What’s to say about the Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen musical, “Singin’ in the Rain?” Aside from the fact that it has been dubbed “the Greatest American Musical ever made” and one of “the Greatest American movies ever made,” it held a stellar cast including Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen. It also features one of the most famous soundtracks of any film musical (rivaled only by the Sound of Music, Grease, and the Phantom of the Opera, all of which were based on stage productions). It’s also a movie for film historians, not just because of its legacy but also because of its plot that revolved around the transition from silent film to sound.
Now, as for the story, the movie began with several of the top silent films actors of the time showing up for the new screening for the latest film from Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont (played by Kelly and Hagen respectably). It is here that we hear about the backstory of Lockwood and how he met Lamont—featuring a narration that doesn’t agree with what actually happened. This was done to comical effect, as was the scene where Lockwood met his love interest. And throughout the movie, we are treated to some of the most memorable songs ever on film. This, of course, includes the iconic “Singin’ in the Rain” sequence with Gene Kelly tapdancing through the rain. Meanwhile, his frequent co-star and love interest is shown to be both a bimbo and a manipulator. In the end, their latest movie was shown to be awful and to save it O’Connor and Reynold’s characters convinced Kelly to do a musical. This did, in fact, save the movie.
Of all the things in this movie to talk about, the first one to mention has got to be the music. It is a musical after all. But it’s not hard to imagine why I would choose to anyway. Even if most of the songs were taken by older musicals, it still maintains one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in one. Though, other things should be mentioned as well. For instance, the movie was basically a romantic comedy with song and dance numbers. The romance was pretty good, featuring great chemistry between Kelly and Reynolds. But it was the humor that stands out the most. Case in point, the screening of “The Dueling Cavalier” is still one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen in film. Numerous other scenes in the movie are also absolutely hilarious (not just then, but now as well). And also, I should mention the acting. Jean Hagen was especially brilliant as Lina Lamont, but the rest of the cast was stellar as well.
In the end, I honestly can’t say I found anything I didn’t like about the movie. Some people may disagree with this being labeled the greatest musical of all time (preferring either “West Side Story” or “the Sound of Music”), and I can understand that. Both of those were great musicals in themselves. But I feel this movie stands up just a little better, being the one with the best replay value. And for that, I can’t help it. I give this movie five stars out of five.