Most romantic film #18: Singing in the Rain (1952)

This is, hands down, one of my favorite musicals. I think I saw it twice a year every year since I was eight… when TV used to present the “4:30 Big Movie” (how long ago was that?).

It is surprising complex: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy is huge silent movie star while girl is extra struggling to break in, everyone thinks boy loves other girl, talkies emerge, boy’s career in jeopardy…

Gene Kelly is brilliant and self-consciously humorous as the huge star Don Lockwood, while Debbie Reynolds is a bright and charming 20-year-old ingenue Kathy Selden.

The story is a lovely comment on Hollywood’s self-obsessed history. And Donald O’Connor and Jean Hagan are both, well, brilliant. Donald O’Connor as the singing and dancing best friend and Jean Hagan as the beautiful but dim and awkward silent star…

The songs, the dances, the story, the acting — delightful. And the love story is charming, where the big star finally just has to be himself–and not a Star!–to woo and win her.

The most famous routine (song and dance) is where Don sings in the rain (get it!) after dropping Kathy at home, because he is sooooooo in love. But my favorite song-and-dance is “Moses Supposes,” where Don and Cosmo Brown study elocution… and dance it off. Brilliant stuff! Both men are absolutely amazing.

It is a sweet love story, that uses the conscious cinema history as background, and is quite intelligent as well as entertaining.


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