Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Singin' in the Rain


SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (Colour, 1952)

Directors:
Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen

Cast:
Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charrise and Rita Moreno

Ages:
4 and up  

Plot:
Don Lockwood (Kelly) has made many silent films with screechy-voiced actress Lina Larmont (Hagen). He is a long-time of the piano player Cosmo (O’Connor) who is appointed the head of the music department in the advent of talkies. Also caught in this whirlpool is Don’s love interest, Kathy (Reynolds), who is asked to dub Lina’s voice in a talkie.

From right: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor in the musical number Good Morning.

Why it’s good:
This is practically a child’s first musical. The songs are yippy and cheery, while there is a whole lot of funny worldview.

Gene Kelly’s Don is a ham as he says to Kathy. And he really is, even though you might not think so. Donald O’Connor is a clown even a toddler can comprehend as a cheeky little guy.

Kathy is a sweet little girl who is just there as a distant love object, nothing else besides singing and dancing.

Many of these light-hearted songs in this musical charmed my sisters. Hagen as Lina does not sing at all, at least horribly. Gene Kelly does most of it, singing the song of the title with much ease and would be copied by your child.

O’Connor cheekily does numbers like the wonderful ‘Make em’ laugh’, which was watched by my sisters more than twenty times, sometimes without me.

Musicals like these from MGM are delicious and wonderful, and you really have to watch it. Toddlers will like it. You would love it too.

Parent’s guide:
None at all. Some of the dance reflect the jazz era’s lifestyle. That includes the Charleston dance recommended by O’Connor for the new picture.

Trivia:
Gene Kelly was suffering from a fever during filming.

If you like this…:
Check out the Musicals section. Best bets from MGM include "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) and "On the Town" (1949). For more Gene Kelly, go to "The Pirate", "On the Town", "An American in Paris" and "It’s Always Fair Weather".         

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