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SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

What can be said about a classic of the caliber of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN ($25) that hasn’t already been said? SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is one of my personal favorites amongst musical film simply because it is one of the most exuberant, joyful and funny films ever made. For Gene Kelly, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is one of the finest achievements of his career. Not only does he give one of his funniest performances; he also serves as the film’s co-director (along with Stanley Donen). Kelly’s singing and dancing performance of the film’s title song has become one of the silver screen’s best-known images.

Even though SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is a musical, the story is so delightful and well constructed, that it could actually work without the music. The story is a satirical look at the dawn of the sound era in Hollywood and how it affected both the studios and the stars who tried to make the transition to "talking pictures." Gene Kelly stars as swashbuckling star Don Lockwood, whose career is intertwined with that of his leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen). Their first talking picture turns out to be a dud, due primarily to technical problems associated with the sound. With six weeks to go before the opening, they decide to save the film (and the studio) by turning the film into a musical comedy. Unfortunately for Don, there is one obstacle- Lina. She can’t sing, she can’t dance and she can’t act. Hagen’s hysterically funny performance as Lina Lamont alone is worth the price of admission. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN also stars Donald O’Connor in his finest role, as Cosmo Brown, Don Lockwood’s best friend and partner. Debbie Reynolds was only starting out when she appeared in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, yet her perky performance as Hollywood hopeful Kathy Selden was enough to make her a star. Cyd Charisse appears in but a single dance number and she too makes an indelible mark on this film. The cast of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN also features Millard Mitchell, Douglas Fowley, Rita Moreno, and Kathleen Freeman.

As good as MGM Home Entertainment’s previous Laserdisc edition of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN was, the DVD is even better. The image on the DVD is crisper than that of the Laserdisc. Colors on the DVD offer better saturation than Laserdisc, without the color noise or bleeding. The film element used for the transfer does have some slight limitations, and doesn’t always appear to be as vivid as an original IB Technicolor print, but this DVD incarnation comes pretty darn close most of the time.

The two-channel Dolby Digital track sounds quite good, especially when one considers the audio technology that was available back in the early 1950’s. The music appears to have been given a stereo re-mix with pleasing results. Other soundtrack options include French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. The interactive menus offer chapter search, plus access to an original theatrical trailer.

As I stated up above, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is one of the great, timeless classics of the cinema. This great looking DVD edition of the film is about the best way to enjoy it in your home.

All reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN 



 

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DVD reviews are Copyright 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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