Singin' in the Rain (1952) / Musical-Comedy
MPAA Rated: G, suitable for all audiences
Running Time: 103 min.
Cast: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Conner, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charrise
Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Screenplay: Adolph Green, Betty Comden
Review published June 17, 1999
Boy, I can't stand musicals. Well, I shouldn't say that, more like I am incapable of understanding them. Something about breaking out into song every five minutes singing and dancing to a band that's no where to be seen and using lyrics presumably out of thin air. It's truly a surreal experience that not many ever stop to think about. Well, I notice that I have a dearth of musicals on my review list so thought I needed to bolster things up in that area. And what better musical to start with than the one hyped as the "greatest musical of all time"?
In the year 1927, silent movies were still the norm, and actors Don Lockwood (Kelly, An American in Paris) and Lina Lamont (Jagen, The Asphalt Jungle) are two of filmdom's biggest silent stars. Some years later, The Jazz Singer is released and soundies become the latest sensation, causing the studio making Don and Lina's latest film, The Dueling Cavalier to add sound and dialogue. The downside? Lina is beautiful, but a low-class bimbo with an grating, whiny voice, contrary to her screen image. Pre-screenings of the film point to the fact that release of the film will not only bomb, but also kill the careers of its two stars. What to do? Well, dub over Lina's voice and make it a musical is what!
The truly unbelievable talents of Gene Kelly and Donald O'Conner (Toys) are a marvel to behold. Breathtaking is the only way to describe the dance pieces, which also contain some of the most memorable songs in film history. This is a film made by people who truly care, with every scene a true labor of love, and it shows with every frame. And the colors are gorgeous, with beautiful sets and costumes. Great actors, great songs, great writing, a truly great film. Why not five stars? To be honest, I must admit that there were times I found the film boring, even if there were times I was excited by the dancing. All in all, a marvelous motion picture.
©1997 Vince Leo