Monday, August 11, 2014

Singin' in the Rain: My Kind of Musical (a musical review)

A few weeks ago, I did this post about musicals, which was at least partly inspired by the great musical film Singin' in the Rain. Singin' in the Rain is my kind of musical. Which is to say that it's not the kind of musical where a huge crowd of people suddenly bursts into song and starts doing a dance routine, which is the thing about musicals I've never been able to get into.

Singin' in the Rain does its music on a much smaller scale, a personal scale, which I really enjoy. Its eponymous song is just Gene Kelly and is completely appropriate to the nature of, well, everything. If you've ever been in love, you'll understand.

My kids' favorite song, "Make 'Em Laugh," is another of those that just feels appropriate to the action of the movie.

Both songs are the kinds of things people, real people, really do. And I like that. All of the musical numbers are like that.

Speaking of "Make 'Em Laugh," Donald O'Connor is wonderful. Completely amazing. So much so that I had to rent some of the Francis, the Talking Mule movies for my kids, so they could see him in some other movies. They preferred Singin' in the Rain, which kind of surprised me, because I loved the Francis movies when I was a kid. All of the performances are great, though, not just O'Connor's.

And we thought breakdancing was something from the '80s.

Here's the other thing about Singin' in the Rain: If you've seen it, you don't need to bother to see The Artist. Both movies are about silent film stars making the transition to "talkies," but Singin' is so much more charming in its approach and, overall, just a much better film. Really, there was no need for a movie like The Artist with Singin' already out there.

For those of you out there who "don't like musicals," you should give this one a look, anyway. There's a real story, here, that's well-told. The acting is strong. The music is well integrated and classic. It's unfortunate that the movie is "old" and not noticed much anymore, because it's quite an excellent film.


  1. I've seen Singing In the Rain at least a dozen times. Gene Kelly has always been my favourtie dancer. Both athletic and graceful.

  2. Been years since I saw it, but don't worry - no interest whatsoever in The Artist.
    And don't forget your interview is up today at the A to Z Blog.

  3. Hi Andrew - I'm not that keen on musicals .. but some of the moments are iconic and over the years I catch many of the whole films or shows ... Donald O'Connor is a classic isn't he ...

    I enjoyed The Artist - but I'm not a good film guide to follow ... but I hadn't taken in your comments here or known about the points you're making ..

    Cheers Hilary

  4. Boy did you bring back some memories from my childhood. I watched this with my dad. He loved it. I also watched West Side Story and My Fair Lady with him - I loved them!

  5. I've seen Singing in the Rain quite recently and more than once on TV. I love the movie too and particularly like Make 'em Laugh, Donald O'Connor is brilliant. I always did like Debbie Reynolds too a big favourite of mine. Tammy, Susan Slept Here, etc. etc.

  6. I tend to love musicals, but this was always one of my favorites. I still know all the songs.

  7. I tend to love musicals, but this was always one of my favorites. I still know all the songs.

  8. I tend to love musicals, but this was always one of my favorites. I still know all the songs.

  9. Yes, but did Singin' in the Rain have a cute little Jack Russell terrier doing gimmicky tricks?

    I didn't think so.

    The Artist: 1. Singin' in the Rain: 0.

  10. Wow, beautiful post, Andrew :)
    Enjoyed it :)
    This music is fantastic !

  11. I love Singin' In The Rain and made sure my kids saw it when they were young. They loved it, too. Gene Kelly makes everything look graceful and elegant--even walking. I read somewhere (maybe IMDb) that after Donald O'Connor shot Make 'Em Laugh that he had to go home and stay in bed for a couple of weeks to recover. I like The Artist. It has the dog.


  12. Love Musicals and this film is a true highlight in film not just the musical:) I came here from your guest post on blogging A to Z. This film not only interweaves great musical interludes but the story is wicked and so very true. I love it that gene Kelly actually wore one of Rudolph Valentino's outfits and that the crew had no idea where to hide the mike as this stuff actually happened. Place the great Jean Hagan (and I caaaaan't Stand him") and Cyd Charisse's legs and wowzers!

  13. Anne: He is.

    Alex: I saw the interview! Thanks!

    Hilary: I'm not saying The Artist is a bad movie; it's just a redundant movie, and a poor redundancy at that. It certainly didn't deserve best picture.

    Elsie: I'm not sure if I've seen West Side Story or not. I probably did when I was a kid, but I can't remember it apart from what I know about it. It's on our list to watch with our kids.

    Jo: I'd actually like to watch it again.

    S.L.: I don't know all the songs but, then, I've only seen it the once in adulthood.

    ABftS: O'Connor's worth at least three or four dogs.
    The Artist: 1
    Singin' in the Rain: 4

    Rajiv: Thanks!

    Janie: I'll have to check that about O'Connor. That seems a bit extreme.

    Birgit: I didn't know that about Valentino. Yeah, I need to watch it again.

  14. Oh my gosh… this has ALWAYS been my favorite movie… even when I was a kid growing up. It's MAGIC. I love Gene Kelly and Donald O'Conner. They are TRUE talent. I've probably watched it HUNDREDS of times!!!

  15. Morgan: Wow. I don't think I've seen Star Wars -hundreds- of times. Unless you count them all together.

  16. I worry about wearing out my DVD. (My review is at

  17. It's been awhile since I watched Singin' in the Rain. I'll have to watch with the kiddos. Though I will say I enjoy musicals.

  18. homecoming: I'll check it out.

    Shannon: You should do that. Our latest musical was Phantom of the Opera.

  19. I'll agree about Singing in the Rain. I have the DVD and have watched the film several times. I'm probably a bigger fan of musicals than you are--the outbursts of song don't bother me so much--it's all just an extension of opera which is another acquired taste. The random singing used to bother me when I was younger, but then I gained a new appreciation for the musical. They don't make 'em like they used to, but they've still come up with some pretty good ones.

    Tossing It Out

  20. While I'm not a huge fan of "musicals", I can appreciate and even enjoy quite a few of them. Singin' In The Rain, is one such musical.

    Great cast and some great dancing, to boot.

  21. Lee: I like opera. Or I do, now, anyway. But it's not the same as having what is a regular movie that occasionally bursts out on song.

    Mark: Yeah, I always enjoy watching good dancing. Probably because I can't do it.

  22. I LOVE musicals and Singin' in the Rain is one of my favourites,along with West Side Story and Funny Girl. The Donald O'Connor scene, Make 'em Laugh is so wonderful, I sometimes will watch just that on youtube.
    Of course, Gene Kelly was a master, I could watch him all day long!

  23. Eva: It really is an amazing scene, though I'd rather listen to "Singin' in the Rain."