I’ll get the 60th anniversary Singin’ in the Rain Bluray (7.17), of course. I love the lush, poster-paint intensity of ’50s Technicolor films, and this 1952 Stanley Donen musical certainly has that. The question is whether or not the Bluray will be mastered so specifically that you can see the cheesecloth base of Gene Kelly‘s toupee, but that’s what I like about Bluray detail. I eat that shit up.
But the older I get, the harder it is to really enjoy or even get into Singin’ in the Rain. I can still appreciate what’s “classic” and “joyous” about it. The problem is that it feels — has always felt — forced and a bit clenched.
The satire and the spunk are infectious, and I’ll never stop marvelling at Donald O’Connor‘s acrobatic ragdoll dancing in that “Make ‘Em Laugh” number. And you can’t wave away Kelly’s choreography (especially in that opening vaudeville number with O’Connor) and his boundless energy and bright-lights smile. And Debbie Reynolds is fun. I’ve always been irritated by Jean Hagen‘s fake-screechy voice, but the movie hinges on this so she — it — has to be endured.
But there’s something chilly and fake about this film that’s hard to describe, but is absolutely there. It tries so hard to entertain that its like watching four seals bouncing beach balls on their noses for 103 minutes straight while balancing on a high wire. And O’Connor is such a jerky and robotic actor that if you let him, he’ll drive you nuts in this thing. Underneath that elastic puss he seems terrified of everything, including himself.
Is it because The Artist covered the same era and told a vaguely similar story about Hollywood types grappling with the dawn of the sound era, and because I’m sick of thinking about that whole 1920s movie-within-a-movie realm? Maybe.