Watching all the movies on the Warner Bros. 50-movie box set that I bought for cheap. This week the random number generator talked the whole night through after it chose Singin’ in the Rain.
Here’s what happens: In old-timey Hollywood, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are the biggest stars around. In transition from silent films to sound, Lina’s shrill voice just isn’t cutting it. Don begins a romance with actress Kathy Selden and, with the help of goofball friend Cosmo, they hatch a plan to redo the movie, replacing Lina’s voice with Kathy’s.
Why it’s famous: Gene Kelly is back, once again singing and dancing like crazy, this time joined by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, and a supporting cast all bringing their best to the table. Also catchy tunes, big laughs, and top notch production value.
Get your film degree: Behind-the-scenes stories of Singin’ in the Rain describe Gene Kelly as a tyrant on set, equal parts relentless perfectionism and Everest-sized ego. A few weeks ago, I watched An American in Paris, which was all about Gene being the coolest guy in the room. Singin’ in the Rain is a huge improvement, however, because not only is Gene one part of an ensemble, but he’s not afraid to play the clown, and is often the butt of the joke. It makes him feel like a real person instead of just “Gene Kelly: Superstar.”
Movie geekishness: In addition to the top three stars, not enough good can be said about Jean Hagen as Lina. Not only is she hilarious, but the scene where she reveals she leaked info to the newspapers is some grade-A movie villainy. Darth Vader, Hannibal Lector, and Freddy Krueger look at her in that scene and say, “Now that’s evil.”
Thoughts upon this viewing: With my busy schedule, I had to put on Singin’ in the Rain to play in the background while I packed to go out of town. Even in this less-than-ideal viewing situation, the movie still drew me in, and I had a great time with it.
Next: Who wants pasta?
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