Singin' in the Rain

on April 11, 1952 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Classic Reviews Against a background of delightful and hilarious satirizing of the early days of motion picture production is woven a behind-the-scenes, boy-meets-girl yarn, while those two surefire elements of entertainment are blended, through inspired filmmaking magic, into a tune-and-dance movie which inescapably will rate high among the all-time bests of that category. That the picture will register accordingly in audience pleasure and patronage is beyond doubt. In every department it is virtually flawless. Producer Arthur Freed mounted the offering -- which specializes in his own earlier-day hit songs -- with limitless opulence; the dance and production numbers are superlatively skillful and beautiful; performances are so generally excellent that thespian honors are thrown up for grabs; and direction by star Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen is comparably superior. All of which, plus Technicolor, accords the showman plenty to sell and profit by.

When sound movies arrive in the late twenties, Gene Kelly, swashbuckling screen hero, and his co-star, Jean Hagen, make their first talkie. Because of Jean's nasal voice, the film is a flop at its preview, but Gene is reassured of his own ability by Debbie Reynolds, aspiring and talented actress with whom he is in love. Then Gene's buddy, Donald O'Connor, suggests Debbie's voice be dubbed in place of Jean's -- but the latter threatens a lawsuit if the truth comes out. At the premiere Jean scores a tremendous hit, thanks to Debbie's voice. The audience cries for a speech from Jean but, puzzled by her nasal intonations, yells for her to sing. Gene has Debbie sing behind the curtain, which is raised to reveal the hoax and make Jean a laughingstock.

What a glorious feeling... You'll be happy again... When you see this pleasureful musical treasure... The tunefilm that marks a milestone in motion picture annals. MGM 103 min.

Tags: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Arthur Freed

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