Reviews and notes
2003 (re-release) Wellington
2010 TCM Classic Film Festival Hollywood
In 1952 Sight & Sound
polled the world's leading film critics to compile a list of the best films of all time. The magazine has repeated this poll every ten years, to show which films stand the test of time in the face of shifting critical opinion. The most recent, in 2002, was its largest poll to date. Included in the top ten was Singin' In the Rain
, with this citation:
Impossible to watch without a smile on your face, this affectionate tribute to the glory days of Hollywood is pleasure distilled into 120 minutes. With Gene Kelly dance sequences that take your breath away and a great score by Brown and Freed, this is the film musical at its best.
- Sight & Sound, 2002.
Singin' in the Rain
is a movie that can make you just about dizzy with happiness. Almost everyone's nominee for the best movie musical of all time, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's beautiful 1952 classic about love and Roaring 20s Hollywood will show in a better print than you or I have ever seen, digitally remastered from three-strip Technicolor in Warner Brothers' new, aptly-named 'Ultra-Resolution' process.
The movie is the crowning work of the MGM Arthur Freed unit, which made most of the best Golden Age musicals - and a defining work for Kelly and Donen, the great star-choreographer-director and co-director combo of 1948's On the Town
. Set in the late 20s during the transition from golden silent movies to raucous talkies, it's a brilliant satire of the chaos into which the industry descended when sound came in - and a sharp, funny commentary on the perversities of big studio politics. This backstage look at Hollywood's shaky transition gives us the brilliantly athletic Kelly as hoofer turned swashbuckling matinee idol Don Lockwood, Debbie Reynolds as his dream girl Kathy, Donald O'Connor as his Make 'Em Laugh
lifelong best pal Cosmo Brown and Jean Hagen as his malevolent triple-threat co-star and phony off-screen 'love interest' Lina Lamont, who has a voice like a grackle, the morals of a tarantula and evil designs on Don, Kathy and Monumental Studios.
Wittily written by cinephiles Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Rain
was scored with producer (and one-time lyricist) Freed's bouncy 20s-30s songs, coauthored with composer Nacio Herb Brown. Brown and Freed wrote songs for that undeserving 1928-29 MGM Oscar winner Broadway Melody
; its major distinction now is that it debuted some of the big numbers for Singin' in the Rain
- including the song inspiration for Kelly's dazzling climactic Broadway Melody
ballet and, of course, Singin' in the Rain
itself. Kelly's rhapsodic dance to the title number, whooshing happily through an early morning LA downpour in a frenzy of Reynolds-fueled romantic joy, may be the most exhilarating five minutes ever on film.
Singin' in the Rain
is more than the best movie musical, though. It's one of the best movie comedies of any kind... No true movie lover doesn't have a special heart-place for this perfect backstage musical comedy, or for that sublime dance in the rain by Kelly. In that dance, under an MGM soundstage downpour, waving his umbrella and sloshing ecstatically through the soaked streets, Kelly defines for all time what it means to be in a movie and in love.
- Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune.
Weblink: A review of our screening at Rockets and Robots are GO!
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