Singin’ in the Rain (1952), directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen may be my all-time favorite mix-tape that you try give a narrative. I’ve seen few musicals that have made me stop what I am doing; the rest typically leave me searching for other things to do until the film is over. I seem to have an aversion to sudden song-and-dance routines. Singin’ in the Rain mangles that predisposition; I knew that I should like it and within ten minutes, nothing else on the planet mattered.
Singin’ in the Rain follows the story of Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Jean Hagen as they make the transition from the silent film era into talkies. They are aided by Debbie Reynolds when they need to fix a film that previewed poorly. They also sing and dance, masterfully, but only a few of the songs moved the story, polarizing the film in my heart. As mentioned in one of the extra features, the title song added absolutely nothing to the story but is one of the most iconic numbers in the history of cinema.
I have learned that, prior to the film, Debbie Reynolds was not a “dancer” having only gymnastics experience. I know a thing or two about people who are not dancers running through routines, then I go back and watch “Good Morning” a second time and slowly gather my jaw, which has recently come loose from my face. She more than holds her own during the performance, stuffed between Kelly and O’Connor, two highly trained dancers, which shows just how much practice and intense study can enhance a performance.
The movie, near as I can tell, was a tool that Kelly used to push out content. Do not let that detract from the marvel of the film; I do not mean that at all. I looked for push back and hoops that he had to jump through, but I was not able to dig much up. It seems to be an instance of an artist continuously producing content, which is as important a lesson as any other. As long as there is more that you need to say, you have to say it. Make notes of what you want in another piece and revisit the notes when you can; mix and match them as it works, but just keep working.
I watched the Blu-ray that was released last year. The picture was gorgeous but it was the color blew me away; this is a prime example of Technicolor. I very highly recommend this release.