- Written by Sandi Tracey
Warner Home Video never ceases to delight and amaze me with their classic releases, but this one tops them all so far. This beloved, multi-award winning classic cinematic masterpiece is funny, colorful, has a great storyline and the best music, just to name a few of it's qualities.
The well loved musical, Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly (who also plays the lead), is set in 1927 during the birth of the era of the talkies. A silent film company struggles to keep up with the times and has some rather hilarious obstacles to overcome in the process - from an untalented squeaky voiced actress to the scheduled release of their first soundie, which bombed at it's screening. Can they fix it in 6 weeks in order to beat their rival, Warner Brothers, who just released the The Jazz Singer?
This wonderful treasure of entertainment gives a lighthearted look into the controversy of the birth of the soundie - along with touching on the never ending debate of what true acting is.
In those days there was quite a "to-do" about stage and screen actors - screen actors weren't seen in the same respect as far as acting talent and abilities are concerned because of some of the vast differences in production.
Enter the soundie and the debate takes on a whole new argument. Now it's the actors in soundies that have no talent, because soundies introduced a completely new type of production and style. Now actors could emphasize with their voice and didn't need to use as much exaggerated gesturing to play their roles, so the evolution of the question went from, in essence, "Is the film industry a bane to theatrics?" to "Are soundies ruining (spoiling) the art of acting?"
I love the way Singin' in the Rain presented this dilemma.
To call Singin' in the Rain brilliant would be an understatement. It must be, by far, the most famous and beloved musical of all time. Gene Kelly's iconic umbrella dance in the rainfall is probably the single most important moment in his entire career. Not only was it the pinnacle of this musical, but it must be the most well loved scene of all time. Who can think of Gene Kelly without that scene playing in their head? Personally, I could watch that sequence all day long over and over and not get tired of it.
There wasn't a thing wrong with any of this production - the music, the dancing, the brightly colored costumes, the script , the lighting, the camera angles - there was so much attention to detail that it gives an authenticity to the story.
I've seen many musicals produced in the 50's and 60's - and they all have that look that tells you what era they were produced in. Something about the clothing or the hair or the make up styles - that gave it away, despite that it was supposed to depict a different era. But this one didn't do that - everything about this musical dripped 1927, from the clothing to the tempo of the music and the style with which it was sung.
Now, there was some 1950's influence, obviously - I picked up on that in some of the more jazzy sounds and some of the dance moves. The impressionism was great, had that 50's touch but still had a heavy sway on the 20's moving into the 30's.
Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor were perfect in their parts - Debbie had the face for the look on top of her incredible talent. What a performance! And Donald O'Connor - his body must have been made of rubber to perform some of those moves - he was incredible!
The movie also stars Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Rita Moreno, and Cyd Charisse.
TODAY Warner Home Video releases a VERY SPECIAL 60th Anniversary Limited Collector's Edition of this most beloved musical!
This beautiful musical has been remastered to bring vibrant color and sound as it comes to life on your screen with stunning imagery, and is packaged in a limited (numbered) edition collector's set that includes the movie on Blu-ray and DVD, plus a disc of special features.
The Special Features include:
- Singin' in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation: All-new Documentary presented in High Definition on Blu-ray.
- Commentary by Stanley Donen, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman; screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green; filmmaker Baz Luhrmann; and film historian Rudy Behlmer.
- Great Performances: Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM, a 1996 PBS documentary about the career of producer/songwriter Arthur Freed.
- The Making of Singin' in the Rain.
- You are my Lucky Star - Outtake musical number.
- Nacio Herb Brown/Arthur Freed Film Excerpts (a collection of 12 film clips from earlier films with Freed/Brown songs).
- Scoring Stage Session Cues.
- Stills Gallery.
- Theatrical Trailer.
The set comes nicely gift boxed with a 48 page pictorial book detailing the movie, a beautiful, colorful folding umbrella with a cute little umbrella charm; three replica movie theater door tags, two DVD's (one featuring the movie and the other with special features) and one Blu-ray disc and will be priced at $84.95 (suggested retail price). Visit wbshop.com for more details!
Own it on Blu-ray!
Additionally, a single disc Blu-ray will be available for $19.95 (suggested retail price), and a two-disc special edition DVD will be available for $14.96 (suggested retail price).
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