Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Starring: Gene Kelly, Donald O' Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen
Directed by: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Released by: MGM Pictures
Synopsis: Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is one of the most prominent stars of the silent film era… until talking pictures entered the scene. Now, he struggles to star in a talkie film, and his mean spirited co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) isn't making things any easier. But with the help of his friends Cosmo Brown (Donald O' Connor) and Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), they will put on a show that will leave 'em dazzled, all while singing in the rain!
Review: SINGIN' IN THE RAIN! I'M SINGIN' IN THE RAIN! WHAT A GLORIOUS FEELING WE'RE HAPPY AGAIN! GONNA WALK DOWN THE LANE, WITH A HAPPY REFRAIN! I'M SINGIN', SINGIN' IN THE RAIN!
If there is a film I am kicking myself for missing it all these years is Singin' in the Rain. It truly is one of the best musicals ever produced. This is all thanks to the talent and charisma of Gene Kelly, who also directs (with the help of Stanley Donen) and choreographs. Even when he is playing a very proud film star, belittled by the advent of talking pictures, he is still very likable and a classy gentleman. Right alongside Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly defines the big, Hollywood musical, and Singin' in the Rain is considered to be one of his best works. He is able to act, sing and dance, all in perfect harmony.
The best part of the film, though, is that the supporting cast is able to keep up with him, and in Donald O' Connor's case, he is able to surpass Kelly in sheer energy in the song number "Make 'em Laugh". Jean Hagen's Lina Lamont may not sing or dance, but she does a fantastic job playing the film's antagonist, delivering some of the best, non musical scenes in the film. Speaking of musical numbers, the music is the heart of the film while the dancing is the soul. Every song and dance number dazzle in their professionalism, something that is fueled further by the energy of the performers. The symbolic "Singin' in the Rain" number defines not just the movie but the whole genre, a feat that no film has been able to accomplish to this day.
It is also quite funny! Singin' in the Rain gently parodies Hollywood's transition from silent to talking films. Everything from the actors' lack of talent to all the technical difficulties they experience adorns this whimsical look at pictures. If the disastrous film preview of "The Dueling Cavalier" doesn't make you giggle, nothing else will.
A potential issue some fans may have with the film, though, is that the plot and character development is thin. Unlike other musicals like Fred Astaire's The Band Wagon and Julie Andrews' The Sound of Music, the plot in Singin' in the Rain may come off as shallow, relying only on the charisma of its performers and the song and dance numbers to carry it through. Luckily, the films is so well made that some people may not care at all and just sit back and enjoy the show.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Singin' in the Rain is more than deserving of the title "best film ever made". Nothing was spared to create a film that dazzles in its iconic choreography, and it's all complemented by some of the most talented actors to have ever graced the silver screen. Their spirits shall live on in anyone that have looked at the rain and started humming a happy song.
Rating: 5 filmstrips out of 5