Singin’ in the Rain (USA, 1952)

MPW-55170Directed by: Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. As with Lay Mizzzz, this one was on my list of musicals that I should probably see before I die, and my partner (who hates musicals with a passion) was out of town, presenting a convenient arbitrary excuse to dig in. I admit, I wasn’t really in the mood for this particular musical, and it took some self-prodding to really dig in and give it a chance. And I admit, within the first few minutes, I realized that my grasp of musicals was so dim that I had mis-remembered my Gene Kelly for my Fred Astaire, and that I think I’m actually more of a Fred Astaire man myself (although I have yet to actually see any of his works with Ginger, so we’ll see). All of this being said, I grew to quite enjoy it, once I started to feel the vibe of it. But honestly, compared to the narrative cohesion of Meet Me in St. Louis and Sound of Music, this really comes off as a ramshackle, glued-together Hollywood hatchet job (and the special features confirm as much, that the title was picked first, then the actors, and then  the songs and script followed from there). The dance numbers an inarguably amazing, and the rapport and banter between Kelly, Reynolds and O’Connor is completely delightful, however close it comes to being too sweetly old-fashioned for me. Once you get in the groove, these kinds of things are just great. Kelly’s permanent mannequin smile is never irritating or stupid—even though it is objectively stupid—because he just does it so fucking well: there’s no blink, no heavy breathing to give away the fact that he’s been working his ass off on that whole dance routine, no quirk of the face to give voice to your skeptical cynicism wondering “What is this weirdo so goddamn happy about???”, just pure talent and conviction. And I admire the shit out of that. Now, of course, I can’t hear that classic song and see that classic sequence in the rain without thinking of A Clockwork Orange. Sorry, Gene Kelly, that association is much much stronger than yours, and will always be so. But hey, that’s pretty interesting in its own right, right?

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One response to “Singin’ in the Rain (USA, 1952)

  1. Pingback: Top Hat (USA, 1935) | Offhand Reviews·

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