500 Word Analysis:

Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singin’ in the Rain (1952) is a musical comedy that lampoons the conventions of movie stardom at the time of the transition from silent film to talkies. Singin’ in the Rain is typical of the American movie musical, and also reveals many of the characteristics of classic Hollywood cinema we’ve been studying so far.   

This week, analyze the narrative and formal elements of Singin’ in the Rain in relationship to what you have learned this week about musicals, comedies, and the melodramatic mode. Also, be sure to apply what you learn about editing and sound design. As always, discuss the narrative and formal elements in relationship to the role of the film in both reflecting and shaping the American public’s attitudes toward Hollywood itself. 

PLOT: The classic Hollywood plot opens with an equilibrium, then there is disruption of that equilibrium, and at the end of the film there is a new equilibrium. You might notice there are 2 plots at work in Singin’ in the Rain: the romantic plot and the plot about making a transition from silent films to sound. Identify the e/d/e in both plots and explain how the 2 plots work together.

FORM: This week you will emphasize the EDITING and, of course, SOUND. Watch this week’s videos on editing and sound design. Then analyze the editing and sound design in  2 key sequences in Singin’ in the Rain.

CULTURESingin’ in the Rain is a musical comedy in the melodramatic mode. As you watch, consider who is the hero, the heroine, and the villain. What are the surprises, reversal of fortunes, and last-minute rescues? How and when does Singin’ in the Rain shift between narrative and musical reality? And what taboo(s) or social anxieties does the film express?