By: Emily Kellas
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Now that we are well into the showers of April, nothing feels more appropriate than reviewing a film that is not only considered the greatest musical of all time, but contains a truly spectacular wet weather dance sequence that rivals any experienced puddle jumper. This week’s retro review is MGM’s 1952 gem Singin’ in the Rain. Directed by Stanley Donan, and Gene Kelly, who also stars, Singin’ in the Rain has remained a seminal classic in the movie musical genre.
The story follows the transition in the Hollywood industry from silent to sound film during 1927, and all of the troubles, and tribulations that were inherent in its introduction. Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are silent film stars who have trouble finding their bearings in the sound era as they try to recapture their fame with their newest film The Dueling Cavalier. When Lockwood runs into Kathy Seldon (Debbie Reynolds) through some interesting circumstances he realizes her voice is what could save his career, and The Dueling Cavalier. As the film is shot Don and Kathy find themselves falling in love, to the displeasure of screeching siren Lina.
At its heart Singin’ in the Rain is a fun love story full of MGM classic tunes, stellar dance scenes, and commentary on one of Hollywood’s more turbulent eras. As mentioned all of the songs used in the film where old songs that had been gathering dust in the MGM archives that seemed to pull together to create a truly cohesive picture. From the infectious “Good Morning,” to the slapstick “Make ‘em Laugh,” and of course, the joyous “Singin’ in the Rain” the film is filled from beginning to end with superb songs.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible choreography that seems to only add to the power the songs yield. Choreographed by non-other than Kelly himself, there are some of Hollywood’s most iconic dance moments all in just this one film. “Broadway Rhythm Ballet” is an incredible sequence that features Kelly, and guest dancer, the famed Cyd Charisse as Kelly tries to find his niche in the entertainment business. But perhaps the most famous dance moment of Kelly’s career, and rightfully so, comes from his performance of the films title song. Kelly’s fancy footwork has his character skipping, bouncing, leaping, swinging and just plain jumping his way from rain puddle to rain puddle in full contentment and happiness as his love for Kathy Seldon blooms.
Singin’ in the Rain is a film that I can, time and time again, lose myself in completely. Surrounded by the melodious music, the sweet steps, the boisterous humor, the historical relevant plot, and the unforgettable characters the viewer can’t help but to fall in love instantly with Singin’ in the Rain. It truly makes one rethink dreary days like today, and helps to find the hidden potential in those April rain drops. Who wants to go puddle jumping?