Singin’ in the Rain (1:43:00)

One of the most iconic musicals ever made. The story within a story about Hollywood and its whims is irresistibly funny and romantic. It stars two of the greatest dancers to ever grace the silver screen, Gene Kelly and Donald O’ Connor, and is filled with innovative and stunning dance choreography that is still imitated and lauded today. Kelly’s romantic style and O’Connor humorous antics set them apart from each other, while their shared acrobatic talents make them a perfect match as well. The cast is rounded out by Debbie Reynolds who holds her own beautifully amidst these two powerhouses.

Moulin Rouge! (2:07:00)


Set in 19th-century Paris during the time of can-can dancing and the artist Toulouse-Lautrec, this is a story about love that transcends the decadence and debauchery of life within and around the Moulin Rouge. The film is not afraid to be wildly romantic and extreme. This highly stylized, innovative take on the movie musical—which nevertheless pays homage to classic Hollywood—is an explosion of music, dance, drama, intrigue, and romance.

Chicago (1:53:00)


This cynical, gloriously jazzy exposé of the lengths to which people will go for fame and fortune is razor sharp in its depictions of the circus that surrounds celebrity – especially celebrity achieved through criminal infamy. This bitingly witty story and its equally scorching score and knock-out dance numbers reveal the seedy underbelly of the lust for fame, the personal price of media exploitation and legal greed, the gender-biases of the legal and penal systems, and the gullibility of the public.

Choose one of this week’s films and explore how the medium of film brings this story to life. How is this musical enhanced by the way it is shot? Are there certain things in this musical that can only be captured on film? (In other words, they couldn’t be done on stage every night.) Discuss how the director’s art makes the experience of this musical uniquely cinematographic – including its use of sound (other than song).

Choose one of this week’s films. Analyze the function of one song in this film. Does it forward the plot? Explain a character’s motives? Describe a relationship? Comment on society, politics, or history? Provide comic relief? Something else? Explain. As always, choose at least two scenes to use as supporting examples for your argument. Screen shot each of them. Be specific in your analysis, and do not summarize.

Sample Solution

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