After two quite sombre films, we are showing a movie that should bring a bit of sunshine into your lives, in spite of the title. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see it on the big screen. We are showing it as a Classic so there will be a short introduction. We usually have discussion after a Classic but we feel it will be a bit late for that this time.
Set during the advent of ‘talkies’, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) has risen to stardom during Hollywood’s silent-movie era – paired with the beautiful, jealous and dumb Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen). And when Lockwood becomes attracted to young studio singer Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), Lamont has her fired. With the introduction of talking pictures, Lockwood finds his career in jeopardy after audiences laugh when they hear Lamont speak in her shrill voice for the first time… until the studio decides to use Selden to dub her voice. Donald O’Connor, in a hugely energetic performance, plays Cosmo Brown, Don’s best friend and musical director, who helps him make the transition to the talkies. And let us not forget Cyd Charisse, who makes a stunning entrance at the end, as Dancer.
Eclipsed by An American in Paris when it was first released, it is now considered by many critics to be the best musical of all time, if not one of the best movies of all time. It is filled with memorable songs, lavish routines and Kelly’s fabulous song-and-dance number performed in the rain. There is just enough self-reflexive content (on the eternal battle between illusion and reality in the movies) to structure the film’s superb selection of numbers. The tone ranges from the lyrical (the title number) to the burlesque (Moses Supposes) to the epic (Broadway Melody), and, best of all, O’Connor pulling out all the stops for Make ‘Em Laugh, perhaps the greatest example of physical prowess ever applied in the service of a musical. Through it all runs a celebration of movement as emotion. What’s often lost in the praise is that this also qualifies as a great comedy – and a pretty good love story, to boot.
Come and give yourself a treat.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall