?
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