“Singin’ In The Rain” (1952)

Again, this was done for class…although I need no excuse to actually write about one of my favorite films of all time.

Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen
MGM
US, 103 minutes
Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds

I love Singin’ In The Rain. No matter how many times I see it, I still laugh at “I can’t stand ‘im” and I still get shivers during “Singin’ In The Rain”. To me, it feels like the quickest 103 minutes I will ever sit through.

What is remarkable about the film is its ability to take the musical/comedy genre and mix it with the history of film’s transition to sound. However, that quickly becomes the McGuffin – who cares about making The Dueling Cavalier a sound film when movie star Don Lockwood is in the midst of wooing chorus girl Kathy Seldon? The dominance of this mismatched romance makes this a musical that just can’t become dated. How can you tell that this film was made in 1952? None of the jokes tell you so and the vibrant Technicolor keeps the film looking consistently colorful and amazing.

The famous “Singin’ In The Rain” sequence, where Gene Kelly dances down a rain-drenched studio-bound street, is home to the most advanced techniques in the film. The camera follows Kelly, homing in on his sloshing and splashing with his elastic legs. The camera cranes up after he stops because of the sudden police intrusion. We see him hand off the (now useless) umbrella to the passer-by, while the camera keeps pulling back before cutting to R.F.’s declaration that they have a great idea. I have always thought of that as an in-joke. The first words heard after Kelly’s amazing solo routine is R.F. saying “That was great!”

My other favorite sequence is “Good Morning”. I just love the dolly shot of the camera following them from the kitchen to the living room without a cut. Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds keep singing and dancing about while the camera keeps going; only making that cut as an absolute necessity to get closer to the action. “Moses Supposes” is also great – only Kelly could choreograph an entire tap dancing routine on a desk!

I could go on with comments about every scene and my only complaint is about what’s not here. When I got the DVD I was saddened to see that something as great as Reynolds’s “You Are My Lucky Star” performance could have been cut from a film.

Still, I love this movie too much to not call it perfect. Every song is great and memorable and the fact that none of them were written for the movie makes them even more original.

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