Thursday, June 7, 2007

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. Starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen.

That this remains the quintessential film about the dawn of sound in Hollywood movies is almost incidental to its greatness. What's really important here is how purely joyful this movie is to watch. Kelly, with his muscular dancing and everyman charm, is still wonderful to watch onscreen, particularly in the famous title number, and he's well-matched by O'Connor (with his immortal showstopper "Make 'Em Laugh") and fresh-faced neophyte Reynolds. What sets this film apart from most musicals, such as those starring Fred Astaire, is that in all those lesser films the story was a trifle, serving as a clothesline for the singing and dancing. Here everything feels important- nothing's forgettable. Donen, Kelly and company pulled out all the stops to entertain the audience, and they succeeded brilliantly.

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