Friday, March 30, 2018

A month at the movies #28: Singing in the Rain

There is a revisionist take on Signing In the Rain that could be made these days, where poor Lina Lamont is a star trying to make it in the world of the talking movies, only to be crushed by the cruelty of the masses laughing at her distinctive New York voice, (which really doesn’t sound that bad to modern ears – at least her tones have got a lot more personality than the smooth, dulcet tones of everybody else).

From Lana’s perspective, the main characters in the film are conceited little shits, undermining her life’s work with cheerful sneers and dancing feet.

You could make a movie about that these days, but it would still pale in comparison to the original, because holy cow, these kids could move.

Gene Kelly is one of the great movie dancers of the 20th century, and he and Donald O’Connor throw themselves across the screen with joyful abandon, making it all look so effortless as they glide over chairs and shuffle their feet sideways. Debbie Reynolds keeps up with the boys with great enthusiasm, holding her own in the most energetic scenes. Sixty-six years on, and the movie is still alive with their shenanigans.

I made the mistake of watching La La Land not long after this, and the new guys were pretty smooth, but they didn’t have that raw, powerful and uninhibited energy of their predecessors. Chances are, nobody else ever will.

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