Singin' in the Rain:
musical cinema

Singin' in the Rain frames itself between two key premieres - Lockwood and Lamonts silent romance "The Royal Rascal" and their first (and only) musical "The Dancing Cavalier".

The movement between this beginning and opening constitutes the narrative and thematic work of the film, and produces an argument about what consitutes a 'proper' cinema.

These terms are sedimented around the key themes of romantic comedy, but as with all else through the film operate not as the ground of the film's argument but rather provide points of adhesion for a more abstract argument.

This argument is conducted through a reversal of the terms of the romance narrative of the film, so that Singin' in the Rain can be considered not so much a romance that uses music, but as musical that uses romance to characterise its terms.

It offers itself as a musical cinema, the thing that saves cinema and enables its future. In this film about film, history is film making as song and dance, in a film that is song and dance. This creativity is celebrated within, and by, the film so that its final triumphant moments are not about true love, but true voice, a voice that is an embodied passion for cinematic device and performance that always knows the question is not about the real, but about the true.

Created in 1998 by Adrian Miles, details, republished 2006.