Title – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Directors – Stanley Donen (Charade) & Gene Kelly (The Tunnel of Love)
Cast – Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen
Plot – With the silent film era coming to an end, a group of Hollywood players navigate their ways towards the era of the talkies.
“She can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t dance. A triple threat”
Review by Eddie on 23/07/2020
Ranked by the American Film Institute as the 5th best film of all time in a 2007 publication, Singin’ in the Rain remains to this day one of the most whimsical and purely enjoyable films ever created.
While its hard to quantify or substantiate such a claim, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s comedic themed musical, that additionally acts as a love letter to the early years of cinema and the once prevalent screen musical, is a film that charms throughout its story of a group of Hollywood players transitioning from silent film-making to to the “talkies”.
From the moment the film begins through to the moment it ends there’s barely a moment that goes by that feels as though its wasted a second of screen time with Donen and Kelly pushing themselves and their cast (many of whom admitted this was one of the most grueling films they ever worked on) to achieve greatness, with Rain’s abundance of iconic scenes and song and dance showpieces deserving of their places in the trophy room of classic cinema moments.
One to always push himself and demand nothing but 110% commitment to the cause, Kelly clearly required a lot from his co-stars, especially from the then 19 year old Debbie Reynolds who had to take a crash course in dancing to bring her live-wire performance as budding Hollywood star Kathy Selden to life, but his hard stance towards excellence paid of handsomely in his passion project here, with Rain a near flawless example of the joyous nature of cinema at its most playful.
You could spend many an hour examining and exploring the many grand moments found throughout the film, a whole piece could be written about the incredibly realized showpiece of the titular song alone, but the film also has more than one ace up its sleeve when you include great moments such as the Good Morning sequence between the central trio of Kelly, Reynolds and the films comedic MVP Donald O’Connor or O’Connor’s great staging of the Make Em Laugh song number.
These are all moments where you will find yourself with a big old smile on your face, toes tapping away on their own volition as the film can’t help but charm you into a transformative like state of pure cinematic ecstasy, with the film understanding it is here to please and entertain at all costs, a piece of art that exists solely to offer laughter and joy to those lucky enough to watch it.
Final Say –
A wonderful piece of golden era film-making, Singin’ in the Rain is deserving of its reputation as the king of Hollywood musicals. A film the whole family can enjoy, Kelly and Donen’s film is the perfect antidote to the moment in time we all find ourselves in.
4 1/2 couches out of 5
Singin’ in the Rain is one of my favorite musicals. It’s a great example of both a “backstage musical” (plot involves putting on a show to explain why there’s singing and dancing) and an “integrated musical” (singing and dancing is normal in the story world and the narrative allows for characters to express themselves in ways other than talking).
I loved musicals when I was a kid and as much as I like Gigi, An American in Paris, and Meet Me in St. Louis, I’ve always been biased towards Stanley Donen’s musicals over those of Vincente Minnelli. If you haven’t seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I recommend you watch this dance sequence that shows off the athleticism of Michael Kidd’s choreography.
Looks like I have some more watching to do!
All that praise and you only give it 4.5 out of 5?!
Ha sorry to disappoint Shelby, I don’t think it’s perfect but one of the funnest films you could watch.