Skip to main content

The Vault: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Two notable films have been made about the transition from silent film to talkies, Singin' in the Rain is the funniest (if not simply just because the other film is Sunset Boulevard) it is frequently referred to as the best musical of all-time and sits at number five on the AFI top one-hundred films lists.

Don Lockwood's motto is "Dignity, always dignity." Just don't ask the matinee idol about how he started in Hollywood and that motto will stand true. He along with his best pal/songman Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor) have hit it big and are enjoying their Hollywood lifestyles. Currently Don is linked to his frequent co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) but in truth he can't stand her and she is too dumb to know the difference. 

Talkies are ushering in a new age of film and even people like aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) are starting to take notice. Don's latest picture The Duelling Cavalier is going to be transformed into a talkie, but you guessed it, Lina's voice simply won't allow that picture to succeed. With the help of Kathy, Cosmo suggests they turn the Duelling Cavalier into the Singing Cavalier. Kathy and Don soon fall in love, but all the work they have put into The Singing Cavalier is endangered when Lina learns her role has been recorded over and threatens to blow the situation sky-high for all of them.

Although it is the first meta-film to really send up Hollywood what really made Singin' in the Rain the greatest musical of its time is in the fashion the music blends seamlessly with the plot. Nothing is shoe-horned in just for the sake of having a song. And what makes the film one of the best comedies is the rich dialogue that should be savored after every line. As Lina is lamenting about Don's barbs regarding her stupidity she counters, "Sticks and stones may break my bones..." to which Don replies, "I'd like to break every bone in your body." You just don't get one-liners like that in film anymore.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Review: Selma

It may surprise many that Martin Luther King Jr. never received the celluloid treatment prior to Selma. Sure he had been mentioned in other historical pieces, but short of documentary footage, King was never given center stage. Quite shocking given the man's legacy and the lingering effect of his efforts still felt today. Several years of production and a director change later, Selma arrives as the film worthy of the man.

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…