singin' in the rain

As most of my fellow film gluttons certainly know, TCM held their regular "31 Days of Oscar" film festival last month (God bless 'em). One of the many fantastic films I caught was the classic MGM musical (some say the best of all time) Singin' in the Rain.

My friend David, knowing I'd seen it, has asked me repeatedly for a few thoughts. So, here goes:

  1. I should have seen this movie long ago. Before watching it, I had no idea of the plot (a 1920's movie studio scrambles to keep up with the sudden demand for "talkies"). For a bonafide movie buff like me, the in-jokes were priceless. It's always so much fun to see the movie industry poke fun at itself.
  2. Gene Kelly is a badass. His dance numbers are insane... especially the "Singin' in the Rain" sequence. I've since read that he actually had a flu and high fever while filming that. Awesome.
  3. I already knew I loved Cyd Charisse from her turn as Fiona in Brigadoon. The hot "Broadway" number in this film cements that for me.
  4. This is, refreshingly, a plain old comedic musical. It's not epic and comedic like Sound of Music, or epic and dramatic like Fiddler on the Roof. It's just really satisfying. I totally dug it.
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7 Response to "singin' in the rain"

  1. Marilyn says:
    March 18, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    I can never decide if this one or The Band Wagon is the best--or my favorite. Let's just call them identical twins that I love equally.

    Welcome to the initiated!

  2. Chris Phoenix says:
    March 18, 2008 at 3:22 PM

    I think you nailed one of my favorite aspects of this movie. It's a movie about the movies! Gene Kelly is amazing, but how about that Donald O'Connor. I'm also surprised at how well Debbie Reynolds holds up to these two given she came into the film with no real dance experience. According to an imdb trivia factoid: "Gene Kelly insulted Debbie Reynolds for not being able to dance. Fred Astaire, who was hanging around the studio, found her crying under a piano and helped her with her dancing."

    Which brings me to my next topic. I think I'm one of the rare people who prefers Fred Astaire over Gene Kelly. If you haven't checked ou Fred Astaire, I recommend Swing Time.

  3. Marilyn says:
    March 18, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    Chris, I like Fred more, too. His style makes everything look easy. Kelly's makes everything look hard.

  4. Nayana Anthony says:
    March 18, 2008 at 3:33 PM

    Chris, you are totally right about Donald O'Connor... how about "Make 'Em Laugh"? He did some Matrix moves, almost 50 years before the Matrix.

    I have actually read that Reynolds came to Singin' with no previous dancing experience, but it was Kelly who trained her... and in the end she held her own. Kind of a real-life Dirty Dancing story.

    As far as Kelly vs. Astaire, I'm one of the even fewer people who doesn't compare the two. I loved Astaire in Holiday Inn, but I also like Gene Kelly in the movies that I've seen him in (Brigadoon among them). I just think the two are so different... it's like asking if I like Edward Norton or Ryan Gosling better, just because they both played neo-Nazis at one point.

  5. Pat says:
    March 18, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    I think "Singin' in the Rain" is wonderful and so much fun. Glad you loved it, too!

    My minor quibble is that I don't think Reynolds and Kelly are all that interesting a couple, not much chemistry there. (Possibly because Renyolds was barely 18 when they made it, whereas Kelly was pushing 40.) I've also heard that Kelly was pretty mean to the much-less experienced Reynolds, and frequently had her in tears.

    I'm always relieved when their scenes together end, and the movie gets back to Jean Hagen or Donald O'Connor.

  6. Anonymous Says:
    March 18, 2008 at 8:49 PM

    I agree ... Kelly is a bad-ass. Also, with Pat, I didn't think he and Reynolds were that great together, but poor Debbie: Kelly and O'Connor are awful hard to stand up to. And Jean Hagen is just a hoot.

  7. Nayana Anthony says:
    March 19, 2008 at 9:51 AM

    If that's true about Gene Kelly being mean to 18-year-old Debbie Reynolds, I can totally feel her pain. I remember being that young, working in an office, and having a 40-ish boss who was very abusive. I think he took advantage of me because I was so naive... If I could go back, eleven years later, I would soooo kick his ass!

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