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March 16, 2013
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Musicals, a theatre genre including dialogue, dance and music, are popular and always have been. Making no exception to this label is the successful comedic musical Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Stanley Donen and the very talented Gene Kelly, who starred alongside the hysterical Donald O’Connor and the very striking Debbie Reynolds, directed this tuneful, comical and catchy musical, destined to be remembered for its spectacularly choreographed routines, songs and clever dialogue for years to come.

This popular musical sets the story with two successful actors, and on-screen ‘partners’, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) and Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly). The year is 1927 and their latest film, a very unproductive talkie, undergoes work to become a musical. While Lockwood’s voice is a perfect fit for the part, Lina, who is hopelessly “in love” with Don, has an irksome voice, unsuitable for the movie. Don decides he can dub over her voice with the beautiful one of his love, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), but will Lina find out? Or will the musical, The Dancing Cavalier, be a success?

Singin’ in the Rain has an endowed range of actors, creating characters varying from the very ditsy, shrill-voiced Lina Lamont, to the beautiful and talented Kathy Selden. In between, comes Lina’s on-screen partner, Don Lockwood, a handsome perfectionist, thriving to keep his relationship with Lina professional, and his long-lasting friendship with Cosmo Brown an amusing distraction from Lina’s hopelessly infatuated attitude. Cosmo’s energetic character and Kathy’s angelic appeal are the perfect contrast for Don, who is constantly harassed by a very mistaken Lina.

Effectively choreographed movements are essential in any musical, and Singin’ in the Rain lacks nothing of the sort. The very bouncy song and dance arrangement, Good Morning, performed by Don, Cosmo and Kathy, is a precise piece perfect for the mood of the surrounding scenes. The tune is contagious, and the dancing is well-rehearsed and inventive. Throughout this song and dance, props such as couches, stools and raincoats are incorporated through the dancing on, jumping from and the wearing of, to enhance the hilarity of the piece and focus the attention of the audience. Good Morning portrays the overly-excited feel the characters are experiencing when the idea of creating a musical is suggested.

Working in conjunction with the movement, is the artistic and enriched use of production elements. The very bright costume designs create memorable and accurate personality traits for characters and help to set the cheerful mood that is the majority of the film. When Don is singing to himself in the rain, the constant twirling of, and dancing with, the umbrella prop creates a joyful and content feel for the audience, proving that production elements are used engagingly and successfully.

Singin’ in the Rain leaves nobody disappointed. It is suitably entertaining for all audiences. Creating this entertainment is the humour, romance and bouncy attitudes the characters portray throughout the film. Both adults and younger audiences can appreciate the amusing singing and dancing arrangements, making this an appropriate film for all.

All in all, this energetic, bouncy and contagious musical sets the standard for musicals everywhere. The exceptionally skilled actors, catchy tunes and easily-followed and unique storyline generate a splendid musical, no doubt to be popular for a very long time.

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