Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Singing in the Rain

Singing in the Rain – Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen – Having seen Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange at an impressionable age, I find it hard to detach the title song from Malcom McDowell’s perverse and eerie rendition of it, accompanied by a spot of ultra violence. That said, it is not an entirely traumatic echo as, despite being tonally miles apart, I still loved A Clockwork Orange and remember it as a formative, film- watching experience. To return to Singing in the Rain: the dancing is (of course) breath taking, hilarious and spectacular; the songs are all memorable and to (nearly) all familiar gems of musical history (although a lot are from other Broadway/filmic sources); Gene Kelly’s smile is almost frighteningly professional, as if each pearly peg of that immaculate grin was a flashing bulb of Hollywood fame, fortune and failure; Donald O’Conner’s dancing in ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ is a form of comedy athletics/gymnastics that jumps, falls and throws itself back to the spectre of Buster Keaton et al. It also became clear in watching Singing in the Rain how much of a narrative debt The Artist owes to its story. An exuberant and humorous portrayal of cinematic history from silence to sound, wherein the expressive smile and magnetism of a lead actor turns to music and dance to survive. 8/10



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