I know that song…and that one…and…

Get ready for a tune that you might not be able to get out of your head for a few minutes.

I’m singing in the rain.
Just singing in the rain.
What a glorious feeling,
I’m happy again!
I’m laughing at clouds,
so dark up above,
The Sun’s in my heart
and I’m ready for love

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the theatrical release of Singin’ in the Rain. A one-time showing was held this evening at a local movie theatre. Having never seen the film before, I thought it would be fun to see it on the big screen. And it was fun!

I smiled — and sometimes hummed — at almost every song. One would think that I had seen the movie several times. Nearly every song was recognizable to me, and I was familiar with many of the dance routines. Gene Kelly dancing through mud puddles and swinging on lampposts is so iconic that it feels like one has seen the movie, even if you have only seen the clip and the many, many parodies of it. But there is also the famous routine of Donald O’Connor, singing Make Me Laugh, where he dances with a mannequin and flips off the walls. Or the scene with Kelly, O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, where they dancingly tip over a sofa singing Good Morning. I’ve seen each of these scenes too many times to count, but I have never seen the entire movie. I didn’t realize when I saw The Artist last January that it has a similar plot, though it isn’t Kelly who has the voice that can’t transition to the “talkies”. But, like in all musicals, the plot doesn’t really matter. It’s all about the music and the dance routines. Kelly’s choreography and the music by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown doesn’t disappoint — even though it is a movie that would never be made for today’s audiences.

The only thing about the movie that seems similar to today’s movies is the improbability of Gene Kelly, who was 40 when the film was made, would be a suitable love interest for the 18-year old Debbie Reynolds. Hollywood always has had a fascination with women being “ingenues” and older women being unloveable hags and shrews. Still, I liked the movie.

One of my favorite scenes from Singin’ In The Rain is the ballet duet with Kelly and Cyd Charisse, Broadway Melody. Like most other parts of the movie, I’d seen this excerpt before. What I hadn’t seen was the first part of the dance routine where he meets Charisse, a gangster’s moll.

The ballet routine:

The first part of routine with Charisse & Kelly is very different, but fun to watch too.

August 23 is the 100th anniversary of Gene Kelly’s birth. You might be able to catch an airing of Singin’ In The Rain on TCM. Check the listings. Or, you can sing in the rain. If there is no rain where you are, just have the sun in your heart.


3 responses to “I know that song…and that one…and…

  1. Anne, I absolutely adore this film and have seen it so many times but never on the big screen. What a wonderful introduction for you, I am so envious! My favourite line comes from the silent movie actress, all the way from Brooklyn “Whaddya mean I can’t tawk?”
    I didn’t know Gene Kelly was 40 when he did this, to me is and always will be ageless. For reasons I don’t know perky Debbie R has always slightly irritated me in her role as Cathy. I should stop here, I could go on forever but you have said it all so well!

  2. I love this movie! It’s interesting, though, that the one scene that never seemed to fit (for me) with the rest of the movie was the ballet scene with Sid Charisse. To me it felt like it was thrown in–a non-sequitor–as an excuse to highlight Gene Kelly’s considerable dancing talents. I much preferred the vaudeville scene with Kelly and O’Conner, or the O’Connor’s Make ‘Em Laugh. But it is a reminder that everything creative is subjective.

    • You’re right! It doesn’t fit. All of it was done to highlight Kelly’s dancing, and the music, much of which, including the title song, had previously appeared in movies. I did like, however, how they explained the Broadway Melody within the confines of the script, since it was so different from the rest of the movie. The story within a story was probably they only way that they could do it while still having some sort of narrative, although tenuous.