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Classic and Contemporary Musicals

Classic and Contemporary Musicals

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Comparing the classic musical Singing In The Rain with the contemporary Moulin Rouge!
Comparing the classic musical Singing In The Rain with the contemporary Moulin Rouge!

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Published by: Devin Elizabeth Berry on May 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Devin Berry American Film Wendth May 3, 2011 Classic and Contemporary Musicals The lovely Gene Kelly

starred in the timeless musical Singing in the Rain in 1952. His song and dance routines have been replicated numerously throughout other media outlets. Most recently, the rapper Usher recreated one of Gene Kelly s numerous dance sequences. It is an iconic film that most people have seen or at the very least heard of. Moulin Rouge! stars that phenomenal talent of Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Produced in 2001, it brought musicals back into the limelight, as it was the first musical in twenty years that was nominated for a Best Picture. This film attracted fans of the main stars, fans of musicals, as well as fans of the music utilized for the musical numbers of the movie. Singing in the Rain focuses on the story of Don Lockwood, the star of silent films who is making the evolution into talkies. The plot revolves around the relationship he has with his costar, which he does not particularly like as well as his relationship with the actress Kathy who is just beginning to make herself known as an actress. The movie while exploring the plot, focuses on the behind the scenes aspects of transitioning from silent films to talkies.

Moulin Rouge! focuses on the story of Satine, the terminally-ill star of the Moulin Rouge cabaret, and Christian, an English writer and poet who moves to Paris to experience love. The plot revolves around the Bohemian musical, Spectacular Spectacular, the Christian is helping to write and that Satine will star in. Unlike Singing in the Rain, the main focus of the plot of Moulin Rouge! is that of the relationship between Satine and Christian instead of the technical aspects of the theater. Even thought the movies were produced almost fifty years apart, they still contain many similar features. Both films contain musical numbers and dance sequences as well as plots that relate to show business. Similarly, the characters in both utilize music in order to express their feelings about people or the current plot. This is seen best in Singing in the Rain when Don needs a proper location to inform Kathy of his true feelings for her. In the same way, Christian uses the song Elephant Love Medley to inform Satine of his true feelings for her. In both movies a single song is all that is required for one character to share their feelings and for the other character to accept the love. The two films are different in the ways in which they capture the interest of the audience. Singing in the Rain utilizes amazing and intricate dance numbers in order to gain the audience s approval. The dance numbers are well choreographed and physically demanding, particularly from the sidekick Donald O Connor. While the dance numbers in Moulin Rouge! are not the main focus, and lake the athletic aspects that O Connor s dances possess, they utilize other visual aspects of mise-en-scene, like set design, colorful and intricate costumes ,and outstanding and vibrant colors in every aspect of the film.

Singing and the Rain and Moulin Rouge! both employ the technology that is available to them in their time. Singing in the Rain uses similar special effects because when it was produced the technology was not as advanced as it is now. Features like fog and lighting are used as well as variation on camera angles. Moulin Rouge!, because it was created nearly fifty years after Singing in the Rain, has access to more advanced cinematic technologies. They producers create a fantasy atmosphere using things like Computer Generated Imagery, digitally created sets; computer generated landscapes as well as quickly changing camera work. Singing in the Rain used music specifically written for the film whereas the composer for Moulin Rouge! was able to pull from previously written and recorded musical pieces and incorporate it into his movie. Singing in the Rain is a classic American musical. Moulin Rouge! is a recent musical, taking place in Paris but filmed in Australia. Singing in the Rain is a story about show business with a side story of love. Moulin Rouge! is a story about love with a side story about show business. These two movies incorporate amazing songs and dance numbers into their plot and utilize the musical soundtrack to relay messages to the audience. For two films that were created fifty years apart, they have many similar aspects. Singing in the Rain is already a classic and I hope that one day Moulin Rouge! will be in that category as well.

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