Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Singin' in the Rain. Film Review. On more than one occassion had i expressed my inclination love toward the magic that is musical films. And as hard as i tried to look into the history of the cinema, i was having a considerable difficulties in trying to find any one of musical films that i hadn't liked. Anyway, some (even many) critics had put this film among the top film of all-time. At any length, i won't deny the claim nor approve of it for fear that i won't made a fair assumption given my inclination in favor toward musical films.

And oh, i luuuuuv tap dance. And since Singin' in the Rain collides these two activities (singing and tap-dancing) into one of the utmost enjoyable film i've ever seen, it should've been no wonder at all if i said that this film is at a very least, the best musical film ever made by Hollywood. Although of course, given the premise that this film incorporates two elements that i liked very much to a point where it felt incredulous and ridiculous, such statement would and should be at best, regarded with a grain of salt. However, please allow me to back up my opinion with deeper thoughts than such which i've already said.

The film, aside from it being from Hollywood, was all about Hollywood during the transition era from silent film to incorporate audio. This transition allegedly become a grim reaper for actors whom even though had enduring a significant fame during the silent era failed to pronounce the acceptable diction required to survive the dawn of the sound era. Such actor was presented by Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) a typical shallow-blond-and-famous actress in this film. She was pushed by the studio as the leading lady and a companion fa├žade to everyone's favorite actor, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) whose roots and - probably - preferences lies in dancing and singing. In a flahsback scene, Don recounts his journey to fame with his long friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor) when they clawed themselves up from comedy musicians to where they are now.

It clearly shows that Don can't stand Lina even though he has to manage their united, romantic front to fans who adored him beyond reasons. In one of the adoring moment, Don had to escape from his voracious fans and stumbled upon a lively and honest Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) who as it turns out had a significant talent in dancing and singing. Don immediately attracts to Debbie, and she would later comes into play to the relationship both career-wise and personal-wise with Don when there arose a need to dub Lina's voice into their first ever talking film. From here on, the film went the right away we all know and totally familiar with. No surprises.

The strength of this film was of course lies in the singing and dancing sequences (coreographed by Gene Kelly himself, among others). One of the most remembered scene of the film, there'd be no doubt about it, was when Gene Kelly, with an umbrella in his hand, grinning happily not unlike that of a teenager just smitten with a first love, singing the eternal song which also become the title of this film under the shower of rains. However, my favorite dancing scene, had you asked me about it right now, was "Good Morning" where Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds did a trio tap-dancing.

Aside from that, the casts were perfect. Debbie Reynolds, just eighteen when she landed the role able to emanates the energy, innocence and curious beauty needed for the Kathy part. Donald O'Connor had a very magnificent solo dancing scene during "Make 'Em Laugh" scores. And Gene Kelly, should i say anything more about him? The word "Singin' In The Rain" would forever attached along to his name. Forever.

If you like me, had a penchant to musical film, you must give this film a chance. I had a brief argument with my gf about which one is better, "Sound of Music" or this film. She stood with the former, and i stood with this film because this film is about Hollywood, and it was certainly a much lighter film to enjoy than "Sound of Music". Is it one of the best film of all-time? I would again, as with the case of Citizen Kane, refused to answer the question. But, is it one of the best musical film of all-time? Yes, certainly. Not merely one of, but in my opinion, this film was indeed the best musical film of all-time.

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