Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 145: Singin' in the Rain

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #78
Year: 1952
Director: Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen
Starring: Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

Ah, yes. Singin' in the Rain. "Not my thing" would be a severe understatement. I don't like musicals, and this is one of the quintessential movie musicals in the history of Hollywood. But surprisingly, and possibly because of the sleep deprivation I watched this under, I don't really have many negative comments about this film. It won me over fairly quickly, and I actually rather enjoyed it. The plot was enjoyable – I've always found the transitional period between the silent film era and the Golden Age of Hollywood to be an interesting time – and the songs were all top-notch for what they were. (My musical bread and butter is extreme metal, so no, I didn't rush out and buy the soundtrack, but I didn't hate the music, and that's saying something for a musical.) The Technicolor is gorgeous, Gene Kelly's performance (singing and dancing included) is nothing short of inspiring, and, like Citizen Kane, it's one of those movies that just feels so damn great that you're bound to fall in love with eventually.

So since Singin' in the Rain is a musical, and I like it, is it my favorite musical of all time? If we exclude musicals that aren't like other musicals – namely Disney movies, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – then yes, it probably is. It's a charming exploration of silent film stars being forced to make a "talkie" after the success of The Jazz Singer at a rival studio, and unlike a lot of musicals, most of the songs are worked into the framework of the story somewhat seamlessly – the cast decides to make their terrible talkie into a movie musical. I don't actually know the titles of any of the songs except for the title track and "Broadway Melody," but they were all pretty good, and Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds are amazing tap dancers. Granted, they tap danced way too much over the course of the movies 103 minutes, but they were really good at it, so it was at least mildly fun each time they did it. I don't usually like dancing, but I was enchanted (or possibly tricked) into liking it for just shy of two hours.

I might not be inspired to watch Singin' in the Rain again soon, but for what it was – that is, a movie that I am so far outside the target audience for – I actually quite liked it. I don't have much more to say about but that it exceeded and defied my expectations, and I have no qualms about recommending it to anyone.

The Good: The tap dancing is amazing...

The Bad: ...but there's so fucking much of it.

The Skinny: #78 is too high, but it belongs on the list.


  1. When it comes to this movie, I have one question: Why did they sing? I liked the movie and accept the movie as a decent classic, but the musical/dancing part was a turn-off for me.

    P.S. Girls from my class once brang Mamma Mia! to English class. OMFG, that was just an annoying experience.

  2. Ha, well, the movie wouldn't have been made if it weren't a musical. I don't think it's strong enough to exist as simply a narrative movie. And yeah, singing and dancing in the context of a film is a big turnoff for me most of the time, but for what it is, Singin' in the Rain is good.