Singing in the Rain(released Mar/52) stars,among others,Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen,Millard Mitchell and Cyd Charisse.This review is for the 2002 2-disc special edition.This is an excellent film,light hearted and full of energy with tons of memorable tunes from the American songbook.What really makes this edition are all the added features.More on that later,first let's get to the story.
The plot is light fun.Kelly is a star of silent films,and his co star Jean Hagen likes him alot,but the feeling is far from reciprocated.Soon after a party his studio boss had thrown which gave all the guests a sneak peak at the incoming new thing,sound,sound came in in a big way, and everything was thrown into chaos.The previous evening Kelly had snatched a ride with Reynolds trying to get away from adoring fans.She had no interest in films as she was too high hat.The night of the party Reynolds ends up being there,jumping out of a cake and being part of a group of chorines hired for the occasion.She and Kelly have a disagreement and Reynolds instead of connecting a pie on Kelly's face,ends up doing so on Hagen's pan.Reynolds flies into the night.
Kelly back at work three weeks later is still thinking about Reynolds,whom he hasn't seen since.It turns out Hagen had her fired,and Kelly is incensed.Kelly by coincidence soon finds her working on the studio lot in some minor production.They get reacquainted and end up falling for each other.The advent of sound is killing the studio at the box office and Kelly suggests that they turn their most recent production into a musical.That is great except his co star Hagen's voice is totally Brooklyn-ese.What to do? They end up overdubbing her voice with Reynolds.Reynolds is happy to do it at the start but soon tires of how Hagen treats her.At the screening of the film the audience asks Hagen to sing for them.Reynolds,one last time,sings behind the curtain while Hagen lip syncs.While O'Connor,Kelly and the boss are listening off stage,all three of them pull up the curtain and expose the fraud to one and all.As Reynolds runs out of the theatre,Kelly announces to all that Reynolds is the real star of the picture.The film comes to a close as the two stand in front of the now-new picture costar's movie sign....kissing.
I have always been more of an Astaire fan,but I consider this one Kelly's best film and most palatable,for me.It is high energy,full of wonderful songs and O'Connor,Reynolds and Kelly look and work exceptionally well together.It wasn't of course as sweet behind the scenes as it was in front but,hey that's show biz.Kelly's now immortal Singing in the Rain sequence and the trio's Good Morning routine are just two highlights.The famous or infamous jump cut when Kelly and Charisse are dancing is still there.The original footage still remains lost.
Technically speaking the film is in full screen a/r and is exceptionally clear and crisp.This is a marvelous transfer,the best I have ever seen the film look.Extras abound in this two disc set with special commentary,documentaries,stills,an outtake,and much more.
In conclusion for those who love this film,this is the best version yet put out.The picture is phenomenal,while the film itself is now considered one of the best musicals ever done.You'll love it.