ET 15: SINGING IN THE RAIN: MUSICAL NUMBERS
“They don’t talk. They don’t act. They just make a lot of dumb show”. With reference to the character Kathy played by Debbie Reynolds, the musical film “Singin’ in the Rain” depicts the microcosm of growing film industry and a star system as a false image, without any truth. The plot arrangement of the film is well carried out by the placement of the musical numbers throughout to carry the message of fake, insincere disguise of both character Don and Kathy evolving to more sincere and truthful characters upon the boy meets girl section.
In the scene where Don is having an interview before the premiere, he recalls when he was young and kept his “dignity”. He said “Cosmo and I were ready to embark on a dance concert tour. We played the finest symphonic halls in the country. Audiences everywhere adored us.” But in the reality, he was wearing a costume like a clown and danced to music called ‘Fit as a Fiddle’. This song depicts Don in a childish manner who have not yet experienced a love and is ready to love. They are like child in the song with no worry and a care-free. The song simultaneously contrasts completely to the Don’s speech of dignity and his present appearance in decent white trench coat hiding his true himself. With this song, Don appears to the audience as an actor who is in disguise as a perfect role model when he is actually a childish man who was never in true romance. As the story moves along, with the end of the song, we move from Don’s true inside to Don with his gorgeous star disguise with his gorgeous smile on his face which we already know, a fake.
Likewise, Don’s girl Kathy also fakes herself upon the first boy meet girl scene. She tells Don that she is an actress on the stage and she will be going to New York. Kathy mocks at Don’s “dignified profession” and she also disguises herself in a “dignified profession”. Soon Kathy meets Don her in a cake with her pink girly attire as a dancing entertainer hired in Coconut Grove. Soon with the music ‘All I Do is Dream of You the Whole Night Through’. With the child-like exaggerated dance is performed by Kathy. Compared to the dance in Broadway Melody Ballet where Cyd Charisse performed a seductive erotic dance, Kathy’s performance was more of a girl’s tune. Not only Kathy’s pink costume and her dance makes her look like a girl, her voice with the lyrics of the song makes her a girl. Like Don’s ‘Fit as a Fiddle’, she shows an imagery of a girl in her first love who dreams of her love: All I do the whole night through is dream of you. And with the dawn I still go on dreamin’ of you. With this, the audiences once again discover that both the boy and the girl have faked themselves to hide their true selfs.
Moving on, Don falls into a dilemma where he doubts himself. This is resolved with another boy meet girl scene when this boy and girl finally meet as who they are. With the song ‘You Were Meant For Me’, Don chose to go to a “proper setting” which is an empty and simple romantic stage. He starts his song with proposing to Kathy-“You sure look lovely in the moonlight, Kathy”. With the simple himself, he finally reveals his true self to Kathy. Like Kathy’s girl-like first love, he proposes that he also “laid awake the whole night through”. With this song, he puts himself down looking up at Kathy without faking himself with “dignity”. This was the point when two characters were allowed to peep at each other’s true self and their emotion. As an audience, I was also noticed the sincerity of the two characters throughout the song compared to ‘Fit as a Fiddle’ and ‘All I Do is Dream of You the Whole Night Through’.
After this boy and girl resolve the problem they have obstructed them, Don kiss Kathy and the scene moves on to Don’s single performance, the famous ‘Singin in the Rain’. This choreography of Don looks very familiar. The moves were like what he was doing in the ‘Fit as a Fiddle’. He is no more hiding in his white trench coat but now he is back to true himself singing and dancing in the rain like what people do in their childhood. This scene is almost like a dream that he is having. With the song and his choreography, his facial expression seems like he have finally released his pleasure. In the scene where he goes directly under a pipe and gets into a rainfall, he goes to his climax and shows a sense of rebirth-like the rebirth and change in the film industry, his false self is now turns back to show a truth. When it comes to the finale, he stomps on the ground where there is pool of rain water. This childish moment had to unfortunately end as the police man was staring at him. Personally, this policeman reminded me of the general audience who always force the actors and actress to fake them and restrict their inner selves.
As the end of the silent movie ended the false “image” as the sound revealed the “dumb show”, when the boy met girl, his false image disintegrates. The false Don with his trench coat goes away and gets back to ‘Fit as a Fiddle’ with ‘Singin in the Rain’. With these musical placements, the change of false to truth came very natural and conveyed the audience smoothly.