MOVIE REVIEW: “Singin’ in the Rain” stars Gene Kelly (An American in Paris, Inherit the Wind), Donald O’Connor (I Love Melvin, Call Me Madam), Debbie Reynolds (In & Out, Tammy and the Bachelor), Jean Hagen (The Asphalt Jungle, Adam’s Rib), Millard Mitchell (The Naked Spur, A Foreign Affair), Douglas Fowley (Cat-Women of the Moon, Battleground), and Rita Moreno (West Side Story , The King and I). It is directed by Stanley Donen (Charade, Funny Face) and Gene Kelly, with the screenplay being written by Betty Comden (On the Town, It’s Always Fair Weather) and Adolph Green (The Band Wagon, What a Way to Go!).
Notable silent film star Don Lockwood (Kelly) finds his career on the ropes when a new age of talkie pictures ushers in.
Have any of you ever sung the iconic tune “Singin’ in the Rain” while walking outside in a downpour? No? Well… me, uh, me neither…
This is another case of a cinematic classic that I haven’t seen. The history of musicals is one I am fascinated in, yet never found myself fully studying. Growing up, I didn’t care for musicals. People acting out a scene only to break out in song was too weird, and there were really only a few exceptions to my distaste in the genre (those being “High School Musical,” “Hairspray,” and “Eight Crazy Nights,” if you count that as a musical). It’s only recently that I discovered an adoration for the art form, so I have been trying to catch up and see what everyone implores me to watch. Chief among the recommendations? “Singin’ in the Rain.”
I can tell why this is highly recommendable to a filmmaker such as myself. It deals heavily in the world of Hollywood, taking place during the end of the silent film era and the beginning of talkies. The story, while shot long ago, is very much modern, with humor and satire that made me laugh quite a bit. The journey of one Don Lockwood is funny, whimsical, and entertaining, built around a film industry backdrop and plenty of fun musical numbers to keep you engaged. However, it’s in the true craft of filmmaking that I found all the more fascinating with this piece, as it is a beautifully put together movie with visuals that pop and choreography that soars.
Gene Kelly is quite a magnet. His performance is that of a showman: acting, dancing, singing; he’s the whole kit and kaboodle. I’m sure he’s listed as co-director for the choreography, but if he had a hand in the visual make-up of this picture, I would be all the more astonished. He’s the kind of guy who you wouldn’t figure to have a wide gamut of skills (his looks are that of a leading man who just says the lines), but he surprises. Both him and his amazing co-stars. Donald O’Connor is a top-tier dancer (honestly, better than Kelly) and Debbie Reynolds is a knock-out. I loved the chemistry amongst them, and the side characters who filled the rest of the frame were quite hilarious. Most importantly, Jean Hagen, whose high-pitch, nasally voice made for funny moments.
There’s plenty of iconic scenes and songs in this. Better yet, the music was spread enough across for there to actually be a well-rounded story. The tale of this guy figuring out his career against the backdrop of a fast-changing film industry is very interesting (and also funny); being a film guy, I loved the history of it. Some of my favorite moments were the ones that showed us the Hollywood stage productions during the silent era, and how actors/filmmakers operated during that time. Also, the final scene of Don performing his musical was a tour-de-force of film aesthetic. I absolutely loved the work that went into that.
“Singin’ in the Rain” is now one of my favorite musicals. It’s rich history of the silent era, beautiful visuals/cinematography, and incredible performances make it a worthwhile watch. Not to mention timeless, as the story itself still lands with its jokes and relatable conflict within our characters. If you are into musicals, you’ll adore it. If not… I still recommend you give it a shot. Like I said, one perk about it is how they sprinkle the music/dance numbers; so there’s definitely room to carve out a fun story. And who knows, maybe you’ll like the music. Maybe it’ll even inspire you to sing when you go out in the rain. FINAL SCORE: 91%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: