Posts Tagged ‘Gene Kelly’

Professor Jonathan Frink Sr, voiced by Jerry Lewis

U.S. Productivity: What Is It, How to Calculate It

Workers, the labor movement and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Play The Bail Trap Game!

Hitting the pavement instead of the sheetcake

Vice News/HBO Documentary on Charlottesville

Vloggger brothers: Race is uncomfortable for me to talk about

Kim Kingsley: My Life Lessons in Rust Belt Racism

Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago

Kickstarter: Mine! : a comics collection to benefit Planned Parenthood

8 years of suffering under Barack Obama

Religion for the Nonreligious

Alaska’s permafrost is no longer permanent. It is starting to thaw

The yard of campaign yard signs

Forgotten Technology: Man Lifts 20 Ton Block By Hand

Warren Roberts: Reflecting on my blogs at the Times Union

REVIEW: “Monty Python’s Spamalot” at the Mac-Haydn – the Wife and I saw this show. It was great, but we were so near the stage we feared that we’d have our feet being stepped on. And I was struck by a cow – seriously. A stuffed cow that was launched from the French castle; ’twas but a glancing blow

Jay Thomas on Letterman.- The ‘Lone Ranger’ Story (2014)

Which Gaming Console Was the Most Popular?

Tony Isabella: To Black Lightning, with love

Now I Know: The Political Race Which Was, Literally, a Race and Drinking and Drive-Overs

Give the back of your hand to opisthenar

THAT GUY AND HIS FAMILY

Friedrich wrote letter begging not to be deported

The White nationalist House

The Message in Joe Arpaio’s Pardon and Fascism as a Unifying Principle

The Constitutional Crisis Has Begun

DJT’s list of false and misleading claims tops 1,000

How He Uses Deceit And Propaganda To Shape Perceptions

The Village Voice did a profile back in 1979—nothing’s changed, he’s always lied

How the Secret Service Treats Protestors

How he Ruined My Relationship With My White Mother

Chelsea Clinton comes to Barron’s defense after conservative criticism

MUSIC

Housequake -Prince, live (1987)

Waiting For The Waiter – MonaLisa Twins ft. John Sebastian

Coverville 1182: August birthday cavalcade

It’s Good News Week – Hedgehoppers Anonymous

K-Chuck Radio: I want a Beach Boys a cappella album right now!!

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Barbershop Harmony Society

Gated reverb: The sound of the ’80s

Gordon Lightfoot’s 10 Best Songs

Gene Kelly would have been 105 this month

The Good Old Days, and Two Lost Souls – Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees

Rent Party Rag – Spider John Koerner

Sesame Street: ’80s Music Mashup Parody and El Patito, featuring Ernie and Rosita

Children’s March: Over the Hills and Far Away, by Percy Grainger

Hello Goodbye – the Beatles

After noting in this blog that I had not seen the 1952 film in its entirety, it was total coincidence that The Wife decided the family ought to watch together Singin’ In the Rain.

I did not know this until watching the extras, but the film was MGM producer Arthur Freed’s plan to use his catalog of songs, written with Nacio Herb Brown, and used in previous MGM musical films, mostly from the 1930s. It became the job of screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green to create a script that would make sense. They decided that making a film that shows one studio’s foray into talking pictures in response to the real game changing film, 1927’s The Jazz Singer. Hollywood is usually good at showing Hollywood.

Singin’ In the Rain is mostly marvelous. Gene Kelly not only plays Don Lockwood, “a popular silent film star with humble roots as a singer, dancer and stunt man, ” he also co-directed it with Stanley Donen. He performs the iconic title song sequence, which I had seen often, but it works so much better once seen in context.

Don’s leading lady in the silent films is Lina Lamont, played by Jean Hagen, doing her best Judy Holliday routine. She has a voice made for silent films.

Donald O’Connor, as Don’s best friend Cosmo, is marvelous dancing with Kelly, particularly in Moses Supposes, a Roger Edens/Comden and Green piece new for the film. But O’Connor is most extraordinary in his solo stint, Make ‘Em Laugh.

Debbie Reynolds, not yet 20, plays Kathy Selden. Don, avoiding his fans, accidentally lands in Kathy’s car. She feigns disinterest in his “undignified” film career, but later Don discovers she is not a stage actress but a chorus girl. Eventually, romance is kindled.

After the disastrous preview of The Dueling Cavalier, Don, Kathy and Cosmo come up with the idea to change it into a musical called The Dancing Cavalier. It’s at this point the marvelous dance Good Morning with those three characters takes place, up and down a flight of stairs, among other tricks. Reynolds, a gymnast but not previously a dancer, managed to keep up with Kelly and O’Connor.

I understand it from a historic context, but the one part of the movie I wish were a bit shorter was the flashy Broadway Melody Ballet. Not sure what I would have cut out, although it would NOT have been the parts with Cyd Charisse as Kelly’s dance partner. Incidentally, Reynolds’ rendition of You Are My Lucky Star, sung to a billboard showing an image of Don, was cut; nicely performed yet unnecessary in advancing the plot.

All in all, Singin’ in the Rain is a quite enjoyable film, and a cultural icon to boot, referenced in everything from A Clockwork Orange to Glee. The extras, showing where the songs had been used in previous films, was entertaining, as was Debbie Reynolds’ recollections of the filmmaking.

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