Singin' In the RainAFI Rank: #10
Year Released: 1952
Director: Stanley Donen
Actors: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor
Rated on many lists as the best American musical ever created. Whether you enjoy musicals or not, this is a classic to watch and enjoy, with all the manu references to it in other movies, tv shows and songs!
There's a reason this movie has earned so many accolades in the industry. It's a very tongue in cheek view of how the movie industry converted over from silent pictures to talking films. In this story, a romantic on-screen couple - played by Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen - have made many successful films together. Unfortunately for her, she has a high, squeaking Brooklyn accent that does not go with her glamorous movie image. When the studio tries to put together its first talking picture, the preview results involve laughter in the aisles.
Gene decides to bring in his less known girlfriend, played by Debbie Reynolds, to dub in the singing and talking. In between the plot, you get a variety of musical numbers - from the classic dancing-in-the-street song done by Gene Kelly (with a fever of 103) - to numerous other romantic numbers, show numbers, comedy numbers and more.
A true test for any movie is if it's enjoyable many years later. That's true with this movie, with a caveat. Many of the movie's scenes and costumes are deliberately making fun of other earlier Gene Kelly movies. The silent film is from his actual Three Musketeers footage, and there are many other in-jokes. If you watched this back in 1952, having grown up watching all of the other movies, all of the jokes would have been hilarious and immediately recognizeable. It would be like, in modern times, watching 'Scary Movie' and understanding all the references and jokes about other movies. However, in current times, few people have watched all of the Gene Kelly and other period movies in a row. So while we enjoy the movie's obvious charms, we miss a lot of those hidden messages.
Still, there's a ton to enjoy in here even for first timers. The skill of the dancers is quite apparent, and the costumes are great, too. There are many dialogue bits which are laugh out loud funny. And, in a time when many movies are completely inappropriate for kids, this one is family-friendly through and through.
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