“Our love will last till the stars turn cold.” That line from “Singin’ in the Rain
” perfectly sums up the sensibility of its director, Stanley Donen
: absolute sincerity wedded to knowing irony. When Gene Kelly
’s Don Lockwood says that to Debbie Reynolds
’ Kathy Seldon, he’s actually quoting a line from the cornball movie he’s just made with Jean Hagen
for which he has contempt: “The Duelling Cavalier.” But what Lockwood comes to recognize is that, polished just right, hokum can be made to sparkle — and can convey genuine feeling. Is “Our love will last till the stars turn cold” silly? Sure. But it’s beautiful too, and who wants to be so cynical as not to recognize that?
Donen, who died February 23 at age 94 after a nearly 70-year career across film and theater, recognized what so few do today: that two seemingly contradictory things can be true at the same time.