Movies I’m Weirdly Obsessed With: Singin’ in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain is one of the first DVDs my family owned; I think we’ve had it for at least 14 years now. The DVD case summary is full of terrible alliterations like, “Extraordinarily exuberant,” and bad plays on lyrics like, “What a glorious feelin’… what a glorious show!” I love this movie so much, and because it’s one of the most beloved and acclaimed movies ever, I feel pretty confident saying that I’m not the only person.

I used to watch this movie over and over again. It was my rainy day movie. (See what I did there?) I’m pretty sure I acted out the famous title sequence when I was running around in the rain at camp. I was very popular and had many friends. I find it really hard to not finish the phrase “here we are” with “Sunset and Camden.” I’m pretty sure I used this movie to distract unruly cousins when I was babysitting.

If you haven’t seen this movie and somehow have never seen any references to any of the songs ever, besides not having any idea what I could even say to you besides FIX THIS, I will briefly summarize. In short, the movie is about an established actor, Don Lockwood, (Gene Kelly, who also does directing duties with the movie, and it shows), who with his composer best friend, Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor who is THE BEST) is dealing with the transition from silent films to “talkies” and the introduction of new talent, like Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), who better fit the emerging technology. To fix the already half-filmed project, The Dueling Cavalier, Don, Cosmo, and the producers decide to turn this silent film into a musical spectacular using contemporary dance sequences to frame the already filmed period piece.

What exactly is this plot that they settle on for the now-titled The Dancing Cavalier? Well, since Don seems to adapt easily to the musical format with his Vaudeville background, in the movie within the movie (within a movie?) he’s a Broadway dancer wannabe who’s working on this show, gets knocked out backstage, and dreams he’s back in the French Revolution. However, Lina Lamont, Don’s longtime acting partner (Jean Hagen), has a more difficult time adjusting to the “talkie” format, so she schemes to use Kathy for her own career.

Upon rewatch, I had some unanswered questions. Are we supposed to believe that The Dancing Cavalier ends with the dancer played by Don in his dream French Revolution reality? Why doesn’t he come back to the Broadway dancer reality? There was certainly enough of that 14 minute long ballet sequence to reuse. WHO CARES? THE REAL DRAMA IS WHETHER OR NOT THE EVIL LINA WILL GET HER WAY?! Will no one think of poor dear sweet Kathy? Also, this is a LOT of story to cram into like the last 30 minutes, most of which is Gene Kelly telling everybody to dance.

Besides the outstanding main cast, the brightly colored costumes and sets, and the phenomenal song and dance numbers that still majorly influence Hollywood, what really makes this movie fabulous is that the movie is populated with amazing, funny characters.

When I was starting to write this recap and rewatching Singin’ in the Rain, I ended up taking so many screenshots of moments I loved that my desktop started to look a little scary. I showed my roommate and it made her so deeply uncomfortable that she left the room abruptly.

Screenshot of Karishma's desktop, which is almost completely covered by screenshot files highlighted in different colors
It’s a screenshot of some screenshots.

Since I got more than a little carried away (yes, those are color coded for scenes/characters, don’t worry about it), I decided to change the format of these reviews and try something slightly new…

Reasons Why Singin’ in the Rain is Amazing: A Screencap Pictorial

These adorable people who are the main cast.

Cosmo, Kathy, and Don collapsed laughing on the tipped couch
It’s funny how talented we are.

These girls who are the Internet before the Internet.

Two morose-looking women in the audience
“She’s so refined. I think I’ll kill myself.” Actual dialogue.

EGOT winner Rita Moreno dazzling everyone & doing her best damned Clara Bow impression and basically owning it.

Rita Moreno wearing an ermine-trimmed dress, laughing
Perfection.

Vaudeville routines.

Don and Cosmo in green plaid suits, playing fiddles while singing and dancing
Also, those suits.

This moment when you think you want to be at an old Hollywood party and are super impressed with Lina’s game.

Lina sits on the piano, surrounded by adoring men
Role. Model.

This dramatic as fuck woman with the spider web dress. I repeat, we know nothing about her except GLAMOR AND SPIDERWEB DRESS.

A very dramatic tango between a woman in a spidery dress and a man with slicked-back hair
Serving face.

This man’s sad expression when he’s trying to sell us on exciting new movie technology.

Creepy intro to talkies dude
Seriously, what’s wrong man? Aren’t you impressed with yourself? Are you the first person to realize how terrible you sound when you hear yourself recorded?

This expression which is the only expression one should have when jumping out of a cake.

Kathy jumps out of the cake with a flourish
I feel the same way about cake.

This woman who sees an opportunity to hit on Don Lockwood/Gene Kelly and seizes it.

Backstage, Kathy smirks at Don
That is the look of a woman who knows exactly what she wants.

The outfits during the Beautiful Girl sequence (of which I am only including a few).

Model posing in a tweed and yellow dress with a long string of pearls
Believe it or not, this is subdued.
Model posing in a shiny pink minidress trimmed with pink fur
PINK FOX FUR OVER MINIDRESS. TO WEAR TO THE OPERA. THE OPERA. If this is a dream, I never want to wake up.
Model poing in a short black dress and long veil
Courtroom chic. For all those times you are accused of murdering your husband and just decided, to hell with it, I’ll just try my luck.
Aerial shot of Don in the center of a circle of glamorous models
Everything about this is way too much, but also still not enough.

The title song.

Don, soaking wet and holding an umbrella while talking to the police officer
Gene Kelly danced and sung with a fever in a wet wool suit so that you could recreate this in your apartment by singing off key and scaring your roommates.

This obscenely long dance sequence which a friend of mine once referred to as “Gene Kelly masturbating on screen for like 15 minutes,” and which I’ve seen people defend, but is usually my cue to take a bathroom/snack break.

Don in a spotlight, with a hat and cane
You smug son of a bitch. You knew what you did to us.

An example of perfect stunt casting: Cyd Charisse.

Cyd Charisse in a green dress, smoking
Is this a joke?
Cyd Charisse doing a seated high kick, with Don's hat on her foot, while he kneels in front of her, dazed
She is impossbly cool.

Physical Comic Genius DONALD O’CONNOR. HE DID THIS WHOLE ROUTINE, MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED FOR EXHAUSTION AFTER PERFORMING SAID ROUTINE, AND BECAUSE GENE KELLY WANTED A SECOND TAKE WHEN THE FOOTAGE GOT MESSED UP, HE DID IT AGAIN.

Cosmo looks pop-eyed during "Make 'em Laugh"
Look at that face. That is the face of professional excellence.

No seriously, Donald O’Connor is the best.

Cosmo makes faces behind the elocution teacher
I could watch him make crazy faces all day.

This hilariously meta end scene that has Gene Kelly & Debbie Reynolds as Don Lockwood & Kathy Selden in a movie called SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.

Don and Kathy embrace in front of a billboard for Singin' in the Rain with their pictures on it
On the billboard, they are wearing the same outfits that they were wearing in the previous scene. WHERE DOES REALITY BEGIN AND END IN THIS MOVIE?

I hope you now go spend the rest of the day YouTubing all the other songs in this movie. You can also buy or rent Singin’ in the Rain on Amazon Instant. You can also probably stop my apartment some time because I will be playing it on repeat for a while, which I’m sure my roommates will love.

I might also need new roommates soon.

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Karishma

Karishma is a twenty-something living in New York City and is trying her hardest to live out every cliche about Millennials. This involves eating her feelings, drowning in debt and mocking infomercials. She likes sociology so much that she has two degrees in it, and is still warding off her parents' questions about a real career.

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