Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

Directed by Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen

Roger Ebert calls this, “…The greatest Hollywood musical ever made.” I’m not about to argue with him. As I’ve mentioned before, musicals don’t normally do anything for me, though there are exceptions.

While I admire Singin’ In The Rain, for me it’s just too much musical. It’s approach is episodic in the sense that there are a series of musical numbers that seem to be loosely tied together by a story. In other words, the story never really hooks me so I’m never really engaged in the film.

The movie is also very staged looking, as if for a live Broadway performance. It never allows for the suspension of disbelief.

Performances are often over-the-top, as if intended for a live audience, so there is always a nagging sense of artificiality to the film.

Mind you, this is intentional, in a way. The movie in no way attempts to be realistic; it’s fantasy, and this is how we’re meant to take it. It’s also an extremely joyful film, and this is one of its qualities I most admire.

In the end, however, I’m a musical Scrooge. It just doesn’t work for me. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for others. It’s considered by most people (such as Ebert) to be one the greatest musicals, if not the greatest movie musical ever.

With the Special Edition DVD, it’s now available in a wonderful, clean transfer with oodles of features to keep lovers of the film busy for quite a while. If you like musicals, you’d be crazy to let this one pass you by.

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