Singin' in the Rain
Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
One of the most famous and beloved musicals of all time, Singin' in the Rain is set in a 1920s Hollywood on the cusp of the sound era, where a swashbuckling matinee idol (Gene Kelly) falls in love with a bright-eyed newcomer (Debbie Reynolds) while trying to duck his jealous, narcissistic onscreen romantic partner (Jean Hagen), whose parrot-squawk of a voice makes her distinctly unsuited for the new talking pictures. As opposed to the outsized ambition of the lavish, Kelly-choreographed ballet sequence of An American in Paris, much of the charm of Singin' lies in the beguiling modesty and cleverness of its musical numbers (including Kelly's immortal performance of the title tune), but Kelly and co-director Stanley Donen once again go for the grandiose in the penultimate "Broadway Melody" sequence, a riot of stylized sets and bold colours with a spangled, emerald-sheathed Cyd Charisse as its dazzling centrepiece.
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