Details: Released in 1952. About an hour and forty minutes long. Stars Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds.
What a satisfying movie. I love musicals and Singin’ in the Rain is as classic a musical as they come. Singin’ in the Rain is the kind of movie that La La Land hoped and fell short of becoming. It’s a great musical that easily holds up today.
Like La La Land, Singin’ in the Rain is self referential. It’s a musical/movie about making a musical/movie. There’s a plot in here that isn’t terrible involving show business and love and some real life innovations in film history, but what’s most important here is what you see and here.
This movie succeeds on the exact thing that La La Land failed on in my opinion: talent. Everyone in here who sings and dances is clearly a trained singer or dancer. Unlike Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone, they didn’t just start training for this specific film. The way Gene Kelly and the rest of the cast sing and the energy they bring to their dancing are clearly those of a professional dancer and singer.
The music is wonderful and so many classic melodies are in this movie which have been referenced again and again since this film came out. Song’s like the movie’s namesake among others are all sung well with style that is no longer en vogue, but is still beautiful.
The dance numbers are mind-blowing. Some of these sequences involve dozens of dancers and multiple parts and transitions. The planning and cost of doing a film like this during the early 1950’s is hard to fathom. Add in the many styles of dance employed in this film and you get another layer of difficulty this film achieves wonderfully. Gene Kelly truly is a triple threat as he dances, sings, and acts (or charms) his way toward the center of your attention.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. Many of the modern, successful musicals of recent years dip their toes into drama. They want to be a little more existential, a little more depressing. Singin’ in the Rain reminds us that musicals are meant to be a good time. That they are supposed to make us laugh and be whimsical. Singin’ in the Rain also gives us a glimpse of a bygone era of Hollywood glamour and is easily better than La La Land in terms of its singing and dancing. If you are a fan of musicals or the golden age of Hollywood, I thoroughly recommend this movie.