22 January 2005 | preppy-3
One of the best Hollywood musicals
This isn't my all time favorite (that goes to "Meet me in St. Louis") but this is definitely in the top 10. This is a fictitous musical comedy of the 1920s when silent films became "talkies". It chronicles how it affects Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), his leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), best friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor) and Lockwood's new girlfriend Kathey Selden (Debbie Reynolds). Problem is Lina has a voice that can cut glass and doesn't like lockwood falling for Selden...
This movie has one highlight after another. Almost all the numbers are great--the title tune, "Make 'Em Laugh", "Beautiful Girl", "Good Morning" on and on. My two favorites are two short ones: "Fit as a Fiddle" which has incredible dancing from Kelly and O'Connor and "Would You?" at the end. Kelly isn't that good acting (he never was) but his dancing is superb; Reynolds (only 19 when she did this) is beautiful, energetic and full of life; Hagen is uproarious as Lamont (she was nominated for an Academy Award--she should have won!) and O'Connor is just great as Cosmo (his "Make Em' Laugh" number has astounding dancing). It's hard to believe that Reynolds and O'Connor hated working with Kelly (he was obnoxious, VERY demanding and a tyrant)--it's a credit to their acting that it never comes through.
I only have one (small) complaint--the big, elaborate production number with Cyd Charisse in the middle. It LOOKS great and colorful--but it brings the film to a screeching halt and is way too long. After it ends I have trouble remembering where the film left off! Still, that's a small problem. This remains one of the 10 best movie musicals ever made. HIGHLY recommended!