Singin in the Rain (1952)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 43 mins

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This classic musical, offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late '20s, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to "talkies." Don Lockwood is a popular silent film star with humble roots as a singer, dancer and stuntman. Don barely tolerates his vapid, shallow leading lady, Lina Lamont, though their studio, Monumental Pictures, links them romantically to increase their popularity. Lina herself is convinced they are in love, despite Don's protestations otherwise. When it becomes certain that the talkies are the new wave of cinema, Don and Lina are forced to convert their next movie into a talkie. When Lina's grating voice becomes an insurmountable hurdle, a new and fresh chorus girl, Kathy is brought in to dub for Lina. With sparks flying between Don and Kathy, Lina has more and more reasons to feel angry and bitter towards Kathy. How will the relationship between Don and Kathy unfold? What will happen to Lina's future in the movie business?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Debbie Reynolds, Donald O Connor, Gene Kelly

Crew: Gene Kelly (Director), Stanley Donen (Director), Harold G Rosson (Director of Photography), Nacio Herb Brown (Music Director)

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Musical

Release Dates: 11 Apr 1952 (India)

Tagline: Singin' Swingin' Glorious Feelin' Technicolor Musical

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Did you know? Debbie Reynolds had to rub her eyes with onions to make herself cry for the penultimate scene in the movie, when Kelly tells the audience that she, and not Lina, is the real star of "The Dancing Cavalier." Read More
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as Kathy Selden
as Cosmo Brown
as Don Lockwood
as Roscoe Dexter
as Lina Lamont
Supporting Actress
as RF Simpson
as Zelda Zanders
Supporting Actress

Direction

Production

Producer
Production Company

Distribution

Writers

Story Writer
Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director
Lyricist

Editorial

Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1, 1.37 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
Singin' Swingin' Glorious Feelin' Technicolor Musical
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
The audience at the movie premiere at the beginning of the film is the same as the ones at the premiere of "The Dancing Cavalier" at the end of the film.

Character Error
At the end when Kathy will sing "Singin' in the Rain" for Lina, Lina is asked "What key should the song be played in." She says "A-flat". The band leader says, "Singin' in the Rain in A-flat", and then proceeds to conduct the song in E-flat.

Errors in Geography
In the montage leading up to "Fit as Fiddle," the final sign reads "Coyoteville, N.M./Elevation 421 feet", but the lowest point in New Mexico is Red Bluff Reservoir at 2,844 feet.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Don jumps off the trolley into Cathy's car, a wire supporting Don is visible.

Crew/Equipment Visible
During the "Royal Rascal," when Don pushes the man over the railing on the stairway, you can clearly see the hands of a crew member reach out to catch him.

Continuity
After the "Good Mornin'" number when all three are sitting on the upturned sofa, Cosmo and Kathy's sitting positions change.

Continuity
In "Make 'Em Laugh", when Cosmo sits down on the couch with the mannequin, his hat is pulled down over his forehead and the brim is flat. In the close-up, however, his hat is pushed back and the brim tilted up.

Continuity
When the cop appears in the "Singin' in the Rain" dance number, Don is holding his umbrella with both hands, but in the next camera angle he holds it with one hand.

Continuity
About three-quarters into the film Don Lockwood is with Kathy in the inside of a movie studio and showing her features of the background sky and showing her about lighting as he throws on the light switches. He comes to the area of the big fan and the blades are in a 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position. As he returns to the fan the position is changed, and then changed back to the original position when he turns on the fan to blow on Kathy.

Continuity
During "Beautiful Girls" number, the camera shows all the outfits curving downward starting with the pajamas and ending with the wedding dress. But when the camera closes in on the man singing and the women coming behind him, the wedding dress is in the middle with the others going outwards.

Continuity
When Don Lockwood is pitching the idea of "Broadway Melody", he turns to R.F. Simpson and starts talking. In the next shot, we see him turn again.

Continuity
The scene where Gene Kelly is shown performing in an action sequence from the silent film "The Dueling Cavalier" actually uses footage from his earlier film The Three Musketeers. At one point, Lana Turner, who played Lady de Winter in that film, is briefly seen coming through a door to embrace Kelly before being immediately replaced by new footage of Jean Hagen hugging Kelly.

Continuity
During the Cyd Charisse nightclub dance number when she's wrapped around Gene Kelly, her body completely changes position between frames due to a clumsy edit. According to commentary on the special edition DVD, this cut of only a few frames duration dates back to the original release of the film and no one knows why it exists.

Continuity
During "Make 'Em Laugh", the green couch slowly changes position. It is in front of the hallway backdrop when Cosmo first enters that part of the scene, but it has moved stage left by the time Cosmo does the back flip off the backdrop.

Continuity
When the diction coach is reading 'Moses Supposes', O'Connor is making faces behind his back. When the coach catches him in the act, they both flinch. When the camera then cuts to a wider shot, you see them both clearly flinch again.

Continuity
When Don and Kathy are in the car together there is no windshield, but when she pulls up to R.F. Simpson's house there is a windshield. And when she leaves his house the windshield is noticebly larger.

Continuity
In the "Moses Supposes" scene, the book the Cosmo throws over his shoulder can clearly be seen to the left of the desk. By the end of the song, the book is gone and a miniature trash can has taken its place.

Continuity
Cosmo's violin bow breaks and the hairs can be seen flapping about, yet when they finish the piece the bow is fixed.

Character Error
After the "Beautiful Girl" number, Mr. Simpson discusses hiring Kathy with Sid Phillips and Zelda Zanders. Sid Phillips delivers the line "Mr. Simpson might cast you as Zelda's sister." This is followed by an unusually prominent clicking mouth twitch, presumably out of character.

Character Error
In Don Lockwood's film "The Royal Rascals" his character is seen pushing a man into a moat. Later when he jumps down to the same spot, it has become a cobblestone street.

Audio/Video Mismatch
During "Moses Supposes", while Cosmo and Don are on the bench in front of the window wrapped in the striped draperies, Don's mouth movement to the lyrics gets out of sync.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Lina is having problems talking into the microphone hidden in the bush and Rosco and the sound man are in the booth, the sound man shakes his head and says, "She's gotta talk into the mike, I can't pick it up." His mouth clearly isn't moving as he says this.
Trivia:
Previews were held in October, November, and December of 1951, so a number of people got to see the completed film before it went into general release in 1952.

Don and Cosmo were shown as touring through a variety of small towns as part of their vaudeville career. These included Dead Man's Fang (Arizona), Oatmeal (Nebraska) and Coyoteville (New Mexico). These are all fictional although there is a town called Oatmeal in Texas and one called Coyoteville in California.

In the Italian version 'Make'Em Laugh' is sung in Italian and has similar, but a little different lyrics. It's the only song they did this to.

Donald O'Connor smoked 4 packs of cigarettes a day throughout filming.

Jean Hagen had some previous experience in playing the role of Lina Lamont. Just a couple of years earlier , in her first film appearance, she played the role of a ditzy female in Adam's Rib (1949). That time as a brunette.

Freed's song, "Make 'Em Laugh" bore a striking similarity to Cole Porter's "Be a Clown" from the producer's 1948 film The Pirate (1948) although no one ever accused him of plagiarism.

Howard Keel was the original choice to play Don Lockwood; however, he was replaced by Gene Kelly as the screenwriters evolved the character from a "Western actor" background to a "song-and-dance vaudeville" background.

The initials of the fictional Monumental Pictures' owner, R.F. Simpson, are a reference to Arthur Freed. R.F. Simpson also uses one of Freed's frequent expressions when he says that he "cannot quite visualize it" and has to see it on film first, referring to the Broadway ballet sequence. (This is an obvious cinematic joke, since the audience has just seen it on film.)

Like the character of Cosmo Brown, producer Arthur Freed was once employed as a mood-music pianist who played on movie sets during the silent film era.

Debbie Reynolds had to rub her eyes with onions to make herself cry for the penultimate scene in the movie, when Kelly tells the audience that she, and not Lina, is the real star of "The Dancing Cavalier."

In the first draft, Rita Moreno as Zelda Zanders was to sing "I Got A Feeling You're Fooling", but after script revisions the song was used in the montage before the number, "Beautiful Girl", along with "The Wedding Of The Painted Doll" and "Should I".

The role of the ditzy movie diva Lina Lamont was written with Judy Holliday in mind. Holliday was a close friend of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and they even modeled the character on routines they had worked up with Holliday back when they were part of a satirical group called The Revuers in New York. Timing was everything, however, and the idea of casting Holliday was vetoed after she hit it big in Born Yesterday (1950). Everyone figured she'd be uninterested in the supporting part but, as it turned out, the lovely Jean Hagen, Holliday's understudy on Broadway for "Born Yesterday", got the part. Additionally, both Holiday and Hagen had also worked together in Adam's Rib (1949) both in supporting, but key roles.Jean Hagen played a woman involved with Judy's husband. in that classic Tracy-Hepburn courtroom farce. Jean's speech in that film was similar in "pitch' to what she later exhibited as the ditzy Lina Lamont .

Originally, Kathy was to sing "You Are My Lucky Star" to a billboard of Don Lockwood after he sang to her in the studio, by way of dramatizing that she was the president of the Don Lockwood Fan Club. The number, sung by Debbie Reynolds and chorus, is restored as an extra on the DVD issued by Warner Home Video. The prerecording can be heard on Rhino's soundtrack CD. Closing the movie is the "billboard duet" of this song by Miss Reynolds and Gene Kelly with a chorus.

John Alton was initially hired as cinematographer after impressing Gene Kelly with his lensing of the ballet sequence in An American in Paris (1951), but was fired over the objections of Kelly and Stanley Donen due to what Donen later described as "political reasons."

This film was well received by theatergoers but recalled from Lowe's Theaters by the Spring of 1952, as to not compete with the reissue of An American in Paris (1951) which also starred Gene Kelly. It was commonplace, at that time, for a film to have a second run after winning an Academy Award, as it did for Best Picture.

In an early version of the script, the musical number "Singin' in the Rain" was to be sung by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly on the way back from the flop of a talkie movie. Also, the song "You Were Meant For Me" was not included in that draft. Instead, the love song was supposed to be Gene Kelly's version of "All I Do Is Dream Of You," which would take place after the party at R.F. Simpson's house, when Kelly chases after Reynolds. The song would have ended up at Kelly's house. The footage of this scene has been lost, but the prerecording is featured on the soundtrack from Rhino. Remaining in the release print is the party sequence where Debbie Reynolds and chorus sing and dance a Charleston to "All I Do Is Dream of You."

Cyd Charisse had to be taught how to smoke for her vampy dance sequence.

Before this film, dancer Cyd Charisse had only been in films as a 'dance specialty' or as a co-co star since 1944. Her torrid performance as the Louise Brooks-like vamp in the "Broadway Melody" fantasy number was so successful that it gave MGM the impetus to finally star her in pictures. Her next film was The Band Wagon (1953), starring Fred Astaire.

Very early on in the pre-production stage, Judy Garland, June Allyson, and Ann Miller were considered for the role of Kathy Selden, but all were considered "too old". Jane Powell and Leslie Caron were also briefly considered before Debbie Reynolds (then a newcomer) was cast.

When deciding to give Donald O'Connor a song, it was originally to be "The Wedding of the Painted Doll". However, since O'Connor had a bag of tricks he used in vaudeville, a song was substituted to use O'Connor's comical background: "Make 'Em Laugh" (of which the melody is remarkably similar to "Be A Clown" from The Pirate (1948)).

Most of the characters are based on actual people: -R.F. Simpson, the studio head, is obviously a parody on Louis B. Mayer, with touches of Arthur Freed -Dora Bailey is an obvious cariacature of Louella Parsons -Zelda Zanders, the "Zip Girl" is based on Clara Bow, the "It Girl" -Roscoe Dexter, the director is based on eccentric director Erich von Stroheim -Olga, the vamp at the premiere, is based on Pola Negri and Gloria Swanson, both of whom landed royalty as husbands.

After finishing filming the "Make 'em Laugh' dance sequence, Donald O'Connor found the effort so taxing that he went to bed for three days.

The jalopy driven by Debbie Reynolds was the same one driven by Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy pictures.

Costume designer Walter Plunkett had worked in films since 1929, and some of his recollections were the source for gags about the perils of early sound shooting. Jean Hagen loudly "tapping" Gene Kelly with her fan in "The Dueling Cavalier" is based on a similar incident with Bebe Daniels and John Boles in Rio Rita (1929).

While the film makes a central point of the idea that Kathy's voice is dubbed over Lina Lamont's, what is not told is that, ironically, in some of these songs - notably "Would You" and "You Are My Lucky Star" - Debbie Reynolds, the actress who plays Kathy, is actually dubbed by Betty Noyes. However, Reynolds' own singing voice can be heard on the outtake footage of "Lucky Star" as performed next to the giant billboard of Gene Kelly.

Only two songs were written especially for the film: "Moses Supposes" was written by Roger Edens, Betty Comden and Adolph Green; "Make Em Laugh" was written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown especially for Donald O'Connor. It's generally agreed that they borrowed the melody almost exactly from Cole Porter's "Be a Clown". Irving Berlin was visiting the set one day when he heard a playback of "Make 'Em Laugh". When Berlin asked whose song that was, Freed quickly changed the subject.

The Broadway ballet sequence was to feature Kelly and O'Connor but the latter had to leave because of a TV commitment. Cyd Charisse was tabbed to replace him. she was made up to look like Louise Brooks and had to diet off the extra pounds she had just gained during her recent pregnancy. Charisse had to adjust her dancing style to mesh with Kelly's, which was very different.

Just as Gene Kelly and co-director Stanley Donen reused a huge repertoire of popular songs from earlier musicals, the duo also looted the MGM warehouses for props and vehicles. The car Debbie Reynolds drives at the beginning of the film was actually Andy Hardy's old jalopy. The mansion in which Kelly lives was decorated with tables, chairs, carpets and other items that were used for John Gilbert and Greta Garbo's passionate romantic drama, Flesh and the Devil (1926).

The film rang up a final price tag of $2,540,800, $157,000 of which went to Walter Plunkett's costumes alone. Although the final price overshot MGM's budget by $665,000, the studio quickly realized the wisdom of its investment when the film returned a $7.7-million profit upon its initial release.

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #5 Greatest Movie of All Time.

This was the sixth time the song "Singin' in the Rain" was used on the big screen. It was introduced in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) when it was sung by the MGM roster in front of a Noah's Ark backdrop. A clip from that footage was later used in Babes in Arms (1939). Jimmy Durante sang it briefly in Speak Easily (1932). Durante was the first to add the often used "Doo Doo Doo Doo " and "Ya Da Da Da". Judy Garland sang it in Little Nellie Kelly (1940). The song was also featured as an elaborate musical sequence performed by William Bendix and cast in The Babe Ruth Story (1948).

Studio technicians had to cover two outdoor city blocks on the backlot with tarp to make them dark for a night scene, and then equipped them with overhead sprays for Gene Kelly to perform the title number. Their efforts are all the more remarkable since there was a severe water shortage in Culver City the day the sequence was shot.

Like Lina Lamont, when sound films arrived, many silent screen actors lost their careers because their voices didn't match their screen personas. The most famous example is silent star John Gilbert. However, it wasn't the sound of his voice that killed his career; it was the rumored behind-the-scenes backstabbing (speeding up of his voice by sound technicians, on direct orders from someone with an agenda) and the ridiculously florid lines he had to say. The lines that Gene Kelly's character speaks in "The Dueling Cavalier" are based on the types of lines that killed John Gilbert's career. Gilbert's actual lines as a mock Romeo in the "William Shakespeare Scene" in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) is an example of this.

Although uncredited, Gene Kelly had two incredibly talented choreography assistants. These ladies were none other than Carol Haney (The Pajama Game (1957)) and Gwen Verdon (Broadway star of "Can-Can", "New Girl In Town", "Damn Yankees", "Redhead", "Sweet Charity" and "Chicago"). In fact, Kelly's taps during the "Singin' In The Rain" number were post-dubbed by Verdon and Haney. The ladies had to stand ankle-deep in a drum full of water to match the soggy on-screen action. Gene Kelly had also recommended Carol Haney for the role of Kathy Selden.

The screenwriters bought a house in Hollywood from a former silent film star who lost his wealth when the innovation of sound film killed his career. This was part of the inspiration for the film.

The movie begins with the premiere of Don Lockwood's latest picture 'The Royal Rascal', a silent black-and-white adventure film. The footage shown from 'The Royal Rascal' is actually from a film MGM released in 1948 called The Three Musketeers (1948), starring 'Gene Kelly' - which is in color and has sound. For 'Singin' in the Rain', both color and sound were taken out of the footage and title cards were added. The other change was adding shots of Jean Hagen (who played diva Lina Lamont) in place of 'The Three Musketeers' leading lady, Lana Turner. If you look closely, it is Lana -not Jean- opening the door when the spear hits it. The ending of 'The Royal Rascal' was shot on the same set used for 'The Three Musketeers'.

Donald O'Connor admitted that he did not enjoy working with Gene Kelly, since Kelly was somewhat of a tyrant. O'Connor said that for the first several weeks he was terrified of making a mistake and being yelled at by Kelly.

The original negative of this film was destroyed in a fire.

Debbie Reynolds remarked many years later that making this movie and surviving childbirth were the two hardest things she's ever had to do.

A microphone was hidden in Debbie Reynolds' blouse so her lines could be heard more clearly. During one of the dance numbers, her heartbeat can be heard, mirroring what happens to Lina Lamont in the movie itself.

The script was written after the songs, and so the writers had to generate a plot into which the songs would fit.

After they finished the "Good Morning" number, Debbie Reynolds had to be carried to her dressing room because she had burst some blood vessels in her feet. Despite her hard work on the "Good Morning" number, Gene Kelly decided that someone should dub her tap sounds, so he went into a dubbing room to dub the sound of her feet as well as his own.

Gene Kelly insulted Debbie Reynolds for not being able to dance. Fred Astaire, who was hanging around the studio, found her crying under a piano and helped her with her dancing.

Only 19 when cast to play the film, Debbie Reynolds lived with her parents and commuted to the set. She had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. and ride three different buses to the studio; sometimes, to avoid the commute, she would just sleep on the set.

For the "Make Em Laugh" number, Gene Kelly asked Donald O'Connor to revive a trick he had done as a young dancer, running up a wall and completing a somersault. The number was so physically taxing that O'Connor, who smoked four packs of cigarettes a day at the time, went to bed (or may have been hospitalized, depending on the source) for a week after its completion, suffering from exhaustion and painful carpet burns. Unfortunately, an accident ruined all of the initial footage, so after a brief rest, O'Connor, ever the professional, agreed to do the difficult number all over again.