Montreal Film Journal


This truly is one of the all-time great feel-good movies. Musicals tend to be a lot of fun, but this Gene Kelly vehicle is particularly enjoyable. It's full of memorable songs and impressive dance numbers, plus it's clever, sweet and funny. Kelly, who co-directed the film with Stanley Donen, stars as Don Lockwood, a highly popular silent movie star in late '20s Hollywood. Jean Hagen is Lina Lamont, his romantic partner on screen. The movie is about how the transition from silent film to talkies drew a panic in the studios. Tons of problems arise. People and cameras used to make a lot of noise on sets, with the director yelling indications to his actors, but now that sound is recorded, they have to adjust. And then there's Lina, who has a horribly annoying voice and who can never remember to talk in the damn microphone!

So "Singin' in the Rain" is insightful and well written but mostly, it showcases Gene Kelly's amazing talent. You gotta see him tapdancing, singing and jumping around through the film! It's absolutely impossible to take your eyes off him ! The movie is full of classic numbers, notably Good Morning, You Were Meant For Me (not the Jewel song!) and Broadway Melody, but the showstopping moment is of course Singin' in the Rain, one of the most striking scenes in movie history. It's just fascinating to watch a lovestruck Kelly not even bothered by the incessant rain, dancing with his umbrella and jumping in puddles! Kelly is surrounded by a great supporting cast. Hagen is very funny as the dumb starlet, and Debbie Reynolds matches Kelly's charm and talent as his character's love interest, the sassy dancer Kathy. I love their scenes together, from their meeting as they pretend to hate each other to their great love declarations through songs. And then there's wisecracking sidekick Cosmo Brown, played by the hilarious Donald O'Connor, who shines with his "Make Em Laugh".

What's odd with a film like this, though, is that it's immensely entertaining but hard to write about. Maybe because words can't translate the joy that fills this timeless masterpiece. The best I can say is that I had a big grin on my face all the way. There is no way anyone anywhere won't love "Singin' in the Rain"!