Favorite Musicals: Singing in the Rain

Sorry we are late posting this week. Life has been hectic, but I hope first post on favorite musicals brightens your week.

Jaz on Singing in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain. What a glorious film. Should I begin with Gene Kelly, my first movie star crush? Or the film’s witty plot and dialogue? Or the phenomenal musical numbers?

I’ll just start at the beginning.

It’s 1927, The Jazz Singer has just come out and Hollywood is in an uproar. At Monumental Pictures, all silent film production stops and its two biggest stars, Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood, told they must begin a “talkie.” Their first attempt is a fiasco: The Dueling Cavalier is laughed out of the theater opening night (No, no, no! YES YES YES!!!). After a night of brainstorming and a dance, Lockwood, his friend and accompanist Cosmo Brown, and perky aspiring actress Kathy Seldon come up with a solution: make it a musical.

There’s one glaring problem, though. Snobby Lamont has the voice of a helium-addict gerbil and a brain about half its size. “She can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t dance – a triple threat,” Cosmo quips. Kathy obligingly offers to dub for Lamont at the risk of her own budding career. Cue title song (sigh…).

Lina is infuriated when she finds out. Later, however, she changes her mind and threatens to sue the studio if Seldon is not permanently assigned as her dub singer in all future films. This effectively destroys Seldon’s film career, and … well, you’re just going to have to watch it and see.

Singin’ in the Rain is one of the best musicals ever made. Not only is it a brilliant satire, it has some of the greatest performances you’ll see in a film. Be sure to note O’Connor and Kelly’s distinct styles – one energetic and elastic, the other smooth and laidback – in “Moses Supposes.” Talented actress Jean Hagen plays the role of Lina Lamont hilariously, and in “Make ‘Em Laugh, Donald O’Connor does just that. It was Gene Kelly’s iconic rain dance, however, that first made me fall in love with this film.

Liz on Singing in the Rain

Singing in the Rain, why do I love thee?

Let me name the whys.

Gene and Donald, and Debbie too

Dancing and singing, and big cakes with frosting

Bright yellow jackets and rainy mornings

Proper settings and old motorcars

Microphones in bushes

Dumb blondes and men behind curtains…

Actually, I think it would be easier to name the things I don’t like about it: the long and strange Broadway scene, and the very short time they gave to the beautiful song “Would You?” I would love to hear more of the song; I prefer it to “You were meant for me” which Gene Kelly sings in the “proper setting” of the studio (I do like that song though).

The most memorable songs for me are “Good Morning” and, of course, “Singing in the Rain.” Gene Kelley really seems to be enjoying himself as he sings in the rains—even when he stands under the gutter spout, and “Good Morning” is such a cheerful song that it makes me cheerful as well.

Funny, romantic, full of great songs and dances performed by talented actors—and with the added interested of a bit of cinema history—Singing in the Rain is one of my favorite musicals and movies in general.

What do you like about Singing in the Rain? Which is your favorite song or dance routine?