The period between the 1930s and 1950s was full of musicals, most of which are wholly forgettable (save for perhaps one song) or else simply not my cup of tea. Yet the culmination of these assembly-line studio productions is still acclaimed to this day, namely Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain, the finest film about Hollywood’s favorite subject, itself.
Many of the songs in Singin’ in the Rain, including the title one, had been written for prior films, with the common bond for most being lyricist and producer Arthur Freed. They’re catchy little ditties typical of the era, yet certain scenes are so utterly classic that the songs themselves were propelled to much greater fame than any previous film’s usage. Coupled with Gene Kelly’s incomparably energetic choreography, tunes like “Fit as a Fiddle,” “Moses Supposes,” and “Good Morning” are just plain fun to watch, while “Singin’ in the Rain” attains a time-honored status few sequences can match. The film also succeeds as a comedy, and Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” is hilarious, incredible, and exhausting to watch. The “Broadway Melody” dream sequence is classic too, with Kelly’s cavorting with Cyd Charisse and her skillfully blown scarf, though I personally think it’s overly long and disconnected from the supposed French Revolution film into which it is meant to fit.
Easily Kelly’s best film, Singin’ in the Rain gave Debbie Reynolds her first major role and immortalized Freed’s greatest songs. The lip-syncing conspiracy at the film’s climax is still imitated nowadays, and the film’s most memorable moments have been parodied to no end. Even award-winning films like The Artist have drawn inspiration from this original talkie-conversion romance. Comedy musicals don’t get much better than Singin’ in the Rain.
Best line: (Don Lockwood, as he is being hounded by fans) “Cosmo, call me a cab.” (Cosmo, smiling) “OK, you’re a cab.”Rank: 57 out of 60
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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