Singin’ in the Rain Critical Essay
Singin’ in the rain (gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952)
Singin’ in the Rain is an American musical film that capitalizes on dilemmas of transition to sound in motion picture industry. This film perfectly balances singing, dancing, comedy, and romance to run different themes among them being deceit and lies. This film is unique since the art of music is used via Don Lockwood who acts as a singer and dancer. He barely tolerates his lady, Lina Lamont who is cunning. The studio’s setting with monumental pictures significantly links the two romantically as well as increases their popularity. Lina has no doubt that Don is in love with her despite Don’s protestations about the matter. Rivalry unveils between Lina and Kathy, a core singer who later rejoins some times later after Lina encounters difficulties with her voice forcing Kathy to act as her voice. The climax of the film unveils the truth after the audience clamors for Lina to sing live. The crew deceits the crowd by advising Lina to lip sync into the microphone as Kathy does the actual singing hiding behind the curtains using another microphone. Don, Cosmo, and RF raise the curtain revealing the deception. Lina flees leaving Kathy in a distress. Kathy tries running away but instead Don announces her as the star of the film. Don and Kathy kiss in front of the audience for their new film,” Singin’ in the Rain”
Singin’ in the Rain captures a real-time transition in the movie industry where motion was incorporated with sound. Significantly, this change has been enhanced by technology. More has been unveiled and more unpredictable trends are yet to be discovered. Ideally, this element speaks of change in almost all spheres of life ranging from economic, political, and social aspects. Since the invention of technology, the world has been revolutionized improving the way of life for example, transport and communication industries. In this movie, Lina tries to control and limit Kathy’s career after Kathy is used as her voice. She demands Kathy to give up her own career. This justifies the conflict of interest faced in today’s world. In a nut shell, this case depicts a huge magnitude of control between the rich and the poor. The rich have money and power hence easily manipulate the systems. The poor on the other hand have potential to leverage their sufferings by speaking up their minds. This scenario shows that change is inevitable provided one is not in self denial just as depicted by the movie that hid Lina’s identity of voice.
The theme of reputation is vividly depicted through Don who seeks respect of being a prominent actor. Additionally, Kathy is obsessed with respect in that she wants to pop out of cakes for a living. Lina on the other hand wants to be adorable. Prestige and status forces these characters to live a deceitful life in attempts to boost their reputations. The audience thinks Lina is an elegant lady yet she is an imitation who depends on others to hide her true status. Kathy deceives Don from the moment she meets him that she is a stage actress. Don rattles off details on how he rose to fame. He ignores Cosmo’s contribution to his fame. These characters bring the reality of what happens in the film industry-realism. Similar picture is portrayed in today’s world where people live a faked lifestyle to impress those around them.
This film is a true reflection of the world politics that is defined by lies and propaganda from politicians who deceive their people only gain high ranks for their own gain. The attributes of language and communication are also evidenced in the text. It is perfectly clear that characters in this film exhibit lies. Despite this being a dance, lines of deception are clearly drawn through body signs. In this film, one learns to distinguish when someone is honest or lying. Practically, through the movie, we learn not to be deceived by what we hear or see. Secondly, song and dance is used to communicate the truth. In the contemporary world, songs form the basis of societal beliefs, customs and systems. They depict our true identity and lifestyle. In this movie, comedy has been used to ridicule Lina who appears glamorous, refined, and elegant on screen but she off-screen, she butchers English, fights dirty, and sounds funny. Just at the first glimpse and listening to her voice, one can’t help but giggle. This means we can not hide from the reality that faces us.
In conclusion, Singin’ in the Rain is a transitional film that depicts transition of film industry. It majorly uses romance, comedy, and dance. This movie shadows the contemporary world characterized by deception, change, and building reputation. These realities strain human character and evoke change in the political, social, cultural, and economic spheres. Furthermore, the paradigm shift in the technological world has revolutionized the way of life not to mention the film, transport, and communication industries among others.
Schatz, Thomas. “Film Genres and the Genre Film.” Chap. 2 in Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking, and the Studio System. Boston: McGraw Hill, 1981.