AFI #5: Singin’ in the Rain

singin-in-the-rainWell, we’re into the top 5 American films of all time according to the brain trust at the American Film Institute, and I guess I expected more from Singin’ in the Rain. This film suffers from something I’ve seen a lot in this quest — the film is nowhere near as good as the world’s memory of it. I am not a musical hater, but this film doesn’t belong in the top 50 let alone the top 5. The plot is trite and the acting is silly.

It isn’t without merit though. There are several great musical numbers mixed in, not the least of which is the famous scene of Gene Kelly dancing and singing in the rain after he realizes he is in love with the talented young Kathy Seldon. It’s a classic movie moment, which is where I think the voters on surveys like this make mistakes. Is it fair to say the scene is one of the greatest song and dance numbers ever filmed? Sure, why not. It is iconic and Gene Kelly is the best song and dance man of all time. But I don’t even think Singin’ in the Rain is his best film let alone the fifth best American film ever (I like An American in Paris better frankly). The other iconic scene from the film is Donald O’Connor’s amazing “make them laugh” number which had me laughing and marveling at his joint-defying moves. Michael Jackson got his moves from Donald O’Connor! There are other nice song and dance numbers, but nothing that Fred and Ginger didn’t do.┬áThe film did have another thing going for it — an appearance by Cyd Charisse who for my money has the best gams ever to grace the silver screen (watch The Band Wagon or Brigadoon if you don’t believe me).

I enjoy watching Gene Kelly sing and dance. Really, I do. He was great in Xanadu! But like I said Singin’ in the Rain is not a great film, rather it is a nice film with a few great moments in it.

Next: Raging Bull