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SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
1952 - Stanley Donen / Gene Kelly
United States
84
Opening Shot

The film begins with a shot outside of the Chinese Hollywood Theater where they are premiering the "Biggest Picture of 1927, starring Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont: The Royal Rascal". A large crowd is exciting awaiting the arrival of the stars...

The Film

Honestly, How can anyone not love this film? If you don't find some kind of enjoyment while watching this film, may I recommend checking your pulse. Singin' In The Rain has something everyone can both relate to and laugh at. It's possibly the greatest Hollywood Musical of all-time (or at least alongside Vincente Minnelli's 1953 masterpiece, The Band Wagon). It stands apart from the musicals of it's time and continues to grow better with age. It's truly timeless! There are so many wonderful scenes, like (my personal favorite) when the director is trying to get the actors to speak into the microphone; Hilarious stuff! And of course, the classic scene of Gene Kelly in the rain. It's a great film that's not trying to be anything more then it is: pure entertainment. There's some wonderful insight of Hollywood's transition to "talkie pictures", a time when the actors (and the camera!) movements were restricted as they were forced to stay within range of the microphone, which may have even been attached to them. The performances are spectacular. Gene Kelly is in top form, Debbie Reynolds is as charming as ever, and Donald O'Connor is astonishing to watch (the stuff his does with his body in 'Make em Laugh' seems almost impossible). There's also a heart-melting scene with the stunning Cyd Charisse (those legs!!). Of course, also unforgattble and completly hysterical is Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont, who's supporting performance is truly the heart of the film! Not to go without mentioning is the unforgettable musical and dance numbers, which relate to the films narrative (as well as certainly recreate some of the numbers used during Hollywood's transition into sound), and are an absolute pleasure to experience. Films like Singin' In The Rain represent everything brilliant about the joy of cinema. It's a film to cherish and never forget!

The Filmmaker

Stanley Donen began a dancer on Broadway at the age of 17. He started in Hollywood working as a choreographer and dancer in Best Foot Forward (1943), starring Lucille Ball. In 1944 Donen directed his friend Gene Kelly in perhaps the Cover Girl's most famous dance sequence (Kelly dancing with an imposed
image of himself). As a director, Donen would go on to work on some of the most memorable musicals in Hollywood history. His first job as full-time director came in the landmark 1949 musical On the Town. His next film, 1951's Royal Wedding starring Fred Astaire, contains the innovative "You're All the World to Me" which features Astaire dancing on walls. Donen continued to work with major stars in major films, including two of MGM's most beloved musicals: Singin' in the Rain (1952) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). His first film away from MGM was the wonderful musical romantic comedy Funny Face (1957) starring Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Even when he was not directing musicals Donen films always featured big name stars: Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Indiscreet (1958), or Grant and Hepburn in Charade (1963). Donen's direction was very much of a theatrical style, but he was a great choreographer and stager of dance and musical sequences. His filmography in the musical genre speaks for itself. Donen was never nominated for an Academy Award, but he did receive five Director Guild nominations. In 1998 Donen was awarded with an Honorary Academy Award, "In appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation."

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Resources
trailer (youtube)      
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