By Sofia Jesus
There is something supernatural about classics. They can feel somehow odd, misplaced even, when watched more than 6o years later, and yet remain powerful, believable. Singin’ In The Rain (1952) is no exception. For no modern special effect or 3D stunt could put a smile on my face the way this film just did.
For years I thought I had seen the film — I knew the theme song by heart; and I always recalled Gene Kelly waltzing around a street lamp on a rainy night. The news of the death of American actress Debbie Reynolds — a day just after her daughter actress Carrie Fisher’s — made me curious to check whether I was right. It turns out I wasn’t: I had watched that famous scene countless times, but not the whole film. Shame on me for what I had been missing.
Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, Singin’ In The Rain is a musical comedy starring Gene Kelly (as Don Lockwood), Debbie Reynolds (as Kathy Selden), Donald O’ Connor (as Cosmo Brown) and Jean Hagen (as Lina Lamont).
The choreographies and the wonderful dancing and singing skills by Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’ Connor can only make you revere them. For the way they perform so seemingly effortlessly makes you doubt they are from this world.
The action takes place in the late 1920s, in Hollywood. In parallel to the love-redemption story between film star Don and aspiring actress Kathy, the film tells the tale of a studio crew’s struggle to adapt to the arrival of talking films. The new technology that allows actors and actresses to actually be heard on the big screen revolutionizes the world of cinema, leaving those working in the field with only one of two options: to learn and play along, or to parish.
An amazing cast tap-dances us into that reflection while making us laugh with the characters’ battles with bizarre, new things such as microphones or diction coaches.
But when Kathy Selden ends up secretly lending her beautiful voice to Lina Lamont’s interpretation — due to the latter’s terrible timbre and lack of singing skills — the film also invites us to humouresly reflect on other battles, such as those of beauty vs. talent; or money vs. truth. Battles still fought today.