The 1952 MGM Technicolor spectacular ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is an amusing depiction of the troubles which occur in a silent film production company with the introduction of the talking picture. Don Lockwood (played by Gene Kelly), along with his co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) have become an iconic silent film couple but unfortunately Lina has a less-than-attractive voice. Don and the other studio big-wigs realise they’re in trouble when they’re due to make ‘The Dancing Caviller’, their first ‘talkie’ to date. Don causes jealousy and friction with Lina when he dubs her voice using a beautiful aspiring actress Kathy Seldon (Debbie Reynolds) and begins to fall in love with her.Now, It’s well known that I don’t like musicals, and if I’m being brutal, despite an amusing storyline and frankly awesome performance from Donald O’Connor as Cosmo, the film felt strangely disjointed and didn’t really flow all that well. Sometimes musical numbers seemed completely random, almost to the point where I was getting confused as to how the lavish musical numbers fitted into the plot – It all made sense when I later read up on the film and discovered that most of the the songs were already written and the plot of the film had to be engineered to join them all together. It doesn’t ruin the film, but clearly it’s noticeable.
For it’s era, Singin’ in the Rain is a spectacle to behold. Gene Kelly’s incredible choreography, The vivid Technicolor, the sets, the costumes and the sheer energy in this film are all pretty much impossible to beat – even by today’s standards. As much as certain members of the cast later spoke out against the difficulty of working with Gene Kelly (Debbie Reynolds once said that the two hardest things she ever did were give birth and make this film) but you can’t help admit that he helped to craft an incredible piece of cinematic history. Like I said, I don’t really enjoy musicals or show tunes, but the visuals and dancing in this picture were enough to keep me captivated; at times it felt like I was watching a live-action version of a Looney Tunes cartoon.
I noticed, as I’m sure many people did, the striking similarities between this film and the 2012 Oscar winning picture ‘The Artist’ which also dealt with actors trying to survive in Hollywood during the first introduction of ‘talking pictures’. In ‘The Artist’ the character of George Valentin (played by Jean Dujardin) is almost certainly influenced by Gene Kelly’s Don Lockwood proving that Singin’ in the Rain has continued to influence generations of young actors, writers and musicians. It has become a widely known piece of pop culture iconography for understandable reasons and as such, it deserves it’s place in cinematic history.
Also, has anyone else noticed how much Mandy Patinkin Resembles Gene Kelly? If not for the massive age difference I’d swear those guys had been separated at birth.
Bottom Line: If you like a good musical, you’ll love it. If you don’t like musicals; it’s still watchable.