Singin in the Rain comes from a time when movie musicals were stories with music added and Singin’ in the Rain is one of the best of them. This is because it showcases the classic talents of Gene Kelly, who holds the movie together, steals whole scenes and manages to be the all-singing, all-dancing entertainer that they don’t quite make anymore.
The amazing feats of Gene Kelly come into play almost immediately. It says something that the “star” of the movie is introduced as quite obnoxious to begin with but as the story moves forward, he wins the audience over. This is because he is a traditional, all-teeth smiling leading man. It also helps that his voice is incredible, holding some great notes in some great songs, and his dancing is incredible to behold. In a time when dance has evolved to encompass all styles and a range of variations, there is something about Kelly’s dancing, be it prat-falls or something more grand and traditional, that still impresses.
Of course, Singin’ in the Rain isn’t just a showcase for Kelly’s talents. There is a decent story behind it all too. Its one that has been told many times since but Singin’ in the Rain tracks the change of movies from the silent era to the “talkies.” Of course, this spells disaster for Kelly’s Don Lockwood when he realises that the traditional leading lady he usually works with, played by Jean Hagen, has a voice that won’t suit the new genre. In steps Debbie Reynolds’ Kathy, who has a grand idea to make it all work.
Its a simple enough plot and won’t surprise anyone with twists or shocks but it has enough about it that your interest will hold. It is also a simple enough “song delivery system” for the many classics on show here. There are some great songs in Singin’ in the Rain, from the titular classic, “Make ’em laugh” or “Good Morning.” Its a shame then that at points these songs just seem very randomly inserted, as if written and then placed in the movie as an afterthought.
Being a musical, it also suffers from having songs which don’t match-up and are quite frankly dull, especially when compared to the great songs already mentioned. Add to this a whole sequence in which Gene Kelly gets to dance and sing with chorus girls, which feels very random indeed, and you get some moments of the film where you start to check your watch.
Overall, Singin’ in the Rain is a classic musical which has a great central performance from one the “Great Entertainers” in Gene Kelly. The singing and dancing are impressive, as are the best of the songs which many will recognise as instant hits. The story is simple enough and works as a song delivery system but some of those songs don’t work as well and there are some moments which feel too random, or worse, dull!
Rating – 4
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