Often described as one of the most-loved musicals, “Singin’ in the Rain” is tied with “Phantom of the Opera” as my favorite. Along with being ranked #5 on the Greatest Movies of All Time list by the American Film Institute, “Singin’ in the Rain” the movie, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor is definitely my favorite movie musical. Partially inspired by a former silent film star whose career was killed by the innovation of sound in film, the songs were written before the script was, challenging screenwriters to piece together a story.
Perhaps, what sets “Singin’ in the Rain” apart from all other musicals is the dancing. Gene Kelly not only starred in the movie, but also choreographed all the dances, and directed most of the scenes. Without his contribution this would certainly not have been the same movie.
One of the fist parodies, “Singin’ in the Rain” pokes fun at Hollywood during the 1920s as the technology of talking pictures is being developed. The movie begins as Don Lockwood played by Gene Kelly attends a premier of his latest movie, in which he stars beside Lina Lamont played by Jean Hagen. In this silent film, Don plays and sword wielding hero, which directly points to his role in “The Three Musketeers” released in 1948. As the studio Don and Lina are employed by adopt the trend of talking pictures, it becomes apparent that Lina will need to be dubbed, have someone speak her lines, and sing her songs for her, after a premier goes south. During filming Lina’s heartbeat is recorded by a microphone sewn into her costume, mirroring what actually occurred on set to Debbie Reynolds. A young and talented girl, Kathy Selden played by Debbie Reynolds is chosen, but this detail must be kept from Lina, who had an altercation with Kathy at a party over Don’s affection. Just as “Singin’ in the Rain” was pieced together around the songs, so is the movie in which Don pieces together to save both, his and Lina’s career, again poking fun at the movie itself.
A perfect mixture of music, dancing, comedy, romance, and movie magic, Gene Kelly will continue to sing and dance in the rain for years to come and be loved by audiences of all ages.