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SINGING IN THE RAIN - Yes, it has a plot!



Musical Theater/Musical Comedy, the performance genre where people break into song-and-dance at the drop of a treble clef. Hollywood's contributions to the canon peaked in the 60s, but there are occasional forays including the remake of West Side Story (Awful) and LaLa Land (Very Good).

But the zenith was reached with contributions like Guys & Dolls, West Side Story (The Original), and Singin' in the Rain. The last entry is considered the perfect musical by many. My personal fave is Guys & Dolls, but maybe because I performed in it twice during Summer Stock days from 1980 through 1983. Always liked the score and, of course, Damon Runyan.

Singin' in the Rain is signature Gene Kelly, singing in the rain . . . on the backlot. It's a seminal moment in musicals and is listed as one of the Top Five Film Dance numbers. No one will ever top the Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather, but Gene owns that four minutes of cinema history, as he should.

The movie, held together by a plot engineered off the introduction of sound to motion pictures, has much more than the titular number. Donald O'Connor's Make 'em Laugh is a proverbial tour de force where Gene is an observer. All I Do is Dream of You showcases the brilliance of Debbie Reynolds. Again, Kelly can only watch as she ignites her fellow chorus girls, and the audience. Moses Supposes is the underrated and unknown tap number where anyone worth their Broadway bonafides must watch it twice. Once for Kelly and then again for O'Connor.

Singin' in the Rain also highlights the comic brilliance of Jean Hagen, the cat screeching voiced actress, whose career in pictures ends with the showing of The Jazz Singer. It's a performance only duplicated by Judy Holiday in Born Yesterday and Lesley Anne Warren in Victor/Victoria.

If you've never seen Singin' in the Rain, for shame. If you have, watch it again. Allow yourself the rewind capability to marvel at the choreography; the charm and charisma of the four leads; and a set design beauty so grand it almost overshadows the film.

Almost.

MAX or Prime.




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