Written by Adolph Green and Betty Comden
Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O"Connor and Debbie Reynolds
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is not only one of my favourite movie musicals of all time but I actually count it amongst my favourite films, period. This year, the film celebrates its 60th anniversary by making its first appearance on Blu-ray and with a brilliant remaster at that. Every time I see this film, I am reminded of just how groundbreaking it truly was, from its dazzling Gene Kelly choreography to its brilliantly cheeky take on Hollywood. It also features some of the most tender and romantic moments in any movie I‘ve seen, all of it elevated with great ease by the beautiful music of Arthur Freed. There is a reason that the American Film Institute considers this film to be the best movie musical ever made.
Most people don’t know this but SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is actually a jukebox musical. All but one song sung in the film was written about 30 years before the film was even made. The idea was that Warner Bros. had access to all the music already so why would they pay someone to write a new musical. But even with Freed classics like “Good Morning” or the title track itself to set the mood, and mind blowing Kelly choreography to fill the screen, the film would never have endured if it weren’t for the Adolph Green and Betty Comden screenplay. Kelly plays a silent film actor who struggles to find his place in the “talkies” and falls in love with a young ingenue (a 19-year-old Debbie Reynolds in her first starring role) in the process. Along the way, co-director, Stanley Donen, turns the mirror on the often duplicitous nature of the studio system.
Despite its classic status, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is perhaps better described as timeless. The anniversary edition is available now but aside from the picture quality, arguably of course the most important part, this edition contains no new bonus material. It is however also available in a special edition package that contains a stunning colorful book about the production as well an umbrella so we can too can do a little singing next time we’re caught in the rain.