Great story, impressive mise-en-scene and engaging songs.
Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Cosmo (Donald O’Connor) make it to the A-list of Hollywood stars through persistence and hard-work, depicting the American Dream. Don is paired with Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) on screen, and though he dislikes her, must put up a pretence in front of the public. He meets Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) one night and is enchanted by her. Together, they try to salvage their horrendous first attempt at a talking picture. Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly.
I’ve watched this multiple times before, and so am quite surprised that I have not yet written a review for this. I remember enjoying it the first few times I watched it, but after this viewing I was a little indifferent to it. The acting, story, settings are all quite nice and well done, but it all seems too cheery for me. Everyone is too happy and cheerful- too artificial for me.
The trio’s performance (Kelly, O’Connor and Reynolds) worked well cohesively, and the chemistry between them is solid. They portray their characters with enthusiasm and are very convincing. Hagen as Lina does a fantastic job, and her high-pitched voice gets me every time. The constant swapping between who is singing for whom makes for a fun trivia.
The story is very self-reflective in that it shows how movies are made (while being a movie itself). It does a pretty good job at this, but of course only shows the workings of the top decision makers. Also, the self-reflectivity does not interfere with audience engagement as viewers are kept engaged by the romance line between Don and Kathy. As for the musical part, most of the song numbers are pretty entertaining and catchy, though some are a bit long. Also, there is one sequence which is set in the idea of a film Don has (a film within a film) that has no correlation to the narrative itself. So I did not really think that sequence was necessary, but I guess it served to further reinforce the American Dream ideology.
The settings are quite vibrant in colour which is nice, but for me adds to this artificiality of the film. Everything is too neat, too clean and pristine. Adding to that, the sound though is synchronized pretty well, is sometimes obvious that it was recorded separately.
Overall, a pretty fun film to watch, and which everyone should watch at least once.
PROS: Acting, songs, settings
CONS: Artificial, American Dream
I give this an 8/10.
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