Thursday, June 28, 2012

Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain (Two-Disc Special Edition)

#10 (1998) and #5 (2007) in the AFI Top 100 Movies List

Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American comedy musical film starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds and directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography. It offers a comic depiction of Hollywood, and its transition from silent films to "talkies."

Although it was not a big hit when first released, it was accorded its legendary status by contemporary critics. It is now frequently described as one of the best musicals ever made, topping the AFI's 100 Years of Musicals list, and ranking fifth in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007.

* Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood. Although his performance in the song "Singin' in the Rain" is now considered iconic, Kelly was not the first choice for the role—Howard Keel was originally cast. However, Keel was replaced by Kelly as the screenwriters evolved the character from a "Western actor" to a "song-and-dance vaudeville" performer.
* Donald O'Connor as Cosmo Brown. The role was based on, and initially written for, Oscar Levant.
* Debbie Reynolds as Kathy Selden. Early on in production, Judy Garland (shortly before her contract termination from MGM), Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell, Leslie Caron, and June Allyson were among the names thrown around for the role of the "ingenue." Yet, Director Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly insisted that Debbie Reynolds always was first in their mind for the role. Although the film revolves around the idea that Kathy has to dub over for Lina's voice, in the talking scenes it was actually Jean Hagen's normal voice. Reynolds herself was dubbed in "Would You?" and "You are My Lucky Star" by an uncredited Betty Noyes. Also, when Kathy is supposedly dubbing Lina's voice in the live performance of "Singing in the Rain" at the end of the film, Jean Hagen is actually dubbing Reynolds' singing voice.
* Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont. Judy Holliday was strongly considered for the role of Lina, until she suggested Hagen, who had been her understudy in the Broadway production of Born Yesterday. Fresh off her role in The Asphalt Jungle, Hagen read for the part for producer Arthur Freed and did a dead-on impression of Holliday's Billie Dawn character, which won her the role. Her character was based on the silent picture star Norma Talmadge who bombed during the transition to talkies.
* Millard Mitchell as R.F. Simpson. The initials of the fictional head of Monumental Pictures are a reference to producer Freed. R.F. also uses one of Freed's favorite expressions when he says that he "cannot quite visualize it" and has to see it on film first, referring to the Broadway ballet sequence, a joke, since the audience has just seen it.
* Cyd Charisse as Don's dance partner in the "Broadway Melody" ballet.
* Douglas Fowley as Roscoe Dexter, the director of Don and Lina's films.
* Rita Moreno as Zelda Zanders, the "Zip Girl" and Lina's informant friend. Considered to be based on Clara Bow.
* King Donovan (uncredited) as Rod, head of the publicity department at Monumental Pictures.
* Judy Landon (uncredited) as Olga Mara, a silent screen vamp who attends the premiere of The Royal Rascal. She is considered to be based on Pola Negri and Gloria Swanson.
* Madge Blake (uncredited) as Dora Bailey, a radio show host. Considered to be based on Louella Parsons.
* Kathleen Freeman (uncredited) as Phoebe Dinsmore, Lina's diction coach
* Bobby Watson (uncredited) as diction coach during "Moses Supposes" number
* Jimmy Thompson (uncredited) as the singer of "Beautiful Girl"

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