Friday, September 12, 2008
Singin' in the Rain
Singin' in the Rain; comedy / musical, USA, 1952; D: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, S: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Jean Hagen
Hollywood, late 1 9 2 0s. The world premiere of the silent movie "The Royal Rascal" is under way and even star Don Lockwood drops by to tell the audience how his friend Cosmo Brown helped him act and how he started his movie career as a stuntman. Running away from his fans, Don falls into the car of a girl named Kathy and falls in love with her. At the cinemas, the first talking movie becomes a huge hit so the producers order Don to also make one. But the main actress, blond Lina, has such a high-pitch voice that the audience is rolling on the floor from laughter during the premiere of the film. The producers thus pull the film to transform it from a drama to a musical, while Don persuades Kathy to dub Lina's voice. Lina presents her voice as her own, but Don discovers Kathy's potentials and they make a movie together, "Singin' in the Rain".
Shining comedy-musical with nine great dance sequences in total won a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy (Donald O'Connor) and was nominated for two Oscars (music, excellent supporting actress Jean Hagen who plays the hilarious blond Lina with an absurdly high-pitch voice) and for a BAFTA (best film), whereas some even consider it the best musical of the 20th century. "Singin in the Rain" astounds with unusually funny moments: for instance, O'Connor dances with a flabby doll and knocks himself on the door so he makes grimaces to "straighten" his face; Don and Lina verbally insult each other while they are acting to be hugging and cuddling for their silent movie; during the shooting of the sound movie, Lina constantly turns her head left-right in front of the microphone, so only her every second word is heard. Especially funny is the sneak preview of that film where the sound has been delayed, so Lina speaks with her voice, and then with the voice of a man. One could complain about the first 15 minutes which are rather lax, and a few wooden characters, but otherwise this nostalgic metafilm musical comedy about the beginning of the sound era in Hollywood is done just right and is still a wonderful story, especially in the legendary sequence where the protagonist is singing in the rain.