Singin’ in the Rain: Timeless Influence!

This post is for the Singin’ in the Rain Blogathon hosted by The Classic Movie Muse! Be sure to check out the other entries!!

Singin’ in the Rain was technically not a new concept when it was first released in 1952. It’s a movie about the movies, and a backstage musical, both of which were done before. Yet, the manner in which the story plays out, as well as the visual choreography was ground breaking and its formula has been used ever since.

Perhaps the best known influence on Singin’ in the Rain was on another MGM musical made just a year later: The Band Wagon.  Like Singin’, The Band Wagon is both a backstage and  jukebox musical. Plus, it even has Cyd Charisse! Wagon’s leading man is the other famous dancer Fred Astaire and instead of a movie, the plot centers around a stage show. A main parallel this movie has with its predecessor is perhaps the sequence of final dance numbers with the “Girl Hunt” being similar in tone and style to the “Gotta Dance” number.

Cyd Charisse: A dangerous dame of a dancing partner in both movies!

If you’re from my generation and grew up with the High School Musical (2006-2008) movies, Singin’ in the Rain served as major inspiration for director-choreographer Kenny Ortega and choreographer Charles Kaplow. In the first movie, the Getcha’ Head in the Game performance visually and stylistically pays tribute to Gene’s style of dancing. In addition, the use of basketballs as props is very Gene Kelly-esque, as Gene was famous for integrating props into his dances.

Troy and the Wildcats
Don and his Rain Gang!

In 2012, Rock of Ages was adapted for the big screen, being a jukebox musical. It used some of the most well known rock songs from the 1980s as its soundtrack. Some of my favorite songs used in the flick, like “Pour some Sugar on Me”, “Every Rose has its Thorn”, and “Wanted Dead or Alive'”. I honestly can admit, while I don’t exactly love this movie, it has a seriously perfect 80’s vibe to it, and it’s fun to catch on TV every now and again.

The latest movie to utilize the influence is Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022). Without giving too much away, part of the plot involves a silent movie being filmed at Downton. The starring actress in the fictional movie, The Gambler, Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock), is a silent screen queen- but much like Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) is beyond all help when the movie must be turned into a talkie.  I thought it was super amusing Downton honored Singin‘ because both of these entities as so iconic, and to have them tied together by this plot point certainly a chef’s kiss!

Miss Lina Lamont: Struggles with the Sound!
Miss Myrna Dagleish: Silent Star

As time rolls on, I have no doubt that actors, directors, dancers, choreographers and entertainers will be be looking to Singin’ in the Rain for inspiration and influence. When something is so well loved and timeless, it’s going to be referred to. The minuscule list I compiled is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of times the movie has been seen and felt in other works, I can’t wait to see what will pop up in the future!

12 thoughts on “Singin’ in the Rain: Timeless Influence!

  1. Pingback: Welcome to The Singin’ in the Rain Blogathon: 70 Years of That Glorious Feeling!! | The Classic Movie Muse

  2. It never ceases to fascinate me how the creative process works – from the germination, inception, and finally, the culmination of an idea. Your post is a wonderful reminder of all those films that have come and are yet to come purely because of Singin’ in the Rain. Thank you very much for contributing this lovely post to my blogathon, Emily! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chloe the MovieCritic

    I had no idea about the reference to this in the newest Downton Abbey movie! I had been tired of them dragging the plot out in the last one, but now I really want to watch it! It sounds like such a fun idea for a tribute.

    I hadn’t noticed the similarities in High School Musical, but now that you point it out I can really see the connection with the choreography. “Getcha ‘ Head in the Game” is probably my favorite number from that, which makes sense now, haha!

    This was a very fun and informative post!

    Chloe the MovieCritic | Movies Meet Their Match

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post! I’m from the High School Musical as well, and it never crossed my mind that Gene Kelly influenced these films! Singin’ in the Rain is truly inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, wow! 😀 I’d never considered the many similarities between Singin’ in the Rain and The Bandwagon (which was clearly trying to cash in on the former’s success, a trend that’s still a given in movies and TV today) nor Singin’s influence on the High School Musical trilogy (which I love and have yet to outgrow, even though I was already a little beyond the target demographic when the first one was released – though I’m not into the Disney+ series at all).

    I think the reason the original HSM films hold such a special place in my heart is because they’re so similar to classic movie musicals (and apparently, to Singin’ in the Rain in particular!). You offered an example from the first film, and I’ll add to that by saying what came to my mind when you got my brain working this way was Troy with the golf club during “Bet On It” in HSM 2 (very GK!) and the entirety of “Can I Have This Dance?” (my favorite number of them all ❤ – very balletic, almost in the signature GK style…I’ll go so far as to say it was the equivalent of a GK dream ballet) in HSM 3. And, of course, it’s obvious Downton Abbey paid homage in a very clear and purposeful way.

    I’ve yet to see Rock of Ages or either of the Downton Abbey films, but thanks to your insights, I will forever view The Bandwagon and my beloved HSMs with new eyes. 🙂 (In fact, I can’t wait to watch the HSM movies again just to see how many similarities I can spot!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thats really cool! While I have outgrown the narrative of HSM- I think I can say I will forever love the music- turn on a tune and I can sing along! Its uncanny! The soundtrack to HSM was MAJOR! Music of my elementary / middle school years. I never really noticed the similarity either until I started watching classic movie musicals!! I then went back to HSM and realized WAIT! all of this is not technically new- Gene and Fred invented it!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s