- Series: BFI Film Classics
- Paperback: 88 pages
- Publisher: British Film Institute; 2nd ed. 2012 edition (September 4, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1844575144
- ISBN-13: 978-1844575145
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 7.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Singin' in the Rain (BFI Film Classics) 2nd ed. 2012 Edition
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From the Back Cover
Sixty years after its release, Singin' in the Rain (1951) remains one of the best
loved films ever made. Yet despite dazzling success with the public, it never
received its fair share of critical analysis. Gene Kelly's genius as a performer is
undeniable. Acknowledged less often is his innovatory contribution as director.
Peter Wollen's illuminating study of Singin' in the Rain does justice to this
complex film. In a brilliant shot-by-shot analysis of the famous title number,
he shows how skilfully Kelly weaves the dance and musical elements into the
narrative, successfully combining two distinctive traditions within American
Dance: tap and ballet.
At the time of the film's production, its scriptwriters Betty Comden and Adolph
Green, and indeed Kelly himself, were all under threat from McCarthyism.
Wollen describes how the fallout from blacklisting curtailed the careers of
many of those who worked on the film and argues convincingly that the film
represents the high point in their careers.
In his foreword to this special edition, published to celebrate the 20th
anniversary of the BFI Film Classics series, Geoff Andrew looks at the film's
legacy and celebrates the passion, lucidity and originality of Wollen's analysis.
Summing up its enduring appeal, Andrew writes: 'Singin' in the Rain isn't just a
musical, it's a movie about the movies.'
About the Author
PETER WOLLEN taught film at UCLA. He is the author of several books,
including Signs and Meaning in the Cinema, first published in 1969 and reprinted
in a new edition in 2012, and the co-writer (with Mark Peploe) of Michelangelo
Antonioni's The Passenger (Professione: Reporter) (1974).
GEOFF ANDREW is Head of Film Programme at BFI Southbank, and was
previously Film Editor of Time Out London. He is the author of two volumes in
the BFI Modern Classics series, The 'Three Colours' Trilogy (1998) and 10 (2005),
and of The Films of Nicholas Ray: The Poet of Nightfall (2004).
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Top customer reviews
I read this book today, in one gulp on my couch, in a temperture that is around 90. Therefore by an open window with a slight breeze I was taken into an artificial world that Gene Kelly made - a world that was beautiful. At least conveyed in the text. This book works on many levels. One Wollen argues the importance of dance as an art, but also as an equal companion to the cinema art. Griffith to Chaplin and of course the Kelly/Astaire world had made a language for the film world that was and is totally open to dance. Wollen writes about the beauty of this combination, but with a strong critical eye. Also his in depth almost frame-by-frame look at the famous Kelly dance of the leading song here, is playful and informative. On top of that the reader also gets the political world of the early 1950's and how that played out in the Gene Kelly world. The book is an enlarged 70mm snapshot of a specific time with a very specific film with an iconic artist. Strange enough there isn't that many critical studies on Gene Kelly's work, which is a shame. But with this back in print....
And Wollen adds a kick-ass annotated bibliography that's extremely informative. It is sort of like him taking you by the hand and showing you the book titles that are important. For Dancers who need information regarding the dance history, this is a good book to pick up. For everyone else... well I am going to see the film! Peter Wollen wrote a beautiful tribute, analysis, and dance/film history in one slim 87 page book that has no wasted space. Essential!