If you are a cinema lover, you probably have your favorite movie right ? I do have mine, an old but yet very charming one: Singing in the Rain.
Every little girl has a prince charming. I found mine when I was 8 and I haven't left him since then. He made me discover the magic of Hollywood. I remember that night when my Dad sat me in front of the TV and he appeared. I was completely subjugated by him. I was discovering the world of the musicals from the 50's. I was watching a classic that did not convince everybody when it was realeased in 1952: Singing in the Rain. My prince charming was Gene Kelly.
In this movie, Gene Kelly is Don Lockwood, a silent film actor at the peak of glory. His companion on screen, Lina Lamont (played by Jane Hagen) is the archetypal glamour actress from the 20's. She is beautiful and represents everything a woman would want to be and everything a man would want. However, behind that image is an untalented actress with an unpleasant voice. She doesn't know how to act, sing or dance. Don meets a new actress, Katy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and a love story begins which leaves Lina in despair. Indeed, the newly arrived represents a double threat: for her relationship with Don and her career because Katy is talented.
Although the story takes place during the silent films era, the year chosen by the scenarist is very emblematic. We're back in 1927 when was released the first talking movie and even singing movie: The Jazz Singer. This movie announces the end of the silent movie industry.
Singing in the Rain shows through its three main character the backstage of the Hollywood industry and the decline of the silent movie in favor or the talking ones; how the career of silent actors ended and the one of singing and dancing actors started because of someting very common now: sound.
The french movie The Artist adresses the same theme. The only difference being that it was realised during the 21st century, the era of high technology. When I heard of The Artist, I thought the idea was interesting but risky. Who would go watch a silent movie in 2012 and would the acting abilities of the actors be good ?
Even though Singing in the Rain was filmed in 1952, there is only 25 years of difference between it and The Jazz Singer. People were still used to silent movies. That is probably why is wasn't that successful. But then it became iconic because it depicts an entire world and a certain era: the golden years, Hollywood, the movie industry and the talking movies.
I really wanted to talk about Singing in the Rain because it made me see cinema as art. The storyline may be simple but the acting, the choreographies, the music... everything is tremendous.
Gene Kelly is a myth and not only for his part in Singing in the Rain. I admire his entire career. he wasn't just an actor, far from that. He was also a great ancer and a talented choreographer. Many will sum up Singin in the Rain with the scene that gave its name to the movie but I would choose that scene instead:
This scene shows what Gene Kelly is as a dancer: he is energetic and classy. But we can also see how good a choreographer he was when Cyd Charisse appears, playing the part of the femme fatale. Gene looks like he is totally charmed by her, so much so that Cyd Charisse seems to be leading. We can see her, her beauty, her sensuality, her grace. But have you seen how Gene Kelly is barely moving? That is his way of leading. Cyd is trying to seduce him, HE is the center of her attention. and when he decides to dance with her, it is not to seduce her but to let her know who is the leading one in this dance and to steal her a kiss.
The spectator can actually see Cyd Charisse thanks to the slow movements of Gene Kelly guiding her.
Isn't this scene one of the most sensual ever?
(translated from french by Absolute B.)