Published on November 13th, 2009 | by Darren Byrne5
Singin’ in the Rain @screencinema
Out this week, a new raucous comedy musical starring newcomers Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Last Monday night, a group of Culchies went along to see a preview of this new film Singin’ in the Rain in the relaunched Screen Cinema and we were all bowled over. In glorious technicolour, we were taken on a journey in this film that will surely win Oscars, if only for it’s star Gene Kelly.
The saga begins in 1927, at a glamorous Hollywood premiere, as the star-struck fans push forward for a quick glance at two of their idols – Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), a dashing leading man of the silent screen, and Linda Lamont (Jean Hagen), a self-absorbed but highly popular blonde bombshell.
Don and his friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) tolerate Linda but laugh at her endless efforts to woo Don as her husband. Just as Don finds himself taken with a brash and bubbly newcomer, Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), a new problem arises – the talking pictures.
Thus begins a wonderful satire on old Hollywood – the studio system, the high gloss and the faked lives and loves of the stars. The first half of the film is the strongest part story-wise. The move to the era of the ‘talkies’ plays out so cleverly and with hilarious vigour.
The gruff producer RF Simpson (Millard Mitchell) makes our heroes realise that if they are going to survive, they had better adjust fast to the new technology. When Linda’s voice proves to be a painful whine (particularly funny in the previews of the stars’ new film The Duelling Cavalier), the trio of Don, Cosmo and Kathy save her career by dubbing in Kathy’s, which temporarily saves the obnoxious star.
The music throughout is more hit than miss. Some of the highs include the wonderful Make ‘Em Laugh, performed by the bright co-star O’Connor, Good Mornin’, a beautiful chirpy number with Kelly, O’Connor and Reynolds, and of course the movie’s title number, Singin’ in the Rain.
If I was to find fault with this film it would be with Gene Kelly’s dancing. The computer generated effects were all too obvious – there’s no way a man could perform all those dance moves, those flips, those contortions in the way that he does in this film. Impossible! I could even sense the pixels of ILM in O’Connor’s ridiculously energetic Make ‘Em Laugh.
The biggest set piece is the dreamlike sequence Broadway Melody, which lets the movie down. I can imagine it being an amazing spectacle for audiences if Singin’ In The Rain had been released circa 1952, but today’s audience likes a constant pace in its films – Broadway Melody drags on too long and ruins the movie’s pace.
I have no doubt we will see more from the film’s three stars in the near future. Kelly somehow manages to emulate George Clooney, only better, while O’Connor has the youthful energy to rival Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey at their height. I urge you to go see this great new film which goes on release in Screen Cinema on Tuesday 17th at 6.30pm.
It truly was wonderful seeing this old Hollywood classic on the big screen. Screen Cinema, D’Olier Street, has just relaunched itself as Ireland’s first digital only arthouse cinema and to celebrate this, they are running a Classic Musicals season. Singin’ in the Rain is just one of the many great old films that will come to life again on the big screen. I’m still looking forward to catching Some Like it Hot, which we were hoping to see on Monday. But until then, we can enjoy Oklahoma!, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Wizard of Oz, An American in Paris and Meet Me in St. Louis. Keep an eye on their blog or the Omniplex website for updates.