Turner Classics was playing it and we had to watch it. It really never gets old. And they’ve cleaned up and remastered it for sound and pictures, so it sparkles like the gem it is.
Sometimes, it’s not hard to figure out why a particular movie becomes a classic. Singin’ in the Rain, a 1952 American musical comedy starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds and directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography is magic.
There is a lot of back story to this movie. Debbie Reynolds hasn’t been shy about sharing her story, the dissatisfaction of Kelly at having to work with Reynolds — who had to be taught to dance for her role. By the end of each day of shooting, her feet would be bleeding. Kelly was a perfectionist and a bit of a slave driver. But it’s hard to argue with the result.
Whatever was going on behind the scenes, the result is a masterpiece. Sixty-one years after the original opening, it’s fresh and funny, and the choreography is a wonder and carefully works around Debbie Reynolds more limited dancing skills. If you watch “Good Morning” carefully, notice how often she is posed while Kelly and O’Connor carry the most complex parts.
The plot is a light-hearted look at the movie business during the transition from silent to talking movies.
There had been several versions of Singing In the Rain before, but none of them enjoyed the success of this version. Rightfully so. It’s delightful. After more than 60 years, it still plays beautifully. A pleasure to watch and a family favorite. Many great musicals have been produced since this classic. Many were and are brilliant, but although they may be as good, they are not better. In many way, Singing in the Rain set the bar.
Until they make a new Gene Kelly, they won’t improve on it.
It was greeted with no great enthusiasm when released, yet with each passing year, its popularity grows. That is, perhaps, the true definition of a classic when the years only increase respect for a film. Time has not diminished Singin’ In the Rain.
- Movie star Gene Kelly forever ‘Singin’ In the Rain’; in theaters Thursday, on Blu-ray and DVD July 17 (miamiherald.typepad.com)