'Singin’ In The Rain is now considered by many to have been one of the best musicals ever made, but the time it was released in 1952 it caused only a minor stir and received a relatively modest reception. Although the motion picture was shot sixty years ago, 'Singin’ In The Rain' has not only stood the test of time, it’s grown more beloved as the years have passed. Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen, it’s an insider tongue-in-cheek look at the Hollywood film industry at a pivotal time in cinema’s history.
Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen are the much-loved silent movie stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, but their future at the top of the Hollywood pile is thrown into doubt with the advent of talking pictures in the 1920s. Debbie Reynolds is Kathy Selden, a young aspiring actress who catches Don’s eye and is the antithesis of his shallow, squeaking leading lady Lina. Donald O’Connor plays Cosmo, Don’s best friend who’s always on hand to help his best friend stay relevant in an industry that appears to be leaving him behind.
'Singin’ In The Rain' is notable for it’s great song-and-dance numbers, most obviously the famous performance of the title track by a puddle-splashing, umbrella-twirling Gene Kelly. The M-G-M-produced musical is not only chock-full of a whole host of legendary 1950s performers – including a silent and seductive Cyd Charisse – it's also an affectionately funny and poignant exploration of the challenges of love and fame. Even if it’s someone’s first time watching the film, the majority of the song and dance numbers will be known as they’ve so thoroughly permeated modern culture ('Make ‘Em Laugh', 'Good Morning' and 'Singin’ In The Rain' have been parodied more times than it’s physically possible to list here).
As it’s the musical’s 60th anniversary, a special edition Blu-ray and DVD package has been released which features audio commentary from those involved in the making of 'Singin’ In The Rain'. The stars of the film Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse and Kathleen Freeman offer behind-the scenes gossip from the film, while co-director Stanley Donen and screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green also provide insider information, and there really are some gems revealed during the 99 minutes of the film. Additionally author/film historian Rudy Behlmer and current A-list director Baz Luhrmann (unsurprisingly a 'Singin’ In The Rain' obsessive) give more of an insight into its place in cinematic history.
Other extras include Reel Sound, which provides a short written history of Hollywood in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the film was set. Singin’ Inspirations is a great supplement which plays clips from other films that inspired the movie, but the only drawback is that you have to play the film and then click when the icon comes up to view the excerpts. As with any special DVD features, they’re meant for everyone but viewed and appreciated by only a few – usually just by serious fans. These supplementary extras are no different, although they’re incredibly interesting as they place 'Singin’ In The Rain' in a historical context as well as giving insider info from those involved with making the musical masterpiece.
For those who aspire to boast a DVD collection which contains all the cinematic milestones of the last century, 'Singin’ In The Rain' is a must-have. It’s a high-energy, extremely witty, and truly sparkling musical, one which has acquired legendary status as potentially the best musical ever made. So if you don’t already own it, there’s really no excuse not to grab yourself a copy.
The combined DVD/Blu-ray 60th anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition of ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ is available to purchase at amazon.co.uk. Read our review of the musical theatre production here.