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Singin’ in the Rain: the Representation of the Media Essay

MS3014 Exam 2013-2014

Student figure: 105951153

Question 1: With Reference to Theories of Reflexivity and Evidence of Intertextuality, Analyse the Representation of the Media inSingin’ in the Rain( Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952 ) .

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Singin’ in The Rain’ is a 1952 American movie directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor as prima histrions. In footings of its genre, I would reason, it is a combination of play, comedy and musical. It offers a narrative within the movie industry of how Hollywood transformed itself in late 1920s from soundless movies to talking pictures. The narrative begins with the romantic relationship between celebrated movie stars Don Lockwood ( Gene Kelly ) and Lina Lamont ( Jean Hagen ) in 1927. This relationship is wholly a set-up for deriving promotion but Lina takes it earnestly. When Don was seeking to get away from his fans he encountered Kathy Selden ( Debbie Reynolds ) and they fell in love shortly. The great success of the first speaking movieThe Jazz Singerin 1927 brought a revolution to movie industry. In this state of affairs, Lina’s ugly voice becomes the biggest obstruction in doing their first musical movieThe Dancing Cavalier. The thought from Cosmo Brown ( Donald O’Connor ) of nicknaming Kathy’s voice for Lina’s saved this movie and brought concluding success.Singin’ in the Rainis a ‘reflection’ of movie industry itself interrupting through from soundless epoch to sound epoch in the late twentiess. It is besides a contemplation of the age when it was made – the 1950s. I would associate theories of ‘reflexivity’ to analyze how this movie depicts world and semblance of itself through the techniques it uses such as puting up dealingss and even stating prevarications. I will utilize theories of ‘self-reflexivity’ to analyze how this movie portrays the movie production procedure of the 1920s as a movie on movie. I will besides utilize theories of ‘intertextuality’ to analyze how some historical events and societal environment are implicitly mentioned, appropriated and criticised.

Harmonizing to Rosenberg ( 1990. p3 ) , reflexiveness refers to the procedure of an entity moving back upon itself. The movie starts with the premiere dark of the Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont’s 1927 movieThe Royal Rascal. When Don and Lina comes from their limousine, the crowd awaiting goes brainsick and some female fan even swoons after Don throws out a buss. When they go to the mike, the master of ceremonies asks them to speak about their nuptials in public because fans have read from fan magazines or other printed media that Don and Lina are really lovers. In order non to upset their fans particularly non to interrupt the image of them created as lovers on screen which brings them great celebrity and money, Don smartly walks around this subject by saying that they are good friends alternatively of denying the outlook from fans. This clever enunciation drama leaves a obscure impression of their relationship which is even more appealing to fans. The undermentioned ‘dignity’ address made by Don is of peculiar involvement. This address goes along with Don’s memory of his yesteryear which contradicts the content of his address. He foremost starts with his childhood narrative of executing for his parents’ friends in their societies nevertheless the screen shows him and immature Cosmo acting mouth organ and pat dance in a pool room to gain a few cents that could back up their life. He continues to speak about their instruction and the conservatory of all right humanistic disciplines while shown on the screen is their playing violin and piano for life in a saloon. Subsequently he says he and Cosmo were one circuit in the finest halls in this state and were adored everyplace while, on the screen, they dressed as buffoons and got booed by the audiences. In the following scene, he makes a error and says ‘We were stranded’ and shortly alterations to ‘we were staying’ . One of the stuntmen got hurt in a film scene gave Don the opportunity to work as a stuntman and that was the turning point of his calling. At the terminal of his address he states that he and Lina got on good with each other of all time since but got his butt kicked by Lina in world. The contradiction of his address and world causes a comedic consequence but besides suggests at the same clip that movie industry is seeking to make an semblance for the fans to believe what they hear and see is existent.

Rosenberg ( 1990 ) argues that there are two types of reflexiveness. The first one ‘refers to the ego as the object of its ainknowledge’ ( Rosenberg, 1990. p3 ) . From Don’s personal experience, he learns the manner of behaving as a movie star and what to speak in forepart of fans. His memory and logical thought contribute to the procedure of ‘reflexive cognition’ ( Rosenberg, 1986 ) . Don himself, in this sense, becomes the object of his ain knowledge. The 2nd automatic procedure is that ofbureauwhich refers to the experience of being an active or efficient cause in the production of some outcome’ ( Rosenberg, 1990. p3 ) . Don by chance met Kathy Selden when he was seeking to get away from his fans. Kathy Selden pointed out that he is non but a shadow on screen without flesh and blood. And that was the first clip Don doubted himself being a good histrion. Kathy in this instance serves as an ‘agency’ with its influence moving right back upon Don. This automatic procedure led to thought ofThe Dancing Cavalierwhich is a musical movie that bears echt personal emotions alternatively of hypocrite moving without flesh and blood in the soundless epoch. Mead ( 1934 ) and Cooley ( 1902 ) showed clearly that ‘reflexivity among human existences is rooted in the societal procedure, peculiarly the procedure of taking the function of the other and of seeing the ego from the other ‘s perspective’ ( Rosenburg, M. 1990, p3 ) . Don sees himself from Kathy’s position and forms a new apprehension of himself. Don therefore becomes both the apprehender and the object of cognition ( ibid ) .

Evidence of semblance and world is about everyplace inSingin’ in the Rain( Ewing, 2006. p15 ) , for illustration, Lina’s beautiful face and her ugly voice. Ironically, Kathy, who is nicknaming for Lina Lamont inside the movie, is her ain dubbed by Betty Noyes ( Clover, 1995. p724 ) . Spoken words and images are juxtaposed all the clip and spoken words are ever the prevarication and images are the world. The most interesting scene might be the first shot ofThe Duelling Cavalier. Don and Lina pretend to be lovers when they act but the words they speak are really faulting each other. Meanwhile the manager excitingly says ‘Very good’ . This screaming scene is a sarcasm of the movie industry hammering the dealingss of people and stating prevarications on the screen. In this instance, neither the ocular nor the verbal can be trusted, ‘all that is left to be free of ruse, all that left to convey the truth is dance’ ( Ewing, 2006. p15 ) . Audiences are treated as inactive receiving systems of information merely and something to be made a sap. This is besides a metaphor for the state of affairs of the media of today – they continue to border the information they disseminate in order to maximise their gross.

‘Self-reflexivity is used to depict movies or texts which self-consciously acknowledge or reflect upon their ain position as fictional artifacts or the procedures involved in their creation’ ( Krenn, 2007. p36 ) .Singin’ in the Rain, as a movie about movie, exposes the wing production of the movie industry of the late silent epoch and the early sound epoch. The first scene of doing a movie is shown along with Don’s ‘dignity’ address when he recalls how he started his work at Monumental Pictures. On the left side of the screen, Don was playing the violin and Cosmo was playing the piano for a movie. Subsequently the camera pans from left to compensate to demo the existent scene of hiting this movie. It is a screaming scene that the manager is giving out the orders aloud behind the camera while the histrions act harmonizing to his orders. It gives audiences a glance of how movie is made during the soundless epoch – sound and images were recorded individually. In another scene of hitingThe Duelling Cavalier, Don and Lina drama lovers but blame each other while they act shows that, in soundless epoch, an keen readying of lines was non a must. It was the playing that truly mattered. After the success ofThe Jazz Singer, the whole Hollywood started a revolution.The Duelling Cavalierwas to be made into a talking picture. At the really beginning of the sound epoch, rather a few proficient jobs remained to be solved. Picking up the sound decently is the chief job throughout the first twenty-four hours of hiting. Before turn overing the camera, the manager yells ‘Quite on set’ . This order indicated that the production stage of movie has been dramatically revolutionised. The prevue ofThe Duelling Cavalierwasn’t successful. The sound wasn’t recorded good and the lines were laughably screaming. Audiences were express joying and knocking the movie. The crew found out that the disused logic of doing soundless movie won’t be applicable in the sound epoch. The failure of the prevue gave Cosmo the thought of doingThe Duelling Cavalierinto a musical. Subsequently the movie was made into a musical and renamedas The Dancing Cavalier.It was a cross-genre movie which contains modern musical and period play. At the late 1920s it was genuinely an invention. This links to Krenn’s theory of ‘self-reflexivity’ – the movie industry has the ability of reflecting upon its ain position and doing accommodations to its production. And it is this ability of ‘self-reflexivity’ that leads to the invention of techniques through test and mistake.Thisis a narrative of self-reflexivity within a self-reflexive movie.Singin’ in the RainandThe Dancing Cavalierare both musicals. In the Hollywood musical, ‘it is non merely about amusement but is besides often about the production of amusement as good, Thus musical itself is inherently self-reflexive sing Hollywood and mass amusement in general’ ( Feuer, 1980. p23 ) .

Dance is an of import portion ofSingin’ in the Rain. There are three times in this movie that Don dances with a individual miss. The first 1 is Don with Kathy Selden dance to ‘You Were Meant for Me’ in a studio. They is ever a distance between them, the pureness of love is being represented here. Contrast to the 2nd dance with a moll in a green frock in an belowground speakeasy, the latter is full of erotism. The 2nd dance is full of pelvic pushs, touches and fork shootings. But this moll is lured off by a diamond necklace from his rabble fellow ( Ewing, 2006. p16 ) . The 3rd dance is with a miss dressed in white and a long billowing scarf. Eroticism is besides in this dance but it is non every bit blazing as in the 2nd 1. After the dance, both dances go back to their original place, staring at each other in a distance. Contrasting two types of dance, the disparity is reasonably obvious – ‘Purity and promiscuousness, love and lecherousness, the ideal and the real’ ( ibid ) . This is a self-reflexive procedure as we draw a decision that merely the guiltless seems to be able to happen truly happiness, nevertheless, the opposite side shows that we need to give up artlessness and even moralss to those in power in order to be successful ( Ewing, 2006 ) .

‘Intertextuality’ merely represents the defining of the significance of a text based on another text ( Allen, 2000 ) . ‘Intertextuality strongly linked with postmodernism, designates, in its narrow sense, the ways in which a movie either explicitly or implicitly refers to others movies ( e.g. through allusion, imitation, lampoon or medley ) , or in its broader sense, the assorted relationships on ( movie ) text may hold with other texts’ ( Nelmes, 2012. p191 ) .Singin’ in the Rainis a movie based on some historical facts and events. It is, as a movie about movie, itself inherently an illustration of intertextuality. From the really beginning of this movie, three characters are shown on the screen, from left to compensate, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. This manner of seting a miss ( immature female was called as ‘girl’ so ) between two work forces is called the M-G-M constellation which implicitly refers to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. ( Ewing, 2006. p15 ) . Some characters in inside this movie are based on existent figures in history. Dora Bailey the master of ceremonies at the beginning of the movie, for illustration, is an caricature of the ‘popular editorialist from 1922 to 1965 Louella O. Parsons’ ( Thomas, 1979. p135 ) . The character Lina Lamont represents the soundless epoch star John Gilbert who lost his occupation because of his thin voice in the sound epoch ( Yudkoff, 1999. P215 ) .

There are besides some historical events mentioned inside the movies. ‘The Broadway Ballet’ is a reproduction of the traditional sequence of how an histrion becomes celebrated. Gene Kelly plays a terpsichorean who came to large New York to seek his fortune. He began his public presentation in an belowground speakeasy, subsequently he continued to play in Vaudeville so to Broadway so to Hollywood. Gene Kelly in this movie created a general image of phases of calling of an entertainer.

Singin’ in the Rainbesides implicitly mentioned and criticised the pack influence in movie industry in the early 20th century. The coin-flipping pack with a cicatrix on his right cheek is the symbol of the threat to people in America and even to liberty. As most histrions started their calling in speakeasies which were controlled by packs in the 1920s and 1930s, packs took advantage of their relationships with stars to infiltrate the movie industry ( Parish, 2004. p35 ) .

Another event mentioned in the movie is the ‘blacklisting and censorship’ in the industry fundamentally as a consequence of ‘The Production Code’ from 1934 to mid-1950s ( Ewing, 2006 ) . Kathy Selden symbolises the victim of blacklisting and Lina Lamont symbolises those in power. The police officer who stops Don from singing is the power of ‘censorship’ . Judging the rubric of the movie, ‘singin’ in the rain’ is really a metaphor itself. The ‘rain’ here is an incarnation of all sorts of unjust intervention or adversities ( e.g. pack power, blacklisting, censoring ) . While ‘singin’’ here is the optimistic energy or religion in get the better ofing all those adversities.

Associating theories of ‘reflexivity’ I compared worlds and semblances and discussed the techniques used to make them. I besides found grounds inside the movie of the characters, particularly Don and Cosmo, being automatic on their work in the face of rough alterations and challenges at a really historic clip of movie industry – the beginning of the sound epoch. I used theories of ‘self-reflexivity’ to analyze the wing production of movies both in silent and sound epochs and the importance of dance for musicals movies. I used theories of ‘intertextuality’ to demo howSingin’ in the Rainbased its narrative on historical events of movie industry ( e.g. censoring, blacklisting and pack power ) in the first half of 20th century. Denzin argued that ‘we populate a second-hand universe, one already mediated by film, telecasting, and other setups of the postmodern society’ ( 2003: p141 ) .Singin’ in the Rainitself is a beautiful metaphor for the movie industry as it portrays graphic characters on screen, and most of all, the positive political orientation for life that is needed in any epoch.


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Cooley, C. H. ( 1902 )Human Nature and Social Order.Charles Scribner’s Sons.

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Thomas, T. ( 1979 )Song and Dance Man: The Films of Gene Kelly.New Jersey: Citadel Press.

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Singin’ in the Rain( 1952 ) . [ Film ] Directed by Gene KELLY and Stanley DONEN. USA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.



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