A man and a woman stand at the top of a stoop in the pouring rain.
After they kiss and embrace, the man walks down the stairs and waves
off his driver. The stage is now set for one of the most legendary
sequences in cinema history.
MGM's Singin' in the Rain (1952) has dazzled audiences for over 50
years. It's a movie about singing, dancing, and movie making. Gene
Kelly (An American in Paris) stars as Don Lockwood, a silent film star
who along with everyone else in the movie making industry is trying to
make the transition from silent's to talkies in the 1920's. He is part
of the duo Lockwood & Lamont, the other half being Lina Lamont (Jean
Hagen). The unseen member of the threesome is Don's right-hand man and
best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O' Connor, Francis).
One night after a successful premier of the latest Lockwood & Lamont
feature, Don finds himself in trouble with hardcore fans and jumps into
a passing car. The driver, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds, The
Unsinkable Molly Brown), is startled to find out that it is Don
Lockwood, and continues to hurl a barrage of insults to his profession,
"If you've seen one, you've seen the all,". Later that night at the
after party, Don finds Kathy is one of the dancers who ends up getting
herself into quite a mess with Lina.
When the movie The Jazz Singer, the first full length talkie, debuts
it's a smash hit. All the studios must make the change to compete. This
brings production to a halt and the need for a new screenplay. Their
current work in progress The Dueling Cavalier is a travesty and needs
to be revamped. The only problem is Lina can't sing, dance, or act "the
triple threat". Now they must find a way to make a winning picture.
Directed by Kelly and Stanley Donen, Singin' in the Rain only received
two Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Jean Hagen) and Best
Score. This movie was ranked 10th all time on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie
list. How could it only receive two nominations and no wins? Most
likely it was due An American in Paris, released one year prior to
Singin' in the Rain by MGM, winning a total of six Oscars and eight
Today's cinema has changed dramatically since Singin' in the Rain.
Movies have incredible special effects, the cost has gone up
considerably, and the values have changed. Kelly worked like a dog to
make this movie all it could be and he did that and more. The movie is
filled with color and sound using a well crafted style.
One of the most intense sequences in the film is the "Make em' Laugh"
number performed by the incomparable O'Connor. He showcases his dancing
abilities and acrobatic stunts. The scene involves Cosmo trying to
cheer up Don. The only way he knows how is to make him laugh. The scene
was so tiring that after filming O'Connor was in bed for three days
straight. Reynolds also endured a lot on set trying to keep up with
Kelly and O'Connor.
To truly become a masterpiece a film has to have survived through many
years and Singin' in the Rain has done just that. It's truly a work of
art that will be cherished for years to come..
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But Singing in the Rain is about technology on another level, too. Kelly and co-director Stanley Donen go to great lengths to ensure that the film is an exemplar of state-of-the-art film technology in 1952. For example, the beautiful Technicolor cinematography is emphasized by the fabulously colorful costumes and production design--they're showing off cutting edge color. The sound is as good as it could be in 1952, and the fact that this is a musical helps show that off. The sets and effects are complex and an attempt is made to show them off as well..
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But the more serious aspects of the plot are fascinating as well. In a significant way, Singing in the Rain is about film technology. Film technology is the hinge of the plot, after all. The climax and dénouement are decided by the advent of synchronized sound in the film industry. We see studio head R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell) demonstrating sound films at the party where Lockwood sees Selden for the second time, providing two big turning points at once. There are sequences of actors heading off to diction coaches, as happened in reality once sound entered the scene, and also in reality as in the film some actor's careers were jeopardized by having to suddenly master a new skill..
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Aside from the more serious aspects of the plot, Singing in the Rain is a great success as a romance and a musical. It also has an astoundingly rich Technicolor look, and it is charmingly humorous. Kelly and Reynolds click on screen, even if offscreen Kelly, who also co-directed and co-choreographed, was famously difficult to work with--he drove Reynolds so hard (she was a much more inexperienced dancer) that her feet literally started bleeding at one point. The songs are great, they're worked into the story well--which is perhaps surprising given that most of them weren't written specifically for this film--and the choreography is impeccable, frequently jaw dropping and always aesthetically wondrous and sublime. If for nothing else, the film is worth a look for its often-athletic dance numbers, which can resemble Jackie Chan's showy martial arts stunts as much as dancing. It's also imperative viewing for cultural literacy in the realm of film..
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A fabulous musical romance about film technology 1 May 2005 | by Brandt Sponseller (New York City) Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are a famed Hollywood duo, making films at the tail end of the silent era. The studio has been issuing PR suggesting that they're a romantic item. In reality, they can barely stand one another. One night, while on the town with his best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O' Connor), Lockwood has to run to escape fans who want a piece of him badly enough that they'll literally rip his clothes to shreds. He hops over a number of moving vehicles and ends up in the passenger seat of Kathy Selden's (Debbie Reynolds) car. Lockwood seems immediately taken with her, but she gives him the cold shoulder. She says she's an actress with a love of theater, and she looks down on film acting. Later, Lockwood discovers that she was inflating the truth a bit, as he sees Selden performing as a cute song & dance girl at an industry party he's attending. She runs out of the party and Lockwood chases after her, but he's too late. While he tries to track her down, he, Lamont and their studio have to deal with the changing nature of film in 1927--made much more difficult by the fact that Lamont may look glamorous, but she talks more like Fran Drescher in "The Nanny" (1993)..
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One of the great oldies. Fantastic dansing, great songs and an overall pleasant movie.
Best musical ever made .
what a movie- A Broadway classic- wonderful music, great dancing and a huge star cast .
The Graduate The Godfather.
This movie will always be great!.
Can you imagine? Me, a film lover since the age of six, hadn't seen
"Singing In The Rain" until last night. I had read and heard so much
about it over the years that I knew I was going to be disappointed. As
a musical I've never seen anything so perfectly "in tune" I can see how
many directors have been influenced by the soul of this gorgeous movie.
I've seen even Federico Fellini here. The tap routine with Gene Kelly
and Donald O'Connor is so energizing that I wanted to see it again and
again. The fantasy number with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse is
breathtaking, breathtaking! How extraordinary to see Debiee Reynolds
going through the contagious (Good morning!Good morning!) I had seen
her a few nights before as Grace's mother in "Will and Grace" She
hasn't lost her zest. I'm sure I'll be seeing this movie many times and
I intend to show it to very young people from the post MTV generation
and I'm betting with myself that they're going to love it. Greatness is