Movie of the Week: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

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Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly direct Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds in this classic musical about silent movie stars trying to save their latest movie and careers when the advent of sound cinema instantly makes them a laughing stock.

 
Timeless movie magic – full of charm, invention and gentle wit. Part of the reason this backstage Hollywood romance loses none of its sparkle is it was already a period piece itself on production. Harking back just twenty years means it gifts itself a degree of immortality compared to other now creakier 1950s productions. Donen and Kelly allegedly salvaged every secondhand song, set, prop and costume they could get their mitts on and threw it all up onscreen into this perfection confection. Debbie Reynolds is the only fresh ingredient.  And what a blitzkrieg of fun it is, the enthusiastic pace never relents. Packed to the rafters with vaudeville comedy, sweet optimistic interactions and shakingly smart music numbers. Good Morning and the iconic title track are perfect visuals matched to beautifully upbeat songs. Watching Kelly joyfully kick about in puddles is a transcendent experience for even the most jaded gorehound.  And then he gets one of those naive big finale ballet piece that he loves. There’s something so skilful but unguarded about his aesthetic and talent. When it comes to craft, unashamed brightness and star power then Kelly truly is the best that Golden Age Hollywood had. This is his glimmering pinnacle.

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