Monday, June 11, 2012

Good Thing #2: Singin' in the Rain

Is there a finer movie than Stanley Donen's 1952 movie Singin' in the Rain? No. There may be other movies that are as good, but none better.

First of all, it's really funny. I wouldn't have thought that a sixty year old musical comedy about the birth of talking motion pictures would ever be that funny, let alone that the jokes would still work today. But the setup and the timing are impeccable, and the range of humor, from slapstick to one-liners to complex gags set up over multiple scenes. There's an entire genre called musical comedy. This one is actually funny. 

The composition of every scene is gorgeous. Nothing is taken for granted. Every color is carefully chosen, and the placement of everything and everyone in every scene is perfect. You could print any frame of this movie and hang it on the wall. And yet it never calls attention to itself. I didn't even notice until after I'd watched it a few times.

Everyone has personality. Even with characters who only have one line, you get the sense that they thought about that person. They have a story that began before that line, and continued after the camera moved on Even characters who only appear for a second are still memorable. The main characters we fall in love with, or hate. 

Cyd Charisse does a dance dressed in green. She's only in the movie for one dance number, and has no speaking lines, but in that short time she manages to be the sexiest woman in the history of sexy. 

There's the Broadway Melody sequence. Just watch it and remember that they made this 60 years ago. They build sets for all of it, and actually did what you're watching. It's not greenscreen (except for a second or two).

I could go on and on. There's just so much to love about this movie. I'm happy it exists. 

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