Yesterday, snow hit my Texas town. My students were entranced by the flurries of fat snowflakes, and while we all waited for the principal to call an early dismissal, the kids danced and ran and jumped in the snow. Pure joy. When I finally made it home, the snow had stopped, but the joy continued when I turned on TCM and saw “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Released in 1952 and starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, the movie, set in the 1920’s, is about a popular silent movie star whose star may now be fading with the release of “talkies.”
The story is filled with wonderful acting (Jean Hagen as the ditzy, vain movie star Lena Lamont is hilarious) and some great songs (I defy you to hear “Good Morning” and not smile), but the standouts in this musical are the dance numbers. Donald O’Connor’s acrobatics in “Make ‘Em Laugh” defy the laws of physics. And no one danced like Gene Kelly, who was so masculine and graceful at the same time.
When I watched Kelley splash around joyfully in his famous “Singin’ in the Rain,” I was thought three things: 1) I saw that exact same happiness earlier in the day with my kids dancing in the snow, 2) I could watch Kelly dance forever, and 3) I’ve never wanted to be an umbrella so badly in my life.