It’s quite simple, “Singing in The Rain” should be covered by Social Security because it is somewhat of a therapy. Its portrayal of interpersonal skills, humor, song and dance numbers, that immediately soothe the soul.
The film, directed by Stanley Donen in 1952, humorously recounts the 1920s transition from silent films to “talkies”, and the difficulties some actors may encounter while the world adapts to this new genre. In this movie, the vindictive Lina Lamont (played by Jean Hagen), certainly a superstar of the silent film era, yet unfortunately afflicted with a horribly nasal voice and a lisp, leaves much to be desired for this new cinematic genre.
Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood (played by an energetic Gene Kelly) have repeatedly been cast as a couple in silent film. And cast together they are, yet again, but this time, for a “talkie” film. This time, Lina starts falling in love with her lively co-star. Despite vocal training, the studio refuses to run the risk of having Lina speak on camera. Don’s best friend – Cosmo Brown, masterfully played by Donald O’Connor – suggests that Kathy – who has an angelic singing voice – be hired to provide voiceovers for the irascible Lina. This, as you can imagine, leads to hilarity.
It is funny – it is really very funny. On top of the humour, the dance numbers are masterfully performed… and the songs… the songs are masterfully performed and have since become classics.
Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor are masters of their craft: unparalleled tap dancers. but with a different style from the sleek classicism of Fred Astaire, they offer a much more dynamic and much more modern version of tap dancing.
Debbie Reynolds, who was only 19 at the time of filming, was by no means a dancer, but received gruelling training by Gene Kelly. The result is brilliant, though Debbie Reynolds is known to have said that the two most difficult moments she has had to face in her life were childbirth and … the filming of “Singing in the Rain”.
Cyd Charisse makes a dreamlike appearance in a sublime classical dance number, during which she smoked the single cigarette of her life.
I admit that I have a particular tenderness for Donald O’Connor, with comic slaughter and endless talent. His number “Make ‘em Laugh” is a piece of bravery, inspired by his own acting attitude behind the scenes.
Finally, the mirroring effect is funny: “Singin’ in the Rain” is a film in a film in a film. Kathy voices Lina for the purposes of a fictional film, but in real life Debbie Reynolds is voiced for songs by another actress, Betty Noyes.
Tap artist in training, myself, here is my interpretation of “Singin’ in the Rain”. I’m working on a tap dance number, you will see this later 🙂
Prada coat and heels – JCrew trousers – Monoprix jumper – YSL umbrella – Céline Robert hat – Dior handbag