Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Singin' in the Rain" an overrated piece of bubble gum fare


BASIC INFO:
TITLE: "Singin' in the Rain"
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1952
DIRECTOR: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
STARS: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
EDITOR: Adrienne Fazan
AWARDS: Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Nomination, Oscar), Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture (Nomincation, Oscar)
BOX OFFICE: N/A
RUN TIME: 103 min.
RATING: N/A
VIEWING FORMAT: DVD

SUMMARY:
With the advent of "talkies," silent film stars Don Lockwood (Kelly), and Lena Lamont (Jean Hagen) are all but washed up. That is, until Don has the genius idea of making their current flop picture into a musical. The only problem, Lena can't sing, or speak clearly. That's when Don't love interest, Kathy Selden (Reynolds) steps in, and helps in a creative fashion.

WHY THIS IS THE FILM OF THE WEEK:
"Singin' in the Rain" has gone down in history as one of the great musicals, and films, of all time. This is evidenced in popular culture. Gene Kelly is still a surprisingly popular actor, with this piece being, arguably, his most famous. It was nominated for two Oscars, and has been preserved in the Library of Congress. It also holds a rare 100% on rottentomatoes.com, meaning that all critics who have submitted reviews for the film, have been positive.

Of note, is Gene Kelly's performance in the titular sequence. Filmed over 3 days, Kelly had a fever of 103 degrees at the time. His hard worker mentality came off strong on Reynolds, as he told her quite honestly that he did not care for her as a dancer. Reynolds went on to take lessons from Fred Astaire, and finished the film (what would be one of her most famous), surprising even Kelly himself.

CRITIQUE:
Going into this film, this writer was not excited, and was not presented with anything to change that bias. Musicals can be somewhat awkward, and overlong, and this is no exception. The songs are great. The dance numbers are beautiful (if dated). That is not enough to hold down an entire film though. Awkward performances by all involved, and a story structure that seemed rushed together bog down this film.

It seemed that the song and dance numbers were written, and a story was accommodated around them. This writer found the thinly veiled story to not be enough, and the fact that the songs didn't even fit into the narrative didn't help.

Obviously, this is a movie for musical fans. Anyone who likes musicals should see this. Anyone who doesn't, should not feel bad for skipping it. While not necessarily a bad film, it certainly is not a good one.

MY IMDb RATING:  6 out of 10


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