Andy and I watched Singin’ in the Rain last night (over Kiss Me Kate). By the end, we had mutually decided against received wisdom that it is one of the best films ever made.
The Broadway Melody Ballet is shoehorned into the final third. It has no real connection with the films of the twenties (except it is set in the twenties) because it doesn’t resemble film musicals of that period. I don’t really like it anyway (it hints at the pretentiousness of An American in Paris) except for a stunning Cyd Charisse shimmying around Gene Kelly. I can’t imagine such a statuesque woman being allowed near the big screen now but, my word, no wonder my dad remembers her fondly.
Of course, it’s not that there aren’t great bits in the film (the flashbacks at the premiere, Make 'em Laugh, sound comes to Monumental Pictures, the preview of The Duelling Cavalier, etc) but quite a lot is average fare (I really want to like the cute teenage Debbie Reynolds but she doesn't have the presence to match Gene Kelly's overbearing personality). All right, Singin’ in the Rain is brilliantly indelible but otherwise? Moses Supposes? Beautiful Girl? All I Do Is Dream of You? Jean Hagen steals the show with her marvellous performance as Lina: "I can’t make love to a bush", dubbing herself as Kathy Selden who is meant to be dubbing her, "I can shoo", "I ain’t people".