Tuesday, July 14, 2015

245. Singin' in the Rain (1952)


Running Time: 103 minutes
Directed By: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Written By: Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Main Cast: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell
Click here to view the trailer

NOTE: Couple things this week:

In addition to an update of NON-BOOK movies I've watched in the past seven days, I also wanted to give you guys a heads up and point you to another 1001 blogger. It's JD's 1001 Movies and "JD" himself was kind enough to give me a shout out on Twitter, naming me as one of his inspirations for starting the blog. I'm so appreciative of that, that I knew I had to, at the very least, give him a plug. So head on over and watch someone do it all over again, from the beginning. The cool thing about JD's blog is that he's not confining himself to one 1001 BOOK, but rather tackling all incarnations. That's a good idea...

NON-BOOK UPDATES

I Love You To Death (1990 - Lawrence Kasdan) 7/10 - Solid comedy, with a great performance from Kevin Kelly, backed up by a pretty great cast, including William Hurt, Keanu Reeves (he's solid here), River Phoenix, Joan Plowright and Tracey Ullman. This is actually an old favorite of mine, as I discovered it on Comedy Central when I was a kid.

Lady In the Lake (1947 - Robert Montgomery) 6.5/10 - Again, I've been recording stuff off of TCM left and right and this one sounded good enough for me to set it up. The gimmick is that the whole thing is shot as a POV shot, from the point of view of our main dick, played by Montgomery himself (directing and starring). However, his screen time is nil, as we only see him when he looks in a mirror, or interrupts the story to give us first person updates. I felt like the POV gimmick actually took away from the movie. It was a fun idea and they pulled it off semi-successfully, but I've seen much better noirs. Thumbs in the middle.

Antoine and Colette (1962 - Francois Truffaut) 6/10 - This is my problem with short films: they're just too short to amount to anything notable. That's really the only problem I had with Truffaut's second installment of his "Antoine series". I could've sat through a feature length production of this, I think, but at only twenty some minutes, it came off as almost pointless. Still good enough to warrant a '6' and have me wanting to see the next Antoine film.

The Bakery Girl of Monceau (1963 - Eric Rohmer) 7/10 - Okay, so I spoke too soon about short films, as this one is only twenty-three minutes and I felt like it was the perfect length. Clearly not enough material here to go much longer. The Six Moral Tales set has been sitting on my desk for weeks, dare I say MONTHS waiting for me to view it and I've been pecking away at it, like a bird does roadkill. A couple months ago I tackled Love in the Afternoon (which was so good, that I added it to my SINS OF OMISSION list, also adding it to my personal 1,000 films list), so when my wife was working the other day and I took the day off for my birthday (31 now, yee-haw), I decided to tackle the very first of the SIX MORAL TALES. Not bad at all. It seems that all of these deal with men who either ALMOST have affairs or feel like they've had affairs when actually they didn't. I'd call I Love You to Death the best NON-BOOK I saw all week, with this coming in as an extremely close second.

Now then...

GOTTA' DANCE!

If you've made it this far, kudos to you! Sorry you had to sledge through so many updates, just to get to the main course, but I hope it was worth it. I actually watched Singin' In the Rain on FRIDAY NIGHT! Saturday I was too tired, Sunday was my birthday which I spent being extremely lazy and Monday I took a sick day from work, being lazy again. So here we are and hopefully we can get back on the right track now.


I feel like a lot of people know that this is the movie where Gene Kelly sings (and dances) in the rain, but I think a lot of people only associate this film with that one, albeit iconic, scene. So sit back and I'll fill you in on the "deets". The film is set in the 20s, right around the time that talking pictures came to be a reality. It's the end days for silent films and the top silent stars Don Lockwood (Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Hagen) are going to be forced to dust off their vocal chords and start talking. After the success of The Jazz Singer, producer R.F. Simpson (Mitchell) decides to turn the lates Lockwood and Lamont picture into a talkie. It's called The Dueling Cavalier, however, because Lina Lamont has such a thick New York accent, no one onset wants her to be heard - ever. So Don and buddy Cosmo (O'Connor) come up with the idea to turn The Dueling Cavalier into a musical, dubbing Lina's voice with the voice of upstart actress Kathy Selden (Reynolds). Meanwhile, Don is falling for Kathy and EVERYTHING has to be kept a secret from Lina Lamont, who hates Kathy Selden, stemming from an earlier incident involving a pie in the face. And yes, the film itself is a musical, with great numbers such as: "Good Morning", "Moses Supposes" and of course, the very rewindable "Singin' in the Rain". Those are a few of my personal favs. The whole movie ends with the tad overlong Broadway Melody Ballet, which runs for what seems like twenty minutes or better.

SPOILER ALERT!



I've probably seen Singin' in the Rain something like five times in my life and I don't think I've ever seen it without rewinding and rewatching the Singin in the Rain number, at least once. I did the same thing when I watched it on Friday. It's a bold statement, but I'd have to say that it's one of my all-time favorite scenes, in any movie. It's a scene that ALWAYS makes me smile, always makes me tap my toe or clap my hands, it makes me want to see more Gene Kelly movies and it always reminds me of why I love movies. It' sheer entertainment, but in fact, the whole film is sheer entertainment, which is why I have to give it a positive review, despite a handful of flaws.

Man, how annoying was Donald O'Connor in this. THE BOOK notes his "Make 'Em Laugh" performance as one of the highs of the picture, but I'd call it easily one of the most annoying things I've ever seen and I don't think I laughed once. I, for some reason, just really, really disliked Donald O'Connor's character here. Also, as I mentioned in the plot synopsis, the ending musical number was just way too long. It got to the point where I just didn't think it would ever end and I had to push the "display" button on my remote to see how much of the film was left (that's sort of the measuring stick for me to know when a film is dragging, whether or not I push that button). I'd also say that the plot is a little thin. I mean you have this close to two hour film that all hinges on whether or not they'll let this annoying woman talk on film.


Other than those things though, how can you not, at least a little bit, love Singin' in the Rain. It's a smile inducer of a film, one that I'll happily watch periodically for the rest of my life. It's a fun watch and one where the flaws are easy to overlook, just to get to the good parts. If you don't smile (at least a little) watching Kelly sing (and dance) in the rain, then I'm not sure we can be friends.

RATING: 7.5/10  One that will probably land on the next (and last) TOP 20 list, just because it's one that I know I could watch over and over, always overlooking the flaws and ALWAYS rewinding to see Gene Kelly sing (and dance) in the rain, one more time.

MOVIES WATCHED: 934
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 67

July 14, 2015  10:10am

6 comments:

  1. Well, it's a musical .. and you know hw I feel about musicals generaly.. but as musicals go, this at least skips many of the things I dislike .. such as the in your face sexism (Yes '7 brides', I especially mean you).
    Hey, from my point, this can be seen as just a film about early film making.. and that's great by me.. if they would just stop bursting out into song for no valid reason. So NOT the masive thumbs down from me you were probably expecting. I may even admit that the 'title sequence', songs and dance is actually pretty damn good. End result? I'd (shock surprise) probably agree with (about) your end score.

    OK, other films.. Love you to death .. sorry, don't know it.

    I only recently caught up with 'Lady in the Lake'. MMmm ..I'm afraid the gimmick was just too annoying to fully enjoy what should have been a great film.

    Is 'JD' doing a blog like this? If so, I'd be happy to say hello. JD, if you read this, i don't know how to find you... and, if you are just on twitter, I'm far too old to grasp even what it is, never find follow. (Andrew knows Im a technophobe)

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    1. Ok I updated this post with JD's blog address. Just read the paragraph where I mention him and I added to clickable links so that you can pop over there.

      Yes, surprised you liked this one, I really didn't expect that. We've got to be getting down to the nitty gritty with musicals. I have The Band Wagon on my DVR so expect that soon and then I'm not even sure if there are anymore.

      What about the Six Moral Tales from Rohmer Ray? Do you know them and do you like them, if so?

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  2. One of my all time favorite films. I don't think this film drags at all. I enjoy every part of it. Glad you like it.

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    1. This is a picture that certainly has "all time favorite" qualities. Good choice. Glad you liked it too!

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  3. I agree on most of your review. Hell, I agree on all of it. This is Gene Kelly at his very best and the story in between songs is good enough to hold on its own. The end sequence is far too long, but not half as annoying as in An American in Paris.

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    1. Thanks Sorensen, I appreciate the kind words. Glad we're all in agreement that the ending could've been shaved by a few (or more) minutes.

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