SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, a wonderfully sweet and happy film that is perhaps
the best example of Hollywood's golden age of musicals, is being released
on an eye-popping new DVD that literally explodes with color. For
its fiftieth anniversary, they are releasing a double-disc special
edition with Warner Brothers' newly developed "Ultra-Resolution" process,
which is digitally remastered from the three-strip Technicolor film
elements. The result is unlike any DVD from a Technicolor master
that you've ever seen. If you want to see a contrast, just view the
film's trailer which was not created with the new process. The contrast
is like the difference between Dolby Digital and mono sound.
The cornucopia of marvelous song and dance numbers from the movie
are all sheer delight. The two male stars of the picture, Gene Kelly
and Donald O'Connor, were joined by an 18-year-old in her first leading
role, Debbie Reynolds, who managed to do quite a respectable job hoofing
along with the greatest. When she was signed up to do the picture,
she was a gymnast, not a dancer. The studio put her through a three
month crash course in dance, which performed miracles. (The great
Cyd Charisse also appears in one extended sequence dancing with Kelly.)
The script was designed around the songs, which had been chosen first.
Among the many tidbits you can learn on the second disc is that Kelly's
most famous solo, "Singin' In The Rain," was not in original script.
The number was intended to be for a trio.
The plot, as you probably know, concerns a group of actors who are
having trouble making the transition to talkies when their new film,
DUELING CAVALIERS, is switched by the studio from a silent film to
a talkie. The running joke is that Don Lockwood's (Kelly) silent
film co-star, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), has a squeaky, harsh voice
that is neither romantic nor dramatic but unintentionally funny.
She is completely unsuited for talkies. The solution is voice dubbing
by Kathy Selden (Reynolds).
The plot is fairly unimportant. You watch the movie to see the great
song and dance numbers. God, could they ever dance! With O'Connor's
comedic dancing ability and Kelly's great dancing skills and his million-dollar
smile that could light up Times Square, they were clearly the best.
What a joy to watch them in action again!
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN runs 1:43. The film is rated G and would be a
great choice for all ages.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes