A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Writers: Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Staring: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen
Release Date: April 11, 1952

Singin’ In The Rain (1952) deserves every accolade ever sent its way. The unbelievable cast, inspiring visuals and pure bliss pouring off the screen in Singin’ In The Rain ensures that it receives the appropriate acclaim as one of the best musicals ever made. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen are all outstanding. The directors, Kelly himself and Stanley Donen took chances in 1952 and created a movie that transcends time and forces one to put a smile on their face.

The story takes place in 1927 Hollywood when the movie industry is shifting from silent pictures to talking pictures. The gossip’s favorite couple of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are stars of the passing Hollywood era and are stressing in attempting keep the limelight was the talkies take over. The pair were mutually in on this fake relationship until Lockwood meets Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds).

Lockwood and Selden form a budding romantic relationship that also pairs as a fortuitous business venture. Selden is an actress aching for a chance, and she gets that opportunity when she agrees to do the voiceover for Lamont in a rushed production of a talking picture. With the help of Lockwood’s friend Cosmo (Donald O’Connor), this trio sing and dance their way to a romping success. Singin’ In The Rain brings together the technical side of Hollywood changing, the characters involved with making the movies, and the drive to be part of something special. It is a hard task to funnel together, but directors Kelly and Stanley Donen make sure it flows swimmingly.

Singin’ In The Rain is a technical marvel. There are numerous shots that leave audiences (even today), aghast. The choreography in all of dance sequences is remarkable to look at. When this was made in 1952, the editors and directors could not see the immediate playback to see if a take was good or not. The practice and patience for perfection to make all the magic happen had to have been extraordinary.

The most remarkable sequence is when Lockwood is acting out the modern opening portion of The Dancing Cavalier. When the camera pans out and the neon billboards of Hollywood trap the screen and light up Lockwood’s bright ass smile, it is impossible to not be smiling yourself. Then there is the tracking shot of Lockwood being raised up above the floor and its followed by a zoom in with him on the elevated pedestal; it is gold. Practical effects for the win! Practical effects for the win!

While the staging, lighting and overall aesthetic of Singin’ In The Rain is remarkable, nothing would be possible without the performances delivered. Kelly is magnetic as the lead and it is remarkably easy to see why everyone was in love with him at the time. O’Connor as Cosmo was the funniest of the entire crew, using his facial expressions and supreme dancing skills to a tee. Reynolds as Selden is charming as hell and her sassiness is a turn-on, just like how Lockwood experienced it. Then there is the iconic horrific actress in the movie, Lina Lamont. In a truly ironic circumstance, Jean Hagen was the only actor nominated for an actor.

Singin’ In The Rain is a must see for everyone. It is a Hollywood classic and one of the best movies within a movie all-time.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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