G, 1 hr. 42 min. Directed By: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly. Jan 1, 1952. DVD Release Date: Aug 27, 1997.
Singin’ In the Rain might just be the perfect movie. I say that after walking in to the seriously packed theater, wondering if I was going to be sitting through one of those musicals where the story breaks so that the lead can sing an ode to his left sock. I had my concerns, because approximately half of the old musicals I watched had elements like that, and I hated those elements.
Other than the eponymous song, there wasn’t much I knew about this movie. In retrospect, I’d seen a clip of the scene where Gene Kelly loses his mind and dances in the pouring rain for several minutes while he sang about it. In retrospect, I realize that someone clearly lost their mind when they created the climate effects. Never, ever, ever has it rained so frequently anywhere in California, particularly not the reclaimed desert of Hollywood.
I don’t know much about any of the cast members, with the exception of Debbie Reynolds, and mostly because I recognize her from either modern television or modern films. Maybe both. Although a trip through her filmography clued me in to where I was remembering her from (hint, I said “holy shit, she was Grandma Mazur!”). For an actress who didn’t sing or dance, she did an outstanding job and gave a great performance. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor were also excellent, but I wish O’Connor had a bigger part. He was hysterical.
But why do I say this was the perfect movie? One of the things I’ve noticed about these old movies is how many of them have a light-hearted vibe that’s contagious. Singin’ In the Rain has that. It took me approximately three minutes to have a smile on my face. I wasn’t laughing hysterically like the drunken idiots to my right (you could have lit their breath on fire), but the movie was more than slightly entertaining. For just under two hours, I was completely lost in the movie. There wasn’t a single shot fired. There were no explosions. I wasn’t singing along. But it was still magic. I left the theater with a sense of well-being and the need to pee. Even better is that the former didn’t leave when I took care of the latter.