Saturday, April 30, 2016
Singin' in the Rain (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952)
the great movies. Much credit goes to the expert comedy writing of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and to Harold Rosson's cinematography. Kelly and Stanley Donen wisely did what directors of movie musicals so often fail to do: rely on long takes and full-body shots during dance numbers. As for the performers, no one in the film, and that includes Kelly and O'Connor, ever reached this peak again. Debbie Reynolds was too often betrayed into perkiness, but she is human and appealing here. Jean Hagen stole scenes from everyone and received one of the movie's two Oscar nominations -- the other was to Lennie Hayton for scoring -- but her movie career stalled and she wound up doing TV guest appearances. As for egotism, it pains me to remember that Singin' in the Rain was not nominated for the best picture Oscar winner for 1952. The winner was The Greatest Show on Earth, directed by one of the great egotists, Cecil B. DeMille. Some egotists are geniuses; others are hacks.