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Self-referential art can be tedious. Although there are exceptions, it
is generally a safe rule of thumb that any novel whose main character
is a novelist should be left on the bookshop or library shelf. About
conceptual works of art whose purpose is to make a meaningful statement
about the purpose of works of art, the less said the better. And when
Hollywood makes a film about Hollywood the result is normally either
introspective navel-gazing or smug self-congratulation.
There are, however, exceptions. The early fifties saw two great movies about the movie industry, one a tragedy ("Sunset Boulevard" from 1950) and the other a comedy ("Singin' in the Rain" from two years later). Remarkably, both films were inspired by the same actress, Norma Talmadge. Talmadge is today a largely forgotten figure; she was a huge star in the silent era of the 1910s and 1920s, but along with John Gilbert became one of the major casualties of the coming of sound in the late twenties. She made two "talkies", but neither was a success and her career came to an end in 1930. Part of the problem was her working-class New Jersey accent; American society is not as linguistically classless as some would like to believe. (Talmadge was still alive in 1952, and I often wonder what she made of these two films; in neither case is the character based on her portrayed in a very sympathetic way).
"Singin' in the Rain" is set in the Hollywood of 1927. The Talmadge figure is Lina Lamont, a highly popular silent film star working for the fictitious studio Monumental Pictures. Lina has a crush on her handsome co-star Don Lockwood and convinces herself that he is in love with her. In reality Don has little time for Lina who is vain, shallow and stupid. (She is also to prove bitchy and spiteful). When the first talking picture, "The Jazz Singer", proves an enormous success, the head of the studio decides that he will convert the new Lockwood and Lamont film, "The Dueling Cavalier", into a talkie. (The film is a romance set during the French Revolution; Talmadge's final film, "Du Barry, Woman of Passion" was also set in eighteenth-century France). This, however, proves to be a problem, as Lina has a harsh and grating voice, and attempts to give her elocution lessons prove unsuccessful. A young actress, Kathy Selden, is hired to dub Lina's voice. The rest of the film deals with the growing romance between Don and Kathy and with Lina's sexual and professional jealousy of her young rival.
Mention "Singin' in the Rain" to anyone today and they will probably think of the sequence in which Gene Kelly performs the title song, a sequence which has become famous, even among those who have not seen the actual film. Even parodies of it, such as the one performed by the British comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, have become famous in their own right.
There is, however, more to this film than just one single scene. It is often compared with that other fine Gene Kelly musical from a year earlier, "An American in Paris". The two films, however, are quite different, and each has its own strengths. "An American in Paris" is certainly more visually imaginative, and I would also rank it higher in terms of its music. Although "Singin' in the Rain" has some well-known songs, including not only the title song but also the likes of Make 'Em Laugh" and "Good Morning", I would not class these as highly as Gershwin's music used in the earlier film. Both films have a balletic sequence designed to show off Kelly's dance skills. In "An American in Paris" he dances with Leslie Caron, who plays his love-interest in that film, but here his partner is not his leading lady Debbie Reynolds but rather Cyd Charisse, who does not actually have an acting role. (At this stage of her career Reynolds was not regarded as a dancer).
In terms of plot and of humour, however, "Singin' in the Rain" is the better of the two films; the plot of "An American in Paris" consists of little more than a boy, a girl and a happy ending. The phrase "musical comedy" (like "romantic comedy") does not always imply that a work is particularly humorous; it is often used as a description for any musical play or film except for the minority (like "Carousel" or "West Side Story") which end tragically. "Singin' in the Rain" is one of the few musical comedies which is worthy of the name. It is one of the few Hollywood films which actually dare to make fun of Hollywood itself. A lot of the humour derives from the difficulties the industry encountered during the early days of sound, not only actresses with dodgy voices- Jean Hagen's Lina is a great comic character- but also problems in hiding the ungainly and not very effective microphones and in synchronising the sound with the picture. One of the themes is the antagonism between stage and screen during this period- during the silent era, and even in the early years of the sound era, stage actors, particularly classically trained ones, despised the cinema which they saw as a vulgar pantomime. Here Kathy claims to be a stage actress, although it later turns out her experience has been rather limited. There is also a lot of physical comedy, especially in the scenes featuring Donald O'Connor as Don's friend Cosmo.
"Singin' in the Rain" was a hit at the box office, but it was not a great success with the critics, unlike "An American in Paris", which won the "Best Picture" Oscar for 1951. Over the years, however, its reputation has grown, and today it has come to be regarded as one of the great musicals, not only of its day but of all time. 9/10
Never knew that the movie "Singin' in the Rain" was not just any other
musical movie, starring a singing and dancing Gene Kelly. The movie is
actually being a great parody as well of Hollywood society, how all big
Hollywood productions are very much alike, studio's, the actor's big
star behavior and everything else surrounding- and involved with the
The movie is set at the end of the silent movie era in 1927 and 1928, when the "The Jazz Singer" got released. This meant new opportunities for some studios and some actors but also meant the end of a lot of other actors and movie-makers, who were not suitable enough to work with the new sound medium for movies. This movie shows people from both these groups and also shows how the Hollywood-world works and how careers get made and ended in the blink of an eye. The movie is not too afraid to show this more evil and less glamorous side of the whole industry but of course at all times with a wink and fun and charm added to it.
Fore "Singin' in the Rain" is a real colorful and entertaining movie, that of course is still best known for its musical numbers. It has some of the best songs that the genre has to offer in it, including of course the well known title song of the movie, performed by Gene Kelly. It's one of those typical studio shot musical with some grand looking numbers in it, with lots of big sets and dancers involved. It also on the other hand has some smaller and more timid moments and it knows to create a well balance between these two musical styles. Cyd Charisse also makes a grand appearance and does what she did do best; dance, show of her legs and look greatly sensual, in a silent role.
It's a greatly entertaining movie to watch, both through its musical aspects and comedy parody references to the world of Hollywood.
This may or may not be my final user review. I don't really know as I
type this. Every character my fingers hits, every key-stroke, brings to
me a new realization of my thoughts' worth on film. In that vein, I
hope that what I've written has served those who've read my reviews to
better guide them to quality entertainment, and hopefully with new
But, to the film.
"Singing in the Rain" has a special place in my heart. It's a window on an era of cinema that itself is another window on another era in cinema. We're seeing what the people of the 1950s thought of film some thirty to forty years before during its infancy.
But, the real charm of the film is that we have a dancer who is masculine in his poetry. That, and he carries himself (to borrow from the film) with "dignity". This is another icon of male that a lot of men looked up to when the film was first released. Gene Kelley didn't ogle women, nor mistreat them. He showed gentle power through grace and poetry. A thing that today would be considered effete, or perhaps too high brow for the common man.
But, even though we see Kelley giving us his smooth cultured delivery, we're also shown his comic side. He's a clown, but a smooth one. Even the most dignified have their comedic moments. He shows us guys how to court a cute young woman like Debbie Reynolds, and shows us that a woman of quality wants a man of quality. And quality doesn't come in the form of a fat bill fold, but the shedding of baser impulses, and embracing of the heart.
Then we have Cosmo, the a-sexual friend whose relegated to the realm of emasculated dudeness. He's the class clown who never grew up. Does he date? We don't know. But then again, does it matter? He seems happy and content to play second string to Kelley's Lockwood character, but shines himself as he brings us the former Vaudevillian turned Hollywood supporting star.
Then, there's Reynold's Kathy Selden character, who takes pot shots at the big boys from her humble station. She is elevated to professional performer status from her Catskills beginnings as a side show girl. She's beautiful and charming when she isn't being jealous of those who made it into "the industry", and is taken under the wing of Kelley's smitten character.
The plot thickens with Jean Haggen's Lina Lamont, the not-so-ditzy blonde with a nose for leverage. She may not know art, but she knows what she likes. And she likes getting the lime light, and it doesn't matter whose talent she has to exploit to get that light shining on her instead of those making her the starlet she's been made into.
There's the head of the studio, the high energy director, various supporting roles, and, of course, the musical numbers. Call me nuts, but I like a good musical. To me there's something reassuring about men and women being able to show their physical prowess to the creative notes conjured by a musical mind. To me that's the peak of expressionism. Why musicals have been unfairly attached to fringe and counter culture is beyond me. Sure, they're old and corny, but why attach a feminist quality to those characteristics?
The great thing about "Singing in the Rain" is that it's a musical comedy that formulaic, doesn't take itself very seriously, but is smashingly successful. The guy gets the girl in the end, and isn't that what it's all about?
"Singing in the Rain" is good old fashioned Hollywood film. It truly is, in every sense of the word. It was done in the days before CGI and green/blue-screen techniques, has its own brand of SFX, has a lot of dazzling production numbers (again, to wow the audience in the days before model spaceships and CGI), and somehow manages to focus all of that on the haphazard and somewhat rocky (yet still sweet) flavored courtship between a man who wants to be a talented star, but isn't, and a woman who should, but is held back. The two eventually meet, and romantic magic is conjured.
And I guess that's why it's my favorite film. It has all the gags and good musical numbers from days of old, but it also tells a tale of the way love ought to turn out. The way it ought to be. And, in spite of all the Hollywood gloss, glitz and glamor, it stays focused on that single message.
There's of course Gene's famous dance number, which, truth be told, should resound with every red blooded male who's ever fallen for that one special lady. It should also give us guys hope that that special lady is out there, just waiting to inspire us so that we too can go splashing, and Singing, in, the Rain.
I loved films from my days as a boy. This film was, and still is, one of my inspirations for life. If I were to go back into the film industry, hopefully, if allowed, I would be able to go back in time and visit the MGM lot during its musical hey-day, and help create magnificent films like the one I just reviewed. Something with a lot of humor, pizazz, little violence, and gentle story about a man and a woman meeting one another. I think I've always felt that... in fact I'm pretty sure I always have.
With that, I'm going to end my series of reviews here for now. Thanks all, but they just don't make 'em like this anymore.
"Singin' in the Rain" is like a theatrical necklace, strung together
with gems in the form of musical numbers and then crowned with a
sparkling diamond in the middle: the unforgettably classic title track.
The running thread in between them might be a little weak, but it's the
jewels that that win out in the end.
Each musical number carries its own unique magnitude, breathing life, emotion, charm and romance into a lackluster plot. The story is about what happens when the motion picture business in the '20s develops the first talking picture (the appropriately referenced "The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolson) and how it affects two of the business' biggest stars: Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen)...and of course their quirky piano player Cosmo (played by physical humor extroadinaire Donald O'Connor). Underlying it all is Lockwood's love for a wannabe actress Kathy Selden played by Debbie Reynolds, a relationship built on one of the more preposterous Hollywood fantasies.
Because of the plot's unoriginality and the sometimes lengthy tangents the songs take you on, "Singin' in the Rain" is enjoyed by the scene. As a viewer, you pick your favorites and pay more attention to them, dismissing those that bore. O'Connor's humorous turn in "Make 'Em Laugh" is a surefire favorite as is "Moses (Supposes)" and of course "Singin' in the Rain." The choreography and the non-stop energy in these numbers makes them so fun and easy to watch. Other scenes like "Broadway Rhythm Ballet" fit the tastes of the dancing connoisseurs as Cyd Charisse steals you away from the film for a good 15 minutes with her incredible shape and grace.
There's also a good amount of gags and slapstick filler between numbers, but the numbers are what make "Singin' in the Rain" stand out. The title number is about the only one that perfectly accompanies the storyline. Don is so head over heels for Kathy that he could sing and dance carelessly out in the pouring rain. That's what makes the scene stick out as classic: most of the other numbers are not extensions of the storyline, they're detours from it, but "Singin' in the Rain" endures on this glorious number.
When asked which musical film I remember best, few if any can compare to this all time memory maker. "Singing in The Rain" has it all. A simple but impressive story which winds itself through several decades of various films. Gene Kelly stars as Don Lockwood, a city hoofer who enjoys being a popular and noted 'silent' celebrity by everyone except Kathy Seldon (Debbie Reynolds) who rebuffs him by saying about movies, 'if you've seen one, you've seen them all.' His life long friend Cosmo Brown, played by (Donald O'Connor) is magically talented both singing and dancing which is nearly impossible for the obstacle in the picture, one Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen). When the studio discovers that silent pictures are obsolete, the director R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell) launches a new course for his cast, one which does not include Lamont. The movie is filled with many dance routines, which includes perhaps the most remembered song and dance number in Hollywood. I remember it well. Excellent film for any generation. ****
It's between "The Sound of Music" and "Singin' in the Rain" for the
best movie musical, in my opinion. It's difficult to choose, but this
might be it. This film proves to be so funny that it could make a great
comedy on its own. However, the songs really add something to the story
and now I can't imagine the film without them. In an Oscar-nominated
performance, it is Jean Hagen that cracks me up the most and really
steals the show. She can't sing and act, but she can certainly make an
audience laugh. Watching the three main stars (Gene Kelly, Donald
O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds) sing "Good Morning" is one of my
favorite moments of the film, not to mention Kelly's "Singin' in the
Rain" scene being one of the most famous moments on film. Donald
O'Conner's "Make 'em Laugh" is one of the most unforgettable musical
numbers anyone will ever see. No other musical in history has a great a
combination of comedy and great songs as this one, in my own opinion.
Considered one of the top ten films ever made, it's a personal favorite
to me as well. Possibly better than "The Sound of Music," but it's hard
for me to make that call.
**** out of ****
Singn' in the rain is an unforgettable musical that still entertains
people today.It is based in the year 1927 when talkie movies come in
and one film company is struggling to get their movies right and try to
dub their squeaky-voiced actress.When one of the actors named Don falls
into a car when trying to escape from fans he meets a woman who
mistakes him for a robber and he has to explain to her that he is a
famous actor. She introduces herself and says that she is a stage
actress.Don later introduces her to the film company and they try to
find a way of dubbing the squeaky-voiced actress in secret....
Singn' in the rain basically shows you what silent films are like and how loads of mistakes were made when talkies came in (you know, when new things come in they can't be perfect all the time).The performances and songs were excellent.
This movie is Fun for whole family and is a must see for musical fans that have not seen it yet.This is a movie that dose not deserve to be ruined by a remake.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have heart lots of eulogies about this film till now, but I could
just find DVD. Before I started to watch it, I had had a thought that
this was a ordinary musical like other films, but I was completely
wrong. Don Lockwood, Lina Lamont, Cosmo Brown and Kathy Selden. All
these characters deserve to take place in cinema history. The figures
which trio (Don, Cosmo and Kathy) displayed are so amazing and also
their transforming ability ordinary sentences to lyrics are also
brilliant. For example, when studying diction technics they transform a
sentence to a lyric.
Story basically takes progress around the four characters that I said above. Don and Lina are known as darlings by public, but Don always says this relationship is just for advertisement. Only his near friend Cosmo know this. One day Don meets with Kathy who also knows dancing in the parties. After that Don's life changes.
You can perceive this story very simple, but it isn't absolutely so.
I store this for my boring times...
This is the pinnacle of great movie making. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds
and Donald O'connor exhibited sterling chemistry in this movie. The
ability to incorporate history and romance seamlessly, is what made
this movie riveting for me.
The music was tremendous. Kelly and O'connor collaborating on the song "moses supposes" was my favorite. Debbie Reynolds exudes charm and vivaciousness, while singing "good mornin" with her co-stars. Kelly, singing "you were meant for me" to Reynolds, was touching. This movie definitely warrants consideration as the greatest movie ever. If you are ever blue, watching this movie will have you singin in the rain!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Singing in the Rain is an amazing movie that i recommend to everyone! Singing in the rain is about two actors who fall in love with each other. The main character, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), is already a big celebrity and he encounters a lady by landing in her car after an escape from a mob of fans. The lady driving the car is an aspiring actress named Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). Don falls for her at first sight, but Kathy argues with him and doesn't think he's all that great. She says that he isn't a true actor. She drops him off and he goes to an after party of his latest movie. Kathy ends up being one of the surprise dancers, and he tries to get her again, but it ends up Kathy throwing a cake into Lina Lamont's (Jean Hagen)face. Lina Lamont works with Don in all their movies. Lina despises Kathy after that moment. After quite some time, the studio is making another movie for Don and Lina. The movies they've made have all been in the silent era. The studio already starts filming their next movie, until the R.F. Simpson, the studio owner/producer says that they must either change the movie to a sound movie or just shut the whole thing down. The studio decides to jump on the bandwagon and make a sound movie, because of the success of the Jazz Singer, and the demand for more talkies. The studio starts filming the movie into a talkie. The biggest problem with the talkie is that Lina's voice is absolutely terrible for the job, but they still film the movie. When the first screening is showed, everyone thinks the movie is a joke and is terrible. After the screening, Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor), and Kathy are at Don's house. The two friends are trying to cheer up Don, and then they ponder about ways to fix the movie. Cosmo comes up with a brilliant plan to make the movie into a musical. Don and Kathy thinks it's a brilliant idea, until they remember that Lina can't sing or speak for that matter. After some thought, Cosmo has a revelation and comes up with the idea that Kathy sings for Lina. The studio thinks it's a great idea and keeps it a secret. The plan is going well until Zelda Zanders (Rita Moreno) tattles on the plan, and Lina demands that the credits say it is her voice and give no credit to Kathy. The studio and Kathy agree but to just this film. After the premiere of the movie, (which is a success), Lina shocks everyone by saying that Kathy must dub in for Lina in all her movies. Everyone is furious and tells her it's not going to happen. The audience then asks for a speech and Lina irrationally decides to go out and present a speech. When she starts speaking people realize that it wasn't her voice in the movie and demand her to sing. Lina realizes the mistake she made and runs off stage and Simpson comes up with a plan, whispers it to Don and Cosmo, and tells Kathy to sing behind the second curtain for Lina. Kathy refuses until Don begs her to. Kathy agrees but never wants to see Don again. Lina goes back on stage. The conductor asks her which song to sing and in which key. Kathy whispers to Lina to tell the conductor "Singing in the Rain" in A-Flat. Kathy starts singing and Lina starts dubbing. Offstage Don, Cosmo, and Simpson pull the curtain so Kathy is revealed. Lina doesn't know this until Cosmo goes to where Kathy is and starts singing. Lina is humiliated and runs off. Kathy starts running away, but Don tells people to stop her and he sings to her and they live happily ever after.
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