Helen Russell (Founder of Doremi Connect) – 7th April 2021
What’s your favourite childhood musical or film? And has it stood the test of time?
I was thinking about my earliest musical memory last night and I actually think it might be Singing in the Rain. My sister and I absolutely adored it. We drove my mum so insane with our “tap dancing” around the house that she was forced to send us to tap classes. You can ask HER if that was a good idea!
We knew every song, every dance, every bit of dialogue from the opening scene onwards. Even the stuff we didn’t really know. We were very small and it was definitely learnt phonetically!! My sister liked charming Don, I preferred silly Cosmo – read into that what you will! As I grew older it got put into the “stuff I liked as a kid” box.
It wasn’t until I got to Warwick Uni, and shared a house with a Theatre and Film Studies student, that I realised it wasn’t just a kids film. He was about to watch it, claiming to be the world’s biggest fan. I sat down and, without thinking, started reciting the entire script from the first word. My poor housemate realised that he perhaps wasn’t the biggest fan in the world. He wasn’t even the biggest fan in our flat! Lucky for me he was impressed rather than annoyed and we bonded a little more that day.
What was interesting was that my memorisation of the script didn’t mean I actually understood all the words and it was fun to rediscover the nods and jokes as an adult!
Now when I see it topping the greatest musicals lists and the greatest films lists I wonder whether I had unusually excellent taste as a small child, or whether it was just luck. Or perhaps it’s so well loved because it can be enjoyed on so many different levels.
I’m a bit reluctant to re-watch loved films in 2021. The landscape of our society has changed so much in just the last 5 years. Some films are less tolerable than others (I’m looking at you 7B47B) but I’m playing through the film in my mind and apart from the cringey scene in the car, which is clearly played for the cringe even then, I think it’s probably safe to watch again.