42 thoughts on “We’re Singin’ and Dancin’ in the Rain

  1. Just before “Singin in the Rain” Don was dropping Kathy off at HER place. His car is idling by the curb and he waves his driver off so he can walk home. Because he’s so in love, and all.

  2. The irony of this movie is they dubbed Debbie Reynolds’ voice for the singing.

    Still one of my all time favorite movies.

    1. Only in the “Would You” and “Lucky Star” as she didn’t have the range and quality needed. She did sing the rest :) Extra irony: the ghost singer dubbing her is the actress playing Lina Lamont!

  3. So were dream ballets de rigeur in the 50’s? Love the Kelly/O’Connor stuff like all right-thinking people, but I’m so glad to read a review of the whole dream sequence that accords it the proper lack of respect. Since I can’t resist a huge frock, all of the costumes in the Dancing Caveliers are my faves despite the period confusion. Thanks for a great lunch time read.

    1. I think it’s more of a Gene Kelly ego-trip thing. He also has it in An American in Paris and The Pirate.

        1. It definitely is an ego-trip. However, the whole sequence is saved for me by a single line right after it’s over. There’s been this huge elaborate dance number that has gone on 15 minutes too long, and it has that gigantic cinematic ending. Then it cuts back to reality and R.F says: “I can’t quite visualize it. I’d have to see it on film.” I grew up watching that movie, and I only noticed that line a few years ago. It gets me every time!

      1. If it weren’t for the electric Cyd Charisse, I could take or leave the sequence in Singin’ in the Rain–does it have anything to do with the movie at all? But the ballet is easily my favorite part of An American in Paris! Apparently the only reason the studio execs greenlighted it was because Gene showed them the Red Shoes ballet over and over until they caved (and The Red Shoes would make a fabulous post like this, if you haven’t done it already). It may have been ego, but Gene Kelly’s fantasy sequences are miles better than similar scenes in other musicals like, say, Oklahoma.

    2. I realize this is 3 years later, but yes. Dream Ballets were integral. I don’t know why. I assume drugs. It wasn’t just Gene Kelly. Flower Drum Song, Oklahoma…
      Always utterly annoying if you like plot and narrative.

  4. ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES OF ALL TIME, now with extra snark from Frock Flicks!! It’s like Christmas in July!!!

    And “Loungewear for Aspen snow bunnies on acid” — LOL!!!! I love the fashion show, though it has NOTHING to do with the plot (nor does the fantasy ballet at the end — it’s just an excuse to look at Cyd Charisse’s amazing legs.

    By far, the best musical bit is Moses Supposes. Best line: “She’s so refined, I think I’ll kill myself” tied with “Why, I make more money than — than –Calvin Coolidge! Put together!” Jean Hagen was BRILLIANT.

    I think the best costume has to be the one with the monkey fur. Or Lina’s outfit at the very end, it’s tough.

  5. “Can you count all the things wrong with these wigs?”

    Yes, yes I can.

    And, I love this movie! “Aynd I caynt staynd him!!”

  6. Re wigs: Yes, I can. But I love the movie. I always wanted Cosmo & Kathy to end up together. They had more in common.

    I know Plunkett is one of the effing costume gods of Hollywood, after all he did GWTW, but the costumes here ran the gammet from meh to acid-induced horrors (Fashion show). I thought during one of the gifs, you were going to undercut the Time Warp from Rocky Horror.

    Didn’t know they dubbed Ms Reynolds. Sacrilegious studio heads.

    I wondered if the faux 18th century Lina Lamont costumes were used in Norma Shearer’s Marie Antoinette as background shots or refurbished?

    Will you be reviewing Unsinkable Molly Brown?

  7. I ADORE “Good Morning”
    I saw this film years after being an O’Connor fan (I saw all the Francis the Talking Mule films as a kid). It was wonderful to see O’Connor in color and singing and dancing.
    Now, IF ONLY he and Danny Kaye had done a film together…

      1. Same here. Mr O’Connor was IMHO more talented than Mr Kelly. I would love to see him paired with Mr Kaye, who again IMHO was a genius. ‘The pellet…’

  8. It was A Thing to have a fashion show in the middle of the movie back then; I’ve seen lots of them. I guess there was no easy way for ordinary people to see fashion shows, so…?

    Also, I strongly suspect that this movie is to blame for the prevalence of chainette fringe ‘flapper’ dresses. I have never once seen an actual 1920s dress made of entirely fringe (strips of fabric like Cyd’s wearing, yes, but ALL fringe?) and the earliest I’ve seen an all-fringe dress is the ones on all the background dancers in the fantasy ballet sequence here.

    This is one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s ridiculous and the costumes are even more so*, but the jokes are hilarious and Jean Hagen cracks me up every time.

    *(but then almost all ‘period’ costumes in old Hollywood movies are hilariously wrong. Hell, modern movies. Don’t get me started on beachy waves and forehead necklaces!)

  9. I love this movie so much!!! It just makes me happy.
    “While lounging in her boudoir,
    this Simple, Plain pajama!
    Her suit is trimmed with monkey fur!
    to lend a dash of drama!”
    At the beginning red carpet scene, I believe Zelda is described as “It Girl,” a la Clara Bow.

    1. Zelda is definitely the “Zip Girl” (I listened to it a few times & Wikipedia even notes it) — it’s mocking reference to Bow as “It Girl” tho!

      1. I’m surprised you didn’t note that Zelda is played by Rita Moreno.

        Also, the radio hostess is Madge Blake, who played Bruce Wayne’s (or was it Dick Grayson’s) fussy Aunt Harriet on the ’60s “Batman” series.

  10. “I’ve only ever seen a girl-in-a-cake in movies — did anyone actually do that IRL?”

    Yep. It came out of the tradition of presenting “surprise” dishes at ancient feasts (“Fellini: Satyricon” presents a good example), going on to incorporate live animals and birds inside food items. (The nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence” immortalizes this practice.)

    According to Wikipedia, “in 1626, the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham presented King Charles I of England and Queen Henrietta Maria with a pie from which sprang the dwarf Jeffrey Hudson, in a suit of armor.”

    By the turn of the 20th century, the practice of a girl in the dish got started; from Wikipedia:

    “Stanford White put on a dinner on May 20, 1895 that included a scantily-clad girl, Susie Johnson, emerging from a pie made from galvanized iron, accompanied by a recitation of “Sing a Song of Sixpence”.

    “A few months later, the “Pie Girl” having disappeared, The World [tabloid of the day] ran a lurid expose of the episode that emphasized the prominence of the guests, who included Nikola Tesla and Charles Dana Gibson, and the scandalous nature of White’s affairs.

    “White himself was eventually murdered by Harry Thaw, the husband of White’s former lover, Evelyn Nesbit [which formed a section of E. L. Doctorow’s “Ragtime”]. The episode became “a sign for the decadence of art and high society.”

    “By the 1950s, women popping out of cakes was common at male-only parties in the United States. It eventually became common for showgirls to pop out of cakes for celebratory occasions.”


  11. Thank you for this! I have to credit this movie and GWTW for first inspiring my love of costume when I was a kid. I just adored the fashion show and Lena’s outfits.

  12. Honestly, I never expected this movie to be completely accurate, but I watched it for the musical numbers. I still crack up watching make ’em laugh, and I’ve seen it many times.

    But I think Singin’ In the Rain is a good example of a period movie telling you more about what was attractive during the time it was made(50s), than about the time it’s set in.

  13. And for no apparent reason, the “Beautiful Girl” song morphs into a fashion show — did Walter Plunkett have extra costumes laying around? Not complaining, just wondering.

    Planting a fashion show in the middle of a movie was a lot more common than you think . . . especially in the pre-WWII movies. Have you ever seen 1939’s “THE WOMEN”?

    Was Donald O’Connor more talented than Gene Kelly? No, I don’t think so. I think their dancing styles were a little different. But I’ve always believed that on screen, Kelly worked better with O’Connor than he did with Fred Astaire.

    Although I would never regard the “Singin in the Rain” number as technically dazzling (neither did Kelly for that matter), there is something about it – on an emotional level – that is magic for me.

    I don’t really care for the “Broadway Melody” ballet that much, but there are aspects of it that I really love – especially Kelly’s first dance number with Cyd Charisse. In the words of Joe E. Brown . . . “Zoowieee!”.

  14. Zelda is definitely the “Zip Girl” (I listened to it a few times & Wikipedia even notes it) — it’s mocking reference to Bow as “It Girl” tho!

    Zelda was portrayed by actress Rita Moreno.

    1. I knew her from West Side Story, and I didn’t realize that was her till my 4th time watching…my mom made fun of me.

  15. The Zip girl and the Goth were meant to reference silent era actresses Bow (as noted) and Goth girl was Theda Bara who had same slightly goth vibe. As for the costumes they’re definitely through a 50s filter but consider that this was like Mad men –hardly a generation away, everyone alive could recall the era pictured! So I bet I could find you a Vogue or Sears illustration of every outfit you see–each one is quite recognizable to me as a very 20s treatment, really! Lastly–love this movie for so many lines…”whaddaya think I am, dumb er Somethin?” is only one not yet quoted…

  16. I’m so happy to see this get the FF treatment!

    Just one note, though? You don’t have to say “un-PC” when what you mean is “racist”. It’s a movie made in the ’50s about Hollywood in the ’20s, it’d be kind of shocking if there WASN’T anything racist in it, to be honest.

    1. Well, it’s more than just ‘racist’ — the fake African movie is a culturally imperialist cliche too. There’s A LOT wrong going on in that scene, & this particular post is meant as a flippant light-hearted review. We have others where we go into more detail.

      1. Wow, I was rereading this in honor of the Debbie Reynolds article and I didn’t see you had responded to my comment months ago. Sorry!

        As someone for whom racism affects on a damn near everyday basis (it’s generally pretty hard to hide the fact I’m a Black woman from people), I call “racism” where I see racism, in no small part because I hate the term “political correctness”. “Political correctness” is a reactionary term favored by bigots to silence oppression and resistance to oppression, which is why people like a certain President-Elect can say “I’m not politically correct!” and have it go over great with a distressing portion of the population in a way that saying “I’m racist!” would probably not.

        Also, cultural imperialism is a form of racism in most cases, so I’d say it still stands.

        Your mileage may vary, et cetera. Merely my Black thoughts.

  17. I always Olga Mara was meant to be Pola Negri, but yes, love the vamp look. This is a favourite ‘comfort’ film, always cheers me up.

  18. I thought so too, Nit-Picking Badger. The only thing that they could have done to hit the audience over the head with it was to have Olga Mara drape herself over something, say a coffin, and ask the photographer if he got the picture (Negro did at Valentino’s funeral).

  19. Just watched Deep in My Heart … the bio-pic of Sigmund Romberg. As a bio-pic of a composer, it is full of musical numbers. Half way through Anne Miller has a great song and dance bit … and the other women in this sequence are all wearing dresses from Singing in the Rain … most of the fashion show outfits, Zelda’s silver, black and white fringed number from the movie premier, the sequined spider dress also from the movie premier (IMDB says Julie Newmar is wearing it) and the fabulous green dress (much less fabulous when not filled by Cyd Charisse).
    This movie also has my new favorite Cyd Charisse dress … it is a masterpiece of draping.

    1. Wow – that dress is somethin’ else. I’ve never heard of the movie “Deep in My Heart” but now I have to go and check it out. Thank you for posting this.

  20. You don’t like the Broadway Melody in Singin’ In The Rain???????????????
    You’re either a Philistine, a man or both.

  21. The pinup is probably either done by or in the style of 1920’s artist John Herd, Jr. His work was a hoot.

  22. I love how Don and Cosmo”s vaudeville number morphs as they rise through the entertainment world, ending in a stately Ziegfield Follies number with Don in white tie and tails.

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