Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor star in this classic musical set at the end of Hollywood’s silent era.
One of the most famous and beloved musicals of all time, Singin’ in the Rain is set in a 1920s Hollywood on the cusp of the sound era, where a swashbuckling matinee idol (Gene Kelly) falls in love with a bright-eyed newcomer (Debbie Reynolds) while trying to duck his jealous, narcissistic onscreen romantic partner (Jean Hagen), whose parrot-squawk of a voice makes her distinctly unsuited for the new talking pictures. Much of the film’s charm lies in the beguiling modesty and cleverness of its musical numbers — including Donald O’Connor’s amazingly acrobatic “Make ’em Laugh,” the infectiously cheery “Good Morning,” and of course Kelly’s immortal performance of the title tune — as opposed to the outsized ambition of Donen and Kelly’s previous, Academy Award–winning collaboration An American in Paris. But the co-directors once again go for the grandiose in the penultimate “Broadway Melody” sequence, a riot of stylized sets and bold colours with a spangled, emerald-sheathed Cyd Charisse as its dazzling centrepiece.
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