Singing in the Rain Under the Banyan Tree

April 29, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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How would you like to watch an open air movie under the star light, just like in your parents’ or grandparents’ time?

Itchyfingers went for a free movie screening, a programme by the National Museum Cinematheque last Sunday. It was the second time we attended such screening, the first being a 1957 chinese movie “Si Qian Jin” (Our Sister Hedy) last year. Subsequently there were more of such screenings and just last Saturday there was the 1939’s Wizard of Oz. Didn’t attend the rest cos of other commitment. Last Sunday’s screening was the 1952’s Singing in the Rain. Heard of the song but didn’t know about the story, so made it a point to catch it.

We were ten minutes early before the start of the screening at 8pm and already there were many people sitting comfortably on mats laid on the grass patch. Many came prepared with food, titbits, drinks and even wine! 😀 We found a space right in front but a little off center, well at least we weren’t blocked by anyone. The couple next to where we were sitting were even eating their ‘tabao’ tze char! Hmmm, smelled good…:p

The evening weather was cool and the movie started on the dot at 8pm. No more opening speech like the last time, so no more Kinokuniya vouchers to be won for answering questions…:o

Tried to take picture of the main casts in yellow raincoats and carrying brollies
but was too slow

For those unitiated like me, “Singing in the Rain” was about the transition from silent movie to talking films, or what they called ‘talkies’. Don Lockwood (starring Gene Kelly) was a silent film super star who started as a singer, dancer and stuntman. Together with his co-star Lina Lamont (starring Jean Hagen) they were protrayed as on-screen romantic pair. Lina had convinced herself that the fake romance was real but in actual fact Don couldn’t stand his shallow leading lady.

Don met Kathy Selden (starring Debbie Reynolds) while escaping from over zealous fans. It was funny seeing him trying to get fresh with her while she sneered the so called super star who couldn’t speak for himself on screen and claimed herself as a stage actress (who could speak and express herself freely). It was only later during a party that Don found out that Kathy was only a chorus girl and ridiculed her for it. Furious, she threw a cake at him, only to hit the ‘gorgeous’ Lina right in the face! 😀 Soon, they fell in love.

At the same time, Don’s boss was under pressure to make the transition from silent to talking movie after a success from fellow competitor. The fun started here again when you see how the actor and actress had to go through classes to correct their pronunciation, especially Lina, cos her voice was very high pitched, sharp and comical. Solving the technical issues of projecting sound into the microphone was another funny part. 😀

Their first “talkie” preview was a flop due to the many technical issues and most importantly the audience hated Lina’s voice. So Don’s best friend and partner came out with the brilliant idea of having Kathy do the voiceover and singing for Lina, with Lina kept in the dark. When she found out that her voice was replaced by Kathy who stole her ‘lover’ away, she was mad and wanted to sue the studio for her rights unless Kathy remained unknown to the audiences. The movie proved a hit and this time, Lina insisted on delivering her own speech.

Well, can you imagine the shock on the audiences’ face when they heard the shrill voice from the beautiful actress? “Sing!” they demanded her instead…So Kathy, unwillingly sang for Lina from the back of the stage…this was my favourite part…hilarious!

Itchyfingers’ attempt at  movie piracy proved a flop…:D
But at least there weren’t any people’s head blocking…hahah

It was an enjoyable movie night under the banyan tree, except for the occasional inconsiderate smokers puffing away. If you would like to enjoy great movies in the open air, do join in the next screening session! Check out the museum’s website for more details!

Here’s the classic scene for those who missed the movie. Great foot work from Gene Kelly! Enjoy!

Also see related post:
> Persepolis


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