Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Gene Kelly plays Don Lockwood - a man afflicted with a rare medical condition which makes it impossible for him to do anything without bursting into song and tap dancing.

Teaming up with fellow sufferer Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor), the two friends begin the most inappropriate career possible… in silent movies. In a further twist of fate, Don and Cosmo's world is brimming over with loud colours, which are impossible to capture on monochrome film in 1927. It all seems like they were just born too early, until a man with enough cash makes popular an old idea he likes to call a talking picture…

The above paragraphs are my way of admitting that I don't have anything new to say about MGM's 1952 Technicolor classic Singin' In The Rain. It's spectacular, bursting with entertainment, and really does make you wish you had the ability to burst into song and start tap dancing whenever you feel like it. The very idea of these three performers (Debbie Reynolds is in here too) later growing old and losing their flexibility fills one with a determination to at least start exercising a bit more.

Most musicals that I am aware of (admittedly not many) tend to consist predominantly of spoken dialogue, with songs breaking things up. Here it's the other way around, especially in the second half. It helps that the characters find themselves ultimately inventing the film musical, enabling them to not just sing and dance in their own real life, and also in the movie they're making, but even in an enormously elaborate pitch for a scene. Having never seen this movie before, the last thing I expected to find here was satire of Harold Lloyd's famous glasses character, and yet that's exactly what Kelly gives us. Jaw dropping.

No wonder that, 60 years later, this no-holds-barred extravanganza still runs on Film4 almost constantly.

(available here)

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