‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Analysis (Post #101)
Singin’ in the Rain is my favorite movie that is not apart of a series (aka The Lord of the Rings). I wrote this analysis for one of my film classes and had a bawl doing. It took some time, but I would really like to do it with other movies. It helped me come to grips with the film like I have never before. When you start reading this, I hope you don’t get turned off that I am detailing out the plot, don’t skip over this part, as I cover many things throughout the plots description. Enjoy the read, I hope it sparks, questions and or comments. My rating for Singin’ in the Rain is, 10/10. Just so you know
It is 1927, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are a silent film duo who under contract with Monumental Pictures and must make the transition into the world of the talking pictures. Don and his former partner Cosmo Brown ban together to make this new talking picture a reality by bringing in a new talent to the world of the cinema, Kathy Selden. This trio must take a sure failure talkie and transform it into a glamorous musical feature.
Singin’ in the Rain opens at the premiere of a Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont silent film, The Royal Rascal. As the crowd anticipates the arrival of the start we see a number of celebrities, representations of the renowned actors and actresses actual of the 1920s. Finally the stars of the films arrive and Don is asked to reveal his story into stardom. Both Don and the filmmakers use a creative device when he reveals his story. He says his motto is ‘Dignity. Always dignity.” Both Don and the filmmakers use a creative device when he reveals his story. He then tells us this glamourized story about how he and Cosmo Brown have grown up together, in luxury. All the while, we see that Cosmo and Don have rather humble and embarrassing stories. By doing this, the film makers give us, in a really entertaining way, a few minutes to hear what we need to know, to continue on with the story. This in turn give us the rules in the world of Singin’ in the Rain, the filmmakers are going to say one thing, but show us another. They are basically winking at us throughout the film, while at the same time, reminding us that we are watching a movie.
After the premier Don escape a mob of groping fans by jumping in a strangers car. The car belong to Kathy Selden who is a stage actress and criticizes Don for his work in films, saying that it isn’t really art, just allot of show. After he is dropped off at his after party, Don and the guests are shown an interesting short presentation on talking pictures by the head of Monumental Pictures, R.F. Simpson. The guests, most of whom are silent actors are unimpressed by the display. R.F. presents Don and Lina with a surprise cake, just as the step forward; Kathy Selden pops out of the cake. After a musical number, Don teases Kathy, as she is not a real actress and Kathy makes to throw a cake at Don but hits Lina instead. She runs away from the party and Don searches for her for weeks, only to find out she had been fired by the vengeful Lina Lamont.
After some time Cosmo discovers that she is now working a dancer in one of Monumental Picture’s films. Don apologizes to her and she confesses she has been his fan for a long time. At this time Don tries to tell Kathy that he has feelings for her, but isn’t able to without the proper setting. Don and Kathy head to an empty sound stage and here Don dresses the setting. Basically, creating the Mise En Scène. After producing the mood with lights, staging, mist and weather, he sings that she has changed him. Here we see the filmmakers once again telling us, you are watching a movie and Don Lockwood is he himself setting up the special world.
After 1927’s The Jazz Singer, the first talking picture, becomes a huge hit, R.F. Simpson decides to shut down Don and Lina’s, The Dueling Cavalier and make it into a talking picture. The film has a number of problems, but the worst ordeal is that Lina, who has terrible speaking voice. The screen test of the Picture fails. After the show, Don, Cosmo and Kathy think of the great idea of making it a musical. Don is a great singer and dancer, but how will they fix Lina? Then, Cosmo remembers how the audio got desynchronized and the man’s No’s were played during Lina’s Yes’s and suggest that Kathy dub over Lina’s voice. Lina later finds this out confronts R.F. with he contract and makes Kathy’s dub an un-credited role.
The Premiere of The Dancing Cavalier is a huge success. After Lina goes on stage to address the audience, the crowd exclaims that her voice isn’t the same as in the movie and asks for a song. Lina runs off stage not knowing what to do. Don, Cosmo and R.F have Kathy go behind the curtain to sing while Lina, in front of the curtain, lip syncs. R.F., Don, and Cosmo raise the curtain mid song. Lina runs backstage as Kathy takes off in the audience. Don tells the audience that she was the real star that night, dubbing the voice of Lina. The film ends with Don and Kathy kissing in front of a billboard for their new musical.
The majority of Singin’ in the Rain takes place in sunny California at Monumental Pictures’ Studio. It is established through the story, plots, set production and costuming that it takes place in 1927. The time and location are essential to Singin’ in the Rain’s narrative. Story line A, the movement from Silent to Talking films, takes places during this time. There could been no better area for this film to take place, but in California, as Hollywood was about to undergo a huge change. Hats are a huge prop in Singin’ in the rain, not only do they add to the costume design, but also they are used often in the choreography in the dance scenes. For Cosmo, in Make ‘Em Laugh, his hat makes his appearance and dance even funnier.
The costumes are quite vast and elaborate in Singin’ in the Rain. Since this is 1920s Hollywood, most are dressed pretty richly. Though the most modestly dressed in the film is Kathy. Cosmo would be a close second, but he is often wearing cloths just as nice as silent star Don Lockwood. The costume design and the sets correlate really well. In many scenes the colors of the walls, props and decor complement the actors’ dress. For instance when Lina is in Diction Coach Phoebe Dinsmore’s Office, Lina’s white, black, and red dress matches the rug, walls and framed pictures. Phoebe is at well matching the set and her fellow actress. Her green scarf accentuates the color of the dim, unwelcoming room. In contrast to this we see Don practicing with his own diction coach. This room is much more inviting. Not only is it brighter, but also the colors, though they mostly consist of tans, browns, and yellows, neutrals, they are much more appealing. Also, once Don and Cosmo go into their Moses Supposes number, they use the set and its props to heighten the entertainment and we once again see don set the scene, only this time on his diction coach.
One of the most expertly lit scenes in the film is the classic Singin’ in the Rain number. The shot this scene during the day and had to stretch huge tarps over city blocks to make it night. The lighting was very important in this number because rain does not show up well on camera, unless it is backlit. What is also very impressive is even though Don is wearing a dark grey tweed suit, we are always able to distinguish him from the dark street. Even though he moves about the back lot set, we can see every memorable move he makes. As he says to Kathy, “From where I’m standing, the sun’s shining all over the place.”
The staging, choreography and expression used throughout Singin’ in the Rain portrays how exuberant of a movie it is. Cosmo is always using his face to makes jokes, Don, his smile to show his sultry attitude on life and Kathy’s smile proclaims youth and happiness. Nearly every number portrays happiness but none accompanies this emotion with as much joy, synchronization and just plain mesmerizing as Good Morning. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds’ performance seems effortless as they bring us on a journey throughout what seems to be Don’s house. Their joy and celebration is felt during every second of this wonderful number. Their performances are both comic and engaging, throughout the dancing, they act, smile and just have a great time, never loosing character. It is a great performance by each actor. They are always aware of the camera and we are always aware of their performance to us as the audience, but somehow, it works remarkably. It isn’t just there amazing performance that stands out in this number, but how each character’s costume complement their surrounding as well as each other. It is very subtle work, that even though we may not notice it, it is appealing to the eyes. For instance you can make out red and green on Cosmo’s tie that matches allot of the décor in the house.
Singin’ in the Rain is often regarded as the best Hollywood musical, the only negative I have found while studying this film is that it doesn’t seem to have much symbolism, at least in the common sense of the word. It isn’t a deep movie, but that’s ok. The main theme I found while doing this analysis, is that it is constantly playing with us as the audience. It is always telling us one things while showing us another. It is also reminding us that, Singin’ in the Rain is in fact a movie and wants you to think of it as a movie. It wants to be enjoyable to its audience, leaving you with an overwhelming feeling of happiness.