Continuing with this series of 47 moments in film that I love (Why 47?), today we hit #16, not with a sequel to Singin’ in the Rain, but with another moment from the movie. I said last time that I could probably fill a whole list of 47 moments from this movie. I won’t do that, but I think at least one more isn’t unwarranted.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Directed by: Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen
Silent movie star Donald Lockwood struggles to make the transition to talking films, even while he navigates a romance with rising starlet Kathy Selden.
Don Lockwood is a successful star of the silent screen, but has has to adjust along with the rest of his industry to a new era of talking films. This includes taking classes from a vocal coach to improve his diction and speech, but it doesn’t stop him and his friend Cosmo from having fun…
In the midst of Don’s speech lesson, Cosmo enters are starts to make some subtle jokes at the stuffy man’s over-excitement at his tongue-twisters. In short order, this gives way to Don and Cosmo going into a song and dance number together, Moses Supposes. They dance around the studio, hopping up and down upon desks and chairs, and wrapping the whole thing up by taking the diction coach, sitting him on a desk, covering him with stuff, throwing trash into the air, and then singing out “Aaaaaay!!!” after putting a sign showing to make the sound on the top of the pile they’ve created.
I love this scene for two reasons: first the incomparable dancing of both Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor as Don and Cosmo (nicely offset by a humorous performance by Bobby Watson as the coach). I’m not a dance aficionado or anything, but there is something magical about watching these two talented men blend their different styles into one amazing number.
But of course, this isn’t the only great number in the movie. The other reason I love the scene is because it really has nothing to do with advancing the plot of the movie. All that really happens here from a story point of view is that Don is practicing his speech, as we know, and he’s doing pretty well at it. But it’s like the scene is just telling us that this is the sort of thing that happens when Don and Cosmo are together–they are good friends and when they spend time together, it’s hilarious and fun.
The number can be found all over youtube, including here:
The high feelings of the scene don’t last, as the whole crew struggles with the technicalities of sound filmmaking. A deeper dig into the depths of creativity is called for.