Saturday, August 30, 2008

Singin' in the Rain

Stanley Donen, & Gene Kelly, 1952 (9.8*)

AFI and Time Mag Top 100
A nearly perfect musical comedy, the musical numbers are excellent and the comedy in between is hilarious as well. The story revolves around two romantically-linked movie stars, one being Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood, who are forced to make the transition from silent films to talkies, and the problem is Jean Hagen (Oscar nominee), as Lena Lamont, her voice is like spinal torture.

When they decide to join the parade of musical films, they hire Debbie Reynolds (who got the part by winning "Miss Long Beach"! At first Kelly refused to work with her) to dub over the vocals for Lamont. Kelly's partner Donald O'Conner has some of the best dance moments, a solo called "Make Em Laugh", which he later says he improvised, and a complex duet with Kelly called "Moses Supposes". O'Conner won a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Gene Kelly provides most of the choreography (and thus shares directing credit), and the Broadway Melody sequence that last over 15 minutes is his best stuff. It also introduced Cyd Charisse in her first part outside the chorus, one that makes eyes pop, as well as Kelly's "Gotta Dance" character arriving in the big city. This now accepted classic wasn't even nominated for Best Picture!

Quote: I ain't people - I am a shining star in the cinema firmament.
Quote2: If we have brought a little ray of sunshine into your ordinary humdrum lives, then it ain't all been for nothing. (both Jean Hagen as Lena Lamont)


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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