2018 Blind Spot Series: Singin' in the Rain


What I knew going in: I had seen some of the musical numbers


A silent film star, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) finds himself having to get with the changing times when the first "talkie" film is a big hit. A chance meeting with a young up and coming actress, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) blooms into a secret romance when she is talked into dubbing over Don's frequent costar, Lina (Jean Hagen) in their newest films.

I decided I wanted to think of something other than A Clockwork Orange when I hear the song "Singin' in the Rain." As much as I love tap dancing, I'm awful at watching these classics all the way through instead of just looking up specific routines.

This film is absolutely delightful. The fact that Debbie Reynolds didn't have any dance experience before she made this is extraordinary. Gene Kelly is always a reliable leading man and Donald O'Connor is a joy to watch. The funny thing is this film makes me hate The Artist even more in retrospect. I should've watched this then. 

I think they captured the 1920's feel well, and while a later routine gets a bit self indulgent, the spectacle is worth it. I loved that my son sat down and watched this with me. And that he tried to tap dance himself afterwards while singing the title song. Moments like these make me love movies even more.

Recommended: Yes


Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I'll do it, but I never want to see you again." - Kathy (Debbie Reynolds)

21 comments:

  1. Great post. I've never seen this one either (yikes, i know)...there are a lot of classics I still need to see, but I'll add this one to the top of my list :)

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  2. Nice review! I'm glad you loved it and it's so amazing that your son watched it with you.

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    1. Considering he's only been watching Teen Titans Go lately I think it's amazing too.

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  3. The way they dealt with the silent cinema coming to sound is very accurate. The early microphones often had to be placed in bushes or attached to a woman’s costume with the resulting issues showed on this movie. A great tragic, romantic actress that often played regal beauties was Norma Talmadge but her career ended with sound because she had a thick Brooklyn accent. The old cameras gave out so much sound that it had to be placed in a box which was called the sweat box since it got so hot in there and many cameramen and directors passed out. The scene where Kelly says I love you many times comes from the early talkie with John Gilbert. Gilbert was a huge star and tragic who was placed in a film with this type of dreadful dialogue. The costume Gene Kelly wore where he is stating his love to Lena Lamont is actually a costume Rudolph Valentino wore in a film. Cyd Charisse’s character is based on Louise Brooks. The characters at the beginning of the film who walk up the red carpet are based on Clara Bow and Pola Negri (“It’s Vulgar”) who was involved with Henry de La Falaise, Marquis de La Coudraye

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  4. I fucking love this movie. It was such a joy to watch. Donald O'Connor's dance number was so great as was watching Debbie Reynolds sing and dance. She, O'Connor, and Gene Kelly are just phenomenal. It's truly one of the best musicals I'd ever seen. And yes, The Artist is overrated.

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  5. It is very deserving of its legendary status even if I can't feel that it's the be all and end all of classic musicals as it's often sited.

    I liked The Artist for the novelty of it but even while I was watching it was obviously an amalgam of this and A Star is Born.

    I'm a huge Debbie Reynolds fan, her biographies are fascinating-talk about someone who had everything and nothing at the same time!- and she is just so fresh and eager here. It was a tough shot and Kelly a harsh taskmaster-she said the two hardest things she'd ever done in her life were Singin' in the Rain and childbirth!!-but she rose to the challenge and it made her a name.

    Both Kelly and O'Connor couldn't be better and this utilizes Kelly's tendency towards unctuousness perfectly. Don Lockwood has to be as pushy and on as he is to survive the tumult of the revolution of sound. O'Connor is just the pure joy of movement.

    As good as all of them are the scene-stealer is Jean Hagen for her creation of the impossibly grating Lina Lamont. If you've ever seen her in anything else, like The Asphalt Jungle, her work becomes even more surprising since she was usually the serious, cool brunette. But she's divine as Lina and that she lost the Oscar still burns.

    Even moreso when if you see the performance Gloria Grahame won for in The Bad and the Beautiful. Now I adore Gloria Grahame and she absolutely should have been an Oscar winner for The Big Heat or In a Lonely Place but her role in B&B is a nothing sketch of a thing-not her fault she does what she can with it but compared to Hagen's incredible performance just a blip.

    Glad to hear your son liked it! One of my young nieces-she's 7, is a sucker for musicals as well. It's the color (although she likes B&W musicals too), movement, craftsmanship and sense of joy that pulls her in.

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    1. I'm surprised he sat through it but I'm glad he did!

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  6. I LOVE hearing that your son started trying to tap dance while watching this, especially because it was after seeing this movie for the first time that I started tap dancing - I remember specifically turning to my mother at the end of "Moses Supposes" and saying "I want to do THAT!" and she dutifully signed me up for tap lessons, and the rest is history!

    This is my #1 of all time (both favorite and best), and you touch a bit on why that is; it's just a delight to watch from start to finish and is impeccably crafted and enthusiastically performed. I assume you're referring to the "Broadway Melody" fantasy sequence as the "self-indulgent" bit, but my least favorite part of the film has always been the "Beautiful Girls" number. I get why it's there, but it just stops the movie dead and isn't particularly exciting or interesting.

    I actually loved The Artist in large part because it's the inverse of this: A black-and white silent film about the transition to talking pictures, as opposed to a color sound film about that same thing.

    Mostly though, I'm just glad you loved this!

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    1. If my son asked I'd sign him up for tap too. I LOVE that.

      Yeah The Broadway number got me because I actually forgot what was happening for a minute.

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  7. Great review! Singing in the Rain is one of my favorites. The technicolor quality is gorgeous, and the musical elements are pretty. So cute your son danced after watching it! I always want to take tap dance lessons afterwards. lol

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  8. Glad you like this one. It is truly a delightful film. As great as the routines are, the story is what makes it work.

    But I like The Artist. :(

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  9. You're having a pretty decent Blindspot year, hope it continues as such!
    I haven't seen this one either but I'm not much for musicals either so, I might have to keep this one as a backup. :D

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  10. Happy you liked it, I love Singin' in the Rain too! It's so fun. That moment with your son sure is special :)

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