Thursday, 16 August 2012
Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Singin’ in the Rain
For the penultimate episode of “Hit Me” this season, Nathaniel has turned our attention the all-round great film Singin’ in the Rain. The excellent film is a ffine one for best-shot dissertations; alas I’m not at optimum (writing) level at the moment. But, I couldn’t NOT offer up a few words.
I didn’t rewatch the entirety of the film before deciding on my best shot, since I knew immediately what I was looking for. Usually, my favourite shot deliberately enhances the main thrust of the film – thematically. And, in some way, my best shot here does that. The rub here is that it does so while still being a shot that’s something of an untruth in what it presents to the audience. Lina Lamont is the vacuous leading lady of a host of silent films opposite her on-screen romantic partner Don Lockwood. He meets and falls in love with a budding performer, and Lina – unable to discern the difference between real life and fantast – is none-too-pleased. She gets the girl fired. Whilst shooting a scene for their swashbuckling epic Don finds out and as livid. But, the show must go on, and so must that love-scene.
Don approaches Lina and as the two spar they act out their passion.
The shot coincides with Lina responding to an insult of Don with “sticks and stones may break my bones” and it’s such a hilarious timed joke on so many levels. For one, it’s a silent film they’re making so the audience would have no idea what they’re really saying. For two, the two are branded by the studio as a real couple but they really loathe each other. Then, there’s the sly wink to the talkies – “words can never hurt me” is the adage which Lina is recalling, and incidentally only minutes later the rises of talkies and their “words” become responsible for the (beginning of the) destruction of her career.
Further, there’s the amusing fact – for US – that the shot looks so gorgeous and taken out of the film we’d imagine Singin’ in the Rain is about something completely different. Like Sherlock Jr last week, it’s something of a nod to the artificiality of film in a way. Nothing’s that’s going on is actual real, but it sure does look pretty.
Head over to Nathaniel where there shall be singing....and rain...HERE