ET 14: SINGIN IN THE RAIN IN SINGING IN THE RAIN
Singing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted film in terms of the cinematography, and exceptional musical numbers. THE song of the entire film ‘Singing in the Rain’ which corresponds to the name of the film is one of the best sequences of a musical ever shot. It shows the character’s point of view and also his psychological state, together with that, everything from the mise-en-scene especially the rain and the dance choreography contributed to making this particular sequence very expressionistic.
The background music serves the purpose of creating a setting for both romance and comedy and this is noticed throughout the entire sequence as it changes the mood from the kiss to the moment he motions his hand to his driver to drive away. This simple part of the choreography where he motions his hand towards the driver with a smile on his face, in itself expresses his immense joy. He would rather walk in the rain than be driven back. It can also be seen in a way as a luxury item. The car and the driver are luxury items in which Gene Kelly owns due to his fame. In this small gesture, he’s experiencing so much joy that he doesn’t need any luxury material items any more , all he needs is love. The music playing in the background is also in a very comical tone which comes hand in hand with the way he moves.
As he starts to hum the melody of the song, he greets random strangers and waves at them as they stare blankly at him. In a way, it seems that he no longer bothers about what society or the public would think of him. At one point, he stretches his hand out into the rain, raises his shoulders – and this gives off the impression of being carefree. He then closes the umbrella. In my view, I would look at the umbrella in the same way as the trench coat that he wore in the beginning of the film. The umbrella serves as something to protect and shield him from the rain, and so when he closes the umbrella, it signifies that he no longer needs anything to shield him from the world or the public’s eye. This is very similar to how he is now dressed- in normal clothing, unlike the coat in the beginning where he had to hide and shield his true self from the public.
Going deeper into the dance choreography, every movement that he makes; from the way he walks while swinging his umbrella, to how he jumps on the railing and tap dances while spotting a dance partner is very expressionistic. All these movements are meant to depict PURE JOY and even the camera angles work in a way to show audiences this joy, for example when the camera moved upwards to shoot his face from a birds eye view perspective. His whole dance slowly becomes more and more energetic and is very clown like. There was a moment where he moved a few steps towards the puddle of water but then moved back and then moved forward again and this shows his hesitance or fear of facing something , but as he moves back forward and jumps into the puddle, it shows himself accepting and facing the challenges ahead of him.
One extremely important element is the use of rain and water to symbolize something much deeper. Water symbolizes freedom, purity, release, and something that washes away pain. Water also represents life. One can see the livelihood in Gene Kelly’s movements as he dances and pure pleasure as he goes underneath the pipe overflowing with water. It’s a release of tension and we see that when he jumps and splashes around in the puddle of water. He looks like he’s having so much fun and there we can see his inner child surfacing, a child with no worries, no shame and no boundaries.
This particular sequence bears significant importance to the rest of the film as it acts as a turning point where he changes in terms of being a boy and turning into a man. The song shows the audience rather than tell us how he feels emotionally about Debbie Reynolds but also about his new outlook on himself and the public. Once a boy who had to shield himself and put on a mask to please his fans, now has become a man who stays true to himself and no longer needs to hide. For me, I find it similar to scenes in M and Metropolis from where it was shot; near buildings, only that in this sequence, the buildings were looked at as a piece of art, and it depicts a happy mood whereas in M and Metropolis, cities and buildings which were modern gave off a glum mood and sadness.