Singing in the Rain is a film that focuses on true Hollywood life when it was transitioning into sound. Under normal circumstances, the viewers can see a star-studded fantasy world through this movie. However, the film has highlighted the reality with regard to competition and talent. This movie differs from other films that focus on Hollywood since it has been created in a humorous manner. In particular, the film utilizes dance numbers, funny songs, bad shows, and voices while illustrating its theme. This aspect is different from that of the other films, which depict murder, suspense, and hatred when illustrating their movie. The story is really entertaining since it can easily make a viewer laugh. In essence, this movie captures the struggle of the film production industry while in the process of being transformed into “talkies”. “Talks” are the films that harbor sound dialogue between the characters. Generally, the movie is not only joyful but also harbors an uplifting mood throughout the whole story. This also depicts a diversity of musicals. This paper focuses on analyzing the historical context of Singing in the Rain.
In essence, this film was produced at the time when film making was being altered from silent to sound. Moreover, the musical started to be famous and real entertainment at that time. In particular, this paper tries to elaborate on how this movie was changed from silent to sound. Reviewing the process of this film creation, it is evident that it portrays much influence from a historical perspective. In addition, this trend seems to have encouraged Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen to create the film. The majority of movies, regardless of the era when they were produced, portray the historical context. The same case is with “Singing in the Rain,” which, despite having been produced some six decades ago, has historical parts that are essential even nowadays. This film may be old, but it is always famous. Any viewer watching this movie can gain an important insight concerning the issue of how Hollywood was involved in the development of talkies, as well as the demise of the silent era. In the film, this idea is highlighted in a fun and light tone.
Historical Context of the Movie
The general plot of this movie is particularly inventive. When compared to other films of that era, it is apparent that it is more sophisticated regarding its approach. However, it typifies this era since it presents a theme of love between Kathy Selden, who is a rising star, and Don Lockwood, who is an established actor struggling to adjust to the sound system or the ‘talkies’. The film has effectively highlighted the statue of the film industry in transition. In addition, it has responded to the fashionable craze that was inherent during the 1920s nostalgia.
The plot in Singing in the Rain has effectively portrayed the transformation of motion pictures from silent to talkies. Moreover, the film has also depicted the evolution of the movie industry from white and black to Technicolor. It provides another example of organic and “integrated musical” where the characters are able to express their feelings through their lives and behavior. In this film, dance and song replace the dialogue, especially during the moments of passionate romance and high spirits. In addition, more than half of the story is constituted of the musical numbers, a feature that was not available during the silent period. Having been set in 1927, the film parodies and humorously satirizes the panic that typified the transformation from the silence into the sound in Hollywood in the early 1920s, at the time of the Sound Revolution.
Most part of this film provides an autobiography of Hollywood during the emergence of talkies. The story focuses on dashing, romantic but a smug star in the film as well as Idol Matinee alongside their blonde and his glamorous screen partner identified as Diva. Idol Matinee pretends to be romantically engaged with Diva. The two characters are involving themselves in the Dancing Cavalier, which deviates from their initial silent romantic drama, the dueling Cavalier. However, one serious problem is apparent in this movie, namely that the narcissist and temperamental star has a screechy and a shrill accent typifying that of New York. The former dance and song partner of this star proposes to transform the film into musical and suggests that Don’s ingénue dancer and aspiring actress is dub in her singing voice behind the scenes for Lina who is lip-synching. The outcome of their scheming of exposing the jealous Lina and putting in revealing limelight offers the movie’s expected happy resolution.
While watching the movie, one could notice that early sound equipment was not only defective but also awkward. While examining the style of communication between the different characters one can realize that it was not very intelligent. However, despite this clumsiness, it appears that the introduction of the sound made the movie effective.
Singing’ in the Rain shows how many actors coped with the emergence of the talkies during the silent era. For example, Don Lockwood is portrayed as an experienced dancer and singer. Consequently, it is easy for him to adjust to using voice. On the contrary, his counterpart lady, Lamont Lina, is not as lucky as he is. Despite the fact that Lamont appears glamorous, she is saddened by the fact that her poor diction and shrieking voice is no longer suitable for the new genre of the film industry. This is despite the fact that she had been renown as historical heroin during her time. Lina is consequently brought down by her distended sense of stardom. Kelly also informs that Lina, who was based on the silent era, is known off-screen for her poor grasp of the English language. The end of the film shows Lina’s career being dismantled, while Kathy swaps places to become the leading lady for Don, both on the screen and off-screen.
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The producer, who has made up the Don Lockwood Lena Lamont movies, has effectively turned the stars that were once in the silent film into a “talkie”. Such fast occasions do not reflect the actual events that occurred in 1927 movie production. It should be considered that most studios of that time wanted to emulate the Warners and its success. Due to the success of Warners and companies, the other studios wanted to duplicate their financial returns (68). There were few studios, if any, which dared to glut the market with talking movies. In essence, most theaters at that time were filled with silent movies only. However, the competitive pressures began to propel some of the studios on a gradual basis to begin searching alternative strategies of improving their movies.
Singing in the Rain has effectively reflected that some studios, other than Fox and Warner, were focused on creating talking movies. In fact, some studios retrofitted the silent films that were already in production to be released as talking pictures. Paramount studios had already made some movies, such as the Canary Murder Case, as a silent. However, the actors were brought into dabbling stages while recording their dialogue to match their mouth movements.
The central activity in the movie’s story is dubbing an actor’s voice for another. Donald O’Connor gradually becomes brilliant, which is depicted through the use of his words in some of the key scenes. In this movie, one would think that the idea of an actor dubbing another’s voice started to exist when the sound movies had been already commercialized. However, this does not accurately reflect the history of the screen.
The movie, Singing in the Rain has effectively portrayed the recordings as utilized by a performer, who is expected to lip-synch performance, which had already been dedicated to the media. This contradicts with the actor lip-synching to a singer who appears live on the set. The technical employees achieved an effective record of the lyrics and music. Moreover, though the musicians were not within the camera range while acting, the film continued. However, the quality of the pictures was not suitable for commercial purposes. This complication is reinforced by the fact that some of the scenes in the film were shot in Technicolor while the majority of them were in white and black.
There is a special song identified as “The Wedding of the Painted Doll”, which can be identified in the “Singing in the Rain”. A viewer is able to hear the song briefly since part of the film montage depicts the great flurry of activities that were involved in the process of making musicals, especially during the early period of sound films. The song the “Wedding of the painted”, which is found in this film, contains the lyrics (“today is a holiday, tata). Moreover, the song “Singing in the Rain” has its roots in 1929 where it derived from the musical film of the Hollywood Revenue of 1929. In fact, this song is used over five times considering that, it was a hit at that time. This song is also the only one, which is placed under the opening credits of the films. Edwards Cliff, who sings it through the middle of the movie, follows this. After Cliff Edwards sings the song, there appears a chorus, which follows it afterward. Moreover, there is a snippet of the song, which is incorporated in the female trio number. Further, the song is also sung by all the actors, and they conclude the movie. It should also be considered that the final scene was done in color, and up to this time, the color footage still survives.
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There are various ways where Singing in the Rain has been signed regarding the results and the purpose. Its relevancy can be noted in the fact that the film has been released several times. Moreover, the movie has been occasionally referenced and spoofed in various works. In addition, it has received significant attention from the contemporary analysts as well as igniting extensive commentary from the viewers (Cooper 74).
While observing the Movie database on the internet, the film “Singing in the Rain” is identified for its great achievement. The film has also received a number of nominations, including the best directorial achievement, the best-supporting actress, the best actor in a comedy and the best motion picture. There are also other awards and nominations, which the film has received. In addition, various critics have also given the movie positive reviews while many more have regarded it as the greatest film in history.
The success of this movie in later years could be attributed to the fact that during the 1940s and the 1950s, dancing was more complex in the films. Further, the success of many musicals stirred many studios to make more movies. Consequently, dances and musicals required better directors and performers. The period was also typified by the shift of the dance style. Moreover, dance styles were combined for blurring variations between the different types of dance that exhibited at that time.
Indeed, Singing in the Rain has effectively showcased the transformation of the film industry from silent to sound. This concept is reinforced by the depiction of voice, speech as well as the problem related to synchronizing image and sound, particularly body and voice. The transformation of performance into the music has been foreshadowed by the focus on tongue twisters, which portrays an emphasis of sound over meaning. According to their own perspective, Singing in the Rain is simply the finest music that has ever been made. All the actors are at the top of their game. Moreover, the film has epitomized most of the things that constituted the musical genre. This includes the exciting type of entertainment experienced during the height of the studio era. While watching the movie, the mood improves and life seems better.
In the whole sequence, the camera seems to adjust to the performance of Kelly. The scenes can be considered as an exceptional example in the utilization of transition in dramatic integration of dance and song while narrating a film. Furthermore, the scenes are made to easily facilitate the dances as naturally as possible and with no notable changes in the film. Finally, the type of films exhibited in the movie Singing in the Rain contains historical significance. This owes to the fact that it is devised in a style that aligns with the kinetic energy of the camera when compared with the body.
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