For some folks, musical comedy is a film genre they just can’t tolerate. That’s too bad, because Hollywood hasn’t made many movies in any shape or form that offer the combination of great songs, amazing dance, and delightful comedy that characterizes Singin’ in the Rain.
The plot of the movie centers around the transition from silent films to talkies. There are the usual high jinks, misunderstandings, and opposites falling in love that comedies are noted for. All performed by an inspired cast, led by Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, and Jean Hagen.
But singing and dancing are the real stars of the show. Interestingly, most of the songs weren’t written specifically for this movie. “Make ‘Em Laugh,” for example, was dangerously close to another song, “Be a Clown,” used in another film (The Pirate) four years earlier. And the title song goes all the way back to the Hollywood Revue of 1929.
As for dancing, it’s hard to say whether Donald O’Connor’s athletic antics or Gene Kelly’s joyous splashing displays the most talent. But since it’s the iconic moment of the film, we’ll give the nod to Kelly. He’s always been slightly overshadowed by the brilliance of his contemporary, Fred Astaire (Great American Things, November 13, 2009), but Kelly’s talent on display here takes second billing to no one.
Singin’ in the Rain was voted the number one movie musical in American film history by the American Film Institute in 2006. It also came in at number 10 in the AFI’s list of 100 Years…100 Movies. And the song “Singin’ In The Rain” ranks number three in their top songs…