Review - Singin in the Rain (1952)
Here in the wilderness of Minnesota it has been raining since around noontime on Thursday, and so, my Bonnie Bride and I decided to celebrate all of this rain by watching Singin’ in the Rain (1952). This is one of my favorite musicals as it has it all – music, singing, dancing, comedy, romance, and a nefarious villainess.
Singin' in the Rain poster - IMDB
The film stars Gene Kelly as movie star Don Lockwood, Donald O’Connor as Lockwood’s best friend Cosmo Brown, and Debbie Reynolds as aspiring actress Kathy Selden. The film is set in the era when the movie industry found itself shifting gears from silent movies to talkies, thanks to the success of the, in the film setting, just released The Jazz Singer. For those not familiar with how things went at the time, Singin’ in the Rain is a good fictional look at the transformation of the industry, and how some actors, in this case Lockwood’s usual leading lady, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), washed out of Hollywood because they couldn't adjust their acting style from the silent era to sound, and, well, their voices needed a little more than a bit of coaching.
Diction lessons, Kathleen Freeman and JeamHagen - IMDB
My first introduction to Singin’ in the Rain was back when a documentary film covering musicls from the ‘30s to the ‘50s was released. That film is That’s Entertainment (1974). It featured several of the routines from Singin’ in the Rain, including O’Connor’s routine for the song “make ‘Em Laugh”. That song and dance routine is a riot to watch with all of the pratfalls O’Connor performs, and various goofy bits, as well as a very acrobatic bit of running up a wall and somersaulting to a standing position. That last was a very physically demanding stunt to perform. Back then, my stepfather commented how he thought that O’Connor was a much more talented dancer than Kelly was. This one dance sequence gives credibility to my stepfather’s take O’Connor’s talent. After watching the film again, I am like how the heck did he do that move?
Donald O'Connor - beginning of "Make 'Em Laugh" - IMDB
The title song is used at several points in the film, including the opening, as well as a solo by Gene Kelly as Lockwood dances his way home after dropping Kathy off at her apartment. It’s an interesting and fun dance routine as he splashes around in the puddles of water in the street, much to the annoyance of a police officer walking a beat. The song is also used at the climax of the film, but that’s a whole different bit.
Gene Kelly, "Singin' in the Rain" - IMDB
The third famous song from the Singin’ in the Rain is “Good Mornin’”, where we have all three of the leads doing a song and dance in Lockwood’s mansion after figuring out a way to save Lockwood’s latest film - The Dueling Cavalier - which, as is, was doomed to not only be a box office failure, but would torpedo Lockwood’s and Lamont’s careers. The concept the trio devised was a musical with a mix of modern story telling with a dream sequence, so as to incorporate some of the footage that had already been shot. The one problem they had to solve is Lamont’s voice.
When Don Lockwood meets Kathy Selden - IMDB
I’ve probably spilled the beans on too much of the story, however there are a number of scenes that are also fun that contributed to the over all story, from the problems with switching gears in making silent movies to talkies and actors learning better diction so they wouldn’t be laughing stocks. Of course, in the case of Lockwood, with assistance from Cosmo Brown, this dynamic duo makes a laughing stock out of Lockwood’s voice coach. O’Connor displays a series of facial expressions that a real hoot and a howl.
Some of the cinematography and film effects are amazing, and I had forgotten about some of those bits as it has been a few (or so) years since the last time I watched this movie. A lot of these bits take place while the studio is figuring out the transition to making talkies, and there is also an incredibly cool piece toward the end of the film that is pitched as being the opening sequence of the now retitled The Dancing Cavalier. A lot of these scenes are visually stunning.
There is also a fair amount of conflict between Lina Lamont and Kathy Seldin, with Lamont being jealous of Seldin and possessive of Lockwood. Lamont is a bit vindictive, and abusive, of Selden, which drives a lot of the conflict of in the film. But, as Khan once said, “Revenge is a dish that is best served cold.”
If you’ve guessed that Singin’ in the Rain is a favorite musical comedy of mine, you’d be guessing right. Ever since my first introduction to it as a kid via a few film clips, and eventually seeing the film in its entirety, it has been a film I enjoy watching. I’ve watched it a few times now with my Bonnie Bride, and it makes for a great date night movie for the two of us. And, it was especially fitting on a night when it was raining. And for those of you who are curious, we had a bit over three inches of rain over a 48-hour period.
Surprisingly, I started writing this post Saturday morning, finished it on Saturday night, and will post Sunday morning. It’s been a long day (but a fun one). I hope everyone is having a great weekend.
That’s about it for this time around. Thanks for stopping by.
You can find me on twitter/X at https://twitter.com/thunderjack42
PS - raining again.
Posted using CineTV