Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Singin' in the Rain" (1952)

This weekend, Cowboy and I took our three kids to see Singin' in the Rain on the big screen.  It's the first of the classic films presented by TCM and Fathom Events for 2017 (you can see the whole schedule here), and I was so excited that we could introduce our kids to this classic on the big screen... and that I got to see it that way myself!  I've only seen one other classic film on the big screen, which was Gone with the Wind when it was re-released to cinemas in the late '90s.  So this was a pretty big deal for me as well as for my kids.

I've taken my kids to a couple other movies in the theater -- Planes (2013) and Cinderella (2015) -- but it's just really hard finding a movie I know they'll like that I'm willing to spend the extra money to take all three of them to.  However, since they already like some musicals, and Singin' in the Rain is such an approachable and fun film, I was pretty sure they would enjoy it.  And this marked the first time that all five of us saw a movie in the theater together!

They definitely enjoyed it -- in fact, we've been listening to the soundtrack several times a day since then, and they've been playing they're Cosmo, Kathy, and Don off and on, too.  They were really excited to learn that I own this on DVD already (they're very used to me going to see movies in the theater and then getting them on DVD months later), and we're planning to rewatch it again for their movie of the week.

If you like classics and have a theater anywhere near you that participates in these showings, try one out!  It was so amazing to be in a theater with oodles of other people who also knew and loved and appreciated this film -- we laughed, we clapped after the big numbers, and it was altogether a wonderful evening.  We had to travel twice as far as to our usual theater, but the extra driving was well worth it.

Before I actually review the movie, you might be wondering how old my kids are.  Sam is 9, Sarah will be 7 in a month, and Eggnog is 5.  But I've been raising them on movies both classic and modern, so they were totally ready for the slower pace of a '50s musical.  After all, some of their favorite movies are The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Operation Pacific (1951), and That Darn Cat! (1965).


Singin' in the Rain explores the struggles of actors and studios during the transition from silent films to talkies in the late 1920s.


Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are major silent stars, and when The Jazz Singer (1927) introduces talking pictures to the movie-going masses, Don and Lina's latest picture gets put on hold while the studio reconfigures everything to record sound.  Many funny mishaps ensue.  You see, Lina Lamont is beautiful, but possesses a screechy, awful voice that does not match her pretty face.  She's also a clingy brat who has convinced herself that Don loves her, and that she's more important to the studio than anyone else.


Don meets a chorus girl named Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and falls in love with her, but Lina does everything she can to separate them.  Don, Kathy, and Don's best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor) come up with a scheme to use Kathy's voice to save the movie, and their plan seems to work for a while, but then backfires... or does it?


If you love lavish musicals, learning about movie-making, or sweet love stories, but you haven't seen Singin' in the Rain yet, or if you've just always wondered what that iconic image above is all about, I beseech you to go find this and watch it!  It's not considered one of the finest (if not THE finest) musicals ever filmed for no reason.


Here's a bit of trivia for you:  According to the TCM opener to the film when we saw it Sunday, Gene Kelly had a 103-degree fever when they filmed the superb scene where Gene Kelly sings and dances in the rain to the title song.  You would never know it when you watch.  What a professional!


I'm hoping we can take our kids to another of the TCM/Fathom Events screenings later this year -- The Princess Bride is scheduled for October, and I know Sam and Sarah would get a kick out of it, and by then, Eggnog might be ready for it too.

31 comments:

  1. I LOVE SINGIN' IN THE RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I'll calm down now.

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    1. MovieCritic, why calm down? It's a glorious feeling!

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    2. *going back to caps lock*
      DEFINETLY!!!

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  2. I have to find out where your theater is. I would definitely like to see The Princess Bride on the big screen, since it was out on video before I ever found out about it.

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    1. Quiggy, ditto -- I was too little when it first came out to see it, and my parents weren't interested anyway. Do you have any AMC theaters around you? Try going here and seeing if the "Buy Tickets" thing turns up any near you -- you just have to put in your zip code. This is a nation-wide thing. Next up, as you'll see in that link, is An Affair to Remember, but if you follow the link in my blog post, you'll see there are a pretty wide variety of movies being showcased this year. Including Casablanca in December, which I reeeeally hope I can get to.

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  3. So glad you guys got to see this! Definitely worth the drive. Love this write up, love this movie! I was lucky to see it on the big screen twice, once when I was a young thing, and it was so beautiful on the big screen. It's just such a good movie. We quote this movie all the time. Our most quoted line must be "What's this wire doing here, it's dangerous!" which gets used constantly, cuz with M around, there's always something lying around that someone could trip over. But Lina Lamont gets quoted pretty regularly too. "People! I ain't people!"

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    1. DKoren, definitely worth the drive! Which I realized is really only like 35 minutes -- I used to have to drive 45 minutes to see any movie at all as a kid/teen. I'm going to see more in this series, for sure

      And yes, it's sooooo quotable. Sam's been going around all day saying, "Call me a cab!" "Okay, you're a cab." And they've all been acting out their favorite parts, except Eggnog, whose favorite part is "the part where Kathy tries to throw a pie at Kelly, but it gets The Girl with the Screechy Voice instead!" No one wants to act that one out with her, oddly enough. (She insists the four main characters are named Kelly, Kathy, Mr. Silly, and The Girl with the Screechy Voice.)

      Probably one of the lines I say most in my head is, "Whattaya think I am, dumb or something?" But out loud, I quote a bunch too. "And I cahn't stand 'im!"

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    2. One of our most quoted Lina lines is her "I am... a shimmering glowing star in the cinema firmament. It says so. Right here." Even D will say that one.

      I love their names for the characters!

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    3. Hahaha! I'm imagining D saying that and it's priceless. But it's such a great line.

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  4. We love this movie too although I do admit to banning it for a while when the children were all younger. They were driving me absolutely bonkers quoting and discussing it after watching it one too many times.
    So many of the songs in this movie require so. much. energy! I think my favourite is "Make 'Em Laugh".
    I made need to watch this again with my children which will cause them all to send up a rousing cheer when I announce that. :)

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    1. Jennifer, I must admit that I am getting mighty tired of the song "Moses Supposes" because three little monkeys have been singing it for three days, but they only know one verse.

      According to the TCM trivia at the showing, after filming the "Make 'Em Laugh" sequence, Donald O'Connor checked into a hospital to rest because he was a chain smoker and he'd overexerted himself with it. I'm not a smoker, but I think I'd overexert myself if I did that scene too!

      Hope you can enjoy it if you do watch it again.

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  5. This is a great movie! They put The Maltese Falcon in theaters last year. I love that this is a trend now.

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    1. Toady, yes! The Maltese Falcon was sort of the first one I heard about -- they advertised it when I went to see something else, and I really wanted to go see it, but had scheduling conflicts. I am loving this trend too! Totally going to support it.

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  6. Singin' in the Rain is my favourite musical, next to The Sound of Music. It's beautiful, it has great actors and it's funny.

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    1. Rachel, I know The Sound of Music better than any other movie, because for like six years, it was the only video my family owned. I do still enjoy it, even though I've seen it dozens and dozens of times, and my kids get a kick out of it too :-)

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  7. Sounds like such a fun time out! I also went to see it this weekend with some of my family. Such a joy!!! I can't wait to see some of the other films that they are showing this year.

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    1. Christina, so cool that you went to see it this weekend too!

      I'm definitely hoping to go see North by Northwest, The Princess Bride, and Casablanca, and I'd like to toss Some Like it Hot and An Affair to Remember in there too, but I think the timing will not work for those two. We'll see! Which ones are you also planning/hoping to see?

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  8. How fabulous! We used to watch it most Christmases or New Year when I was little. Years later, I saw it performed on the London stage - with rainfall - and it was amazing, so I bought tickets for my parents to go see it. Wonderful music.

    I also saw the recent movie, The Artist, on the big screen. It really was the best way to see it. Just a whole different experience from the small screen.

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    1. Rosie, that sounds like a great tradition! And wow, it must be so cool to see performed live.

      I'm a theater-going junkie because yes, it's such a different experience to see stories writ large than on my TV.

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  9. Awww, that's cute how much your kids liked it. :D

    I tried showing it to my siblings and most of them didn't care for it, but perhaps I'll try again in a few years because I didn't like it either when I watched it as a 4 or 5 year old...

    There's definitely something incredibly up-beat and cheerful about this movie. It just makes me happy. :)

    And wow that's very impressive-- I would have never guessed he had a fever!

    Now I want to see it again! It's been on my mind recently with the death of Debbie Reynolds.

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    1. Meredith, I think some movies just need the right time to grab people, so who knows? They might like it now.

      And yes, it's such a day-brightener.

      I definitely teared up a few times while watching it, missing Debbie Reynolds. For many years, she was one of my top 3 favorite actresses, and I still enjoy her performances so much.

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  10. I should really watch this! I was thinking about anyway, because of Debbie Reynolds; and then Evynne Hollens (Peter Hollens' wife) uploaded this video of Singin' in the Rain songs:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJcJ-Ir5A-w

    And I was like, "wow, this music is actually really fun!" :-)

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    1. Jessica, it is such a fun, upbeat movie! I didn't realize Evynne Hollens had put out a medley of songs from it! We like her quite a bit, especially my kids -- they love all her princess covers. Thanks for sharing! I'll definitely be showing them that this evening -- we've been singing songs from the movie all week anyway.

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    2. Evynne Hollens is WONDERFUL. I love all her princess covers too--I actually got her princess CD for my best friend this Christmas, because she's a huge Disney fan just like me :-)

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    3. Jessica, I get a big kick out of her too! We can all sing her Disney princess medley by heart, and my girls like to act it out like she does too. I almost got her princess CD for my kids for Christmas! But then I realized we already owned most of the tracks on it as mp3s that we've bought individually, so I just bought a few more and burned a CD for the car :-) It's a great gift, though!

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  11. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I don't think there has every been a more "perfect" Hollywood musical. Glad all the members of your family enjoyed it! I remember watching old movies with my brother when we were younger. "Some Like it Hot" with Marilyn Monroe was a road trip favorite, and I can't even count the number of times we saw "Grease." So jealous you got to see this movie on the big screen!

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    1. Allison, I agree -- SITR has all the ingredients I want from a musical: characters I want to hang out with, amazing music, great singing, fantastic dancing, pretty costumes, and an overall feeling of joy.

      My parents raised my brother and I on old movies and old TV shows, and now I'm doing the same with my kids :-) Such fun!

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  12. Though I'm not an avid musical fan in the sense that I know them all or watch them ALL THE TIME, now and again I become nostalgic (I used to watch them with my aunt and cousin at sleepovers) and want to revisit one. Singin' in the Rain is among my most favorites. The story is fun, the acting good and characters memorable. Plus, of course, there's the iconic title song that sticks with you. :)

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    1. Rissi, I agree -- this is one of those movies that just has it all :-)

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Agree or disagree? That is the question...

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