Singin' in the Rain

Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, USA, 1952


Filming this musical in a studio environment allowed the film makers to have a complete control over the colour palate of the film.  The studio set up allowed them to use very refined and very expensive techniques in the realisation of the film.  In this sequence all of the colours seen on screen, the background, the costumes, even the sun, have been chosen to fit the register of a light comedy.  These are bright, primary colours in uniform, unbroken patterns.  Musicals suggest an unreal, idealised world more bright and cheerful than our own, real world.

In this scene the colours are all well defined and presented in a clear and lively manner.  In the first shot everything is black and white, except for the follow spot behind the actor.  The camera then pulls back, and all that we see on screen is a little yellow spot, surrounded by black.  At this point the screen then fills with the names of Broadway theatres in brightly coloured neon lights.  The bottom of the shot, which had been yellow now turns to blue and dancers, clad in bright colours appear, grouped together according to their colour.

Then, in the long tracking shot that follows the dancer, the extras appear, standing still, like a long chain of coloured shadows, much like in a comic strip.


studio set.