Home > Sunday Screening Films > Screening 11/15 — Singin’ in the Rain

Screening 11/15 — Singin’ in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain rates #5 on the most recent AFI top 100 movies list, #7 on the far more comprehensive Cahiers du Cinema top 100 films list, and #75 on the populist and fanboy driven IMDB Top 250.  So, why haven’t I seen it?  The story about the coming of “talkies” to the cinema should appeal to any love of film.  And the production alone looks pretty magnificent.  But, watching the trailer above, I couldn’t fight back my feelings about musicals, which is: I kind of hate them.  Every time a song and dance is playing out on screen, I get restless to get back to the story.  Some people, hell, lots of people like the spectacle.  I’m not one of them.

However, I get the sense that the use of music will compliment the “coming of sound” story pretty well.  There is an inherent conflict between the two notions, so I’m looking forward to finally checking it out.  At the very least, Singin’ in the Rain can finally replace Alex and his Droogies viciously raping and beating a poor, old couple in their home as my main association for the eponymous song.

-Nate

For me Singin’ in the Rain is a good first movie for several reasons. This film is one of three films in the top 10 of the AFI top 100 movies list that I have yet to see. Watching it will also help improve the number of musicals I have seen (the number is small, real small). I also remember my film history teacher Caroline Frick talking about it’s importance to the film canon, but I don’t quite recall the reasons why, so I will have to dig my old notes out before watching so that I can remember her words.

We’ve all been bombarded with iconography from Singin’ in the Rain. Between parodies and commercials I’m sure we all have an idea of at least one scene in the movie, I know I for one am happy that I get to fill out the rest of the film.

-Paul

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  1. November 15, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    I have a couple thoughts about Singin’ in the Rain that I want to get out after watching it (and before I go watch Paranormal Activity (finally!)). Firstly, I’m probably not the first guy to say this, but I’m not really a huge fan of Musicals. When picking a film genre, Musicals are pretty far down the list for me. I know that there are many that are great, but they just don’t really quite interest me as much as other genres. One of the indicators of a great movie is how well it holds up over time. A lot of moves from the past feel very dated. Great classic films will make you forget how long ago they actually happened. I felt that Singin’ in the Rain, while definitely in the past, didn’t feel like it was made fifty years ago. I feel that Singin’ in the Rain is very much a forefather of the Transformers 2 and 2012’s of today. Singin’ in the Rain is a spectacle film. It is big and bright and loud. The film is floods the viewer with sights and sounds. The color is amazing. The music was great. I can easily see why this film is pretty consistently put in top 10 lists by critics. I have to admit, I liked it. The story was something I was interested in, the music was entertaining. What did everyone else think?

    • November 15, 2009 at 6:11 PM

      I say what I think generally below (looks like we were on the same schedule), but I agree with your assessment about being the forerunner to big budget action movies. I didn’t come up with this idea myself (I heard if from BU professor Roy Grundmann and thought it made a lot of sense). Musicals and action movies have the same beats, where they take time out for a giant chase or dance number, then get back to the story. Apparently, Singin’ in the Rain went over a million dollars over budget, so another similarity between the two genres. Like you, I don’t particularly care for musicals, but I don’t particularly care for action movies either. That said, I liked it too. Quite a bit actually. I was especially happy that it doesn’t have the same problem of some other musicals where it’s overly long (*cough* My Fair Lady *cough*).

    • Marty
      November 15, 2009 at 6:52 PM

      I do think the comparison to modern spectacle films is apt, especially when you compare the strength of the studios then and now. It takes a juggernaut to make a film like this, whether you’re staging massive dance numbers or fights between massive robots. While I’m not an expert, I can’t imagine that many films of this ilk were made in the 70s, when the studio system was in remission, if you will.

      • November 15, 2009 at 7:19 PM

        I’d have to agree with that about the 70s. Scorsese tried it with New York, New York in ’77, which I don’t think did very well. And while it came out in ’82, just look what Coppola’s One from the Heart did. It bankrupted Zoetrope and Coppola had to make all sorts of stuff of varying quality to make up for it.

        Just think, if not for One from the Heart bombing, there would probably be no Jack. Hey! A silver lining (or not…)

  2. November 15, 2009 at 6:04 PM

    As I discuss above, I don’t care much for musicals, but my first impression of Singin’ in the Rain is that it’s pretty awesome. I was a little scared that it was going to take place as a story within a story, but that conceit was used to great effect with the dialogue undercutting the image (or vice versa). I actually found the movie to be insanely clever from the red carpet mockery to the fast and witty dialogue. Of course, it helps to have interesting subject matter which, for any film enthusiast, the coming of sound and the issues that accompany it definitely is.

    I didn’t get too frustrated by the musical numbers, though I think that slow, sappy love songs loaded with string-y flourishes are my kryptonite. Frequently, the dance scenes are very fun with lots of gags thrown in for good measure. I’m exceptionally impressed with how effortless it all looks given that, apparently, Donald O’Connor had to rest for 3 days after “Make ‘Em Laugh” and Debbie Reynolds burst blood vessels in her feet shooting during “Good Morning.” I still got restless during the spontaneous musical numbers, though. I guess I’m not whimsical enough to go for the ride. All I can think about his how unreal it is, how the story isn’t progressing anymore, and that they are clearly performing for the audience by way of the camera, which is clearly breaking the fourth wall. In fact, I like the musical numbers a lot better when they are in super-wide shots so it feels like we are watching a private moment, or at least one that’s not contrived.

    On that note, the “Gotta Dance” number is WAY too long. I know some people like that sort of thing, but I lost track of the story. Was that for the movie they were shooting? If so, there is no way it could be shot like that in 1927 (when Singin’ takes place). They could barely pull off sound, let alone a huge musical set piece. I know it was Don’s fantasy, but it simply took too much time.

    There was a lot of great behind the scenes action, though. I especially dug the walk along a sound stage where three completely different movies were being shot within feet of each other. And the premiere of The Dueling Cavalier was pretty epic in its awfulness.

    My last note, for now, is how great the staging is. People are rightfully in awe of the dance numbers, but even in the dialogue scenes, the movement is impeccable, notable in the scene where they are trying to figure out how to approach turning The Dueling Cavalier into the Dancing Cavalier and the scene where where they are all side stage after the premiere of the musical for Lina’s power play with her and Don going out for bows then returning to the argument. It’s clear that Gene Kelly’s codirection has a lot to do with the dynamism of these scenes. Similarly, this film makes me think that all dancers should be physical comedians. Don O’Connor’s performance during “Make ‘Em Laugh” is incredible.

    Favorite lines: “She’s so refined. I think I’ll kill myself.”
    “It’s no wonder they’re a household name all over the world. Like bacon and eggs.”
    “Gee, I’m glad you turned up, we’ve been looking inside every cake in town.”
    “Zelda! Oh, Zelda!” (it’s the way it’s said).

    That’s all for now. I look forward to hearing what others have to say and adding a bit more myself.

    • November 15, 2009 at 10:27 PM

      I too was in awe of the staging/shot composition. It was pretty amazing how they used the majority of the frame in each shot. Some of the camera moves were incredible, especially taking into account the fact that this was FAR before the Steadi-cam was even dreamed up. Between the camera movement and the choreography, someone really knew what they were doing. I laughed (to myself) at how they when they showed the Prop movie camera, they showed a camera that was on a set of sticks that couldn’t have made the camera moves they were “shooting”.

      I’m with you Nate, there were definitely a couple of musical numbers that were way too long, but I think that fits with the spectacle of the film.

  3. Marty
    November 15, 2009 at 7:34 PM

    Full disclosure, I had seen Singin’ in the Rain before this Sunday, in my introductory film aesthetics class in undergrad. I went into it expecting a silly musical, probably a dumb love story. I expected to not like it. I was wrong.

    I have to say that my opinions fall along very similar lines as Nate’s. The film is just too damn clever, which I think is something that sets it apart from other musicals of the era. Here is the summary for another Gene Kelly musical, On The Town, which came out three years earlier: Three sailors on a day of shore leave in New York City look for fun and romance before their twenty-four hours are up.

    On The Town plays out much as you would expect a musical to play out. There’s dancing, singing, comedy, all of which provides a good, wholesome experience. While it might be fun and romantic, it’s nowhere near as smart or self-aware as Singin’ in the Rain is. Any musical carries with it the weight of the genre’s origins from the stage. Nowadays, as most of us look at it, the musical is probably the least cinematic of all genres. Where Singin’ in the Rain succeeds, in my opinion, is that it is a definitive movie musical. Not only does the subject matter involve movies, it makes use of the story-within-a-story conceit in a way that works with the medium, rather than fighting against it.

    So, as this wonderful discussion on mise en abyme continues, I leave you with this:

    • November 15, 2009 at 8:12 PM

      It’s OK, Marty. We won’t hold having seen a classic film that we should’ve see by now against you.

      Something I know I don’t think about much, so I can only assume others don’t, is how many musicals were made once sound came along and into the 60s. There’s been some effort for a resurgence, mostly disguised as biopics, but nothing like the volume back in the day, or in the style. It’s kind of remarkable to me that the audiences didn’t grow weary of the formula that you discuss.

      That said, the culture around the stars was much different then, as Singin’ in the Rain illustrates throughout. People were (seemingly, as I’ve not done much research on the topic) more inclined to see a movie for its star or stars alone, which I’d imagine perpetuated the genre and yielded a bunch of subpar entries.

      And that video is horrifying. I’m sure my response is equal parts terror at the computer graphics and desecrating film history. It also gives me a far greater appreciation for the more classical, tap style of dancing used in Singin’ in the Rain. Hip Hop dance lacks a certain elegance and fun to me.

    • johnwm1
      November 16, 2009 at 12:14 AM

      I hope VW execs realize how many people who had absolutely no opinion about their company before they watched this ad, suddenly hated them.

    • November 16, 2009 at 10:27 AM

      Did the movie hold up for you on this subsequent viewing? I feel like if/when I watch this film again, I will be much more inclined to feel that the dance numbers are tedious and too drawn out for my Sesame Street/MTV generation attention span. I actually start getting taken out of the story during the one long Cyd Charisse dance number, which came out of nowhere and didn’t really do anything for the plot. I wonder how a version of the movie would play if all the dance numbers and scenes that weren’t necessary to the plot were removed?

      That Volkswagen ad is such a weird mash-up, I don’t see how anyone can think that it would sell anything, much less cars.

      • Marty
        November 16, 2009 at 1:05 PM

        It held up pretty well, save for the moments toward the end that everyone seems to find jarring. Most of the dance numbers in the film come in one of two flavors: Either they take place behind the scenes, or they are a part of the film that is being made. The behind the scenes numbers hold up better for me because they pertain more to the story, while the film numbers are a bit boring because they have nothing to do with the characters and instead characters the characters are playing. In essence they are the equivalent of Roland Emmerich destroying St. Peter’s Basilica when it has nothing to do with the story — it’s there only for more spectacle.

  4. November 15, 2009 at 11:55 PM

    Some more thoughts…

    I amused myself quite a bit thinking of the Foley Artist trying to mimic the sounds of the tap dancing. I was a little disappointed to discover that they actually had tap dancers in the studio recreating the steps for recording. I like it better thinking of someone drumming along to the steps.

    The film used irony very well. I especially like the scene where Lina admits to getting Kathy fired, then Don and her immediately have to run a scene where they are deeply in love at the peak of Don’s loathing of Lina. Another example, which I think was wholly unintentional, is when they are having trouble getting Lina to speak into the mic and the director keeps getting more enraged, so Don has to step in to keep things calm. Apparently, Gene Kelly was quite the tyrant on the set and Debbie Reynolds and Don O’Connor didn’t care much for working with him.

    Lastly, even though I think the “Gotta Dance” scene is WAY too long, I love the sets. I think I’m a sucker for huge sets like that what with my love of the scenery of Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

    • November 16, 2009 at 10:31 AM

      Was it foley? I so feel for that poor foley artist. That had to be an extremely difficult job. I was thinking about the sound design, especially during the Singin’ in the Rain scene, in which the tap scenes are definitely done in water. The rain effects do sound a bit too forward to have been live sound though.

      • November 16, 2009 at 12:57 PM

        I don’t know if all of it was, but I’m pretty sure some of it was (so IMDB tells me). Apparently, for the dancing in the rain stuff, they had to record someone tapping in giant puddles of water.

        • November 16, 2009 at 9:52 PM

          The foley artist who did the wet taps deserved any awards he got, and if he didn’t get any, he should have.

  5. johnwm1
    November 16, 2009 at 12:07 AM

    Watched Singin’ in the Rain for the first time today and definitely agree with what’s been said so far. I’m not naturally a fan of musicals either, but the sheer exuberance and amazing talent and skill evident in front of and behind the camera won me over. I can’t imagine the amount of intense work and practice that went into the making of this elaborate production. Yet, there’s a great sense of efficiency and precision to the storytelling and filmmaking (with the exception of the dance number Nate mentioned). It’s like a finely made confection–extra sugary icing, but light on its feet.

    Jean Hagen as the antagonist was just zany and ditzy enough, but not so much so that she was genuinely irritating. The scene in which she struggles to work with the mic, as well as the subsequent screening of The Dueling Cavalier, are just hilarious. Gene Kelly, of course, is a highly appealing and engaging lead. As I hinted above, though, I do agree that the “Gotta Dance” number got carried away with itself. It just goes on forever and I momentarily forgot what was happening in the story.

    The parallel between musicals back then, action movies now, and their story beats is one I’ve never considered and find really interesting. It also highlights how drastically the main moviegoing public has changed over the past 50 years—-from adults wanting to see big-name stars sing and dance in lavish production numbers, to mostly teenagers wanting to see stuff blow up.

    • November 16, 2009 at 12:22 AM

      I think your point about Jean Hagen is important because she really could have been written off as an obnoxious, stupid, shallow character. As she continually says, she ain’t stupid and you never feel like she is. When her character starts playing hardball, it’s 100% believable. She’s a shrewd business woman with an unfortunate voice, and yes, is a little slow. But not stupid.

      I’m reminded of a similar character in Charlie Chaplin’s very interesting Monsieur Verdoux (based on an idea by Orson Welles, no less). I believe Martha Ray’s character, Annabella Bonheur, is the culprit. She is so obnoxious that it ruins almost every scene she’s in and affected my enjoyment of the film (however, in this case, it makes you want Chaplin to succeed in killing her, which adds another level to the film. Bah!!!! Monsieur Verdoux, will you never stop messing with my mind???).

      Anyway, the guys all seem to be on the same page about the film and musicals in general. Let’s hear from the ladies out there! Or at least a guy willing to admit to liking musicals.

    • November 16, 2009 at 9:54 PM

      Welcome John. I agree with your points, and thought the sentiment about Jean Hagen is spot on. She’s a pretty amazing antagonist who comes off as a bit of a dolt, only to show that she does have some brains (but not enough to keep her from becoming the butt of about the biggest gag in the film).

      • johnwm1
        November 17, 2009 at 10:59 AM

        I’m glad you brought that scene up because it’s such a great moment. Not only is it the perfect comeuppance for Lina, which tidily resolves the threat she posed to the main characters and the injustice of her getting all the credit, but it also segues perfectly into the romance between Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds’ characters. Having all this happen onstage in front of the public is great way of wrapping all these plot points up, tying nicely into the subject matter of the movie, and none of it seems forced. Really clever screenwriting.

  6. November 16, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    I was doing some post-watching research on Gene Kelly and I found some cool facts about him, that don’t necessarily comment on the movie, but seemed worth sharing.

    Firstly, Gene was a Yankees fan, which makes me like him even more.

    Some of you may know this already, but Gene’s papers are currently housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. Go Terriers!

    Gene was part of the Committee for the First Amendment, the Hollywood delegation which flew to Washington to protest at the first official hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. His first wife, Betsy Blair, was suspected of being a Communist sympathizer and when MGM, who had offered Blair a part in Marty (1955), were considering withdrawing her under pressure from the American Legion, Kelly successfully threatened MGM with a pullout from It’s Always Fair Weather unless his wife was restored to the part.

  7. November 16, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    Dammit!!! He should be a Pittsburgh fan, if anything.

    I had a big discussion with one of my professors and another student about his papers at BU. Maybe one of us BU alum should write a book on him.

    • November 16, 2009 at 9:53 PM

      I think he choose to root for the right time.

      • November 16, 2009 at 11:16 PM

        I guess that gives him something in common with Becky (the Pittsburgh thing, not the rooting for the right team thing).

  8. LMM
    November 17, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    I’m still working through all the comments, but I have to say that I’m excited that you like the movie.
    This one was easy for me, since not only have I seen this movie before, but it’s one of my favorite films of all times.

    I just love everything about it; the acting, the story, the songs (which aren’t your typical ‘song’ in a musical) and of course the way everything flows. It’s one of those movies that I can watch over and over again. Granted, there are quite a few of those, this is one of the few that brings a huge smile to my face when I do get a chance to see it again.

    I do agree that the musical genre is one that is actually harder than it seems to make, and while I’ve never heard it compared to an action film before, it makes total sense. Especially with this one.

    Again, forgive me if I’m repeating information, but one trivia bit is that the “Good Morning” scene was shot over and over again, because Kelly wanted it just right and Reynolds was having trouble (first major film and not a trained dancer), that Reynolds feet ended up bleeding.
    This could be film lore and not trivia, but either way, it should how much effort was put into making this movie the best it could be.

    Gene Kelly was an amazing dancer, a great actor, and an apparent hard ass when it came to his movies. Maybe that’s why I love this movie so much; for he’s a force to watch.

    • November 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM

      Welcome to the discussion! As I’ve said above, I’m not a huge musical fan, but the dance scenes alone are so energetic and full of clever use of scenery that it’s hard not to be won over. Even the overindulgent (in my opinion, obviously) “Gotta Dance” number is a marvel of choreography and sets.

      Your observation about Kelly being a great dancer/actor and hard ass are spot on. He is a force on screen. And he has a great smile, if I may say so. If it takes working everyone to exhaustion to create something so seemingly effortless and fun, then I’m all for it. No one said work should be easy, and the final product of a film is all that matters, not the individual experience. Maybe this is why I Kubrick so much. He was willing to push people as much as possible to get what he wanted.

  9. LMM
    November 17, 2009 at 8:35 PM

    Officially, hey guys! And go me for being the girl woman on here (I am correct on that, right?)

    Now that I have read all the comments, I want to add a few things.
    It still makes me so happy that y’all like this movie more than expected, but it makes me sad “Gotta Dance” is not liked. That’s one of my favorite songs. Maybe I love it so much because I like Don’s character is just awesome, not to mention how limber he is. I love just watching him in this scene. And to be honest, I’ve never thought about it being too long cause it’s just fun to watch. The switching sets for one, but my favorite part is when he’s dancing and “playing” with the doll. Just too cute, makes me smile.

    My comment about how hard Kelly was not a critique of the movie itself. I’m fascinated by his work ethic actually. True, he seemed to be hated, by more than one person, and was arrogant as hell, but he was that bad-ass that it was okay. He a complete force on the screen, and I recommended to a friend (who also didn’t like musicals) to just focus on him and how awesome he is.

    Lena is an awesome character too. Specially when you put her up against Kathy. The Hollywood less than intelligent beautiful film star vs the girl next door smart beauty. Every girl’s dream.
    She was a great villain that’s not a threatening villain, until you least expected it.

    Lastly, I actually think musicals are one of the hardest genres to make.
    At least it’s hard to make a good one. All the elements, singing-dancing-acting-sets-story-etc have to work as one well oiled machine, and that’s hard to do. Not to mention that there aren’t many actors that can do all that is needed to be in a musical.
    Sure, when musicals were popular most of the stars were trained in dancing, singing, and acting, but most films became star vehicles. That is where I think they start to fade. However, Singin’ didn’t falter. It had huge stars, and it’s an amazing film.
    I don’t think we will ever see these types of movies again. Sure, “Chicago” and “Dreamgirls” were okay, but still had elements, or people, that didn’t fit.
    I have no idea if I made my point, or even a point, but I hope it makes some sense.

    • November 17, 2009 at 9:23 PM

      You are the first girl, but I have it on high authority you will soon be joined by another, though we couldn’t be happier to have you as the trailblazer.

      It’s not that I have a problem with the “Gotta Dance” sequence on its own, just in the context of the film. It’s Don’s idea for his movie within the movie, but at the time when Singin’ in the Rain is set (1927), they just didn’t have the means to pull it off. That wouldn’t be an issue in and of itself, but the duration gives the viewer time to think about it and it’s definitely not a set piece that one should spend his or her time thinking about.

      And I think you are right about never seeing this type of musical again. The huge spectacle musical hasn’t been financially viable since the 60s and we just don’t have the screen talent these days to pull one off. We’re even off of the Chicago-style musical and onto the Disney channel musicals. Like most other genres, the musical is being aimed at the kids.

      Now I’m confusing myself feeling nostalgic for a genre I don’t particularly care for.

    • November 17, 2009 at 10:13 PM

      Welcome, I am glad that we are getting some of the female perspective (hopefully we’re going to get more, as we want as many viewpoints as we can).

      I like your points. I think that one reason we have moved away from the Musical is that Movies have changed. It used to be that they would do things in the movies that were tedious and everyday, and people were willing to watch it. Now, I think that movies have become more specialized, and people who are seeking out the experience of the “musical” are more apt to seek that type of entertainment by attending a live show, rather then seeing the filmed version of one.

  10. LMM
    November 18, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    Ah Disney. I do have to say, High School Musical (the first one) wasn’t all that bad. I watched it cause my niece LOVED it, and had to see what the kids were into these days. It’s basically “Grease” with blondes, but the storyline about doing what you like no matter what others think is important in todays peer driven society.

    Back on point, I do agree that movies are going in a different direction, and I’m not sure if I like it. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I just want to watch a movie with cool action scenes and stupid dialogue (GI Joe), but more often than not I want to watch a movie I can think about and come away with a different feeling than going in (500 Days of Summer).

    I don’t think it’s necessarily being nostalgic for a genre, but for the actors of that generation. Being in love with Singin’ makes me long for an actor like Kelly, so talented in many different areas. Again, different era, different types of movies.

    At least there is a great musical that can withstand the test of time.

    • November 18, 2009 at 12:45 PM

      There’s something remarkably different between the actors 40 years ago and the actors now. Actor’s today seem to be in a perpetual state of arrested development. I like watching adults regress as much as the next person, few really have any air of authority. Part of that is the age of popular actors. Years ago, they were in their mid-30s to 50s before they exploded and wore it on their faces (instead of having the minor nips and tucks so popular these days). Separately, the actresses, in typical hypocritical Hollywood ways, were in their low to mid 20s, but they never seem like it. They almost always feel like adults. These help to make older movies timeless.

      I don’t think we’ll be able to ever recreate a genre because film is such as time capsule of the era in which it was made (which makes it all the more interesting to me).

      I jumped off a point you made and went in a direction I’m not entirely sure makes sense. Oh well. I wanted to say it anyway.

  11. Rob
    November 18, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    Just wanted to join in a little bit here. I’ve been through the Gene Kelly papers at BU–I was thinking about writing my dissertation on him this summer, but I’m not sure if there are enough materials around. His collection of Singin’ in the Rain material did, indeed, disappear due to a fire at his home. But, I did get to see his original notes for plenty of his films. What fascinates me most about Kelly, is his penchant for making singing and dancing “manly” for the audiences back then. As the common argument goes, Fred Astaire was a dandy, but Gene Kelly was a man’s man. You can tell just in the way he moves around. All great dancers can stick those moves, staying completely centered–but whereas someone like Astaire floated around, Kelly was low to the ground–adding a whole lot of jazz and humanity to his moves. He made it his life-long passion to make sure that people understood how important, useful, and yes, masculine, it was to have control over your body. He created an entire television series about this–and got sports stars like Mickey Mantle to say so as well.

    The other aspect of the movie that intrigues is its completely subtle maneuvering to implant a typical romance into a movie that says it’s all fake. His opening lines about “Dignity, always dignity” start this whole theme off, as he goes through a biography that shows just how fake the movie publicity machine is. So, throughout the whole movie, you’re somewhat against Lena Lamont, being that she is not only dumb, but vain and conniving, and perfectly fine with ruining someone’s career if only to keep up appearances. But in the end, we get that same romantic ending anyway–not only is Kathy Selden beautiful, talented and all that jazz, she’s also wholesome and embodies the “dignity” that is challenged from the get-go.

    I still whistle “Singin’ in the Rain” every time it rains, though.

    • November 18, 2009 at 4:43 PM

      Good to hear from you, Rob. I hadn’t really thought about the difference of dancing styles between Kelly and Astaire. There is a sort of down and dirty aspect to Kelly’s dancing (I’ll be able to compare better in a few weeks when The Band Wagon ships from Netflix). It is interesting that dancing is still looked down upon as effeminate, especially given that so many professional athletes do it in the off season for balance and agility. I think what really lacks in Kelly’s dancing is the dramatic flourishes that seem to strive for elegance.

      And even the start of Don and Kathy’s relationship is based on a lie. She tells him that she’s not particularly a fan of movies, let alone his (“if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”). Regardless of the playful torment Don makes her endure, she turns out to be a huge fan of his, which ultimately makes their relationship that much more satisfying. The lying breaks down the barriers that may have existed between the two.

  12. Rob
    November 18, 2009 at 8:51 PM

    this, my friends, is awesome:

  13. LMM
    November 19, 2009 at 8:47 AM

    There is a vast difference between the different era of actors. I do think we are heading back into the 70s era where actors really acted and took chances. Granted, these are few and far between, but the ones that stretch themselves for a character are amazing….and usually foreign.

    He does have a man’s man way of dancing. Maybe that’s why I have such a crush on him. I think that’s why he’s so fascinating to watch on screen. You marvel at his talent, but know at the same time, if needed, he could knock some skulls. Maybe that’s just the damsel in distress all women have, even if we hate it.

    I never thought about Kathy’s lie in the beginning as being a lie. I saw it as her being a smart woman who wasn’t going to be typical and screen and swoon over this actor who she loves. She’s better than that. Not to mention that she expected him to be this arrogant egotistical star, so she wanted to burst his bubble. Sure she loved him and his films, but it’s better to have that fantasy of the film star as opposed to the reality of the actor. In her attempts to bring him down, she actually made him fall for her in her honesty. He fell for her because she was real, which gives hope to all the damsels out there.

    There is a lot of pressure being a woman watching Hollywood films. The films now have the same type of story, man fall for normal girl, but the normal girl is not a heroine. In some way she needs to be rescued by the knight in shinning armor. Yes, we all sort of want that, but not all of us actually need saving. That’s what also makes me love this movie. Kathy is a very independent strong woman, as were most during that era, yet she still ended up with the man. Singing in the Rain has a lot of the same stereo-types of romance films, but it’s not cheesy or predictable. Okay, so you might have expected Don and Kathy to end up together, but you loved watching their ride instead of wishing it to be over to find out how it happens. You don’t have to be the blonde cheerleader to end up with Mr. Popular. You could also be the one who speaks her mind and has opinions.

    Wow, I never realized how much of a love story, and how much I love this love story, this movie is until right now. It makes me happy.

    (And I’m quite sad cause I can view the video above at work, but I will comment on it later.)

    I do have a random question for the masses. Since none of you had been particular fans of Musicals, what are your thoughts on Glee?

  14. November 19, 2009 at 7:04 PM

    LMM — You are starting to enter a huge area of film discussion that has filled books upon books, and I’m not sure I can fully articulate the theory behind it all (also, I could be reading stuff into what your are saying that’s not there). You may be interested by this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Pleasure_and_Narrative_Cinema#The_gaze_and_the_female_spectator.

    As far as Glee, I don’t watch it. I checked out the moment the first commercials had the glee club singing “Don’t Stop Believing.” I have no tolerance for the song and immediately decided that a show using it as a selling point is not for me. Unfair… yes. But I need to stand for something. Also, Glee took Jane Lynch away from Party Down.

    • November 20, 2009 at 10:13 AM

      I can’t stand that horrid song Sweet Caroline, and I still sat through a Blue Jays game at Fenway…

      • November 20, 2009 at 12:10 PM

        If Glee ever plays at a historic stadium, I’ll be sure to check it out.

        And do you watch Glee? You didn’t answer LMM’s question in lieu of mocking me.

        • November 20, 2009 at 1:14 PM

          Sorry sir,

          I have not watched Glee. It actually looks like it’s good (Journey song or no Journey song), and I’ve heard from many that it is an enjoyable watch. I’m lucky if I can keep up with the 3 or 4 shows I am watching right now, and just couldn’t add Glee to that list.

  15. LMM
    November 20, 2009 at 9:25 AM

    Yeah, I have no idea why I went in that direction with the past post, but will check out the link.

    I have yet to see Party Down, so I was unaware that was she stolen. I can imagine the frustration because she’s amazing in every roll and I would hate her to disappear from a show.
    You don’t like the classic “Don’t Stop…”? Greatest drunken bar song ever!
    I understand your points and respect your stand against the show, however I’m still going to say you should see it. I think it’s a brilliantly written show and the singing and dancing are unique and fresh. It’s a TV musical, but with that great subtle humor that Lynch and others are so great at.

    • November 21, 2009 at 2:14 AM

      And incidentally, much as you recommend Glee, I also recommend Party Down, if only because it has Martin Starr in it (but there are many more reasons).

  16. November 20, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    It’s been recommended by more than once person, and I won’t say my reasoning is rational, but I already watch enough TV anyway. It’s possible I’ll catch up on DVD.

    And I get a lot of grief for my position on Journey. It’s up there with when people find out I don’t like ketchup.

  17. LMM
    November 22, 2009 at 3:38 PM

    I actually really really want to see Party Down. I’ll have to catch up on Netflicks. And I LOVE Martin Starr. I’m even more excited to see a movie if I know he is in it (Knocked Up, Adventureland…).

    • December 10, 2009 at 3:31 PM

      Miss seeing your comments on the site. Hope to hear your input on some of the other films.

  18. November 22, 2009 at 11:13 PM

    I was sad I missed The Invention of Lying, if only because Starr was in it briefly. I was elated, however, to discover him in an early episode of How I Met Your Mother. If you like him, you’ll love Party Down.

  19. LMM
    December 12, 2009 at 10:11 PM

    I miss commenting on here, and hopefully will be back on very soon. I’ve been so busy with getting Xmas stuff together. When all your family lives across the country, shopping early is a must.

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