This is the first in a trilogy of movies I’ll be watching with my Dad over the next few days.
The other two are Defending Your Life and Annie Hall.
Unfortunately he’s had a long week, and passed out about halfway through the film.
It does get a bit slow about halfway thru but that’s where this criticism ends.
Because Singin’ is a fantastic film that I’ll revisit someday.
Gaggery and dancing abound in this sixty two year old film.
The good news: It still holds up.
The great news: It’s entertaining and brilliant!
If you’re the stuffy type with no taste for dance numbers, singing or stage show antics of any sort; this probably isn’t the flick for you.
If that’s the case, I feel bad for you because there’s some good stuff in Singin’ in the Rain.
It’s my least favorite rating: G.
But that doesn’t detract from the plot. I forget right away.
There are a lot of pop culture references to this movie.
In The Lion King, Timon and Pumba do a hula dance that is reminiscent of the raincoat scene during the song, “Good Morning,” in Singin’.
I’m pretty certain The Artist is an homage in its entirety. The plotlines are very similar.
Both films are about a silent movie star, an annoying actress on her way out, and a cute young up-and-comer with a lot of potential. Both are set in Hollywood during the transition between silent movies and talkies.
SITR specifically is set in 1927, and Gene Kelly plays Don Lockwood, Donald O’Connor co-stars as his best friend Cosmo Brown and Debbie Reynolds plays Kathy Selden.
If you haven’t seen it, check it out! But beware the spoilers below.
First of all, this movie is primarily a satire. A very well-made one.
The different scenes moving through partially built film sets, are spectacular and fascinating. From the very beginning, with the violin performance between Don and Cosmo, the various duets and dances they perform are exceptional.
Cosmo is easily my favorite part of the film. Every once in awhile, it’s nice to have a reliable and unconflicted deuteragonist (the side kick or best friend character) behind the protagonist. Donald O’Connor turns in a remarkable performance, with several solo dances.
The film is so self-referential that the fourth wall is sort of perpetually broken throughout. I’m not certain if they ever actually commit to it.
But when Cosmo (who fills in as a screenwriter, audio recording jockey, etc. throughout) takes over for the conductor at the end of the film, it’s a pretty direct nod to the audience that everything is off the rails.
He cracks some of the best jokes, and is the source of the majority of the humor.
At one point Don and Cosmo are speaking with the studio head. The man says to Cosmo, “Remind me to make you a screenwriter.” Cosmo hands him one of his own cigars and later on the man says, “Remind me to give you a raise.”
Towards the end of the film, when the studio head becomes an antagonist, Cosmo says, “I once gave you a cigar. Can I have it back?”
It wasn’t his cigar to begin with! Hilarious, right?
To conclude this glowing review, I’ll end with a quote from Don while he courts Kathy. He’s positioning the purple artificial lighting on Debbie Reynolds, who’s seated on a ladder within a partially constructed set.
“You sure look lovely in the moonlight, Kathy.”
– Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood