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Singin' in the Rain [Blu-ray]
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Singin' in the Rain
A Hollywood star of the silent era, production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.
Warner Bros. is on a bit of a roll, rejuvenating catalog classics with loving remasters and impressive 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfers. Singin' in the Rain is given a similar treatment; just not one that lives up to the high standards set by Ben-Hur and Casablanca. The presentation has its share of issues: mild to moderate edge halos are present throughout (and quite obvious at times), the film's inherent softness can be prohibitive, and a noticeable waxiness afflicts a number of closeups and midrange shots. But beware. There are more than a few scenes that will have some people crying DNR! when, in fact, it isn't quite that simple. The original source has undergone extensive cleanup, yes, but not of the smear-it-all-to-hell variety. Grain, though light, is pleasant and consistent, numerous textile, fabric and facial textures are commendably resolved, and overall definition is fairly pleasing. As it turns out, noise reduction and other invasive techniques actually aren't the chief culprit. Artificial sharpening, as it's applied to the film's softer shots, creates the impression of somewhat waxy textures and faces when framed by freshly tweaked edges. If these edges were kept as soft as they originally appeared, the resulting image wouldn't be as problematic.
All that said, there's very little to be distracted by, especially since Singin' in the Rain has never looked better. Colors have been granted new life, primaries are gorgeous, skintones are lovely (albeit a touch over-saturated now and again), black levels are rich and savory, and contrast doesn't falter. Moreover, print scratches and blemishes are nowhere to be found, artifacting and banding don't invade the image, and other anomalies aren't a factor. Is Singin' in the Rain's presentation as faithful and filmic as it could be? Not entirely. But it comes close, oh so close; close enough to make its shortcomings, minor as they may be in the grand scheme of things, that much easier to stomach. Some may score the video as low as a 3.5, others may go as high as a 4.5 (or perhaps higher). For my part, I fall somewhere in between; wishing certain aspects of the image were more natural but thankful that Kelly and Freed's sixty-year-old musical looks as good as it does.
The high point of Warner's AV presentation is undoubtedly its carefully mixed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which retains the humble qualities of the film's original monoaural sound design while allowing Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed's music to flourish across the entire soundfield. Dialogue and song lyrics are clean, clear and perfectly prioritized, be it Gene Kelly's dulcet singing voice, Donald O'Connor's chirpy quips and verbal gymnastics, Debbie Reynolds' velvet-smooth tone, or Jean Hagen's nasally whine. But it's the songs -- from "Good Morning" to "Moses Supposes" to "Make 'Em Laugh" to "You Were Meant for Me" -- that are the joy of Warner's lossless track. The orchestra's instrumentation is represented extremely well, pratfalls and mid-song sound effects dance a finely choreographed dance with the lyrics and music, and every last trumpet blast, snare roll, trombone slide, timpani strike and stringed crescendo is showcased just as it should be. LFE output is reasonably restrained when the singers, dancers and musicians take five, but comes alive the moment music erupts. Likewise, the rear speakers offer light, playful but exceedingly subtle support throughout, but rise to the occasion when called upon. There aren't many flashy directional tricks, mind you. Just a full, utterly satisfying sound from beginning to end. It all hinges on a masterful balancing act and an unwavering devotion to the source, and it's exactly the sort of lossless 5.1 surround experience I hope for when watching a decades-old classic. I can't imagine Singin' in the Rain sounding any better than it does here.
Singin' in the Rain 60th Anniversary (BD)
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds in a 60th-anniversary newly remastered Special Edition of the best-loved Hollywood musical ever-filled with memorable songs, lavish routines and Kelly's fabulous song-and-dance number performed in the rain.]]>
- Aspect Ratio : 1.37:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 6.75 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches; 2.4 Ounces
- Item model number : unknown
- Director : Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
- Media Format : Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound
- Run time : 1 hour and 43 minutes
- Release date : July 17, 2012
- Actors : Donald O'connor, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Rita Moreno
- Studio : WarnerBrothers
- ASIN : B0087YYHZU
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,646 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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