This blog post is a contribution to The Singin’ in the Rain Blogathon hosted by The Classic Movie Muse.
2022 marks the 70th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain, a film which is quite possibly the greatest movie musical of all time. Originally, I planned to write about my personal history with the film (including my childhood crush on Gene Kelly), but then I started to think about how many of the musical numbers in the film illustrate the progression of Don and Kathy’s romance. The more I started thinking about that concept, the more fascinated I became. So that’s what I’m going to talk about today!
“All I Do Is Dream of You”
Don and Kathy’s relationship doesn’t begin in the most conventional way. Don jumps into Kathy’s car in a frantic attempt to escape his rabid fans. The conversation that follows degenerates into trading insults. When Don finally exits Kathy’s car, they’re sure they will never see each other again. But just a few minutes later, Kathy and her chorus girl colleagues show up to entertain the guests at a party held in Don’s honor.
This is the song they sing:
At this point in the story, Kathy and Don are in the ‘enemies’ stage of the enemies to lovers trope. Kathy even tries to throw a pie in Don’s face after the performance! Still, this musical number is a sign of things to come. Don does end up thinking about Kathy all. the. time. after she runs out of the party that evening.
(This wasn’t included in the movie, but originally there was a scene where Don sings a wistful reprise of “All I Do” after Kathy leaves. I would have loved to see that.)
“You Were Meant for Me”
Man. This scene and this song made my heart go crazy, back in the day. 😉
At this point in Don and Kathy’s relationship, they’re on good speaking terms. There’s even some hints of a budding attraction. But Don isn’t ready to commit. Yes, he sings a very, very romantic song to Kathy. He even sings it with great sincerity and tenderness. But he’s still holding something back—just look at the lyrics.
If I but dared
To think you cared
This is what I’d say to you
And then the rest of the song is what he would have said…if she cared. At that point, it’s pretty clear that Kathy does care about Don. A lot. But he’s not yet willing to be completely vulnerable and tell her right out how he feels, without relying on a stage or an ‘if only’ song.
“Singin’ in the Rain”
Having bonded over the terrible preview for The Dueling Cavalier, Don and Kathy are truly falling in love. Don walks home in the rain after Kathy bids him goodnight, and he bursts into the spontaneous song we all know and love. By now, Don is becoming more comfortable with admitting that he’s falling in love.
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love
However, the important thing to note is that Kathy isn’t there to hear his (near) declaration of love. Yes, Don is opening up…but only to himself. (So far.)
Once Cosmo’s idea of dubbing Lina Lamont’s screechy voice is implemented, Don and Kathy spend lots of time together in the recording studio, working on their lines. By this point in the film, they’re in love with each other and know it. But they’re keeping the relationship a secret until after The Dancing Cavalier is released. (It’s kept a secret because Lina isn’t supposed to know that Kathy is on set, much less dubbing her voice.)
In one scene, Kathy dubs over a particularly poignant line while Don watches.
“Our love will last ’til the stars turn cold.”
This line, as spoken by Kathy, moves Don so much that he declares they shouldn’t wait any longer to reveal their secret relationship. He’s ready to move forward with Kathy and let the chips fall where they may. But then Lina bursts in, furious and threatening to blackmail the entire studio…
“You Are My Lucky Star”
Lina’s machinations are finally uncovered in front of everyone. Kathy runs down the aisle, eager to escape the stares and murmurs of the audience. But Don steps in and, uncaring of the hundreds of people watching, begins singing a song meant for Kathy and Kathy alone. A song in which he shares with Kathy just how much she means to him.
You’ve opened heaven’s portal
Here on earth for this poor mortal
Kathy responds in kind. And the film ends with Don and Kathy kissing, fully in love and completely open about that love. It’s a wonderful character arc for both of them, particularly Don (which makes sense, as he’s the main character).
Have you watching Singin’ in the Rain? What’s your favorite song in it? Did you ever have a crush on Gene Kelly? Do let me know in the comments!