One of the most famous musicals of all time is 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain.” Like most folks, I’ve known about and heard about this movie most of my life, and while I’d seen bits and pieces of it, I couldn’t honestly say that I’d seen the entire thing from start to finish. For this reason, I added it to my “bucket list” a few years ago and finally got to watch the whole thing yesterday (Sunday).
“Singin’ in the Rain,” which takes its title from one of the songs featured in the movie, was directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, who also choreographed all of the dancing in the film. The movie’s cast features Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen and Millard Mitchell. This movie, which premiered at Radio City Music Hall on March 27, 1952, is relatively short, wrapping up in just one hour and 43 minutes.
For those of you who haven’t seen this musical comedy, it’s set in the 1920s and centers on silent movie stars Don Lockwood (Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Hagen). The movie studio they work for, Monumental Pictures, is forced to begin producing “talkies,” that is, movies that include sound, and Lockwood and Lamont, as the studio’s biggest stars, are forced to make the adjustment as well. This isn’t so bad for the charismatic Lockwood, but Lamont, to put it mildly, has an irritating voice not well suited for serious audiences.
Enter Kathy Selden (Reynolds), a Hollywood up-and-comer, who’s looking to make her break into the movies. Selden, who doesn’t get along with Lamont, eventually becomes involved in a plot to dub her voice over Lamont’s to keep the studio’s first talking film, “The Dueling Cavalier” from becoming a financial flop. Lamont eventually finds out and tries to throw her star-power around with unexpected results.
One of the main reasons I’ve always wanted to watch this movie is because I’ve seen it on a number of “best of lists,” including Entertainment Weekly’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time list, which ranked it No. 10. “Singin’ in the Rain” was also ranked No. 8 on Empire’s list of 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, and it was one of the first 25 movies selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 1989.
I put “Singin’ in the Rain” in my NetFlix queue months and months ago and finally had it delivered to the house one day last week. Yesterday afternoon, I sat down with my wife and daughter, and we watched the entire thing. It was great.
I’ve never been a huge fan of musicals, mainly because all of the singing and dancing is unrealistic, but it’s hard not to watch “Singin’ in the Rain” without cracking a smile. Having now watched the entire movie from start to finish, I can see why it’s considered such an iconic film and why it’s so highly regarded. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
In the end, how many of you have seen “Singin’ in the Rain”? What did you think about it? What other musicals would you recommend for watching? Let us know in the comments section below.