I've always known the titular song, even as a kid, but I've never really known what the film was about. And to be honest, I'm not sure I would have appreciated the subject matter as a kid as much as I would have now. Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are two of the biggest stars of silent cinema. Unfortunately, "talkies" are starting to take over Hollywood... and Lina has the voice of dying cats. But maybe with a little help from his best friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor) and love interest Kathy (Debbie Reynolds), they can figure out how to get through it.
I would ask anyone to try watching this movie and not smile at least once. It's a fun, joyous movie full of great laughs and cheer. The movie wasn't even halfway over and I found myself wanting to take up tap dancing lessons. Gene Kelly, and the others, were fun to watch just dancing along. Though personally, I think Donald O'Connor stole the show as Cosmo. His wit and physical humor was fantastic.
And I was surprised at how much wit the movie has in general. Typically movies of this time period are over-the-top and sometimes a bit silly in the acting. But this one felt as if it were in on the joke. With only a couple exceptions, it appeared like a modern film that was emulating something from the times, paying homage, and doing a damn fine job of it. There were a handful of meta moments, but it really was the sharp writing and wit that kept me involved.
If I were to have any negatives... ironically, it would be with the musical aspect of the film. I didn't like at least a third of the songs, though most of the time that fact was made up by some fun dancing. However, there were two numbers in the film that made the movie nearly come screeching to a halt. The first would be my least favorite scene, which is the Beautiful Girls number. I know it's there to reintroduce Kathy, but that one was really painful. The second is the Broadway Melody scene near the end. This one is kind of twofold. On the one hand, the dancing and the Cyd Charisse stuff looked amazing. There was some fantastic choreography and cinematography (like the white dress/long fabric part). On the other, the song isn't that great... and it goes on... and on... and on... and on. For a while, I thought it was never going to end. Minor side-note--although Donald O'Connor is fantastic, Make 'Em Laugh went on about 20 seconds too long (the bit right before he jumps around off the walls didn't need to be there).
There's really little else to say. The dancing is fun and the comedy is great. For it being a musical, though, I didn't care for a handful of the songs. Still, it was a fun time, and on the whole, it was a very smart, well written, and well performed film.