#91: Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

When and how did I watch this?

October 13th, 2016 on DVD.

Had I seen this film already?

Yep, numerous times.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

This is easily my favorite movie involving dancing.  FootlooseGreaseDirty Dancing (blech), and the more modern Step Up and Save the Last Dance are like watching those awkward instructional videos from the 90s in comparison.  You know which ones I’m talking about, right?

It’s a shame so few males are into dance.  All it would take is for them to see some of the numbers in this film and there’d be a revival.  Well, at least I’d hope so.

What do I know about it now?

I spent this viewing examining the cinematography and acting/delivery, but I was often distracted by the coloring and, of course, the spectacular dance numbers. The movie sells everything straight. It’s a satire on itself; the roles of Lockwood and Lamott are rips at the actors that play them, along with the whole movie industry. Every part flows into the other, despite being a musical (which often requires “stopping” the action) and toying with sets and jolting transitions. I believe this is the only musical on the list besides the Bollywood 3 Idiots and a couple of animated features – a stunning omission considering how many of them were produced in the golden age of cinema. I also paid special attention to the now-iconic tap dance in the rain, which always seemed lackluster. What makes this special is the emotion evoked in the scene, the careless demeanor he portrays; we believe he really is in love, and we forget we’re watching a tightly choreographed tap dance under fake rain on a movie set. And that’s the magic of this film — everything is both real and fantastic.  It’s another world within our own, both simple and elegant. There’s no film like this one that I’ve seen. Singin’ In the Rain is Gene Kelly’s magnum opus, per se — everything is super tight, which likely meant that those on the set were subject to his pursuit of perfection.

What are some themes in the film?

Film and theater (acting, production), love, friendship, hypocrisy

Did this affect me personally?

Always does, in a new way.  This time, the “Gotta Dance” number struck me.

Why is this ranked #91?

It’s a classic film that pretty much everyone knows about.  It speaks beyond its time about cinema, and features several impressive dance numbers. Gene Kelly is a well-known actor who plays roles in numerous films, but perhaps none as well-known as this one.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She loves this film, probably even more than I.

Would I watch it again?

I wouldn’t own it if I didn’t want to.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

This viewing was the first time I’d seen it in 720 quality on a flatscreen.  It’s a different experience than the older televisions.  If you haven’t seen it recently, check it out again, remastered and all.  There’s nothing that can duplicate the magical in-house experience, but the movie itself is magic.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Many people don’t care for musicals.  There was a recent discussion I witnessed on Facebook among some friends poking fun at men who like musicals. This escapes my understanding. Nothing tells a story quite like a good film, and one might say that musical interludes break up the action.  However, if the song can continue to communicate something higher than conversation (as it often does), and dancing complements the situation, the musical can soar far above other techniques.  Often the music or dancing can overshadow the rest of the film, and vice versa.  This one doesn’t do that. It’d be a failure of logic to not recognize this film’s greatness in all aspects.

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