340 of 347 people found the following review helpful
Tremendous deluxe edition,
This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
"Singin' In the Rain" has finally gotten the "special" treatment this masterpiece deserves. The new digital transfer is stunning-- both visual and audio. I've seen this film I don't know how many times in theatres, including several screenings in the original 3-strip Technicolor. This transfer, as with "The Wizard of OZ," is as close as you can get to seeing a 3-strip print in a theatre.
Many reviewers have complained about the commentary track and it is the low-point of this edition. So skip it, if you don't like it.
Instead, throw on the second disc, which is a goldmine. First, there is the excellent PBS documentary on the Arthur Freed Unit, "Musicals Glorious Musicals." This is an often revealing 90-minute film about the musical films Freed produced. Plenty of great excerpts, too. It tends to puffery, but not excessively.
Then there is a new documentary, "What A Glorious Feeling," on the making of "Singin' In the Rain." Watching both these documentaries, you don't need the commentary track. Most of it was lifted from these documentaries.
In addition, this supplementary disc includes the songs used in "Singin' In the Rain," as they first appeared in their original written for films and later films that used the songs again. Some of these are unintenionally funny today. But it is really a crash course in the history of movie musicals. My favorite is Eleanor Powell in the number that introduced "You Are My Lucky Star." A beautfully done, very '30's black-and-white number that builds into an all stops-out dream-dance sequence. (Were Americans ever this innocent?) Others include Bing Crosby wonderful introducing "Beautiful Girls," Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney introducing "Good Morning," Cliff Edwards (aka Ukele Ike, Jiminy Crickett) introducing "Singin' In the Rain" with what appears to be every star then under-contract to M-G-M in 1929, "Broadway Melody" in a tremendous number led by the irreplaceable Eleanor Powell and support from some of the best talent of the time including "eccentric dancer" Buddy Ebsen and the great singer Frances Langford--the best number by far in this retrospective. And there is another whole section of audio excerpts from the recording sessions.
In short, this is an incredible collection that any musical or film buff should treasure.
It is true, as one reviewer noted, that the "Broadway Melody" number in "Singin' In the Rain" is a flaw in the flow of the film. Pauline Kael pointed this out too. She considers the film a great one. For myself, I don't mind, the number is too damned well-conceived and entertaining. Again, thanks to being on DVD, you can jump to the next scene if you don't care to watch it. I've tried it and the film definitely runs smoother narratively. But I missed it, and played after the film.
If you love SITR, as I do, this is a must buy. If you're interested and have never seen it, rent it and decide for yourself.
Let's hope that Warner Brothers does a 50th anniversary edition of "Bandwagon" next year with a digital and audio refining that equals or surpasses this. And a better commentary track. Bet Scorssee would join in the commentary.
ONE LAST THING
"Singin' In the Rain" was not shot in widescreen, but in the only format used for studio pictures before the end of 1953. It was designed to be shown in 1.37:1, Which just about the ratio of most tv screens. YOU ARE NOT MISSING ANYTHING. I wish you young film buffs would educate yourselves about the history of film aspect ratios.
Also Michael Kidd had nothing whatsoever to do with the choregraphy in "Singin' In the Rain." He comments on it, but never claims he did any of it, for the simple reason he did none. He was probably in New York over-seeing his legendary choregraphy for the original stage production of "Guys and Dolls." Which is probably why he got the "Bandwagon" assignment a year after "Singin' In the Rain." He did all the choregraphy in "Bandwagon" and the following year, 1954, for "7 Brides For 7 Brothers."
Kelly and Donen worked in partnership on the choregraphy and direction "SITR." And it is really impossible now to determine who was responsible for what.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 14, 2012 10:59:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 4:23:42 PM PDT
Scott Dorn says:
Great review, but I don't care what Pauline Kael says, for me and others I know that love this film, the Broadway Melody sequence is a highlight, not a flaw! It's almost like saying that the storyline would run smoother if there was no singing and dancing! Plus you get to see the gorgeous and talented Cyd Charisse and Kelly together in two completely different "knock your socks off" dance numbers!
Posted on Mar 7, 2012 5:54:55 AM PST
Thank you for your thoughtful review.
Posted on Jun 7, 2012 5:44:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 6:47:20 AM PDT
Forrest C. Hopson says:
Great review! Having watched "Singin' In The Rain" during it's T.V. airings over the years I always thought that the "Broadway Melody" sequence was also out of place and seemed to drag the movie until the sequence finally ended. Even though it's a wonderful scene and Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse are exceptional in their dance routine, however, it's still seems somehow "out of place" and doesn't fit the rest of the story. I think that MGM should have made a movie entitled "Broadway Melody" or something similar and started the movie with this scene and let the movie build to more scenes like it. Anyway, I think Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor are fantastic in "Singin' In The Rain" and I love it!
Posted on Jul 12, 2012 5:28:19 PM PDT
Your review was much apreciated. However, MGM produced "The Bandwagon" in 1953. Next year, it will celebrate 60 years, not 50.
Posted on Jul 14, 2012 12:34:41 PM PDT
The Movie Man says:
Thank you. You are evidently a lover of this fabulous musical, as so many of us are. I appreciate your sharing your enthusiasm. Your comments will hopefully "turn on" others to this exceptional film.
Posted on Jul 17, 2012 10:06:30 PM PDT
B. Peters says:
Thank you for your review, however I am a bit confused about how many discs there are with this blu-ray.
In the Amazon discription it has 1 disc, yet you mention a supplementary disc in your review.
Could you clear this up for me. Thank you again for your review, I live in Australia and have no way of checking this as it has not been released here yet.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2012 4:57:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 20, 2012 5:10:34 AM PDT
Jrum C. says:
Hello! This review was for 2 disc DVD set, released in 2002. The 2012 bluray single only has the commentary track from '02, as well as a newer doc. of modern influences and, I believe, a "jukebox" feature. For the rest of these noted extras, you would need to buy the blu box set (expensive!). I just re-watched '02 DVD set, and am still more than satisfied with picture/audio qualities, and wealth of supplements! (hope this helped). You may also want to check "bluray.com", and see if your region is detailed yet: there MAY be differences! I just received a U.S. blu of "Mean Streets", which has few extras compared to abundance on French release!
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2012 12:03:53 AM PDT
B. Peters says:
Hi, thank you for your reply you have been very helpful.
Posted on Sep 4, 2012 1:19:16 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2013 11:09:51 AM PDT
Barbara G. Bowman says:
Broadway Melody is one of the best sequences I've ever seen in a film. I can't imagine skipping it!