“Good Morning, it’s Great to Stay Up Late’
Paper by Kaitlyn Savinsky.
Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s 1952 film Singin in the Rain is considered one of the best musicals of all time and also one of the greatest films of all time. The film was selected by the United States Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Film Registry. The film was shot in technicolor by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. It premiered in New York on March 27, 1952 and in Los Angeles on April 11, 1952. It has gone on to be adapted into a Broadway show. It was shot in the 1950s, also considered to be Hollywood’s “Golden Age”, this film takes place during the Roaring 20s. The Classical Hollywood Narrative is often used in the films coming out of the Hollywood’s “Golden Age”. It is considered the “Golden Age” because of the number of classical movies coming out of the period. Singin in the Rain is considered to be a classic film because of the amount of work and effort that the directors, actors, and anyone who work on it put into it. That amount of work shows that they loved what they did and wanted to make something to be proud of. Singin in the Rain is about a silent film star named Don Lockwood having to make the transition from silent films to talking films. When his first “talking” film turns out to be a bust, he, his friend Cosmo, and his love interest Kathy come up with the plan to turn the “drama” into a musical comedy. This entire film spoofs the idea of 1920s Hollywood, mostly in the form of the struggling silent film stars transitioning to “talkies”. Many great musical number have come out of this film: from Gene Kelly’s “Singin in the Rain” to Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” to Kelly, O’Connor, and Debbie Reynold’s “Good Morning”. The “Good Morning” scene in Singin in the Rain is a pivotal scene in this film. It is where the main characters come up with their hair-brained scheme to save their terrible movie. This scheme not only makes the movie better; it helps launch a new starlet’s career and it brings the main love interests together.
The “Good Morning” scene takes place in the film after Don’s movie is premiered. The movie is considered a joke for numerous reasons (mostly because the lead actress is terrible). Don is dishearten and Cosmo and Kathy try to cheer him up. Then they come up with the idea to turn the comically bad movie into a musical comedy. The three then realized they talked until after midnight and begin to sing and dance. The importance of the succession of the shots in this scene helps build up momentum for “Good Morning”. The shots’ mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, acting, and sound build up to the happier ending shot. The first shot starts out with Don, Cosmo, and Kathy sitting in Don’s kitchen with Don looking sad. It’s dark outside and the general tone of the shot is depressing. The next few shots have Kathy and Cosmo trying to cheer Don up, cutting to each actor as they are talking but with Don being in the middle of the pair. The following shot has Cosmo and Kathy convincing Don to turn the movie into a musical. This is when the tone of the scene starts to turn around. The middle shot is of Cosmo telling Don that it’s 1:30am the next morning and Kathy saying it’s a beautiful morning. The remaining shots are the three of them dancing through the bottom floor of Don’s mansion. The lighting gets brighter during these shots, the tune of the song has a happy tone, and the overall tone of the ending shots are happy. These shots work together to show three friends coming up with an idea that could save the day and the song and dance. Some of these shots may not work separately from each other but be grouped together. The beginning shots form the idea, the middle shots lead up to the song, and the end shots are of the song and dance.
The meaning of the scene imparted on the viewer is that any bad situation can be turned around and that when morning comes, it’s a new day (metaphorically, not just figuratively). These shots also help show that characters personalities and how bleak the situation is in the beginning. If the movie in Singin in the Rain is a flop, that is the end of Don’s career. It goes on to show that Cosmo is the funny one, Kathy is optimistic, and Don is the serious one who also has a lighter side. These shots were most likely used at this point in the film to show that the film’s main characters were down on their luck and were on the verge of giving up only for them to come up with an idea that could save the day. Using these shots made an impact on the film because they set up the last part of the main characters’ plan, which is to have Kathy dub the leading actress. The would lead to Kathy’s career being launched (despite the devious scheming of the lead actress Lina) and her and Don getting together. The meaning of the story is built up in this one particular scene from shot to shot. It starts of bleak and then builds up, showing that anyone can turn a bad situation into a good one with a positive attitude and a good idea.
The “Good Morning” scene relates to a few of the other musical numbers in Singin in the Rain because it stars with dialogue in the beginning of the scene and a big musical number complete with a big dance number ends the scene. The dialogue often starts with someone like Cosmo or Kathy trying to cheer Don up, such as the scenes “Make ‘Em Laugh” and “Singing in the Rain”. The dialogue then moves to a big song and dance number. The “Good Morning” scene also relates to the overall tone of the movie, which is a general happy tone. The scene also relates to the theme of the film. It shows relates that no matter how bad the situation may seem; you can always turn it around.
The scene relates to the form of the film through the sound, editing, and the mise-en-scene. The sound “is organized into a series of dialogue, music, ambience, and effects tracks,” (Barsam and Monahan, page 36). The dialogue, for the most part, has a light and happy tone. The ambience starts out dark and gloomy and then quickly becomes light and hopeful. The music in the beginning is sad and quiet and then becomes happy and louder. According to Barsam and Monahan, the editing of a film is the arrangement of individual shots that create sequences that are arranged into scenes (page 36). The editing of the scene is consistent with the editing of the entire film. The mise-en-scene consist of “design elements such as lighting, setting, props, costumes and makeup,” (Barsam and Monahan, page 36). The makeup and costumes for the scene and film are consistent for the 1920s. The props in this scene, like the props in the entire film, are often used during the musical numbers for the actors to dance on. The props are also used for comedic effect, like how at the end of “Good Morning” the trio tip the couch over in exhaustion. The sets for this scene vary in size depending on the function. The kitchen in the beginning was small and used for dialogue. The staircase and living room were large and used for big choreographed dance routines. This relates to the rest of the film because the actors would often start in a smaller location to talk to one another and then move into a larger location to sing and dance. The lighting in this scene is both literal and symbolic in meaning. The lighting for this scene starts off dark and gloomy, indicating that the situation looks bleak. The scene then begins to get brighter, indicating that the situation is turning around. The lighting in this scene relates to the rest of the film because in this film the lighting effects are the same throughout the film. The darker lighting is used to indicate something sad or serious and the lighter light is used to indicate something happy. The idea of “Good Morning” is repeated earlier in the film during “Make ‘Em Laugh”. Cosmo is seen trying to cheer up Don in both scenes. The lighting used to indicate tones, the use of props during the musical number, and the other aspects of the film’s form are present throughout both scenes in the film.
The scene relates to the narrative because it follows the structure of the film. The scene, like the rest of the film, can be broken down into three parts. The first part of the scene is when Don, Cosmo, and Kathy are sad about the movie being a failure. The second part is when they come up with the plan to save the movie. The last part is the song “Good Morning” and the tap dance that goes with it. This scene follows one aspect of Classical Hollywood Narrative. It centers on the struggling motivation to make a terrible movie great. The struggling motivation reveals each of the characters’ goals. For Don, he doesn’t want to become a forgotten star and he wants to help Kathy launch her acting career. For Cosmo and Kathy, they both want to help Don. Cosmo wants to help because he is Don’s best friend and Kathy wants to help because she is developing feelings for Don. Singin in the Rain can be broken down into three acts. The first act ends when the movie in the film premieres for the first time. The second act ends when the lead actress finds out the plan to dub her voice. The last act ends with Don and Kathy getting together. The “Good Morning” scene falls into the second act and is a pivotal scene in that act because that’s when the trio come up with the plan to that will fix their problems.
Classical Hollywood Narrative typically has two storylines. The primary storyline is usually a romantic one. In the case of Singin in the Rain, that storyline is between Don and Kathy. The secondary storyline is what the film is about. In this case, it’s about Don’ struggle to transition from silent movies to “talkies”. The “Good Morning” scene falls into both of these storylines, but mostly the secondary storyline. The scene focuses on how to make Don’s terrible movie great. It also shows how Don and Kathy are falling for each other because of their willingness to help each other succeed, Kathy with helping Don’s career and Don trying to launch Kathy’s career.
The “Good Morning” scene in Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singin in the Rain is a pivotal scene in this film because it is where the Don, Cosmo, and Kathy come up with their crazy plan to save Don’s movie and career. This scheme not only turns Don’s terrible movie into a hit; it helps launch a Kathy’s acting career and it brings Kathy and Don together. Fun fact: at the end of the scene Debbie Reynolds had to be carried to her trailer because she popped blood vessels in her feet performing the dance. Another fun fact: Debbie Reynolds wasn’t a dancer and when Gene Kelly made fun of her for it; she ran off crying and ended up running into Fred Astaire and he taught her how to dance. Gene Kelly still had to add in tap sounds during her dance routines in editing. This one scene in the movie is very significant because it helps the plot move along at a good pace and it helps bring joy to the audience with its upbeat song. It is one of the most memorable songs in the film and one of the bigger musical numbers. The song is a key aspect of the scene; it makes the scene more enjoyable. The scene shows embodies the theme of the film. It shows that anyone can turn a bad situation around and that if you have your friends by your side, you might be able to pull it off. It also teaches a person to see the brighter side of every situation and not to be so easily defeated.
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2. “Singin’ In The Rain (1952).” Singin’ In The Rain (1952). AMC Filmsite, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.
3. Monahan, Dave. “Chapter 2: Principles of Film Form.” Looking At Movies: An Introduction To Films. By Richard Barsham. 5th ed. New York City: W.W. Norton &, 2016. 36. Print
4. “Trivia.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.