'Singin' in the Rain' arrives at blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.37:1 encode. Warner Bros. is rejuvenating catalog classics with loving remasters and impressive video transfers. 'Singin' in the Rain' is given a similar treatment; just not one that lives up to the high standards set by 'Ben-Hur' and 'Casablanca'.
Positive: Colours have been granted new life. Primaries are gorgeous. Skintones are lovely (albeit a touch over-saturated now and again). Black levels are rich and savory, and contrast does not falter. Moreover, print scratches and blemishes are nowhere to be found. Grain, though light, is pleasant and consistent.
Negative: The film's inherent softness can be prohibitive, and a noticeable waxiness afflicts a number of closeups and midrange shots, probably due to artificial sharpening. Mild to moderate edge halos are present throughout the film.
Overall, it is still a vast improvement over previous DVD releases (4/5)
The high point of Warner's AV presentation is undoubtedly its carefully mixed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which retains the humble qualities of the film's original monoaural sound design while allowing Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed's music to flourish across the entire soundfield. Dialogue and song lyrics are clean, clear and perfectly prioritized, be it Gene Kelly's dulcet singing voice, Donald O'Connor's chirpy quips and verbal gymnastics, or Debbie Reynolds' velvet-smooth tone. Various songs, from 'Good Morning' to 'Moses Supposes' to 'Make 'Em Laugh' to 'You Were Meant for Me' are a joy to listen to. The orchestra's instrumentation is also extremely well done, just a full, utterly satisfying sound from beginning to end. (5/5)
LIMITED BOX SET PACKAGING:
If you own the Ultimate Collector's Editions of either 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Gone With the Wind,' or 'Ben-Hur,' you'll be familiar with the scope and size of this limited and numbered 60th Anniversary package (mine 32059/75000). Measuring a hefty 8" wide-x-11-1/2" long-x-2-3/4" deep, the simply illustrated white box is sheathed in a clear plastic slide-on cover that lists specs and supplement info. Inside lies a full-size, 48-page, lavishly illustrated hardcover book that features many rare photos, shooting logs, and well-written text. The film's production history, an overview of the famed Freed Unit and its accomplishments, brief bios of the principals and key supporting players, a behind-the-scenes look at many of the movie's numbers, and a list of both changes to the script and deletions after the picture's previews are all included within the pages of this absorbing and beautifully designed volume. Also in the box is an envelope containing miniature reproductions of three posters (called lobby door panels) for the film, as well as a commemorative, fully operational umbrella adorned with a silver umbrella charm dangling off the handle. I am going to show off this special umbrella to my friends in the future (on a sunny day of course). This handsome box set will be displayed prominently outside my home theatre, next to `Gone with the Wind', `Ben Hur', `The Sound of Music', `The Wizard of Oz', `The Ten Commandments', and `Cinderella' box sets.
The three discs are housed in a fold-out, full-colour case, featuring publicity photos of Kelly and Reynolds, as well as various scenes from the film. The Blu-ray disc houses the main, an audio commentary, the original theatrical trailer, and an all-new documentary, while a DVD disc contains the film in standard definition. A second DVD disc houses all the supplements that were included on the 2002 special edition DVD release.
When this limited edition box set was announced, the price was $54.99. Then, it shot up to as high as $63.74, when it was finally released. I waited and waited, and now finally, the price has dropped to $48.49, which I immediately ordered. It proves once again patience is a virtue. A movie edition only blu ray disc is also available at a much cheaper price. For me, this limited edition box set is simply priceless. When it was compared to my previous much higher priced laser disc box set purchases, this price is simply a steal! This box set is very highly recommended for this enduring classic. Get it before it is sold out.
UPDATE (May 2, 2013):
Attention! The price has just dropped to $34.99. Wow! what a good price! It is definitely worth the price. If you like this movie, and like all the goodies (including the cute real umbrella, etc), buy it NOW before this 60% off sale is gone.