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Thursday, 8 June 2006

The monsoons are here and I am in the perfect mood to post my review of the movie classic "Singin' in the Rain". Poetic justice, don't you think?

Some background information about this movie first. This 1952 classic is a story set when the first talking picture of the world, "The Jazz Singer", was released. Donald "Don" Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is a movie actor who has earned fame in the rags-to-riches style, starting as a musician in silent movies to stuntman to movie actor. He is linked to another famous actress, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen, in an Oscar nominated performance). While he doesn't consider Lina more than just a co-star, she is possessive about him and wants to prove the fan gossip true. Donald and his childhood friend, Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor), who is a musician too, share each other's joys and sorrows. While on an escapade from his "crazy" fans, Don meets Kathy Seldon(Debbie Reynolds), who shatters his illusion of being a top star, by commenting that what he did was a lot of dumb show and not much of acting. However, she disappears into anonymity because of a (comic) mishap in the success party of Don's movie "The Royal Rascal"(can you imagine a name like that?) the same evening of their first meeting, where she is a part of a dance troupe.

Many days later, the producer of Don's movie, Mr Simpson, decides to cast Kathy in a movie and it is unanimously decided that Lina should not be informed of this. It is now when Don and Kathy fall in love but decide to keep it a secret.

Meanwhile, in the real world, talking pictures are becoming a craze after the success of the first of its kind "The Jazz Singer".In the fervour to follow the crowd, Monumental Pictures decide to convert their current silent movie venture "The Dueling Cavalier" into a talking picture. The move obviously fails because of technical ignorance in that field. However, the studio has six weeks to save the movie and the studio. What they do to save the movie forms the story for the rest of the movie .

This movie is the proud owner of the famous song "Singin' in the rain" which has Gene Kelly dancing on the streets in carefree abandon, leaving behind his status of a famous star. This song sequence has been an inspiration for many other song sequences in movies of many languages. All the dance sequences are equally breathtaking and it is virtually impossible to choose which is the best one. Still, the most noteworthy sequences are "Good Mornin'", "Moses supposes", and "Singin' in the rain". There are two very romantic tracks "Would You?" and "Life was a Song" and comic track "Make'em laugh".

While Gene Kelly is a charmer in the movie, it was Donald O'Connor's comic timing and dance sequence "Make'em Laugh" that just took my breath away. Debbie Reynolds as Kathy Seldon is a doll and the role of the conceited actress with a shrill voice, Lina Lamont is played by Jean Hagen with such finesse that you love to hate her.

The comic sequences have you rolling on the ground laughing and tears in your eyes and the romantic sequences just have you sighing. The dance sequences leave you cheering for more.

This movie, which is a comic treatment of Hollywood's conversion to talking pictures, is known to be one of the greatest musicals ever released.

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