Friday, June 17, 2016

AFI Top 100, #10: "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)

Movie Stats:
Released 1952 (USA)
American, in English
Directors - Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
Stars - Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Plot Summary:
Silent film pair Don Lockwood (Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Hagen) have a difficult time transitioning to “talkies.” O’Connor co-stars as Don’s piano-playing, lifelong pal, Cosmo Brown, and Reynolds as Don’s love interest, Kathy Selden.

Minor violence.

Bad Stuff:
I’ve never been keen on the modern-dance sequence toward the end of the film. In addition to simply not liking it, I also feel that it doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie. I liked it better this time around because I appreciated the technique and beauty of it, but I still think it’s out of place.

There are some very clunky scene cuts. It’s jarring.

Good Stuff:
The singing! The dancing! The costumes! The sets! The physical comedy! The snappy dialogue!

God, I love Jean Hagen in this. She’s so funny. That voice. And the fact that she sings in that voice. Singing in a voice that’s not your natural speaking voice can’t be easy.

It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s feel-good.

The Verdict:
I used to be very anti-musical (I was convinced that I didn’t like the genre as a whole; I was wrong), so most of my life was musical-free. The first time I saw this one was about nine years ago. My then-new-guy-I-was-dating-now-husband suggested we watch it very early on in our relationship. He’s not exactly the type of guy you look at and think to yourself, “There’s a guy who likes musicals.” But he likes this one, and his enthusiasm convinced me to give it a shot. I’m so glad I did!

I love this film. It’s fun and funny. The music is great. The dancing is great. There’s virtually nothing to dislike about it. I re-watch it at least once a year. (My husband and I also occasionally sing “Good morning!” to each other because we’re dorks.) Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about it. If you’ve never seen it, there’s no time like the present!

I give it 4.5 stars.


Patricia said...

I've found fast forwarding through that modern dance sequence is a key to the re-watching experience. It really drags. But it doesn't drag at all in fast forward mode! Cyd Charisse's legs, though! Man!

It's kind of amazing that this was released 22 years before my birth and I still think about it, probably as much as once per week. Just the other day I found myself, apropos of nothing, walking to the train and singing "Beautiful Girl".

Such a good movie! Among its perfection, I also love the details. When Lena Lamont is wearing that crazy costume with the wig she has a beauty spot that's a small star.

balyien said...

I noticed the star this time! Dan and I quote this movie to each other all the time. I once cracked him up by, out of the blue, texting him, "Oh, I love you! I love you! I love you! I love you! I love you!" We've also been known to chant at one another, "Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously." Lol.

Thanks for the tip on fast forwarding through the modern dance scene. A most excellent idea!

Also, I agree about Cyd Charisse's legs.