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Singin' in the Rain
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Singin' in the Rain is widely considered to be the best Hollywood musical ever made, and while it's on and working its magic, that's hard to dispute. There's some flirting and kissing and brief incidents of smoking and drinking, and some characters argue. The characters are a bit on the rowdy and/or naughty side here and there, but they're good-hearted and good-natured at the core. This movie will make anyone's day, provided kids are about 6 or older.
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What's the story?
In SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, silent movie star Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is paired on screen with the ultra-annoying Lina Lamont (Jean Hagan), who would like to be paired with him off screen as well. Sparks fly when Don encounters actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), which makes Lina jealous. When the first talkie, The Jazz Singer, becomes a hit, the stars of the latest Lockwood/Lamont movie, The Dueling Cavalier, are coached in vocal technique in an attempt at a talkie, but the results are disastrous. Meanwhile, Don and Kathy have fallen in love. After an all-night brainstorming session, Don, Kathy, and Don's best friend, Cosmo (Donald O'Connor), decide to turn the production into a musical, dubbing Kathy's voice for Lina's. But it's not long before Lina and Kathy are put on the spot and have to face the music.
Is it any good?
This film is often considered the finest musical of all time. Certainly Singin' in the Rain has it all: classic musical numbers and a witty script that's unusually sharp and satiric for a musical comedy, especially one making fun of the industry that produced it. Asked to name the top 10 moments in the history of movies, most people would include the title number from this movie, in which Kelly splashes and sings in the rain -- a "glorious feeling" that's contagious.
Only in a movie containing that sequence would O'Connor's sensational "Make 'Em Laugh" number be mentioned second. It's a wildly funny pastiche of every possible slapstick gag, done with energy and skill so meticulous that it appears entirely spontaneous.
Talk to your kids about ...
How is Singin' in the Rain different from modern films? What is it missing? Does it still entertain modern audiences?
Discuss the history of movies and the period in which silent movies gave way to "talkies." What were some of the problems? What were some of the benefits?
Are there any role models in this film? If so, who and why?
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