Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Singin’ in the Rain

laurelandhardy.gifThough I grew up in the eighties and nineties and was into New Wave music and other contemporary trends as other teenagers then, I also started to cultivate more vintage cultural tastes.

And I was utterly charmed by a star of the 40s: Gene Kelly. This actor-dancer-choreographer maestro spearheaded a discovery and love of quality americana encouraged by my American grand uncle who lived in Kelly’s hometown of Pittsburg, which I’ll have to detail in another post one day.

Anyway, here’s Singin’ in the Rain. It’s currently threatening rain here in autumnal Sydney (we could well do with it with our reduced water dam levels) but its the real sentiment of the song that fits right in with how I feel. Hope it puts a smile on someone’s face out there, too. Kelly is a joy to watch and his own high-beam smile delightful to behold. ;)

11 comments on “Singin’ in the Rain

  1. Amina Mire
    12 July, 2007

    I am in love Gen Kelly, always has been and always will be!

    Do you know that his father was an Irish Canadian and that Gene Kelly wanted to be a Hockey player like many other Canadian boys but was inured and went to studying dancing after that and that his masculine way of dancing is partly due to his early Hockey training skills!!

    Thans Ann for posting it.

  2. Ann El Khoury
    12 July, 2007

    That’s interesting, thanks for that tidbit. Glad to hear he won a fan in you. I was completely beguiled! :)

  3. Amina Mire
    12 July, 2007

    Let me try again:
    I am in love with Gen Kelly, always has been and always will be!

    Do you know that his father was an Irish Canadian and that Gene Kelly wanted to be a Hockey player, like many other Canadian boys, but was injured and went to studying dancing instead; and that his masculine way of dancing is partly due to his early Hockey training skills!!

    Thanks Ann for posting!

    This is better.

  4. Ann El Khoury
    12 July, 2007

    That’s OK, came through clearly. Little typos are nothing. I mkae ythem all hte tme! ;)

  5. Amina Mire
    12 July, 2007

    You are totally Cool, Ann!!!

  6. David
    12 July, 2007

    Pittsburgh is only about 35 miles from where I live. F. Murray Abraham was born there also.

  7. Ann El Khoury
    12 July, 2007

    Hi David, that’s interesting and I’m sure Pittsburg and the major other Pennysylvanian cities have many other notable sons and daughters.

    F. Murray Abraham has quite a cosmopolitan background (just looked him up): His father was an Assyrian Christian who immigrated from Syria during the 1920s famine; and Abraham’s mother, one of fourteen children, was an Italian American, the daughter of an immigrant who worked in the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania.

  8. 99
    12 July, 2007

    :-P This scene is iconic. I don’t think there’s anyone in America who doesn’t know it and love it. Still, after seeing the movie, A Clockwork Orange, I cannot hear this song without seeing Alex and his Droogies in my head, so powerful was the imagery in that movie.

  9. Ann El Khoury
    12 July, 2007

    I’m sure. I still can’t bring mself to watch A Clockwork Orange, I’m averse to reel (and real) violence, even though it fits in with the movie here. Another work that has been applied very differently is the use of Johann Strauss’s On the Beautiful Blue Danube in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has come to signify the triumph of machine over man to some, I think.

  10. 99
    12 July, 2007

    Well… or welly, welly, welly… I think the “old ultra-violence” in A Clockwork Orange was so stylized that it failed to work as violence. Normally, I can’t watch somebody being hurt in a movie because I react as though it’s happening to me, or to someone right in front of me, not as though it’s just a movie, but I never got that feeling when Alex belted some with his baton, or kicked them in the gut, etc. I saw it when it first came out in the theaters, and went back eleven more times. I was very young, and very big on things that transcendently done. Kubrick was the master of casting. He tried as far as possible to put actors whose personal qualities best fit the characters he wanted them to play. Even his worst movies were so impeccable on so many fronts I found them worth watching.

    As for the Blue Danube in space… Hal did ultimately lose, and the true nature of spacetime sort of put everything else in its place. I know people who’ve seen it far more times than I saw ACO, but it didn’t grab me like that.

    I don’t even know if watching ACO on anything but the big screen would work right either. It was just unremitting in its cartoonish realism, and you couldn’t not be on Alex’s side, even as he was a perfect demon incarnate. Throughout the movie you notice the shabbiness and insipidity and heart stultifying conformity. The wealthy are doltish caricatures of wealthy. The proles obliviously tsk and tut. It’s a world where everyone is playing a role, an attitude. It’s so claustrophobic that you completely understand Alex really early on. He has the audacity of authenticity.

    I’ve read the book too but can’t remember if it made me see things through his eyes the way the movie did.

    Here’s one you’re gonna love, also very, very famous.

  11. Ann El Khoury
    14 July, 2007

    99, thanks for the link to the famous Fred Astaire scene and also for your very, very erudite comments and film review. I think in our current public political climate, the “shabbiness and insipidity and heart stultifying conformity” you capture is all to easy to recognise. You’ve motivated me to watch the film; I think I will do so on the big screen as you suggest, and I can book a lecture theatre for an almost as good big screen effect.
    (I’ll also have to re-watch 2001! I’ve just posted on author Arthur C. Clarke, who has written my fav sci fi novel, the much less known The City and the Stars.)

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This entry was posted on 11 July, 2007 by in Culture, Entertainment, Hegemon-watch, Images, Iraq, USA, Video.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"