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.
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.
These girls who are the Internet before the Internet.
EGOT winner Rita Moreno dazzling everyone & doing her best damned Clara Bow impression and basically owning it.
This moment when you think you want to be at an old Hollywood party and are super impressed with Lina’s game.
This dramatic as fuck woman with the spider web dress. I repeat, we know nothing about her except GLAMOR AND SPIDERWEB DRESS.
This man’s sad expression when he’s trying to sell us on exciting new movie technology.
This expression which is the only expression one should have when jumping out of a cake.
This woman who sees an opportunity to hit on Don Lockwood/Gene Kelly and seizes it.
The outfits during the Beautiful Girl sequence (of which I am only including a few).
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.
An example of perfect stunt casting: Cyd Charisse.
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.
No seriously, Donald O’Connor is the best.
This hilariously meta end scene that has Gene Kelly & Debbie Reynolds as Don Lockwood & Kathy Selden in a movie called SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.
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.