Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Evolution of Singin' in the Rain

In class on Wednesday we watched a scene from Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange where a character sings the classic song "Singin' in the Rain" while he beats up a couple in their home. We were then asked to blog about how movies had changed in the twenty years since the movie Singin' in the Rain came out.

It is clear that since motion pictures were invented they have been strongly influenced by culture as well as influencing culture themselves. In the 1950s when Singin' in the Rain was made it was based on 1950s post-war culture. It had a very upbeat storyline and involved a lot of humor. The film also drew a lot of influence from Broadway musicals which were very popular. Movies like Tommy and A Clockwork Orange that were made in the 1970s a good 20 years later, also drew a lot from the culture in that time period.

Tommy was a rock opera based on the music of The Who and contained strange elements of hippie culture that was dominant in the 1970s. While a movie like Singin' in the Rain used a very bright optimistic color palette and completely believable plot elements, Tommy bordered on the psychadellic with a lot of scenes meant to simulate a drug trip which reflected the experiences of the 1970s. A Clockwork Orange was a much more abstract approach to this time period. It showed direct influence from the dominant hippie culture by incorporating hallucinogens and other hard drugs into the plot itself, however, it did so in a more inventive and bizarre way.

By watching films from different decades the change in culture can be seen pretty clearly. This speaks to the influence of culture on films. There was such a drastic transformation in culture between the 50s and the 70s that looking at a film like Singin' in the Rain and then a film like Tommy shows an extreme contrast as if each was a time capsule for that particular decade.

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