Singin’ in the Rain (dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
1. Select one of the films covered in the second half of the course and explain how it reflects the particular social period in which it was produced. Please consult and cite two research sources.
“Singin’ In The Rain” which was co-directed by Stanley Donen and acrobatic dancer-star choreographer Gene Kelly was an exceptional example of an organic, 'integrated musical' that allows the story's characters to express emotions through song-and-dance numbers in the midst of their lives. Dialogue was replaced by song and dance, usually during moments of high spirits or passionate romance. Spanning over half of the film – the ‘let’s put on a play' type of film, is composed of many musical numbers. The energetic and witty film is set in 1927 and comically satirizes and parodies the anxiety in Hollywood that existed throughout the late 1920’s, as the sound revolution raced frantically to a conclusion. Significantly, for this medium, this period would see the end of most silent films and the beginning of the modern day ‘talkies’ era.
The '50s era, when Singin in the Rain is produced, is considered a golden age of the modern film genre. This decade produced light-hearted films like “Singin' In the Rain”, “Harvey” and some classic Disney full-length cartoons. It also inspired films with more serious themes, like “East of Eden” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”.
However, unlike the others, “Singin’ in the Rain” brilliantly managed to draw parallels to the anxiety and conflicts experienced by Hollywood in the late 1920’s era, and portray them in a lighthearted fashion, abounding with great hope and innocence. This is reminiscent of how the Fifties decade are uniquely remembered by many as an extremely hopeful, innocent time. The musical score of Singin’ in the Rain exudes joyfulness, the comedy between actors is smart and meaningful, and the dancing is amazing. It is a very likeable film. As stated,...