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Singin' in the Rain - considering self-reflective aspects of the musical

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ATS 2449 : MEDIA TEXTS Assessment Task 2: Major Essay Chosen Text : Singin? In The Rain ________________ Singin? in The Rain is a classic film musical played in 1927 starring Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont as the darlings of the silent silver screen. This musical involves how a silent film production company and its casts make a transition to talking pictures. The musical also revolves around a love story between Don and Kathy Selden, a chorus girl that eventually replaced Lina Lamont?s role as Don?s career partner. In regards to Singin? in the rain, self-reflective aspects of the musical with specific reference to the genre, affect and a slight touch on themes will be discussed. What is ?self-reflexivity? ? While the various aspects of the film will be explored, the notion of ?self-reflexivity? has to first be understood. Theoretically, a self-reflexive film, according to Noth and Bishara (2007), is a film, which focuses or reflects on itself, that is on the specific film being watched. To make the theory sound less complicated, it literally means ?watching a film within a film?, but in this case; it is watching ?musical within a musical?. Self-reflexivity can also be put in such a way that it is a mix of escapism with realism in particular within backstage musical (Charters, 2007). ...read more.


Another self-reflexivity element that can be seen in the musical is the ?invisible camera? (Noth & Bishara, 2007). In classical Hollywood style, it is against the tradition to expose the ?invisible camera?. Invisible camera method is largely used in conventional films whereby actors are acting without knowing the existence of the cameras. However, some scenes in Singin? in the rain drew attention to the circumstance that ?it is due to the camera that we are able to see this scene, or the entire movie?. A very distinct example that can be drawn from the film is during the couple (Don and Kathy) were singing ?You Were Meant for Me ?. We can see that Kathy?s scarf had blown to the breeze of an invisible wind machine. Even after the audiences are shown the tools of illusions at the beginning of the scene, the camera arcs around and comes in for a tighter shot of the performing couple, hence re-masking the exposed technology and making the duet just do another example of the type of number whose illusion it exposes (Feuer, 1995). Once again, the aspect of self-reflexivity is obvious whereby the films projected in the film such as ?The Dueling Cavalier? and ?The Dancing Cavalier? to the audiences within the film is done by the ?invisible camera? method. ...read more.


In terms of music, the songs played in ?The Dancing Cavalier?, for instance ?Would You?? seemed to the audience within the film that its sung by Lina Lamont but presented to the audiences of Singin? in the rain, as sung by Kathy Selden (Clover, 1995). Hence, the audiences within the film would assume that Lina Lamont can sing very well, but in actual fact she can?t. The audiences of the film, on the other hand knows the truth and will not react the same way. This shows how, in terms of self-reflexivity, the songs and music in Singin? in the rain affects the audiences; within and of the film differently. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the self-reflexivity mode makes no pretense that the world is represented on screen, is anything other than a filmic construction. Self-reflexive films tell the viewers that the reality on screen is a movie reality. This has proved to be strongly evident in the musical Singin? in the rain. As stated by Elsaesser (1969), ?The world of the musical becomes a kind of ideal image of the film medium itself?. The discourses of genre, themes and affect constantly incorporate the aspect of self-reflexivity, especially in musicals. Conclusively, it is because of the notion of ?self-reflexivity? that the film has affected its audiences and hence, making musicals one of the most enjoyable film genre in Hollywood?s history. ...read more.

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