film review

Review | Singin’ in the Rain – 1952

Set in the late twenties, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are the greatest stars of the silent film. When a competing film studio makes the transition to films with sound and their first project is also a big success, Monumental Pictures is forced to make the same move. However, they are just started working on The Dueling Cavalier so the company decides to convert this silent film production into a sound film with Don and Lina in the lead roles. A huge disadvantage is Lina’s bad voice and therefore the idea is suggested to dub her voice with that of Don’s girlfriend Kathy.singin-in-the-rain-1Singin’ in the Rain is definitely a classic film. The film tells of a historic point in film history: the transition from silent to sound films, which meant a lot of speech lessons. In addition, Singin’ in the Rain is not only often seen as the best musical film ever, but is also often included in various lists of best films ever. Nevertheless, the musical won no Oscars, but it gained three times the production costs in only its first year. Although the film was released in 1952 and set in the late 20s, it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a really old film and I love the facial expressions! It is very comical and on a rainy afternoon – like it was when I watched it – it’s really entertaining and cheerful. The music of the film descends from the period 1929-1939 and was previously used in several musical films. The music writers, Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, thought it was a great idea to re-use these old songs. Only one new song was added and was written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, named Moses Supposes. Which was put to music by Roger Edens.

The four main roles are for Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen. Fun fact: none of these four actors were first choices for the role. It was partly because of cancellations of others that they got the part. The two guys were absolutely my two favourites of this film! They really did shine. The characters Don (Kelly) and the pianist Cosmo (O’Connor) have both so much charisma and amazing expressive appearances. It looks so different from how we see the actors portray their characters these days. Both Kelly and O’Connor were in their role very comical, charismatic and energetic. Donald O’Connor is in fact the only actor who won an award for this film: a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical / comedy. Gene Kelly may not have won an award for his role in Singin’ in the Rain, he did won an honorary award at the Oscar the same year. This Oscar honored Kelly’s diversity as an actor, singer, dancer and director and for his achievements in the art of choreography on film.Jean Hagen took on the role of Lina Lamont, the star of the silent film which had to make the transition to sound film. Fun fact, the voice we hear in the film is the worst version of Hagen’s voice. Apparently she has a very beautiful voice, which made the contrast between her real voice and the voice used in the film pretty big. Hagen also got an Oscar nomination for her supporting role. The 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds was the youngest of these four stars and was at the beginning of her career. Even though, she almost had as much energy as the men but is much sweeter and has a more innocent expressions.

The film is with this energy, charisma and comic actors very entertaining. In addition comes the catchy music, the 20s style and the story itself. The best part of the film is of course the music, dance and catchy characters, the story itself is not very exciting. The famous actor (Don) meets a young woman (Kathy) while promoting his new film. This young talented girl is not into him at first did but Don is already fond of her. They eventually meet again during the production of a new film but this time they stay together. The only obstacle in this story is Lina Lamont, the other great star with the terrible voice. Lina is very jealous and would rather see Kathy leave, since she has a crush on Don herself and doesn’t want someone else steal her star. Especially when Lina finds out that Kathy dubbed her voice, she becomes mean. Nevertheless, she got trumped very quickly by Don and Cosmo.

For someone who has never seen Singin’ in the Rain it’s an absolute must see. Enthusiasts of musical films will appreciate this film even more because of the many songs. It is a comedy musical film that puts a smile on everyone’s face. Especially because of the contagious humor of Donald O’Connor. Despite the fact that the film didn’t won any Oscars back then, the film is now often seen as one of the best musical films ever made. In addition, the film can be found on multiple listings among the best films ever. Singin’ in the Rain may be be over sixty years old, it’s a film to remember.


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