Review: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

f7d3a-singin_rain I always seem to get goosebumps during Gene Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain” number, because each time I see and hear it, there is still a new magic to it every time. You see when I was young, before I knew all the classics, first and foremost, I knew this gem of a film. It is such a wonderful buildup to that moment with such personal favorites as “Make em’ Laugh” and “Moses Supposes.” Then you have the always popular “Good Morning” with not only Kelly but Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds performing. Great stuff! There’s tireless choreography that goes into many of those sequences but it comes off so effortlessly and it brings us into the moment. There those wonderful, brief instances when you lose yourself in the music, the magic, and so on.

As the story goes, the three friends save the failing “Dueling Cavalier” by losing the simple “talkie” gimmick and making it a musical by dubbing the squeaky-voiced Lena Lamont (Jean Hagen). Cathy (Reynolds) no longer is a bit player, and she gains the acknowledgment that she deserves. Then Don Lockwood (Kelly) gets the girl who burst out of a cake. Cosmo Brown (O’Connor) is along for the ride staying with Don through thick and through thin, even calling him a cab when necessary. He’s a true friend in a million.

Although Kelly had a career with other high points (arguably never as high as this one), I am always slightly saddened that O’Connor and Reynolds never reached another apex like this in their subsequent careers. But they were both so great here, we must simply cherish this film for what it is.

Even to this day, the film holds up, and that is a tribute to the writing of Betty Comden and Adolph Green highlighting the infant Hollywood and the advent of talkies. In the same breath, it’s both a satire of the movie star culture and still a love letter to that same cottage industry. The only film with a similar dissection of Hollywood’s Golden Age is another 50s classic in Sunset Boulevard. The big difference is that Wilder’s film is chock full of drama and darkness. Singin’ in the Rain will always and forever be a light, fun musical with a lot of laughs.  It is constantly quotable whether it is “dignity, always dignity” or “I CAN’T stand it!”

Jean Hagen is always the butt of everyone’s jokes, but she is indeed very funny with the most annoying voice in the history of cinema (She can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t dance. Triple threat). You also have other fine performers like Millard Mitchell as studio head R.F., and then appearances by Cyd Charisse and Rita Moreno who made a name for themselves as dancers in the ensuing years. And is it just me or does Donald O’Connor remind others of Danny Kaye? He not only cracks the jokes, but he is a wonderful all-around performer. Although O’Connor was undoubtedly a better dancer.

All in all, this is a timeless classic and it will undoubtedly keep that title for as long as people watch movies. Now I hope it starts pouring buckets of rain so I can go outside and stomp around in the puddles. I will let you know if I come down with pneumonia. But until that happens I’ll enjoy every minute of it. I entreat you to do the same.

5/5 Stars

Singin’ In the Rain (1952)

This movie is a comedy, a romance, and above all a musical. However along with the immortal dance routines there is a plot and characters that are memorable as well. It helps to glorify a very different time in Hollywood and delivers a film that is funny and full of excellent song and dance.

There is something about this film that makes it extremely special. Even after seeing it many times I am still captivated by every joke and every unforgettable song. What can beat the brilliance and antics of Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor backed by Debbie Reynolds? There is a touching love story to go along with these great actors and songs. Gene Kelly’s sloshing about in the title song is timeless and O’Connor delivers a hilarious performance in such songs as Make ’em Laugh. There are a few dance sequences that are drawn out but the rest is top notch and keeps the audience enamored the entire time. This truly is a classic movie and musical that is both funny and heartwarming.

5/5 Stars

“Dignity. Always, dignity”
~ Don Lockwood

Adam’s Rib (1949)

Starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as a married pair of lawyers on the opposite sides of a case, this film begins with a bang. A distraught wife followed her husband home to find him cheating and she shot a gun off. In the ensuing days she is being charged with assault and the case is getting major publicity. Adam Bonner is the district attorney put on the case believing the law must be upheld but much to his chagrin she chooses to represent the other side. Thus begins an uproarious battle of the sexes. The pair continually spar inside the courtroom then return to their normal lives at home. However, after some bad publicity they are pulled apart by the case and their marriage is in trouble. After the case is won by Amanda Bonner a seemingly angered Adam shows up with a gun. Hilarity ensues along with a fight, however importantly in the end the Bonners reunite. They realize they cannot live apart. As always Tracy and Hepburn are wonderful together and they have a good supporting cast behind them including Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell, and Jean Hagen.

4/5 Stars