Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

singin in the rain poster 1952 movie
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Big, flashy, clever, one of the best musicals of all time

Some might not be able to make it through the dancing numbers

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Singin’ in the Rain

Studio:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Genre(s):  Musical

Release Date(s): March 27, 1952 (Premiere)/April 10, 1952 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

singin in the rain debbie reynolds gene kelly

A true Hollywood picture?

Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) have a successful career in the movies and are pursued by the press.  When The Jazz Singer is introduced, things are going to change.  Lina’s voice is not the voice of a star, and Don wonders if he is really an actor at when a preview screening of their first talkie goes wrong.  Don must find a solution to his problem with his girlfriend Kathy Seldon (Debbie Reynolds) and friend musician Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor).  Now Don, Kathy, and Cosmo have a plan but will it work to save the movie and Don’s career?

Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, Singin’ in the Rain is a musical romance-comedy.  The film was well received upon its release but was not a box office hit.  It received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Jean Hagen) and Best Musical Scoring.  It was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1989.

singin in the rain good morning gene kelly donald oconnor debbie reynolds

These guys know how to party!

Gene Kelly dancing and singing on the street in a downpour is classic cinema…and even if you have not seen the film, you have probably seen this sequence.  Singin’ in the Rain is a classic through and throughout though it does have some of the pitfalls of classic musicals of the period.

The story of Singin’ in the Rain is a fun great story, but it actually came second. The music for the movie was written first, and the script had to be written around it.  It is a musical, but even more so a dance picture.  The movie features a number of dance number that sometimes get a little long but also show the grandeur of old Hollywood.  It reminds me a lot of Gene Kelly’s An American in Paris which also has a number of long dance scenes and won Best Picture the previous year…but in many ways this entry is more story driven.

singin in the rain gene kelly dance light pole umbrella

A Clockwork Orange? Never heard of it…

The period of Hollywood covered in the picture was a game changer.  The experiments in sound and those opposed to bringing sound to the pictures had ramifications that are still felt today.  If The Jazz Singer had bombed, who knows where movies would be today.  The material was toyed with again in The Artist, and both pictures show how difficult it was for some actors to make the jump stylistically and vocally to being in a talking picture.  Hagen’s character was based on Norma Talmadge who failed to make the transition.

The ironic thing about the whole movie is the Debbie Reynolds factor.  She wasn’t really a dancer when she made the film and her singing voice wasn’t where it really needed to be.  She carries her scenes, but she’s actually dubbed for many of the songs, and Hagen (whose voice is supposed to be awful) had a great voice.  Hagen actually sang her own song at a point when Reynolds was supposed to be dubbing her.  Kelly and O’Connor are perfect in their dance numbers.

singin in the rain ending debbie reynolds jean hagen

That’s right…I’m taking credit now!

The movie pops.  The bright Technicolor look of musicals from the period really highlight filmmaking of the time, and the set-based movie benefits from the control a set creates.  The look, the style, and the music of the movie is perfect.

Singin’ in the Rain is a spectacle of old Hollywood but it was made as Hollywood was reinventing itself again.  The movie is visually stunning.  The plot is compelling (though too easily solved), and those who can’t handle a dance numbers might struggle since they are extensive.  If nothing else, sit back and watch the scene and enjoy the nice soundtrack and look of the film.  It’s a classic.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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