Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain

No one even bothers to argue about it any more--by any standard and international consensus, this is the best movie musical of them all. Its arcane, unlikely milieu is Hollywood during the transition in the late 1920s from silent to sound motion pictures. Its reason for being was producer Arthur Freed's desire to use the catalog of songs he had written with Nacio Herb Brown in the '20s and '30s for various shows and movies. But, ironically, it's now the soundtrack that seems cobbled together from disparate sources, while the movie itself remains seamless. That's thanks to a literate screenplay by Adolph Green and Betty Comden and ebulliant acting and dancing by the young Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. Jean Hagen is especially brilliant as the silent-screen star whose speaking voice is so screechy she has to be dubbed for talkies. Kelly codirected with Stanley Donen, and both can take credit for a masterpiece. Musical standouts are "You Were Meant for Me," "Good Morning" and "All I Do Is Dream of You." Visually, the indelible image will always be Kelly sloshing around in puddles while singin' in the rain. That said, this coupling of video with a definitive version of the soundtrack benefits from Rhino's meticulous reconstruction of the material and extensive annotations, which only enhance our grasp of this film and musical legend's gestation. ---Robert Windeler

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Production: MGM
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
G (General Audience)

Well, we movie stars get the glory. I guess we have to take the little heartaches that go with it. People think we lead lives of glamour and romance, but we're really lonely - terribly lonely.

I don't go to the movies much - if you've seen one, you've seen them all...Oh, no offense. Movies are entertaining enough for the masses, but the personalities on the screen just don't impress me. I mean, they don't talk. They don't act. They just make a lot of dumb show...


Acting means great parts, wonderful lines, speaking of glorious words, Shakespeare, Ibsen.

Words, tell me, what's your lofty mission in life that lets you sneer at my humble profession?

I'm an actress.


On the stage.

Oh, on the stage. Well, I'd like to see you act. What are you in right now? I could brush up on my English, or uh, bring along an interpreter, that is, if they'd let in a movie actor.

Well, I'm not in a play right now, but I will be. I'm going to New York.

Oh, you're going to New York and then some day we'll all hear of you, won't we? Kathy Selden as Juliet, as Lady Macbeth, as King Lear. You'll have to wear a beard for that one, of course.

Oh, you can laugh if you want to, but at least the stage is a dignified profession.

[scoffing] Dignified profession!

And what do you got to be so conceited about? You're nothing but a shadow on film, a shadow. You're not flesh and blood.

Oh, no? [He moves closer to kiss her amorously]

Stop! [She pushes him away]

What can I do to you? I'm only a shadow.

You keep away from me. Just because you're a big movie star, wild parties, swimming pools, you expect every girl to fall in a dead faint at your feet. Well, don't you touch me.

Fear not, sweet lady! I will not molest you. I am but a humble jester. And you. You are TOO far above me. Farewell, Ethel Barrymore! I must tear myself from your side. [Kathy then laughs hysterically as Don's suit rips while he gets out of her car]

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