Arlecchino Cinema > 14:15


Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen


Tuesday 28/06/2016


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

The oneiric quality of the great tradition of the Hollywood musical had gradually faded over the years, while the stylisation of song and dance had by necessity remained. Donen and Kelly’s work, and Singing in the Rain in particular, can be situated in this period of decline which, it should be noted, was not, or was not yet, a moment of crisis. Indeed, it is precisely between the Forties and Fifties that MGM, the leading studio in the production of musicals, delivered a series of films which, if not consistently glorious, are nevertheless always glittering and enjoyable (and sometimes even lavish), and which did much to identify the genre with the studio. The Metro musical, regardless of the director or the quality of the single film, all display (without distinction) a precise and instantly recognisable look – a glossy, polished, colourful, shiny and cheerful quality that no other production could boast. Look at a contemporaneous film by Columbia or Fox: none of them exhibits the captivating visual softness of a Metro musical. The colours are darker and grainier, or at least less clear and soft (Colombia); or they are decidedly intense, but with a realistic quality that not even the strongly flickering light can render pleasingly fantastic and oneiric.
[…] Singing in the Rain is, in its entirely, a powerful, eloquent metaphor for an entirely different critical situation facing Hollywood cinema. In short, in dealing with the great crisis caused by the transition to sound, the film actually alludes to an atmosphere and a set of problems related to a crisis of a different, but no less worrying, nature that would take place twenty years later. […] Singing in the Rain is therefore a nostalgic film, the revisiting of a past which is perhaps not too distant in time, but is light years away in terms of taste, mentality, fashion and, naturally, technology.
So distant that the opening sequence, with its extreme long shot from above of the Grauman area, has the feel of a scene lifted from an animated cartoon: the colours, the lights, the distant movements, the architectural lines don’t seem at all real (recreated), but instead seem to belong to a different imaginary order – that of a reality transfigured by a childish and infantile fantasy, sparkling and microscopically great.

Franco La Polla, Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly. Cantando sotto la pioggia, Lindau, Turin 1997

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Betty Comden, Adolph Green. F.: Harold Rosson. M.: Adrienne Fazan. Scgf.: Cedric Gibbons, Randall Duell. Mus.: Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed. Int.: Gene Kelly (Don Lockwood), Donald O’Connor (Cosmo Brown), Debbie Reynolds (Kathy Selden), Jean Hagen (Lina Lamont), Millard Mitchell (R.F. Simpson), Cyd Charisse (ballerina), Douglas Fowley (Roscoe Dexter), Rita Moreno (Zelda Sanders), Madge Blake (Dora Bailey), Kathleen Freeman (Phoebe Dinsmore). Prod.: Arthur Freed per MGM. 35mm. D.: 103’. Col.


Director: Albert Pierru
Year: 1953
Country: Francia
Running time: 3'