It’s 1927 and the first sound film, The Jazz Singer, has just become a huge hit. So the next production for silent film idols and manufactured sweethearts Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont has to be a “talkie” too. But Lina’s voice is a horror. So Don’s new flame, chorus girl Kathy, is hired to dub her. When Lina finds out, she rebels ... “If you must wear fox to the opera / dame fashion says dye it!” This musical makes no bones about putting the artificiality of its colours – and its emotions – on display. On an empty sound stage, Don reveals how movie magic works by declaring his love for Kathy in front of a painted backdrop of a sunset, whose romantic hues are intensified by lights gelled in purple, pink and apricot. The later 17-minute long “Broadway Ballet” finale is akin to avant-garde, with the dream dancers in black and white performing on an abstract surface done in the same sunset colours. The number was designed to frame the film within a film story and actually represents the core of the colourful musical, giving it an added dimension. With its modern, fluorescent hues, it is to the rest of Singin’ in the Rain as the talkies were to silent film.
USA 1952, 99 min
Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen