My family loves musicals. Growing up, we were always watching them. The singing, the dancing, the clothes, the romance… what’s not to love in a musical?  One of my favorite musicals is Singin’ in the Rain, released in 1952. It has some of the best tap dancing ever on screen!

Singin' in the Rain - One of the Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time

Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in  “Moses Supposes.”

Starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, and Donald O’Connor, the movie is full of wonderful dances and beautifully performed music. Not to mention the now iconic songs and scenes. These include the comic “Make ‘Em Laugh,” the tap-tastic number “Moses Supposes,” and the iconic showstopping “Singin’ in the Rain.”

The Plot – Singin’ in the Rain

The year is 1927, and the talented cast and crew of a film production celebrate their latest success. Soon, whispers of a new fad appears in Hollywood-talking pictures. No one at Monumental Pictures takes this new thing seriously, until the first talking film, or “talkie,” is a roaring success. Soon, Monumental Pictures realizes that they need to make a talkie as well.

However, there are a couple of issues with the transition. Firstly, the technology is new and can be difficult to use at times. Secondly, the actors, who are used to not speaking, have a hard time speaking clearly into the microphones. Thirdly, the lovely Lina has a harsh and unpleasant sounding voice. Everything seems to be doomed for Monumental Pictures. Then, they find a talented young singer, Kathy Selden, to dub Lena’s parts.

Singin' in the Rain - One of the Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time

Kathy, Cosmo, and Don, planning to make a musical.

As the movie goes on, Don and Kathy fall in love. When Lina learns that her role is being dubbed and that Kathy will be credited, she’s furious. Lina sets out to ruin Kathy’s career and maintain her own image. Will Kathy ever receive the credit she deserves? Will Lina get the credit that she deserves? Can Monumental Pictures make a movie musical? Watch Singin’ in the Rain to find out!

The Characters

Don Lockwood, played by Gene Kelly, is a leading man for Monumental Pictures. He began working as a traveling performer with his friend Cosmo. Soon, they found themselves working as musicians at the Studio. When the latest film needs a stuntman, Don volunteers and makes himself a valuable member of the team. Soon, he’s a Hollywood heartthrob who’s used to having women fall at his feet. He can sing and dance, so the transition to a movie musical goes well for him.

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Kathy Selden is a young woman who dreams of being an actress. She’s a talented dancer and a wonderful singer who finds love and fame unexpectedly. When Don Lockwood jumps into her car at the beginning of the film, she had no way to know that her life was about to change forever. Although she makes an enemy of Lina very early on, she takes full responsibility for what happened. This endears her to everyone she meets.

Singin' in the Rain - One of the Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time

Jean Hagen as Lina and Debbie Reynolds as Kathy

Cosmo Brown is Don’s friend. The two began working as musicians together. When the studio starts doing talkies, Cosmo becomes the music director for the new musical. He is a character with a keen sense of humor, an ability to make people laugh, and is a wonderful dancer. Cosmo is also not afraid to tease Don, his famous friend, because they have known each other for a long time. Their friendship is wonderful to watch.

The Romances

Don and Lena seem like the romantic couple at the beginning of the film, but they are not. When Don was a stuntman, Lena couldn’t stand him. When he became a leading man, she was suddenly interested in him. By this time, Don had seen her true colors and was no longer interested in her. This leads to an antagonistic relationship between the two of them, though the papers were convinced that they were a couple. To prevent the bad press from affecting their films, Don agrees to act the part in public. Lena is convinced that they are a couple. She is jealous of him and especially hates Kathy.

Singin' in the Rain - One of the Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time

Debbie Reynolds as Kathy and Gene Kelly as Don.

After he is mobbed by adoring fans, Don tries to escape by jumping into a passing car. The woman who is driving, Kathy, is terrified by the strange man in her car. When she learns who Don is, she apologizes, but soon, Don tries to put the moves on her. To get him to leave her alone, she tells him that only stage actors, like her, are real actors. This insults his entire profession. When she appears dancing at a cast party, he teases her, and she reacts badly.

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Don and Kathy have a clear connection from the beginning, but they also have a rocky relationship. As Cosmo points out, Kathy is the first woman to not fall for Don’s lines. We quickly learn that Kathy is actually a huge fan of Don, and he is drawn to her sweet nature, a matter of fact attitude, and beautiful voice.  For various reasons, however, they can’t be in a public relationship. Despite that, their romance is sweet, shown in their singing and dancing. You really believe them as a romantic pair and want them to be together in the end.

Overall Thoughts

Singin' in the Rain - One of the Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time

One Take. Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood.

If you like musicals full of dancing, singing, and comedy, check out Singin’ in the Rain. The film pokes at the transition from silent films to talkies, and the 1920s costumes are a ton of fun. It’s the kind of movie that never fails to put a smile on my face. Singin’ in the Rain is fun, upbeat, and romantic, in the best possible ways. There is a reason it’s considered a classic movie musical!

Content Note: There are moments of risque humor as well as some adult situations. But it’s rated G.

Where to Watch: You can rent or buy on Digital/DVD.

Have you seen Singin’ in the Rain? Which song is your favorite? Let me know in the comments…


Photo Credits: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

OVERALL RATING

“You had me at hello.”

ROMANCE RATING

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.

I have loved none but you.”

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