Made in the 1950s, set in the 1920s, featuring an 18th-century movie — aww, yiss, it’s Singin’ in the Rain (1952), a technicolor masterpiece of music, dance, and wacky costumes by the master, Walter Plunkett! This is one of the funniest and most flat-out entertaining movies ever made, chock full of brilliant choreography and catchy songs, all wrapped around a clever story about Hollywood when movies switched from silent to talky. But let’s face it, the 1920s costumes aren’t exactly period-correct most of the time. Oh they do the job, in that Plunkett-y way, that’s for sure. So while stormy clouds chase everyone from the place, I’ve got a smile on my face lookin’ at the costumes from Singin’ in the Rain…
The scene opens in 1927 at the premiere of the latest Don Lockwood / Lina Lamont movie, The Royal Rascal. All the Hollywood glitteri are there on the red carpet, and the fans are going wild!
Pushy radio lady asks Don about his background so we can get some nifty vaudeville numbers with the mocking “dignity, always dignity” cover-up.
Don finally gets his big break as a stunt man opposite Lina, and their fakey-fake romance is born.
OK, back to the present-day premiere! It’s time to screen The Royal Rascal — apparently, Lockwood and Lamont are really into these period pieces.
After the super-popular movie screening, Don and Cosmo head out, only to have Cosmo’s car break down and Don is ravaged by screaming fans. So he jumps into a bystander’s car. Dun dun dun, it’s a plot point, folks! The driver is gonna be his real love interest.
After Kathy pretends to disdain Don’s advances, Don arrives at the post-premiere party. The whole gang is there.
The studio producer has lined up entertainment for this shin-dig. First, he demos this new-fangled technology called “talking pictures” — it’ll never catch on, hah.
Next, it’s time for a sweet treat…
Kathy runs off, ensuring that Don moons over her. Meanwhile, back at Monumental Studios, entirely un-PC movies continue to be made.
Don’s feeling mopey (because being the biggest star in Hollywood is rough work), so BFF Cosmo puts himself in the hospital for four days doing the funniest song-and-dance routine ever filmed, “Make ’em Laugh.”
Back to work for Lockwood and Lamont — their next hysterical historical is The Dueling Cavalier, supposedly set during the French Revolution.
Wait, stop filming! Talkies are actually a thing! Crap! Time for a wackadoodle montage:
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.
After the drugs wear off, Don finds Kathy, and they meet cute for the most unsubtle first date ever.
Hey, get a room — we’ve got a movie to make here, folks! Squeaky Lina needs to learn how to talk real good, and Don and Cosmo need another dance number, stat.
Now that we know how to speak most excellent well, it’s time to re-film The Dueling Cavalier as a taking picture.
If you think the advance screening of this flick is going to be good, then you’re as dumb as Lina.
After this flop, Don, Cosmo, and Kathy go home to commiserate and think up another dance routine or two.
And time for the titular song-and-dance routine. While it’s good, “Singin’ in the Rain” isn’t my fave. This is just a nice little song and an amusing dance. I much prefer the faster, complicated routines like “Good Morning” or “Moses Supposes.” Yes, I’m a heathen, so sue me.
OK, here’s a conundrum — why is Don’ walking through these streets in the rain? The scene starts with him kissing Kathy good-bye as she leaves what appeared to be HIS mansion. Before the “Good Morning” song, he says he’ll have to sell the whole thing once the shitty version of The Dueling Cavalier is released. Why did he walk out in the rain after Kathy? Where is he going? Is that really Cosmo’s mansion? What is going on in this movie? What does it all mean?
Anyway, now we’re going to record Kathy singing and Lina lip-syncing, and the movie-within-the-movie is going to be called The Dancing Cavalier, whoo-hoo!
And here’s where the movie goes TOTALLY off the rails with Gene Kelly’s 15 minutes of dancing masturbation. Sure, fine, it’s his movie, he can do what he wants. But I don’t have to like it. I freakin’ love musicals, but I want the pretense of a story. The “Broadway Melody” bit doesn’t make sense in any context. But Gene’s just gotta dance.
Whew, now that’s over, back to the rest of the movie. Kathy is recording, Don is being all romantic, and Lina is about to throw a tantrum.
Lina may be dumb, but she ain’t stupid. She’ll blackmail the studio to get her way.
At last, it’s the premiere of The Dancing Cavalier (which, if we ever saw the full length of that movie-within-a-movie, the plot would be utterly redic, but whatev).
What’s your favorite costume in Singin’ in the Rain? What’s your favorite song?