Driving Under the Influence

Franchesco Casadidio

In North by Northwest, the scene in which Mr. Thornhill is driving under the influence, the film makes the argument that driving in that state will produce one of three results; possibility of killing oneself, possibility of hurting someone, or getting caught by the authorities. It is interesting to note that even though Mr. Thornhill had been forced to consume a large quantity of alcohol he was able to regain consciousness to help advance the plot and build the argument that driving in such state will only lead to a negative outcome. In this long take, the audience is able to appreciate the three things that will occur if one chooses to drive under the influence of alcohol.

The first result that can come from driving under the influence is the possibility of killing oneself. Through the narrative of the film the audience gets the idea that Mr. Thornhill was put into this situation so that he would run the car down the cliff which would make it seem as an accidental death. It is important to note that the director decides to make this the first consequence because whosoever decides to drink and drive is putting their life in danger.

The second result that comes from driving under the influence is putting the lives of others in danger. Even though Mr. Thornhill did not have someone as a passenger there is a part in the scene in which he almost hits someone riding a bicycle. This shot creates the argument that after putting one’s life in danger the person under the influence is risking the lives of other people. There is the possibility in which one can take the life of another person or severely hurt someone else by making the decision of driving under the influence.

The third result of driving under the influence that the film makes is getting caught by the authorities. After escaping the possibility of driving off the cliff and almost hitting someone riding a bicycle, Mr. Thornhill is left with no other option but to get caught by the authorities. He crashes into a car and is taken into custody by the policeman that was chasing him. The film makes the argument that even if one does not kill himself or hurt someone else in the process of driving under the influence, the person that decides to drive in such a state will ultimately be caught by the police.

The way in which the scene of Mr. Thornhill driving under the influence unfolds makes a strong argument that driving in that state is a bad decision because one of three results will occur; possibility of killing oneself, possibility of hurting someone, or getting caught by the authorities. The manner in which this scene unfolds is interesting because it leaves no room for anything good to happen from driving under the influence. It is important to take note of the different consequences because the film is implicitly educating its audience that one should not drive under the influence because nothing good will come from it.

Camera Techniques in North by Northwest

One of the most noticeable aspects in North by Northwest was the incredible camera work and techniques.  The film North by Northwest utilizes a very specific range of camera techniques throughout the film in order to create a feeling of suspense and danger.  The establishing shots, medium shots and close ups, and shot-reverse-shots all play an important part in conveying the suspense to the audience while also creating continuity and adding a believable element.

Perhaps the most noticeable camera techniques being used are the establishing shots.  These long shots encompass the entire environment.  An establishing shot is used in nearly every scene, allowing the audience to have a broader view of the environmental composition where the scene is taking place and showing where and how the main characters are interacting within the environment.  The bird’s eye views contribute to the suspense when the vastness of a location is seen in perspective with the characters in question.  Establishing shots also create a continuity when used in concert with other shots in a scene.  In the scene on Mount Rushmore, several establishing shots are used as the chase scene commences.  Shots from far above showing the entire setting for the chase show Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint being chased by the villains across the face of the monument.  These establishing shots intensify the chase by showing just how impossible the success of their escape seems when compared to the difficulty of their environment.

Medium shots and close ups are also very noticeable and often paired together in many scenes.  Medium shots show the character’s immediate environment and those around him while close ups show his or her reactions to what is happening.  This camera technique is very effective when a scene involves many different emotions and complexities when it comes to character-environment interaction in particular.  An example of this is during the notorious crop-duster scene in which Cary Grant is stranded in the middle of an unpopulated area and being chased by an enemy crop-duster with deadly intentions.  Since he is the only character which our focus is on in this scene, his reactions and interactions with his environment need to supply suspense and a sense of danger.  Medium shots in this scene allow us to see not only Cary Grant and the crop-duster as he is being chased but also the desolate environment at the top of the scene.  These shots alternate with close ups to highlight Grant’s reactions as the crop-duster makes each pass.

The final camera technique that adds to the air of suspense is that of shot-reverse-shot.  Shot-reverse-shot is a method used quite often to highlight emotions in character-character interaction.  In many of the scenes which contain conversations between two or more characters this camera technique is used.  Shot-reverse-shot uses different camera angles when focusing on different characters engaging in conversation.  The first angle shows a close up of one character that appears to be conversing with another character off camera.  The view then flips to the other person engaged in the conversation who also appears to be talking with the other character off camera.  This transition back and forth between the two close up shots that create continuity.  This method can also be used to show tension between two characters which can lead to a distinct feeling of suspense.

The camera methods and techniques in North by Northwest contribute to the feeling of suspense that this film is known for.  Without the varied use of techniques the suspense created by the environment, character-environment interaction, and character-character interaction would be lacking.  Establishing shots, medium shots, close up shots, and shot-reverse-shot techniques all create a smooth, believable and above all suspenseful film.

Fool Me Once

Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, is a spy thriller that follows an advertising executive as he is being pursued due to a case of mistaken identity.  Through dramatic irony and symbolism, Hitchcock is able to engage the viewer as well as communicate the themes of deception and love, in the film.

Different uses of dramatic irony appear throughout the entire film, which not only creates suspense, but shows how easily each of the characters can be deceived. For example, when Eve and Roger are on the train, Eve sends a note to Vandamm asking him what she should do with him in the morning. This use of dramatic irony allows the audience to understand that Roger is actually being deceived by Eve and that she is working for the bad guy. Also, when the screen shows the group of agents discussing Roger being mistaken for Kaplan, the audience finds out that there is no actual Kaplan. Throughout the rest of the movie, most of the characters continue to be fooled by the idea of an agent named “Kaplan”. By not knowing who is trustworthy and what is real, the use of dramatic irony asserts the idea that living in a world full of spies will always mean that deception happens.

The use of symbolism continuously reiterates the love between two of the main characters, Eve and Roger, as well as emphasizes the idea of deception. Eve and Roger first meet on a train, where their love first ensues. Later, they mention to each other that when they head back to New York, they should both ride the train. Even in the last scene, they consummate their marriage on the train. By repeatedly mentioning and showing the train, it turns into a symbol of their love. It is where they first fall for each other, as well as where their “happy ending” of the film takes place. The gun is also a symbol of deception, as it used several times to trick the characters, as well as the audience. The fact that the gun is used three times to fool the audience emphasizes deception, and makes it evident how easy it is to fool the naïve viewer.

Deception not only transpires on screen, but also off screen. The theme comes to life as the audience is easily fooled throughout the film as well. For instance, the gun that shoots blanks appears several times in the film. Despite being aware of the gun, the audience is easily tricked into believing that the gun that appears on screen is not the same one. For instance, Leonard holds the gun behind his back and it seems as if he is planning on killing Vandamm. When he shoots, it turns out that the gun is the same one as before. Leonard deceives Vandamm, as well as the audience, creating suspense, in order to prove that Eve is a traitor.

Despite North by Northwest having many similarities to typical spy films, there is a light-hearted feeling given off throughout the film. Hitchcock is constantly leaving the audience fooled due to his unusual approach, yet still manages to create a sense of closure at the end. Through the use of dramatic irony and symbolism, the film is able to impart the themes of deception and love.

Suspense Through the Lens

Alfred Hitchcock remains one of the most influential directors from Hollywood, especially for his work in suspense. North by Northwest does not fail to live up to expectation as Hitchcock’s directing takes the audience into the narrative. The use of point of view shots, long, moving camera work, and variations in distance all add to the personalization of the film for the viewer. Through the lens, the audience becomes one with the film and interacts with the characters as they try to solve the mystery of North by Northwest.

The film North by Northwest follows Roger Thornhill as he tries to piece together a tale of spies, murder, and seduction. The story starts with a series of long, flowing scenes with long to medium long shots. The camera follows the characters through buildings, cab rides, and streets with few to no cuts or other editing transitions. This technique allows the audience to follow the narrative as if viewing the scene in real life. The long and medium long shots allow the audience to view the entire scene and learn the basis of the story of who Roger Thornhill is.

In contrast, the love scenes between Eve Kendall and Roger Thornhill move much closer to the subjects. The relationship between Even and Roger on the train is much more personal than any other relationship in the film and thus Hitchcock sticks to much closer frame; hardly straying from a medium close-up. The audience becomes enraptured in the relationship as the focal point of the scene. The lack of cut edits compared to other films’ love scenes again gives the audience a closer relationship to the film.

By the middle of the film, Roger Thornhill has found himself in an isolated farmland outside of Chicago with little ahead of him but the occasional car passing by. The emptiness of the surrounding area is emphasized by first a point of view shot from Thornhill showing the landscape, then a cut to show Thornhill looking in that direction. These shots incorporate the viewer to see the film through Thronhill’s eyes. The point of view shots continue as the audience watch a plane fly towards the screen and almost hit both Thornhill and the camera. The camera angle matching Thornhill’s upward angle creates even more suspense of whether or not the plane will hit and kill him.

North by Northwest successfully incorporates the audience into the narrative through the camera lens. The choice of framing and scene editing leave the audience with a much more personal perception of the film. Introductory scenes such as the opening shots show long camera shots to open the story to the audience where as much more personal scenes like those with Eve Kendall move in. The incorporation of the audience to the story line adds to the suspense of the narrative, as not only is Roger Thornhill attempting to solve the mystery but the viewers as well. The airplane crash not only threatened Thornhill but also was shot as if the plane was heading straight for the audience.

Singing to Singin’ in the Rain

There is no doubt that the film Singin’ in the Rain is a Hollywood Classic. The narrative, editing, and even mise-en-scéne create the overall classic Hollywood film narrative.  While watching the film, the viewer is able to get caught up in this love story. As well, with all Hollywood love stories, there is an antagonist as well as a protagonist. Throughout the film the viewer is able to easily connect the storyline and identify the  villain. This plot tragectory is typical of a Hollywood film and it is also present in the film Singin’ in the Rain.

All classic Hollywood films follow a basic plot. The narrative begins with a conflict, which then leads to a causality, this causality creates a climax leading to the falling actions, and finally the end of the film. In the film Singin’ in the Rain the conflict deals with silent films adding sound, instead of just music. This change in cinema creates a problem or conflict for the actors on camera. The character, Lina Lamont does now have a voice that is very soothing on camera. This is where the film follows the classic Hollywood plot trajectory. The conflict arises and the other characters in the film must find a way to make a “talkie” film work with Lina’s unappealing voice.

The plot line then deepens with the addition of Kathy’s character. A struggling performer who is able to actually sing, dance, and act. The Hollywood storyline allows for the main character, Don Lockwood, to fall in love with Kathy. This love affair creates another complication because Lina is in love with Don.

To create the causality of the original conflict the plot allows for Kathy to be Lina’s voice in the upcoming film. However, Lina finds out that Kathy is her VoiceOver and is furious. This plot rising action allows for the viewer to recognize the antagonist as well as the protagonist. These actions deepen th plot while maintaining the classic Hollywood film story.

Classic Hollywood cinema follows simple guidelines for a narrative. One guideline includes the vilian to ultimately be punished. During the film, Singin’ in the Rain, the vilian is Lina Lamont. The climax in the story comes once Lina figures Kathy to be her voiceover. Lina manipulates the media into thinking that she voices the entire film herself not Kathy. This cause for power leads to Lina’s demise, like most Hollywood vilians. The falling action in the film comes when Lina is forced to sing, which leads to Kathy singing behind Lina disguised by a curtain. Kathy is revealed as the true singer and Lina is now humiliated.

Classic Hollywood films are almost easy to predict, because they all follow the same plot tragectory. The guy gets the girl, the vilian is exposed and punished, and the viewer is able to handle the story. Singin’ in the Rain depicts a classic Hollywood film narrative because of these three factors as explained above. In classic Hollywood films the viewers were to be entertained, and this film allows for entertainment.

Voice and Sound in Singin’ in the Rain

Within the classic Hollywood musical, Singin’ in the Rain, there are many historical references associated with the birth of the talkies. The voices in both the movie and the film being made during the movie were very important because they gave insight on the character’s personality and role in the grand scheme of things. Also, the addition of semi-historically accurate video and sound equipment, and the reaction of the film industry to these new techniques help viewers understand the struggles faced in early Hollywood cinema.

The voices in Singin’ in the Rain really personified the characters to which they belonged. For example, Cosmo, the piano player who specializes in slapstick comedy, talks really fast and that accompanied with what he says adds to his personality as the typical funny sidekick. However, Don talks languidly and casually, because he’s a big movie star without a care in the world (besides escaping his adoring fans of course). Lina’s screechy voice not only presents a problem that only Kathy can fix, but also antagonizes the audience further, aiding her villain role. On the contrary, Kathy’s voice is portrayed to be melodious and pleasant to emphasize that she is one of the protagonists, and so she can save the day by singing and speaking for Lina. The fact that there were diction coaches who had to teach actors and actresses how to speak sounds silly in modern times, but for silent film stars, the coaches probably saved them their jobs. Additionally, the way the coaches were making Don and Lina talk was part of the deceptive nature of silent film actors and actresses. They were supposed to speak very proper and exaggerated to match their screen personas, and their voices were supposed to match their faces as well.

It also shows the old camera booths as the quirky and frustrated director, Roscoe Dexter struggles to get Lina to learn how to speak into the microphone. This further stressed Lina’s problematic character. As Cosmo said during the film, “She can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t dance. A triple threat.” I thought the idea to make the “Duelling Cavaliers” a musical was significant, because it was going above and beyond the type of films they previously produced. Not only is it reacting to the Jazz Singer by being a talkie, it’s also a musical, where the beloved actors from silent films can now sing and dance. Also I found Don’s tap dancing significant because it’s the noisiest form of dancing, and that added to his triple threat status of singing, dancing and acting; all of the things Lina can’t do.  It was funny learning about the struggles of the early microphones and sound equipment. In Jane Feuer’s “Winking at the Audience”, she comments about the technology, “The elaborate moving-camera effects and full MGM audio stand in complete contrast to the inept and technologically crude sequences that are being shot contemporaneously for Don and Lina’s first talkie.” In retrospect, it truly shows how far we’ve come with IMAX and surround sound.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching a classic Hollywood-style film, and seeing the background of the talkie films. The voice and sound aspect of this film made the characters more enjoyable to watch and helped viewers understand the characters’ roles and personalities more clearly. The introduction of the talkie films was highlighted by the use of classic equipment and scenes that showed the struggles silent film actors and actresses faced as the industry transitioned into a new phase of cinema.

Works Cited

Bordwell, David, and Kristin Marie Thompson. Film Art: An Introduction. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print.

Feuer, Jane. “Winking at the Audience.” N.p., 2005. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.

Un Chien Andalou Beneath a Cognitivist Lens

Tyler Peters

Timothy Robinson

ENG2300

4 September 2013

The release of Luis Bunuel’s Un Chien Andalou (1929) delivered on its intent to shock, mystify, and even charm some early film audiences. Film scholars and critics throughout the twentieth century have searched relentlessly for hidden meaning among the film’s string of bizarre and violent images. In a memoir Bunuel maintained when creating the film he had no other motive than to propagate his surrealist vision. He never sided with rational interpretations of his radical ideas. The film was born from his rebellious youth, a direct insult to the “avant-garde cine” in Paris that catered more toward viewer reason (Bunuel, 101). The question remains; how does one explain countless stubborn attempts to find meaning in Bunuel’s ‘Frankenstein film’? Viewing the film through the lens of cognitive film theory helps one understand why in the case of Un Chien Andalou, various interpretations of the incoherent shots persist over time but bear no validity.

Cognitivist David Bordwell asserts a broad question; how does the human mind go beyond the information given within a shot to find meaning? By drawing from past experience, images conjure up previous “schemas” to categorize shots into the context of a scene. Schemas are subjective and invite infinite interpretations. As images appear and disappear, the mind responds by integrating the images with preconceived notions of time, setting, and narrative norms. Bordwell calls this “cognizing” (Bordwell, 136). During the opening, Bunuel uses a match on action to synthesize two loosely related shots into one disturbing image. The audience thinks they see a woman’s eye being sliced when the sliced eye belongs to a calf. This particular bias is an example of a mental phenomenon that misled viewers for decades.

Other techniques set the stage for “cognizing.” Early in the film the audience is propelled further into a disjointed narrative where a man in a nun outfit bikes down an unknown street. Then we see a man and woman gazing out a window. This transition invites the audience to think three characters are operating in the same time and place among shots. This is a classic example of how shots invite the mind to find narrative significance that does not exist. Additionally, props like the striped box exert cognitive effects when seen across settings. The striped box appears during the street scene and appears again upstairs as a woman lays clothing atop a bed. Item repetition and clever editing assist in “cognizing” by creating an association between previously unrelated shots.

Despite our ability to establish cohesion, Bunuel ruins all previous associations during the final scene. A young couple is shown dead on the beach in the springtime. The stark ending is a last insult to mainstream proponents of art during his youth. The film was a violent deviation from the “avant-garde” of the time that was intended to cultivate artistic sensibility among viewers (Bunuel, 2006). Ironically, the work was well received by the French intellectual bourgeoisie (Koller, Un Chien Andalou).

Thus, the film’s controversial nature makes it an invaluable piece of film history. Today, it still continues to rouse emotions and confuse audiences. While associations in characters and settings arise, shots never reveal a consistent narrative. Through clever editing Bunuel allows just enough consistency for the audience to piece together a semblance of narrative. Cognizing the film invites creative interpretation but a dead end leaves the audience confused. Regardless, the films graphic images mixed with clever transitions will always inspire cognitive interpretation and continue to dupe creative thinkers for eternity.

Buñuel, Luis (2006). “Notes on the Making of Un Chien Andalou”, in Art in Cinema :

 

documents toward a history of the film society. Philadelphia: Temple University

Press.

Bordwell, David. “Poetics of Cinema. Taylor & Francis Group. New York, NY

2008.

Koller, Michael. “Un Chien Andalou“. Senses of Cinema. Film Victoria.

Retrieved 23 July 2012. < http://sensesofcinema.com/2001/cteq/chien/&gt;.

Dramatic Irony in Singin’ in the Rain

A happy and extremely catchy classic Hollywood musical, Singin’ in the Rain has audiences humming its tunes long after leaving the theater. Although what appears as a simple-minded, upbeat musical is actually a complex satire filled with dramatic irony.

Viewers first notice the juxtaposition of words and images when the movie’s leading man, Don Lockwood tells his many fans the tale of his rise to stardom. Don describes his beginnings as respectful, coining his catchphrase, “Dignity. Always dignity.” Despite the star’s allegiance to his motto, viewers see in the flashbacks that the star’s career started in tacky vaudeville clubs, performing acts that seemed desperate for laughs and far from dignified. The fans admire Don’s artistic past, emphasizing that fans will always believe whatever façade movie stars put on.

The contrast between the characters’ perceptions and reality continues soon after the premiere of Don’s silent film when his beloved, beautiful costar, Lina Lamont argues with Don about how he never lets her speak. As soon as she opens her mouth, we can understand why none of the men let her get a word out: she has a horribly unpleasant voice, a characteristic masked by her performances in silent films. Aside from an uninformed audience, Lina seems the only one that has failed to make this observation. This scene is the first of a few that uses dramatic irony to clue audiences in to Don and the other men’s motives.

The story’s dramatic irony also contributes to the humor displayed throughout the film. Don’s right hand man, Cosmo Brown, makes many sarcastic comments to characters that usually only the audience can understand, but he takes his comedy past mere mumblings when he mocks Don’s speech therapist. A close up displays both men’s faces, Cosmo’s behind the therapist’s, and as the man reads his tongue-twisters, he is obviously unaware of Cosmo making ridiculous expressions just over his shoulder. This humor is enhanced by the man repeatedly looking over his shoulder only to find Cosmo sporting an expression similar to that of a mischievous schoolboy’s. This sort of comedy appears even in small moments, such as when a police officer suspiciously walks up behind a love struck and seemingly deranged Don just after he finished “Singin’ in the Rain.” The officer’s confusion as to why he finds Don prancing around in the rain brings the musical number back to reality where not everyone breaks off into song and dance.

Perhaps the scene with the greatest presence of dramatic irony is when Lina stands in front of Kathy, exposing her lip-syncing to “Singin’ in the Rain” in front of all her adoring fans. At first, neither Kathy nor Lina realized that the men planned on bringing to light the diva’s lack of talent, but their intentions were soon revealed along with the show’s true singer. But before Lina turns to see Kathy singing behind her, viewers and the audience in the movie can see what the curtain behind Lina reveals and we know what Lina doesn’t, making her shock to the situation all the more satisfying.

In Singin’ in the Rain, the dramatic irony adds not only comical aspects to the film, but also suspenseful moments before all the characters come to know what we know. Even in the shortest moments, the presence of this irony connects audiences to the story and enhances the overall enjoyment of the film.

The Real meaning behind the creation of Singin’ in the Rain

Robert Van Deering

Timothy Robinson

ENG 2300

September 26, 2013

There are several reasons why the film, “Singin’ in the Rain” was created when it was. It address the conflict between television and film industry. Also, another threat to the film industry was the greater high-culture pretensions posed to films that were just for entertaining the audience.

The film was created by MGM which stands for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1952, the reason they created the film was to address a problem that the film industry had with television, because in the 1950s television was the main medium of attracting people’s attention to form their opinions. The reason that posed a threat to films and cinema was that TV became more affordable and offered more programming to the American people so they bought TVs and in-turn made it the dominant mass media then.

“Singin’ in the Rain” explicitly deals with the Hollywood filmmaking process throughout the film as the actors at the time in film had to transitions from the entertainment they were performing in Hollywood which was often silent films with music, to talkies because of the release of the “Jazz Singer, in 1927 there was a remake of the Jazz Singer released in 1952. It was the first film to have synchronized dialogue and its’ release propelled more films to adopted talking sequences in them which led to the decline in silent film because R.F. in the film decided he had no choice, but to change The Dueling Cavalier, into a talkie because in the film rival studios release the Jazz Singer and had been very successful and the audience shouted wanted something like the Jazz Singer.

Singin’ in the Rain was released in a time where it was difficult to draw crowds to the theater because of the increasingly difficult task needed to draw people away from their TV sets. The studio and the actors had to adjust to a period of change because most of them really didn’t think that talkies would be a big hit because in the scene where they are in the house watching it for the first time the crowd thinks that Don Lockwood is talking or someone behind the screen is, but the come to realize that is actually the person on the film, who is talking because he recorded himself as he was filming this interaction or scene to demonstrated that it possible with this new technology the recorder.

This film was a monumentally creation because it came at a period where the kind of entertainment that Hollywood produced needed a new direction and change to adapted and thrive because film was in a battle with TV to gain an audience. Singin’ in the Rain is also very irony because it was released in 1952 and musical films were really on a decline because they couldn’t really make much money because it just wasn’t a bankable genre that many people liked. In hindsight, the film Singin’ in the Rain definitely gives off a good memory of Hollywood throughout the movie you notice that the studio is in trouble of going bankrupt unless they switch from silent film to a talkie.

The film also gives off a light hearted depiction of what is Hollywood, while it follows three stars as the actors of the film while they learn to adjust from silent film to talkies. This film hits on many threats, adversities, and changes that the film industry had to battle with TV to be able to succeed.

How do “Make ‘Em Laugh” and “You Were Meant For Me” contribute to the narrative in Singin’ in the Rain?

                Singin’ in the Rain is widely considered the greatest musical of Hollywood cinema and was even named fifth out of the 100 greatest movies of all time by the American Film Institute. The film falls in the musical genre, with over half the film consisting of singing and dancing, and yet the narrative of the plot is still very strong. In fact, the musical numbers in the film serve not only as entertainment but also as techniques to advance the plot narration as well as character development.

The audience’s first introduction to Don Lockwood’s character is through his recollections during an interview. While his audible recollections contrast with the images displayed, these flashbacks allow the audience to see Don’s experience and talent in singing and dancing. The first musical number that advances the narrative plot is “Make ‘Em Laugh” sung by Cosmo Brown. This song is performed after a discussion about Don’s new film The Dueling Cavalier where Don questions the quality of his acting. Cosmo sings the song “Make ‘Em Laugh” in response. While an entertaining number, this performance is used as a communication device to not only Don but also to the audience. In the exposition given through Don’s background story the audience is aware that these two are men of music-and that’s how they communicate with each other. The transition from dialogue to dance does not seem forced or unusual to the audience and because of this the viewer is able to focus on what is being sung rather than questioning the reason behind it. Cosmo’s primary goal for the performance is to cheer up Don and encourage him to continue his acting career. After all, if Cosmo can continue to get up and perform after falling to the ground and crashing into a wall then Don can still act. This routine enlightens the audience’s understanding of the close friendship between Don and Cosmo as well as establishes a theme of communicating through areas other than dialogue.

The next performance that advances the plot, and sets the tone for most of the film, is Don’s and Kathy’s “You Were Meant For Me.” This musical number follows directly after Cosmo’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” thus emphasizing the contrast between the two. Whereas “Make ‘Em Laugh” is very boisterous and advanced in style, technique, and talent, “You Were Meant For Me” is simple, yet just as important to the narrative. This routine works as a communication technique as well- to express the relationship development between Don and Kathy. Initially their dance together is slow, almost like they are simply walking, however as the song continues it becomes apparent that they are interested in each other. What begins as a shy dance turns into a routine where Don appears to be sweeping Kathy off her feet and the audience is able to see a nonverbal communication between the two- an interpersonal reciprocation of feelings for each other. This performance not only contributes to the romantic narrative but also to the narrative plot as a whole, for Kathy and Don become partners, and together they help create the remodeled film The Dancing Cavalier. Without this song and dance no relationship between the two would have been created, which would have vastly altered the plot and story.

While it is important to mention the film’s title song “Singin’ in the Rain” it is in this viewer’s opinion that the two songs already discussed are the most integral to not only advancing the narrative but also establishing it. “Singin’ in the Rain” is a performance full of emotion and character development for Don Lockwood that also acts as a turning point in the movie. However, without the musical numbers “Make ‘Em Laugh” and “You Were Meant For Me” there would not be a reason for Don to feel such elation that he forgets about the downpour he is in, and instead chooses to sing in the rain.