Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain ★★★★½

What is “sexy”? Looks? Attitude? Charisma? For a long time, I’ve considered Marlene Dietrich the sexiest actress ever. Of course she’s beautiful, but she’s also impossibly charismatic, confident, and curious. There’s a reason Josef von Sternberg made seven consecutive films with her. The camera doesn’t love Marlene Dietrich. The camera owes its first child to Marlene Dietrich.

So what’s the sexiest scene ever? Honestly, for me it’s not even close. When Cyd Charisse comes into the “Gotta Dance” number in Singin in the Rain (1:57), she 100% takes over. I mean… poor Debbie Reynolds was crying under a piano, she was so overwhelmed by Gene Kelly’s exacting standards. Cyd Charisse basically says, “Hold my beer (keg),” and bats him around like he’s a ball of yarn for five minutes. 

What is sexy about this scene? Yes, Charisse has impossibly long legs the studio insured for a million dollars. But she also has the ***** to clearly be thinking, “This guy better keep up with me,” while she’s dancing with Gene Kelly. Her lines are incredible, her posture is perfect, her dancing papers over the five foot height differential, and she’s insanely skilled at twirling glasses. 

If you pay close attention, you can see an awkward cut at 4:14, because the Hayes Code Puritans thought the (completely innocuous) move was “too racy.” Think of all the half-ass teen comedies with “UNRATED: TOO HOT FOR TV” stickers plastered on the package. Well, sexy is being supremely confident that you are the best dancer in a room with Gene Kelly, and being right.

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