Singin' in the Rain
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Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Jean Hagen. Movie actors struggle to make the transition from silents to talkies in this acclaimed and highly entertaining musical. Includes the outtake number You Are My Lucky Star, the documentary "Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM," a Debbie Reynolds commentary and much more. 2 DVDs. 1952/color/102 min/NR/fullscreen.
Decades before the Hollywood film industry became famous for megabudget disaster and science fiction spectaculars, the studios of Southern California (and particularly Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) were renowned for a uniquely American (and nearly extinct) kind of picture known as The Musical. Indeed, when the prestigious British film magazine Sight & Sound conducts its international critics poll in the second year of every decade, this 1952 MGM picture is the American musical that consistently ranks among the 10 best movies ever made. It's not only a great song-and-dance piece starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and a sprightly Debbie Reynolds; it's also an affectionately funny insider spoof about the film industry's uneasy transition from silent pictures to "talkies." Kelly plays debonair star Don Lockwood, whose leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) has a screechy voice hilariously ill-suited to the new technology (and her glamorous screen image). Among the musical highlights: O'Connor's knockout "Make 'Em Laugh"; the big "Broadway Melody" production number; and, best of all, that charming little title ditty in which Kelly makes movie magic on a drenched set with nothing but a few puddles, a lamppost, and an umbrella. --Jim EmersonSee all Editorial Reviews
- All-new 2002 digital transfer from state-of-the-art restored elements
- "What a Glorious Feeling": a new 30-minute documentary about the making and impact of Singin' in the Rain
- Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM, a 96-minute documentary about the career of producer-songwriter Arthur Freed
- Excerpts of movies in which Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown songs originated
- Outtake musical number: "You Are My Lucky Star"
- Stills gallery
- Scoring session music cues
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I'll go along nearly everyone who treasures "Singin in the Rain" in saying it is probably one of the most important films ever made and the top musical. It's also the most entertaining 103 minutes you'll se on the screen. Sure there is smart dialogue, but the film boasts a compendium of wonderful "hit songs" that were all succeses even before the were incorporated in the story by Comden & Green. Go ahead and read the other reviews, if you are not familier with the plot or background of the film. That hasn't changed in the 20+ years of reviews.
I last reviewed this film on DVD 10 years ago when Warner Home Video released the 50th anniversary package in 2002. That was before Blu-ray. Because the multi-disc versions of the new 60th Anniversary Edition contain all the "special features" of the 50th Anniversary one, I chose the single-disc Bluray to see the new HD transfer and the new 53-minute documentary. The single-disc BD contains only the HD transfer, the doc, a "juke-box" function and the Theatrical Trailer (along with the commentary track from the 50th).
The PRINT is glorious even on my non HD TV. And the film was not in Wide Screen so the dimensions of your screen don't matter. The documentary really didn't add much, but was fun to watch. Its purpose was to reach the younger generation who are fans of "Glee" and "High School Musical". Both choreographers and actors from those shows are interviewed and tell about the first time they saw the film. A few "oldsters" like Rob Marshall and Baz Luhrman add comments and there are some from film historian Rudy Behlmer (who appeared on the Warner musical reissues before the start of the press-on-demand Warner Archive series). Of course there are lots of clips from the film (some repeated again and again) as well as clips from other Kelly films as well as Fred Astaire films - comparing the two. A brief mention of importance of Arthur Freed is made but no discussion of the new digital transfer. It's an OK doc but, not sure it breaks any new ground.
Still, if you love this film (and I can watch it over and over) and have an HD TV, you'll probably want to pick this up. If you have the prior edition and an HD TV you'll want the single disc BD. If you don't own the prior one, you'll want the 2-disc version for all the extra bonus that were added 10 years ago.
But this is a DVD (in one form or another) that EVERYONE should own.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.