Monday, February 13, 2017


It was a sad day for movie musicals when Debbie Reynolds died in December of 2016. She was really the last tie to the classic movie musical. Even before her death my friend mentioned how him and his son (who is friend's with my son) were going to see a viewing of Singin In The Rain. My son is very picky when it comes to movies, and unlike my friend's son, my son does not like to watch different movies. So after some sweet talking, I convinced my seven year old to go with me to see this 1952 classic. I'm glad I did because he loved it! His favorite part of the movie was the comedic parts with Jean Hagen, but he always loved the song Singin in The Rain. (I used to sing it to him as I gave him a bath). It was sad to see the talented Debbie Reynolds on the screen only two weeks after she died, but it was awesome to see it on the big screen. The showing was sold out ,and people applauded after the musical numbers - it literally brought tears to my eyes.

More on the actual movie though - The film was only a modest hit when first released. Donald O'Connor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for their screenplay, while Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. But it has since been accorded legendary status by contemporary critics, and is frequently regarded as the best movie musical ever made and the best film ever made in the "Freed Unit" at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Singin' in the Rain
was originally conceived by MGM producer Arthur Freed, the head of the "Freed Unit" responsible for turning out MGM's lavish musicals, as a vehicle for his catalog of songs written with Nacio Herb Brown for previous MGM musical films of the 1929–39 period. Screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote two entirely new songs, "Make 'Em Laugh" and "Moses Supposes", the latter with music director Roger Edens providing the music.

In the famous dance sequence in which Gene Kelly sings the title song while spinning an umbrella, splashing through puddles and getting soaked to the skin, Kelly was sick with a 103 °F (39 °C) fever. The rain in the scene caused Kelly's wool suit to shrink during filming. A common myth is that Kelly managed to perform the entire song in one take, thanks to cameras placed at predetermined locations. However, this was not the case, as the filming of the sequence took place over 2–3 days.Another myth is that the rain was mixed with milk in order for the drops to show up better on camera; but the desired visual effect was produced, albeit with difficulty, through back lighting.

Debbie Reynolds was not a dancer when she made Singin' in the Rain; her background was as a gymnast. Kelly apparently insulted her for her lack of dance experience, upsetting her. In a subsequent encounter when Fred Astaire was in the studio, he found Reynolds crying under a piano. Hearing what had happened, Astaire volunteered to help her with her dancing. Kelly later admitted that he had not been kind to Reynolds and was surprised that she was still willing to talk to him afterward. After shooting the "Good Morning" routine, which had taken from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. to shoot, Reynolds' feet were bleeding. Years later, she was quoted as saying that "Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life."

Donald O'Connor had to stay in bed in the hospital for several days after filming the "Make 'Em Laugh" sequence, due to his smoking up to four packs of cigarettes a day!

I could go on and on about this movie, but fans of classic musicals know all about this film. What was so great about this 2017 movie theater viewing was how the film really held up. It was great to see young people in the audience - my seven year old son one of them - laughing and tapping along to the movie. A few observations I made watching the film was how great Donald O'Connor was in the film. He was really amazing, and he was such an underrated performer I feel. In some of the scenes you can see how scared Debbie Reynolds was, but she was a great match to Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. One of my favorite dancers, Cyd Charisse, was in the movie for one dance number with Kelly, and it was great to see her larger than life as well - except in the movie theater I could see a big black and blue mark on her upper leg! 

Seeing Singin' In The Rain in a 2017 movie theater - what a glorious feeling...


1 comment:

  1. Un jugoso comentario y un merecido homenaje no solamente a la gran Debbie Reynolds, sino a todo el elenco de esa maravillosa comedia que sigue brillando intensamente y brindando alegría y fascinación después de más de 60 años. Muchas gracias por tu hermoso trabajo.