Singin’ In The Rain (1952): AFI 100 Days 100 Movies #5

★★★★★

&

My Hall Of Fame

#5 Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

Director-Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen

Running Time-103 Minutes

Rated-G

“What’s wrong with the way I talk? What’s the big idea? Am I dumb or something?”

Singin’ In The Rain is the story of a silent film actor (Gene Kelly) that has to make an adjustment to talking pictures, even though his perennial co-star (Jean Hagen) has a voice that makes one’s hair curl. Luckily, he has his loyal friend Singin' In The Rain(Donald O’Connor) and his young love interest (Debbie Reynolds) standing by him in his time of need.

It is amazing to me that a movie can become so much more popular as time goes on. In 1952, Singin’ In The Rain was the tenth highest grossing movie of the year, and was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Jean Hagen) and Best Original Music Score (Lennie Hayton). It lost both awards, but here we are 60 years later and the American Film Institute has ranked it the #1 “Best American Musical” and #5 “Best American Movie” of all time. HowSingin' In The Rain is this possible? Is it possible it’s just good luck?

In 1952, Gene Kelly was the most popular he had ever been. Between 1945 and 1949, he made three successful musicals with Frank Sinatra, in Anchors Aweigh (1945), Take Me Out To The Ball Game (1949) and On The Town (1945), as well as appearing with Judy Garland in The Pirate (1948) and Summer Stock (1950). Then in 1951, Kelly starred in the Vincente Minnelli musical An American In Paris. It won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is still considered one of the greatest romance musicals of all time. Also in 1951, Gene Kelly was awarded an honorary Academy Award: in Singin' In The Rainappreciation of his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film. It would be the only Oscar of his career.

Then he decided to make Singin’ In The Rain, a musical not based on anything except a handful of songs that MGM already owned. Almost every song in Singin’ In The Rain had already appeared in a musical, since 1929. The movie was actually written around the songs, instead of the songs being written into the story.

“The price of fame. You’ve got the glory, you gotta take the little heartaches that go with it. Now look at me: I’ve got no fame, I’ve got no glory, I’ve got no big mansions, I’ve got no money! But I’ve got – what have I got?”

One major advantage to writing a script around songs is that you can use a wide variety of musical styles, hence the assortment of supporting talent around Gene Kelly. Donald O’Connor is not a widely popular screen actor, but his comedic presence, combined with his amazing dancing ability, made him the perfect choice to play Cosmo Brown. He isSingin" In The Rain the comic relief every moment he is on the screen, and it works beautifully. You can see the enjoyment that he and Kelly get from playing off of each other, and unlike like many of Kelly’s other dance partners, O’Connor holds his own and does exactly what he is supposed to do: support the leading actor.

Then there are the ladies of the movie. Debbie Reynolds was young and full of spunk; therefore she was perfect for this role. Although she wasn’t the dancer or singer of the same caliber as Kelly or O’Connor, she is still able to hold her own with the guys, and her acting is perfect. She was exactly what the part needed.

Without Reynolds being an established dancing threat, directors Kelly and Stanley Donen made sure there would be an Singin" In The Rainopportunity to have a female partner for Kelly. Enter Cyd Charisse. Without ever speaking in the movie, Charisse and Kelly light up the screen with their sexuality, in one of the most beautifully sensual dance scenes ever captured on film.

Last, and most certainly not least, is the amazing Jean Hagen. Her performance in Singin’ In The Rain is nothing short of spectacular, and should always be remembered. My favorite thing about her role is that the story calls for Debbie Reynolds’ character to be the screen voice for Hagen’s character. Instead of Reynolds’ voice for the spoken lines, it is Hagen’s real voice, and in some of Reynolds’ songs they use a voice double. I love that.

“If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain’t been in vain for nothin’. Bless you all.”

It just goes to sow that sometimes movies can be great, even when they are put together from different discarded pieces.Singin' In The Rain Now, when we look back we can enjoy the movie for everything that it means to us. It also acted as an end to the Gene Kelly musicals. Of course he continued to act, sing, dance and direct, but his signature style soon disappeared from the screen. Singin’ In The Rain may have marked the end of an era, but it has left a lasting impression on the audiences who love it, and even today when we walk through the streets in the rain, we all have that slight temptation to start dancing. At least, I hope I’m not the only person who feels that way.

“Well, if it isn’t Ethel Barrymore.”

I also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that next Wednesday, August 22nd, Singin’ In The Rain will be back in theaters for one final day. Don’t forget to get your tickets and enjoy the “Greatest Musical Of All Time” on the big screen!

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Classic Movies Playing In Theaters This Summer!

If you have been reading my blog for very long you have figured out that I love classic movies. I will promote them whenever I have the opportunity to do so. I think that getting younger audiences excited about older movies is tremendously important. Often times people will argue with me saying that their children don’t like old movies. I have even been told that I am mean for making my children watch any movie that came out before they were born. I promise North By Northwestyou that if a child is introduced to classic movies properly, they will enjoy them.

It has always been my thought that people go to the movie theaters to escape their “real” life, for at least a short time. If that is true, I see how it is hard to duplicate the theater experience at home, but it can be done. If you don’t think you can successfully recreate the experience then I think the perfect option is to find a movie theater that is showing classic movies.

Apparently I am not the only person to feel this way. Today my post is to tell you about some upcoming classic movies that you can see this summer, in a theater near you. Not all of these are appropriate for children but some of them are. Most of them will be showing at Cinemark Theaters, but don’t be discouraged if you think there is not one near to you. Your local theater might have some, too. Check this link to see all available Cinemark theaters.

The SearchersCinemark Classic Movies

The movies still remaining on this schedule are:

Wednesday June 13th: Citizen Kane (1941) Rated PG

Wednesday, June 20th: Cool Hand Luke (1967) Rated PG

Wednesday June 27th: The Searchers (1956) Rated PG

Wednesday July 4th: That’s Entertainment (1974) Rated G

Wednesday July 11th: A Clockwork Orange (1971) Rated R

Wednesday July 18th: North By Northwest  (1959) Not Rated

Wednesday July 25th: Cabaret (1972) Rated PG

Cool Hand LukeAll of these movies will be playing at both 2:00PM and 7:00PM

 

In addition to these movies, on Thursday July 12th Turner Classic Movies will present: Singin’ In The Rain (1952). It the 60th anniversary of what has now been voted the number one musical of all time.  It will be playing in hundreds of theaters, so look for it near you. And don’t forget to take the kids to this one. You can click on this link here for theaters and show times.

TCM Singin’ In The Rain

Citizen KaneThe following week Singin’ In The Rain will be available on blu-ray for the first time as well. I think any age child can enjoy Singin’ In The Rain and That’s Entertainment, and I recommend waiting until your child is eight to watch North By Northwest. The Searchers and Cool Hand Luke are appropriate for children around eleven or so, and although Citizen Kane and Cabaret are rated PG I don’t know how much enjoyment younger children will get from these movies. I would wait until they are teenagers, personally. Oh yes, I almost forgot; please don’t ever take a child even near a theater playing A Clockwork Orange. It is not appropriate for any child or teenager ever!

If you get the opportunity to go see one of these movies, I would certainly take it. The more we encourage people to watch classic movies, the more opportunities we will have to see others!

When I Think of Mom: Mother’s Day

So here we are on Mother’s Day, and I can’t help but think about with my obsession with movies and where it may have originated. Obviously, I’m going to have to blame my parents. I mean there isn’t anyone else, so sorry guys I guess it’s entirely your fault; or maybe congratulations Mom and Dad, you created a movie-loving monster! Either way, I decided to think of which movies made me most think of my mother. Don’t worry Mom, I meant this in a good way. I remember my mother flipping out when I first saw Edward Scissorhands, and my entire family remembers the night we watched Disclosure together. I also have vivid memories of my mom trying to explain why she didn’t want to watch The Deer Hunter with her 15-year-old son, because her first viewing had haunted her for so many years. Those movies did not make my list. While making this list I also left off all of those wonderful suspense movies we watched together. Well when I say together, I really mean the family watching a movie while my Mother starts scrubbing the house down, just to avoid sitting there and being terrified. Anyway, what I was left with are six movies that I never watch without thinking about you Mom, so off we go.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)It's A Wonderful Life

I always thought this was a my mom’s favorite movie, but she recently told me that actually her favorite movie is A Few Good Men. I didn’t know that, and it’s too late to change my mind. I will always think of my mom and the way she always cries at the end. This movie made me love Jimmy Stewart, love Henry Travers, love Thomas Mitchell, and love Donna Reed. I always thought this movie had more life-lessons than any other, and I still believe this to be true today. It’s the perfect example of how to be a good son, husband, brother, father, friend, nephew, neighbor, or boss. It will always be what all of us should try to be. Oh yeah, it made me want to BE Jimmy Stewart, too.

Singin' In The RainSingin’ In The Rain (1952)

Any list of movies involving my mom would have to include a musical, and I’m not going to disappoint. My mom loves musicals, but the one I always think back on is Singin’ In The Rain. I have always thought that it was because she liked to see the behind the scenes of movie making, but as I got older I discovered that my mom really just loves to laugh. Not at something stupid, or crude, but rather at something that is intelligently funny, and that is exactly what this movie is for me, intelligently funny.

Old Yeller (1957)Old Yeller

All right I’m sorry, but this movie needs to be remembered, and I will never, ever forget watching this movie for the first time. We started the movie next to the TV, but by the end we were twenty yards back, on top of the stairs. It was the first time I cried in a movie, and I remember wishing it would all be over. I have owned this movie ever since it came out on DVD, but for some reason I have never opened it up. I keep saying that someday I’m going to watch it with my kids, but at the rate I’m going I don’t think that will be happening. Even though I never watch this movie, I still think of my mom when I think about Old Yeller.

The StingThe Sting (1973)

When I got older, I discovered that it wasn’t a common thing for someone my age to sit around watching The Sting as a child, but that is exactly what I did. If my memory serves me correctly, we watched this movie a lot. I remember watching Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid a lot, also. Obviously we liked the Newman-Redford combination, but I think I liked “Butch” more, and my Mom liked “Sting” more. Needless to say, I watched this many times, and I don’t ever watch it now without thinking about all of my childhood memories that go with this movie. Oh yeah, by the way, it’s a great all-around movie that no one should miss.

The Untouchables (1987)The Untouchables

I was nine years old when my parents went to the theater together to see The Untouchables. I was extremely jealous and for some crazy reason, I thought I deserved to go to see a movie that obviously would have been a mistake for me to see. However, when my parents came home, Mom preceded to explain the entire story to us children.  On top of that, the famous baseball bat scene was left in her mind, ten times more violent than it really was in the movie. I spent the next few years scared to see The Untouchables, because of that scene alone. When I finally did see the movie, I ended up laughing during this scene because it was nowhere near as bad as it had been in my own mind!

Dances With WolvesDances With Wolves (1990)

My parents didn’t like their kids to miss school, unless something important was happening. One day my mother pulled my older sister and me out of school in order to see Dances With Wolves. That was a big deal in our house. It was the most grandeous movie I had ever seen. I was only eleven, and remember thinking that movies were always going to be an important part of my life. It was the first movie that started me down a path where I didn’t just watch a movie once, but I would study them, dissect them, discover everything I could about them. Dances With Wolves was the movie that made me a Movie Fan, not just a movie watcher.

 

Thanks again, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day