Self Reflexive Aspects of Singing in the Rain Essay

2215 Words Sep 25th, 2012 9 Pages
Singin’ in the Rain (MGM, 1952) is an American musical comedy directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. The film comically emulates the transition from the production of silent movies to ‘talkies’ in Hollywood during the 1920s. The narrative follows a successful silent film star named Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and his glamorous blonde on screen partner Lina Lamont as they attempt to adapt The Duelling Cavalier a silent film, into a talking film. However, the shrill sound of Lamont’s voice cast serious doubt of the potential success of the film. Lockwood’s musically talented sidekick Cosmo Brown (Donald O’conner) suggests that the film be turned into a musical, and recommends Lockwood’s love interest Kathy Seldon (Debbie Reynolds) perform …show more content…
At the conclusion of the musical number Cosmo flips off the illusionary backdrop of a hallway. This example demonstrates how the text reflects its own making and works to demystify the illusions of Hollywood. The back stage pass that is granted to audience uncovers the modes of Hollywood production and replaces it with musical performances.
Throughout Singin’ in the Rain self referential techniques are employed to signal to the audience that the film is a metafictional text. The text consciously advises the audience that what they are watching is not real, consequently disrupting the illusion of the fourth wall. Ingersoll (1999, p.385) describes metafiction as “a fictional text that draws attention to itself as a text in a variety of ways”. An example of this can be identified during the opening scene when Don Lockwood explains his rise to fame story. The character looks directly into the camera as he speaks, breaking the illusion of the fourth wall and acknowledging the audiences existence. This technique is markedly different from the established convention of the audience ‘eaves dropping’ on characters that ordinarily function within a three walled environment (Auter & Davis 1991, p.165). Singin’ in the Rain acknowledges the audience and itself as a work of fiction self-referentially, as a result the audience are no longer voyeuristically watching, they are being spoken to.
The term genre is used within film studies to refer to
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