Singin’ in the Rain
Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
Written by Adolph Green and Betty Comden
Repeat viewing/My DVD collection
#256 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
By some miracle, a lot of very talented people reached their peak at the same time and created magic.
Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are big silent movie stars, having cranked out one swashbuckler after another. They are a hot romance according to the fan magazines. Lina believes her own PR but Don can hardly tolerate her. Don’s best friend and constant companion is pianist Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor), whom he grew up with. One day, Don meets cute with young Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). It is love at fist sight. Naturally, Lina gets her fired from her job as soon as possible.
But eventually Don and Kathy reunite and begin dating. At about this time, The Jazz Singer comes out. Monumental Productions decides it will rejigger the latest Lockwood and Lamont romance as its first talkie. This is a disaster on many levels, mostly due to Lina’s horrible speaking voice and inability to take direction. Don can see his career going through the tubes as well. Then Cosmo gets the brilliant idea of making the picture over into a musical and getting Kathy to dub Lina’s voice. With Millard Mitchell as probably the most sympathetic studio head ever put on film and Cyd Charisse as a vamp.
My plot synopsis does not begin to convey how funny this movie is. Indeed, I believe that it is so popular among musical haters because it works so well as a comedy – perhaps one of the best ever. Then there is all that glorious singing and dancing. To me, Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain” number perfectly conveys the essence of giddy new love. Even the concluding “ballet” works for me.
I have now finally decided that when anyone asks me what my all-time favorite movie is, it will be this one. Whenever I am looking for a boost I know right where to turn. It was one of the first movies I saw in a revival theater on the big screen and has not faded over years of repeated viewing. I saw it on Blu-Ray this time and it looked just gorgeous.
Singin’ in the Rain was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Supporting Actress (Hagen) and Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. I think Hagen was robbed.