Kevin Jones’s review published on Letterboxd:
Unfortunately, I did not see this in theaters. Probably one of the few reviews coming in these past few days that saw it the good old fashioned way: on my tv via my dvd player. Yet, while I am sure that it is glorious on the big screen, Singin' in the Rain is such a magical and joyful experience, it is brilliant via any medium. The quintessential MGM musical of the 1950s, it was about time I really began to dive into musicals, especially after La La Land. So far so good. With tremendous choreography and musical numbers, Singin' in the Rain is a joy-filled experience that often feels like a work of art courtesy of Jackson Pollock with splashes of color dotting and engulfing the film. A showbiz musical that largely follows the cliches of the genre, Singin' in the Rain is not quite the musical that a film like La La Land is, in that it will not convert musical haters. But, for musical lovers or people who simply love good cinema, Singin' in the Rain is a classic in every sense of the word.
It is hard to write about a film so heavily discussed in the 65 years since its release, but I will do it anyways. One of the greatest elements of this film is, obviously, the music. Yet, while the music is incredibly well sung and well composed, the greatest achievement is how it is worked into the film. Telling the story of two famous silent film actors, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), who are thrust into their first talkie and struggle to make it work with Don's bad acting and Lina's awful voice, the film seamlessly works in music. As Don pairs up with friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor) and potential lover Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) to change the film into a musical, the musical numbers are not only well executed, but they work. There is never a musical number that feels like it distracts from the film because, well, they are the point of the film. The plot is what happens in between songs to try and lead up to the next song and Singin' in the Rain gets an A+ in accomplishing this. Its plot is engaging and a fun look at Hollywood in the late 1920s after The Jazz Singer changed the game forever. Yet, while it certainly needs this plot, the introduction of boisterous and energy packed musical numbers never cheapen the plot or make the film lose any steam. Instead, the music numbers serve a purpose in regards to the plot or are simply too much fun to ignore.
A lot of this fun is derived from the choreography. Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, are all real triple threats here with great dancing, singing, and acting. The choreography capitalizes on this with exuberant musical numbers that demand talented performers to execute them. Each dance sequence is incredibly intricate, long, and often synchronized with other dancers on the screen. The time and effort put into perfecting these moments must have been incredible and it really pays off as swinging, tap dancing, and moments of pure joy created in the dance sequences exceed any I have seen put on film.
The film also finds great success in the natural charisma and chemistry of its leads. Blending their more artistic talents with hardcore acting and comedy, the film is a greatly entertaining film that rises on the shoulders of its leads. In particular, Donald O'Connor may not receive as much screentime as his more celebrated co-stars, but his comedic ability adds great versatility to Singin' in the Rain's repertoire. Jean Hagen also makes for a killer villain and self-absorbed silent movie star who does not realize that the train has already pulled out of the station on her career. As people who initially hate one another and slowly fall in love, Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds are brilliant together and have great romantic and musical chemistry with one another. Together, they really complement one another quite well.
Incredibly influential on the musical genre, the impact of Singin' in the Rain on La La Land is clear and often. From the splashes of color, the scene on the set between Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds feeling similar to the planetarium sequence, and of course, swinging on light posts, the film has a long lasting legacy that hopefully will never die. it even influenced films such as Hail, Caesar, both via its musical scenes and the jokes regarding pronunciation. One of the premier musicals of its era, Singin' in the Rain is a blast from beginning to end.