I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Movie Musical Challenge: Singin' in the Rain

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
In Movie Musical Challenge, I'm watching all 25 picks for AFI's Greatest musicals starting from the bottom.  Number 1 is the 1952 film Singin' in the Rain starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor.

I made it to through the list! And I had this delightful film to reward me.  I am very happy that Singin' in the Rain made the top of the AFI list, because it is such a wonderful musical movie.  The numbers are catchy, the dancing is excellent, and the story is full of humor and romance.  And it has Gene Kelly. :D  I love this film, so let's explore why it made the top spot.

It's interesting that a film with quite a simple story is just so good.  It's a look at the move from silent film to talking pictures, it's a romance between a movie star and a budding actress, and it's a light-hearted romp with three very likable characters.  The story may be simple, but the script is clever and entertaining from the first scenes.  The montage of Don Lockwood and his friend Cosmo's childhood which paints a very different story to how Don is telling it, is so humorous and wonderfully done.  And it exudes character.  You understand them completely from just the first few minutes.  Even with Lina Lamont, who doesn't do too much right away nor does she speak, but you know what kind of person she is from just one scene.

The script was cobbled together from the songs which was the starting point.  So the songs are very important in the story.  Singin' in the Rain of course, is wonderful, exuberant, joyful and a thousand other positive adjectives.  It's a simple dance though, but the emotion of it is so evident in the choreography.  But there are so many fun, joyful dances throughout this film - Donald O'Connor shines in Make 'Em Laugh, and the main trio have a fantastic romp in Good Morning.  The ballad You Were Meant for Me  is so prettily lit and prettily danced - I mean, everything is just so on point with this film.

And then there's the dance sequence near the end.  It's supposed to be an imagining of what the historical film they are making will look like when it has the modern scenes added into it.  I'm a little iffy on if it all entirely makes sense with the film as a whole, but on it's own, it's such a beautiful piece.  There's some romance, tragedy and a celebration of dance and theater.  It has it's own story arc which is really pretty clever, and it also has Cyd Charisse who is such an amazing dancer.  It feels like an interlude from the movie because tonally it's so different too, but I still love it.  It's brilliant on it's own, so it doesn't matter!

I think Singin in the Rain is in the top spot because it's a classic 'Golden Age of Hollywood' movie musical.  The genre of a movie musical was still being explored, and this film took everything that people loved about the genre - just the joy and the fun - and put it all into the story and the songs and perfectly illustrated it with the actors.  And for such a simple story, it is still appealing and funny today.

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