The honest truth is I’ve been excited to write about this movie ever since the idea of this website popped into my head. I was trying to give it a bit more time, but I don’t care. I’m doing it now and you will like it!
I remember the very first time I saw this film. It was in music class in elementary school. I don’t remember what I initially thought of it. But the official analysis of this masterpiece in my 9-year-old head was probably something like “this movie is old.” I hadn’t seen it again for a very long time until this past year when I rediscovered it. It is now one of my most personally treasured films. As well as one of the most admired in American cinematic history. Ranking at #5 on the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest films of all time. As well as widely considered the greatest movie musical ever created.
The film’s success, however, has come over a period of time. At the time it was simply a routine movie. Just another one of dozens of pictures being pumped out by studios like a factory. It was met with moderate box office success and was only nominated for two Academy Awards. Best Supporting Actress for Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont. And Best Original Music Score. It was once considered inferior to Gene Kelly’s previous musical, An American in Paris, which had won 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture. But times have changed, and it has since been re-analyzed and Singing in the Rain has stood out from all the rest.
Taking place in the glamorous world of Hollywood 1927, this film is packed with humor, romance, and breathtaking dance numbers. As well as overflowing with memorable songs. It is truly a masterclass in pure entertainment value, which is an art unto itself. How is it so perfect? Well, it starts with Co-Director/Choreographer/Leading Man, Mr. Gene Kelly. He was well known as a perfectionist. He was described as very easy to work with, as long as you know exactly what you are doing. He did everything he could to make sure each scene was done to the perfection. On the days of shooting the famous title song dance number, Kelly was sick with a 103-degree fever. The scene took 3 days to film with water pouring down on him for 6 hours. But the scene turned out perfectly and appears as joyful as can be.
Debbie Reynolds plays the beautiful female lead, Kathy Selden. She had no dancing experience prior to the film and worked day and night to keep up. They shot the “Good Morning” dance from 8am to 11pm. Reynolds feet were bleeding at the end and she has since described Singin’ in the Rain as one of the hardest things she’s ever done. I say it was well worth it. Debbie plays Kathy perfectly and I personally don’t think it would be the same without her.
And another ingredient to this film which I believe to be one of the most important, the reason I love this film so much, Donald O’ Conner. His role as Cosmo Brown is the absolute perfect comedic sidekick. It is impossible not to smile every time he appears on screen. He is also a perfect match for Gene Kelly when it comes to the intense dancing. The “Moses Supposes” scene is easily the most incredible dancing I’ve ever seen put on film. It is probably my favorite scene in the movie. It is the scene that made me realize I love musicals. For a second everything disappears and you can just let these two guys entertain you like never before.
Watch and be Amazed:
The movie musical is truly an American invention. They changed the way that film could entertain audiences and have shaped movies today, Singin’ in the Rain is the greatest example of this. It is beloved by so many people of all ages. If I ever got abducted by aliens, and they had Apple TV on their spaceship, this would be the movie I would show them. And I know that they would love it!