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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singin' In The Rain (blu ray) box set...this 60th anniversary edition box set is simply priceless! (disc + book + real umbrella)
VIDEO:

'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...
Published 21 months ago by Dr. Joseph Lee

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This fantastic film deserves better
Singin' in the Rain is one of my favorite films, though I am not a fan of musicals. It is not only a celebration of singing, dancing, Gene Kelly, and vaudeville antics, it is a celebration of the medium of film. Though it was made at a time when Hollywood was famous for its rigid and creativity-stifling production practices, Singin' in the Rain is remembered as a...
Published on July 20 2000 by Jun-Dai Bates-Kobashigawa


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singin' In The Rain (blu ray) box set...this 60th anniversary edition box set is simply priceless! (disc + book + real umbrella), Nov. 13 2012
By 
Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (#1 HALL OF FAME)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
VIDEO:

'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)

AUDIO:

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This fantastic film deserves better, July 20 2000
By 
Jun-Dai Bates-Kobashigawa (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (DVD)
Singin' in the Rain is one of my favorite films, though I am not a fan of musicals. It is not only a celebration of singing, dancing, Gene Kelly, and vaudeville antics, it is a celebration of the medium of film. Though it was made at a time when Hollywood was famous for its rigid and creativity-stifling production practices, Singin' in the Rain is remembered as a landmark of innovation and style.
Despite this being both one of the greatest and one of the most popular films of all time, MGM (and now Warner) has released it as a sub-par dvd. It lacks any real special features (except for the trailer), though I imagine there are a number of documentaries and perhaps interviews about the film, and certainly many qualified film historians that would have been willing to record a commentary track.
The image quality is lacking. This is the worst-looking dvd that I own from a major studio (Warner hasn't remastered for the rerelease). It is exceptionally soft, and digital artifacting abounds. The colors are off, and the print could certainly be cleaned up. It was probably duped from a laserdisc. This film would truly benefit from a restoration and re-release (like some of Hitchcock's films have gotten).
If you love the movie, by all means buy the disc, but if you own the VHS or Laserdisc copy (that isn't all worn out), I'd hold out for a special edition, because the dvd won't look any better than a laserdisc, and not that much better than VHS. What a fantastic film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Film - Lousy DVD, Oct. 22 2000
By 
"songbear" (Ashburn, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (DVD)
Classic film. No one can dispute that. So why are there virually no extras on a DVD of the greatest movie musical ever made? Why are there no bios on anyone associated with the film? Why does the color for the first half of the film look like faded Technicolor? Why did the studio not choose to take the time or spend the money needed to digitally restore the film that was spent on Sound of Music or My Fair Lady? OK. It would cost more, but fans of this movie would be willing to pay for it, and all the other wonderful MGM movies musical of the 50s.
...Give us the extras - let us know the story of the movie, produce a feature length documentary, give us the re-mixed isolated soundtrack, do something besides this. Correct the color, and remix the ST in DTS. Package in in a two DVD set and charge me 30 bucks. I'd buy it. But the current release version is a real disappointment. The singin', dancin', and actin' in this film deserve better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Lousy Reproduction, Aug. 20 2001
This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (DVD)
5 Stars for the Musical 0 Stars for the DVD conversion. I can't say enough about the movie, I've loved it for years. However, this is one of the worst presentations of a Technicolor film available. It was as though the source media was an old faded copy that had the brightness turned up and color over driven to make up for it. Some scenes had the brightness so high it was dificult to make out the facial features of a sweet Debbie Reynolds. They should have presented it faded. Seriously consider waiting for a restored version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Points off for half-hearted presentation, May 14 2001
By 
M. Cho (NY, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (DVD)
First off, let me reiterate that this truly is one of the best movies, musical or otherwise, of all time. My issue is with the utter lack of respect with which Warner now treats this movie. There are three things I have to say: 1) I love this movie; 2) I love DVD; 3) seek out the old widescreen VHS (which also has a good, long interview with writers Comden & Green as well as Debbie Reynolds singing "You are My Lucky Star", a great sequence unfortunately cut from the final version).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pity the DVD doesn't have the EXTRAS that are available!, Sept. 28 2000
By 
Brendan Roberts "Aussie boy" (GEELONG, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (DVD)
I have the "40th Anniversary edition" video tape of this great movie, released in 1992 (in Australia at least), which features (along with the theatrical trailer), a deleted sequence of Debbie Reynolds singing "You Are My Lucky Star" and reminiscences from writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green (which are wonderful!). The lack of these is the only reason I'm taking a star off my rating for the DVD. The film is suberb (and sounds and looks great on DVD)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Singin’ in the Rain – 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition [1952] [Blu-ray + DVD Bonus Features] [UK Release], Aug. 18 2014
By 
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Singin’ in the Rain – 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition [1952] [Blu-ray + DVD Bonus Features] [UK Release] Silent movies are giving way to talking pictures – and a hoofer-turned-matinee idol [Gene Kelly] is caught in that bumpy transition, as are his buddy Cosmo Brown [Donald O’Connor], prospective ladylove [Debbie Reynolds] and shrewish co-star Lina Lamont [Jean Hagen]. Rediscover the musical masterpiece. See ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ in a dazzling, restored high definition, featuring an all-new documentary special feature that salutes not only just this all-time favourite film, but also the musical legacy of its producer and songwriter Arthur Freed.

FILM FACT: For her role as Lina Lamont, Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film was also nominated for a Best Original Music Score. Donald O'Connor won a Golden Globe for this film. Adolph Green and Betty Comden received the Writers Guild of America for the best written American musical.

Cast: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Madge Blake, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charisse, Douglas Fowley, Rita Moreno, Dawn Addams, Margaret Bert, Gwen Carter, Mae Clarke, Chick Collins, Pat Conway, Fred Datig Jr., Bert Davidson, Robert Fortier, Dan Foster, Kenner G. Kemp, Joseph Mell, 'Snub' Pollard, Wilson Wood and Julius Tannen (Man in Talking Pictures Demonstration) (uncredited)

Directors: Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen

Producers: Arthur Freed and Roger Edens (uncredited)

Screenwriters: Adolph Green and Betty Comden

Composers: Arthur Freed (lyrics), Nacio Herb Brown (music) and Lennie Hayton (uncredited)

Cinematography: Harold Rosson

Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, German: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, Italian: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Czech: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Polish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH, Italian SDH, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian and Swedish

Running Time: 98 minutes

Region: All Regions + DVD: Region B/2

Number of discs: 3

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – ‘Singin' in the Rain’ [1952] is one of the most-loved and celebrated film musicals of all time from MGM, before a mass exodus to filmed adaptations of Broadway plays emerged as a standard pattern. It was made directly for film, and was not a Broadway adaptation.

The joyous film, co-directed by Stanley Donen and acrobatic dancer-star-choreographer Gene Kelly, is a charming, up-beat, graceful and thoroughly enjoyable experience with great songs, and lots of flashbacks, wonderful dances (including the spectacular Broadway Melody Ballet with leggy guest star Cyd Charisse), casting and story. This was another extraordinary example of the organic, 'integrated musical' in which the story's characters naturally express their emotions in the midst of their lives. Song and dance replace the dialogue, usually during moments of high spirits or passionate romance. And over half of the film – a 'let's put on a play' type of film, is composed of musical numbers.

This superb film, called "M-G-M's Technicolor Musical Treasure," was produced during MGM studios' creative pinnacle. From the late 1930s to the early 1960s, producer Arthur Freed produced more than forty musicals for MGM. The creative forces at the studio in the Freed Unit - composed of Arthur Freed, Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, and actor/choreographer Gene Kelly – also collaborated together to produce of other top M-G-M Musical classics.

The plot of the film is actually an autobiography of Hollywood itself at the dawn of the talkies. The story is about a dashing, smug but romantic silent film star and swashbuckling matinee idol Don Lockwood [Gene Kelly] and his glamorous blonde screen partner/diva Lina Lamont [Jean Hagen] who are expected, by studio heads, to pretend to be romantically involved with each other. They are also pressured by the studio boss R.F. Simpson [Millard Mitchell] to change their silent romantic drama ‘The Duelling Cavalier’ and make their first sound picture, renamed as the musical ‘The Dancing Cavalier.’ There's one serious problem, however - the temperamental, narcissistic star has a shrill, screechy New York accent. The star's ex-song-and-dance partner Cosmo Brown [Donald O’Connor] proposes to turn the doomed film into a musical, and suggests that Don's aspiring actress and ingénue dancer-girlfriend Kathy Selden [Debbie Reynolds] dub in her singing voice behind the scenes for lip-synching Lina. The results of their scheming to expose the jealous Lina and put Kathy in a revealing limelight provide the film's expected happy resolution.

The film opens outside the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre at an exciting 1927 Hollywood film premiere. It is Monumental Pictures' opening night for its latest romantic, black and white swashbuckler, The Royal Rascal, starring two successful silent film stars, Don Lockwood [Gene Kelly] and his leading lady – beautiful blonde bombshell Lina Lamont [Jean Hagen] understudy for another quintessential, squeaky-voiced dumb blonde named Billie Dawn, portrayed by Judy Holliday in the Broadway production of Born Yesterday, and in the subsequent film Born Yesterday [1950]. One of the fans in the crowd holds up Screen Digest, a fan magazine, with Don and Lina pictured on the cover with the story titled: "Lockwood and Lamont - Reel Life or Real Life Romance?" The tabloids exaggerate their relationship - presenting them as virtually engaged.

A Louella Parsons-like radio interviewer Dora Bailey [Madge Blake] announces the arrivals of all the stars. The first limousines pull up at the show with lesser stars and their escorts, as fans cheer, anticipating the arrival of the major stars. Finally, Hollywood's favourite romantic team/couple of silent movies, Don and Lina, arrive ("those romantic lovers of the screen"). As they step out of their limousine, he is wearing a totally white, belted polo coat and white felt hat, and Lina has on a glittering light silvery-green gown and fur-collared stole. They are greeted with tremendous cheers from the fans, and the interviewer's words about the gorgeous couple: "They're a household name all over the world, like bacon and eggs."

Then, in flashback, he reminisces for the listening public, in exaggerated fashion, about his life story and rise to the top in show business. Don Lockwood [Gene Kelly] tells of his early pre-Hollywood days, dancing school, rigorous musical training at the conservatory of fine arts, and many performances with his vaudeville partner/musician, Cosmo Brown [Donald O’Connor]. The narrative images on the screen belie every embellished, fabricated word he speaks - in reality, the pictures and descriptions are terribly disjointed. [The film's theme is the 'out of sync' disjunction of words / sounds / movie images from reality - what can be believed in the magical world of film? Can we believe our eyes and our ears?] What actually happened to Cosmo and Don is seen entirely differently - as an uphill struggle for two musicians/performers.

Enter vivacious flapper Kathy Selden [Debbie Reynolds], who Don Lockwood meets by chance one evening after he flees a flock of rabid fans. The spunky Kathy Selden isn't intimidated by Don Lockwood's aura, and he quickly becomes smitten. The jealous Lina, however, much to Don's chagrin, tries to shoot down Kathy Selden's rising star, just as the advent of talkies turns the movie industry upside down and puts the career of squeaky-voiced Lina Lamont in jeopardy. But Don Lockwood, his best pal Cosmo Brown [Donald O’Connor], and Kathy Selden hatch a plan that just might work to everyone's ultimate advantage. Or will it?

Though the script makes good-natured fun of a host of Hollywood foibles - from splashy premieres, backstage backstabbing, and oversized egos to stuffy elocution experts, creative short-sightedness, and performer stereotypes - at its core, 'Singin' in the Rain' is a sweet, naive love story played with winning earnestness by Kelly and Reynolds. Forget the 20-year age difference; the pair crafts a believable relationship that's heightened by one of Kelly's most relaxed and natural performances. At times, Reynolds might seem a tad too vivacious, but the game 19-year-old never seems daunted by her co-stars or overwhelmed by their substantial terpsichorean talent. As the wisecracking sidekick, O'Connor garners his share of laughs, but it's Hagen's priceless Lina Lamont who all but steals the show. Hagen was a good dramatic actress, but her peerless comic timing, inflection, and no-holds-barred, over-the-top portrayal of the dumb, delusional, yet devious diva justly won critical raves and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

The rollicking “Good Morning,” featuring more great tap-dancing and impish clowning, is a winner, too, as is the sprightly Kelly-O'Connor duet 'Fit as a Fiddle' and the quietly amorous “You Were Meant for Me.” And we surely can't forget the sensational 'Broadway Ballet.' A shorter, more accessible, bouncier dance montage than Kelly's opulent 'An American in Paris' ballet a year earlier, this jazzy, sexually charged, yet passionately romantic creation features Kelly dancing with the exquisitely sleek and precise Cyd Charisse. The fireworks between them are extraordinary, and the pair burns up the screen in a sizzling mini-drama of seduction set to “Broadway Rhythm.”

'Singin' in the Rain' has no message or moral beyond love conquers all or good triumphs over evil, and it didn't advance the art of musical moviemaking. Kelly and his co-director, Stanley Donen, writers Comden and Green, the accomplished cast, and the MGM dream factory merely take the traditional musical blueprint and produce the ultimate offering, a film whose sole purpose is entertainment and singular goal is to send its audience walking home on air. And it succeeds brilliantly on both counts. The lack of pretension, mystifying talent, and sheer joy that emanate from every frame of 'Singin' in the Rain' are what make this beloved film so tremendous and so worthy of repeat viewings. Is it the greatest musical ever made? Yes of course it is and I will not have any negative comments saying it is not darn close.

Blu-ray Video Quality – 'Singin' in the Rain' was the first Warner film to be restored using the Ultra-Resolution process back in 2002, and the results were extraordinary. That re-master, however, didn't meet high-definition standards, so for this Blu-ray edition, the studio went back to a set of fine grain masters (the original negative was destroyed in a fire in the late 1970s) and struck a 4k scan. Once again, the results are often breath-taking high-definition transfer and 'Singin' in the Rain' looks spectacular. Colours, contrast, and clarity are all totally superb.

And what glorious colours they are! Designer Walter Plunkett went the extra mile replicating the outlandish flapper outfits of the late 1920s, and the purples, pinks, emerald greens, and sunny yellows truly pop. Sequins, fringe, and feathers are also beautifully defined, and difficult patterns, such as the green and white plaid suits that O'Connor and Kelly don in the 'Fit as a Fiddle' number, are rock solid and resist shimmering. Kelly's yellow vest and Syd Charisse's sparkly green mini-dress in the “Broadway Ballet” add pleasing accents to the picture, as do all the costumes of the dance extras, each of which possesses its own distinct sense of retro style.

Black levels are rich and inky, but crush is never an issue, and whites, such as Hagen's outfit in the opening premiere segment, are bright but stable. Fleshtones lean a bit toward the ruddy end of the scale in certain scenes, but on the whole are true to life. Background elements are always easy to discern (the all-important rain is brilliantly clear, with individual drops possessing more clarity than ever before), and close-ups ooze Hollywood glamour without appearing overly artificial. Some scenes look a shade softer than others, but the gradation is so slight, most eyes won't even see it.

Warner Home Video has always been careful to present classic films as close to their original look as possible, and with 'Singin' in the Rain' they've done a first-class job. We've waited a long time for this title to be released on Blu-ray, and our patience hasn't been in vain.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Warner Home Video also has done a great job fashioning a high-quality 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix for this musical classic. 'Singin' in the Rain' was produced before the advent of stereo, so naturally most of the sound is front-based, but the fidelity and tonal depth are so crisp and warm, there's a marvellous surround feel to this track. A wide dynamic scale, featuring bright, crystalline highs and weighty lows, maximize vocal and instrumental intensity while showcasing subtleties with ease. Both Reynolds' brassy delivery and Kelly's delicate tenor come across cleanly, and the 'Broadway Ballet' scoring is alternately vibrant and nuanced, as screaming trumpets and swelling strings fill the room without a hint of distortion. Atmospherics, such as the pouring rain, street noise, and movie set ambience, are solid, too – distinct but not overpowering – and every toe tap is crisp and synchronised.

The audio in the early talkie sequences is especially well balanced, possessing the appropriate degree of roughness without delving too far into caricature. The clanking of Lina's pearls, and the clomping of footsteps, and the general imperfections of rudimentary sound recording (static, hiss, pops, crackles) are all meticulously rendered. Thankfully, no age-related defects afflict the rest of the picture, as Warner technicians have scrubbed this track clean. Dialogue is always well prioritized and easy to comprehend, as are song lyrics, and the musical sequences benefit from a slight level boost that enhances the excitement and vigor of each number. For a 60-year-old movie, 'Singin' in the Rain' sounds surprisingly contemporary, and those who appreciate Golden Age musicals will be thrilled by this track.

If like me, you own the Ultimate Collector's Editions of 'The Wizard of Oz,' you'll be familiar with the scope and size of this Limited and numbered 60th Anniversary package is simply illustrated with a white box cover that lists specs and supplement info. Inside lies a full-size, beautiful 48-page, lavishly illustrated hardcover book that features many rare photos, shooting logs, and well-written text. The film's production history, brief bios of the principals and key supporting players, a behind-the-scenes look at many of the film'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.

The 3 discs are housed in a fold-out, full-colour blue case, and on the back it features publicity photos of Kelly and Reynolds, as well as various scenes from the film. The Blu-ray disc houses the main feature in a beautiful encoded 1080p image with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, an audio commentary, the original theatrical trailer, and an all-new documentary, while a Region 2 DVD disc contains the film in standard definition. Plus included is the ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Compact Disc with 26 amazing tracks.

Blu-ray and DVD Special Features and Extras:

Commentary by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, Stanley Donen, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Baz Luhrmann and Rudy Behlmer: Sometimes on an audio commentary, too many cooks spoil the broth. But not here. Debbie Reynolds "hosts" this highly interesting conglomeration of reflections and analysis by co-stars O'Connor and Charisse, co-director Donen, writers Comden & Green, featured player Kathleen Freeman, director Baz Luhrmann, and film historian Rudy Behlmer. Sadly, many of the participants have passed away since recording this discussion in 2002, but it just makes us more appreciative this audio record exists at all. Comden & Green talk about the difficulty of fashioning a film around the Freed-Brown musical catalogue; O'Connor recalls how his classic 'Make 'Em Laugh' number came together; Behlmer relays a cornucopia of fascinating facts, including abandoned numbers and concepts, the proposed casting of Oscar Levant as Cosmo Brown, and how the film's original nitrate negative was destroyed by fire; and the rest of the participants share fond memories of Kelly and Freed. My only complaint is that Reynolds barely contributes, other than to introduce the various speakers. Why aren't her memories worthy of more air time? Other than that small gripe, this is a first-class commentary that's well worth the time of fans and newbies alike.

Documentary: Singin' in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation [HD] [51:00] This all-new documentary includes comments from such contemporary musical figures as Matthew Morrison, Paula Abdul, Rob Marshall, Adam Shankman, Usher, and Baz Luhrmann, among others, all of whom reflect on their personal experience with the iconic film; discuss its wide-ranging influence, inimitable style, and amazing choreography; salute Kelly, Reynolds, and O'Connor; and marvel over the spectacular numbers. Interestingly, the film clips used in this breezy, somewhat superficial piece look rather banged up. Why the restored footage couldn't have been inserted instead remains a mystery.

Juke Box Jump-to-Song feature: This handy feature allows 'Singin' in the Rain' fans to access their favourite musical numbers with a remote click. You can create custom playlists or use the "play all" button for a stimulating concert.

Theatrical Trailer [4:00] The original preview for 'Singin' in the Rain' is included.

Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM [86:00] This absorbing, clip-filled 1996 documentary - part of the 'Great Performances' series on PBS - salutes arguably the finest producer of movie musicals in the history of cinema. Many dignitaries, such as dancer Cyd Charisse, actor Mickey Rooney, composer Andre Previn, choreographer Michael Kidd, writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green, dancer Ann Miller, director Stanley Donen, actress Leslie Caron, and others recall the man, his method of assembling talent, how he transformed a pedestrian genre into a bona fide art form, and his distinctive film creations. A marvelous array of excerpts from such classics as 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Meet Me in St. Louis,' 'An American in Paris,' 'The Band Wagon,' 'Gigi,' and, of course, 'Singin' in the Rain,' among many others, illustrate Arthur Freed's artistry and further cement his already lofty reputation. Musicals fans will be enthralled by this balanced, involving tribute.

Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed Film Excerpts: Where the Songs Originated [50:00] I'm a sucker for film musical history, so this collection of a dozen original performances of Freed-Brown songs used in 'Singin' in the Rain' from various movies of the 1920s and 1930s is right up my alley. Stars such as Bing Crosby, Eleanor Powell, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and Jeanette MacDonald perform the numbers. There are some real rarities here, so classic film buffs should definitely check this lineup out.
Documentary: What a Glorious Feeling: The Making of 'Singin' in the Rain' [36:00] Debbie Reynolds also hosts this 2002 behind-the-scenes chronicle produced for the movie's 50th anniversary. Though many of the comments by O'Connor, Comden & Green, Donen, Rudy Behlmer and others also are included in the audio commentary, this is still a fresh and informative piece. It also offers us the chance to hear Reynolds share her memories of working on the film and her fondness for her legendary co-star and the valuable lessons he taught her.

You Are My Lucky Star: Musical Number Outtake [4:00] This solo number by Reynolds, strangely reminiscent of Judy Garland's 'Dear Mr. Gable (You Made Me Love You)' from 'Broadway Melody of 1938,' was cut before the film's release. It's in fine shape here, but it would have been nice if Warner had re-mastered it in high definition for this release.

Scoring Stage Sessions: This audio vault houses 26 pre-recordings of musical material from 'Singin' in the Rain,' including unused versions and drafts that were altered before filming.

Stills Gallery: Eighteen images, all in black-and-white, and are a mix of candid publicity shots, costume sketches, hair and makeup tests, and behind-the-scenes.

Includes the ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Compact Disc with amazing 26 tracks.

Plus: A beautiful designed 48 Page commemorative book highlighting the behind-the-scenes history of how the classic musical made it to the big screen

Finally, What a glorious feeling! 'Singin' in the Rain' at last arrives on Blu-ray, and Warner Home Video honours this immortal musical with a fitting ultimate collector's edition that features eye-popping video, excellent audio, and a shower of high-quality extras that will thrill the film's legion of fans. While the enclosed collectible umbrella is an unnecessary bit of swag, the rest of this marvellous set hits the bull’s eye and is well worth the interminable wait, as well as the hefty price tag. Certain classic movies demand the red-carpet treatment like 'The Wizard of Oz' lead the charge and 'Singin' in the Rain' is one of them. Filled with humour, great songs, spirited performances, and some of the best dancing you'll ever see on film, this musical icon remains fresh and exhilarating 60 years after its initial release, and demands a spot on every cinema lover's shelf. You'll walk down the lane with a happy refrain every time you experience 'Singin' in the Rain,' especially in stunning awesome encoded 1080p image and one more reason this set is a definite must-own! And that is why it has gone great honours to now be added to my other Gene Kelly and massive awesome Hollywood Magic Musical Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Musical Ever? - Gimme a Break!, Aug. 17 2005
By 
A. Munnik "firewatcher" (Brazeau Tower, Alberta) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (Full Screen Special Edition, 2 Discs) (DVD)
Aficionados of Singing in the Rain have never quite gotten over the fact that their favourite film only received two (failed) Oscar nominations in 1952, whereas the previous year An American in Paris walked away with five Oscars, in the face of much more formidable competition (by 1952 the House of Un-American Activities had managed to blacklist many of Hollywood's most talented screenwriters). Ever since, this cabal has been fighting this perceived "injustice", mainly by trumpeting the shortcomings of An American in Paris. Since Singing in the Rain is one of those "insider" flicks (a Hollywood film about Hollywood), many of it's most fervent supporters are people with real Hollywood connections who can identify strongly with the storyline. And of course if you shout hard long enough, people will eventually listen, so that now all this hocus pocus about "The Greatest Musical of All Time" has become a bit of revealed wisdom and fact.
Don't get me wrong. Singing in the Rain is a great musical with an engaging plot and still provides wallops of entertainment. But as an artistic achievement, it never quite reaches the dizzy heights of an American in Paris. The songs composed by Nacio Brown and Arthur Freed are real swell, but not in the same league as the Gershwins. I suppose Debbie Reynolds is about as American as apple pie, but she is no Leslie Caron when it comes to dancing skill and all around sex appeal. The directing team of Kelly and Donen do an admirable job, but neither can match the artistic sensibility of Vincente Minnelli (by far the greatest director of musicals of all time).
Compared to Minnelli, the composition of Kelly/Donen's camera shots have a "boxy" quality to them.
Singing in the Rain is above all a testimonial to Arthur Freed, who also produced this film along with most of the finest film musicals of that era. As the years pass by, he has become almost a god-like figure in Hollywood lore, especially in light of all the trash masquerading as cinema that is churned out these days. That a musical such as Chicago can actually walk away with a Best Picture award is testimony to the depths we have sunk to since the Freed era.
The 2 box DVD set is an absolute delight and will give every fan of this great film reason to smile. After viewing, I deeply regretted not being born 25 years earlier.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Musical with Terrific Dancing -- a Trifle Dated, July 12 2004
By 
Scott Schiefelbein (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Singin in the Rain (VHS Tape)
"Singin' in the Rain" is the definitive Hollywood musical, and charms and delights our 21st century audiences despite the (very few) characteristics of the genre that don't hold up quite so well.
There are so many high points to this movie -- the amazing cast, the songs, the choreography, and, most surprisingly, the satirical send-up of Hollywood and the "star system."
The plot is well-known. Silent film star couple, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly, who also co-directed with Stanley Donen) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are America's sweethearts. At a Hollywood premiere of their latest romance, breathless fans ignore sidekick Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor, in perhaps the best sidekick performance in film history) and scream in delight as Lockwood and Lamont pander to their adoration. Nobody, however, seems to notice that the gorgeous Lamont never speaks . . .
Her imposed silence Lamont has a voice that recalls a cat with its tail caught in a wringer, although Lamont is such a "dumb blonde" (bless Hagen -- nobody ever played this stereotype better!) that she is blissfully unaware of her screech. No matter, 'cause it's the silent film era, right? Wrong! Progress brings in "The Jazz Singer" and the era of "talkies." No longer will clever staging of press events suffice.
Soon, Don Lockwood is staring career meltdown in the face as the first Lockwood-Lamont "talkie" sends the audience into hysterics. Not only is Lamont's screech audibly offensive, they can't keep the sound synchronized to the film, and the sound editing even when in synch is as amateurish as a high-school film production.
What to do? Fortunately, Lockwood had fallen for young, beautiful Kathy Selden (a teenage Debbie Reynolds), a starlet in the making. Cosmo comes up with the idea of dubbing Selden's voice for Lamont's, and all is fixed . . . or not. Lamont, an imbecile but smart enough to know her value, insists on ruining Selden's career to preserve her own . . . and so on and so forth.
The plot, ingenious as it is, is really secondary. The main delight in this movie is the amazing dancin' and singin' that the performers offer up. While most of it is pretty silly, campy stuff (particularly the Kelly-O'Connor set pieces), they simply dazzle. Kelly is the most robust, athletic dancer of his generation, and O'Connor, well, the man doesn't have a bone in his body. While the movie's most famous scene comes from Kelly splashing in puddles during the title track, the most amazing dance number has to be O'Connor's comic flailings in "Make 'Em Laugh," where he runs up walls, flirts with a mannequin, and generally pulls out all stops.
Debbie Reynolds does a magnificent job keeping up with these two giants, and is generally a pleasure to watch, even though she's clearly outclassed as a hoofer.
While some great old films seem to get better with age (think "Casablanca," "Gone With the Wind," and "Citizen Kane"), "Singin' in the Rain" is an American classic that does not hold up quite so well in some minor respects. For example, when breaking into choreographed step, Kelly, O'Connor, and Reynolds sometimes appear too rigid, with smiles frozen on their faces, which is incongruous to those raised on more modern musicals like "Moulin Rouge," where the dancers take a more naturalistic, emotional approach to their dancing. The dancing in "Singin'" holds up, but the performers were constrained by the expectations of their audiences, which somehow demanded that the performers "look pleasant" while dancing.
Still, "Singin' in the Rain" remains one of the best tonics to a foul mood ever . . . I defy you to watch this movie and not feel a smile creeping over your face.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Musical Comedy Ever Produced!, July 4 2004
By 
D. K. Hingle "justkes" (the Middle of Kansas, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Singin' in the Rain (Full Screen Special Edition, 2 Discs) (DVD)
I fell in love with this film when I was seven years old; I watched it on a B&W television on "The Early Show" in NY (circa 1957 or 1958). I didn't know who any of the stars were - it didn't matter. It was magic to me. From the Hollywood opening (dignity, always dignity), the romp of the elocution lessons (Moses supposes his toes are roses!), and the trial and mostly error of trying to record the sound ("I can't make love to a BUSH!") when the gorgeous leading lady has a voice that rivals nails on a blackboard, all the way to the grown man dancing in the rain and the final rising curtain - pure magic. In glorious black and white - at the time, I didn't even know it HAD colour! I decided then and there, this was my absolute all-time favourite movie. (One of the highlights of my adult life was seeing this wonder on a full, big screen at a revival in the 1970s.) I have seen many films since then; I have reviewed them for friends & family, written reviews for a monthly entertainment publication. I have an extensive collection of my own (VHS & DVD). I know a lot more about films and production values now.
"Singin'in the Rain" remains my all-time favourite film. (No surprise, this.) It's not just another one of "those MGM musicals." It was released in 1952. Dated stuff? Not a bit. Unlike the marvelous "An American in Paris," which was done as a contemporary film to its time, "Singin' in the Rain" is a period film, and it's based in fact.
This film (which started out to be a western for Howard Keel) takes a fond and loving look at the birthpains of the sound film (the "talkies). Set in 1927, with authentic equipment from MGM's own history (Debbie Reynolds drives Andy Hardy's old jalopy, the microphones are real), it details the frantic efforts to get on the sound bandwagon - no one was completely sure of the new technology. What makes the plot classic is the basis in fact. Many silent stars had totally unacceptable voices or speech (too nasal, unintelligible foreign accents, too high, too low, etc.) for sound production. The songs used were true to the period.
Then we have the performers. Jean Hagen was nominated for an Academy Award for her role of Lina Lamont. The character (whose voice you don't hear for the first 10+ minutes of the film, although she's on-screen) is a one-of-a-kind. [Side note: the voice dubbing Lina's line is actually Hagen's normal voice, not that of Debbie Reynold's Kathy Selden.] Reynolds does an admirable job - it couldn't have been easy keeping up with her two male co-stars. It's still a joy to see Donald O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh," and wonderful to see Gene Kelly teamed with a good male partner for "Fit as a Fiddle" and "Moses". Gene Kelly is, and always shall be, the best and this was done at his peak.
Of course, for anyone who has been living in the back of a cave under a rock (or too young to appreciate it), the title number is a delight. It looks like one continuous take, it is so smooth. This was not the first appearance of the song, but it's the one we all remember. The sheer exuberance of Kelly's performance carries us right along with him.
The extras with this set are valued items for anyone like me who is interested in the backstory of the era and this film in particular. And don't fuss for a widescreen version. This is the way it was. And now it always will be.
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