Singin’ In The Rain Movie Reviews Examples
The protagonist of Singin’ in the Rain is movie star Don Lockwood who is leading a life filled with duplicity because he wants to be accepted as an actor. Additionally, he wants to maintain the image he has created in his films. The movie studio is pressuring him to marry a cruel and egotistical actress named Lina Lamont who is his co-star. Even though Lockwood is embarrassed by his humble background and upbringing, he still maintains a friendship with Cosmo Brown, his childhood buddy. When Lockwood meets young and sincere Kathy Selden, he falls in love with her and tries to romance her. However, Selden is interested in authenticity and wants to be a serious actress. Eventually it turns out that talented young Selden will in fact be the singer behind Lina Lamont in her upcoming film with Lockwood. Lamont cannot manage the transition from silent film to talkies because her voice is shrill and irritating.
The frames for Singin’ in the Rain were shot in a very dynamic fashion making the audience aware that there is in effect an off-screen space outside the frame. This is a very necessary device in this particular film because the scenes in the onscreen space were so contrived and stylized. Many machinations that relate to the real life aspects of the characters must therefore take place in off-screen space. Much of the content that appears onscreen takes the form of dancing and singing in full-blown musical numbers with elaborate costumes
Open framing was used in a variety of ways to create scenes that placed the activity going on in a wider context, indicating that these characters had lives before and outside of the action taking place in the film and on the screen. For example, in one scene, Lockwood’s longtime pal sings and clowns and literally seems to be doing calisthenics all over a movie set to explain to Lockwood what really matters to an audience. Lockwood is impeccably dressed in white and reeks of wealth and sophistication. His friend Cosmo Brown, though obviously talented, is dressed badly indicating their mutual background as poor kids. The film is so over the top in terms of costumes, content, and form that there was little or no use of closed framing because there was no reason to express a darker or more intimate reality.
The characters seem somewhat genuine and sympathetic, therefore the illusion of actions and life that occurs in the off-screen space is powerful. The audience is conscious of the fact that this is a musical production and relating to the characters is achieved by the illusion of activities being conducted off-screen. Singin’ in the Rain has such dynamic musical numbers and uses such sparkling Technicolor settings that the musical onscreen content is always glitzy and exhilarating. It is mostly when the characters are off-screen that the audience assumes they are dull and despondent.
The mise-en-scene of Singin’ in the Rain , which comprises many tiers of authenticity and artfulness, gives the impression that the audience is witnessing a movie within the context of another movie being made. The sets change frequently and are used to convey the same notion, that multiple movies are taking place. As the characters walk through varieties of surroundings and sets, they discuss their real life problems and challenges. They also sing and dance displaying their considerable talents.
Scenes within scenes occur and the characters in the film use the sets as contexts in which to express their feelings for one another. For example, Lockwood has trouble telling Selden that he is in love with her. So he takes her to a movie set that facilities his expressions of devotion. Once Selden is standing on a ladder on a movie set in front of a romantic yet fake sunset, then Lockwood uses lighting and fans to create the impression that they are really experiencing a romantic wind-swept sunset somewhere else.
One of the most notable and interesting mise-en-scene occurs when Lockwood imagines that his film is plagued by numerous and grotesquely inappropriate costumes and effects. Another colorful mise-en-scene occurs when he is paired with a dancer who is scantily clad in bright green. She does not speak, she only smokes and gyrates around Lockwood causing him to go slack jawed. This same dancer reappears later dressed in a wedding type costume with a huge train, she dances a ballet on a somewhat bare set.
The conflict reaches a head when Lamont demands that Selden continue to provide her voice for films. If Selden refuses, Lamont threatens to sue and take control of the entire movie studio. At the premiere of the big movie starring Lockwood and Lamont the audience is wild for Lamont to do a live encore. Selden is set up backstage to sing and Lamont is set up to lip sync in front of the audience.
When Selden starts singing and Lamont starts pretending to sing to the audience, Lockwood and his pal Cosmo Brown triumphantly pull open the curtains to reveal Selden backstage secretly singing the song into the microphone. The obnoxious Lamont is horrified and humiliated. Selden also begins to run away. However, in a burst of newfound honesty and integrity, Lockwood announces to the audience that Selden as the angelic voice behind Lamont. He thereby saves the day and guarantees Selden the career and true love she deserves. The multi-layered and much manipulated mise-en-scene of Singin’ in the Rain continues to the bitter end as Lockwood and Selden engage in a romantic ballad and end up standing before an advertisement for the movie Singin' in the Rain.
Donen, Stanley and Gene Kelly. Singin' in the Rain (1952). With Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, and Cyd Charisse, et al. Pyrmont, NSW: Turner Entertainment, 2009.
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