I saw Singin’ In The Rain Friday night on the big screen for the very first time at American Ceinematheque’s Aero theater. I consider myself a musical lover and am somehow astonished that it took me this long to finally see this gem. The perfect holiday rainy weeked event I must say.
The story of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), silent film star, and his attempt to join the talkie revolution after the Jazz Singer becomes a huge success. Lockwood’s screen partner Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) is an obstacle to this effort with her Brooklyn Screeching. Aided by his very talented pianist/best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) and his newly found lady love Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) he finds a way to turn their latest silent movie into a Talkie Hit with a little singin’ a lot of extraordinary dancin’ and a bit of dubbin’!
Of course Singin’ In The Rain is co-directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly. I have fallen in love! I loved the Artist, but had no idea that it was essentially a dramatic reenvisioning of Singin’ In the Rain, until now! As a film lover its hard to fight the urge to call this musical on the foils, farce and fabulousness that is the movies and its industry making it my new all time favorite dancing musical.
A smart, witty, hilarious movie that parodies fame and the movie industry itself while delivering one of the most entertaining love stories of all time. Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds love affair comes second only to our love hate relationship with the movies and the business of making movies. The best and the worst of it is all here.
Debbie Reynolds’ feet bled after the Good Morning Number. Donald O’Connor’ was hospitalized for exhaustion after performing the thrilling continuous one shot Make em’ Laugh number in its entirety twice. And Mr. Gene Kelly, ever the dashing, driven perfectionist performed the iconic Singin’ In the Rain number with a fever of 103 degrees in one take.
Clearly it was all worth it. The dance numbers are only matched by the perfect comic timing by Kelly, O’Connor and Jean Hagen. It turns out Jean Hagen is actually the singing voice of Kathy Seldon, played by Debbie Reynolds while dubbing the song Would You for Lina Lamont (played by Hagen). Did you catch that? The irony!
Oh and Cyd Charise the fantasy vamp inspired by Clara Bow is everything in her dance sequence. Divine….
And ofcourse we can’t talk movies without talking costumes! Walter Plunkett was the costume designer responsible for some of the most fabulous and over the top looks throughout the film. From Kelly and O’Connor’s windowpane vaudeville suits to Reynolds’ pink birthday cake ensemble and starlet “Olga Mara,” thought to be a parody of Polish silent screen star Pola Negri, in that fabulous Black widow ensemble…. Swoooooooooon.
Definitely to live for moments. I am still in awe that I have yet to hear of a Burlesque evening devoted to the ladies and gentlemen of Singin’ In The Rain. Really Now! I have at least two new costumes to add to my repertoire! See it, and see it again. It will also be playing at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian theater in Hollywood mid-December if you are in Los Angles. You’ll be tap dancing out of your seats. Enjoy dolls!. source1 source2 source3