“Lina, you’re a beautiful woman. Audiences think you’ve got a voice to match. The studio’s gotta keep their stars from looking ridiculous at any cost.”
“Nobody’s got that much money.”
There are few types of film where one can truly say “they don’t make them like this anymore” apart from the classic studio musical. The song and dance numbers, the unstoppable charm, the incredible skill to pull it off without becoming saccharine – there’s just something about them that no one has been able to achieve since. Forget Disney films (I basically didn’t see a ‘Princess’ one until I was 12), these – ones like On the Town(favourite film when I was 10), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – along with other classics are the films of my childhood, which was basically all about movies.Singin in the Rain brings back such happy memories: of when I watched it with family members who have since died, of knowing the dances, and being caught up in the glossy, inescapable joy.
In the medium of film’s just over 100 year history, there have been only two ‘game changers’, which occurred close together – the additions of sound and colour. With just the right amount of distance in terms of time, Singin in the Rain chronicles the former and the changes that came with it in such an unmatched fashion – unsentimental and with humour and satire. The cast are on fire (Donald O’Connor nearly steals the show), the design is impeccable, injecting colour and light into a world that, on screen, didn’t yet have any, and the production numbers are both large and small, but never aren’t theatrical.
Singin in the Rain is just one of those films that is hard to be sentimental about, especially if you have seen it many times. It remains a timeless classic to this day, a landmark in a bygone era of filmmaking.
Singin in the Rain was released in Australia on December 25, 1952.
G, 102 mins.