Top Ten: Movie Musicals

Of all the Top Ten lists I’ve done so far, or am likely to do, the Top Ten Movie Musicals is the toughest I can imagine. I love musicals, be they on stage or screen, and without a doubt they are my favourite film genre.

Singin’ in the Rain

The perfect movie musical – why haven’t you seen it yet?

The 1940s and 1950s was the golden era for the movie musical. A true classic was produced almost every year and most of these came from the lot of the famous MGM studios. You must know the films – Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, High Society, Annie Get Your Gun, Gigi. The list goes on and on. Despite being recognized now as one of the greatest films of all time with accolades such as the number one slot on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Greatest Musicals and being selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, Singin’ In The Rain, was not a great financial success on its release. Proof that the box office isn’t everything.

Singin’ In The Rain is a film about films, about Hollywood, actors and actresses and most importantly the transition from silent movies to the ‘talkies’. Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont (Gene Kelly and Jean Hagan) are the most popular film stars in their world – their love stories, almost always period pieces, entrance audiences everywhere. As does the story of their own true love. A story completely fabricated by the studio’s publicity team. Despite her good looks and ladylike appearance Lina is a shrill-voiced, shallow harridan. Don is much more interested in chorus girl Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). The first Lockwood and Lamont talkie, The Duelling Cavalier, is a disaster – the preview audience treats it with derision and many vow to never watch another Lockwood and Lamont film again. Don, Kathy and Don’s best friend Cosmo Brown (a scene-stealing Donald O’Connor) hatch a plan to save the film by turning it into a musical with Kathy dubbing Lina’s dreadful voice. Can The Dancing Cavalier save the studio, Lockwood and Lamont’s reputation and careers and Don and Kathy’s blooming relationship?

It’s hard to know where to begin with Singin’ In The Rain, there’s just too much brilliance…..

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