Classic Film Guide

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Anybody who hasn't seen this, needs to do so. Part of film history (the story, that is), and not just for the famous scene with Gene Kelly actually singing in the rain. Great performances by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, and especially Jean Hagen (nominated for Best Actress by the Academy) are also included in this classic by director Stanley Donen. Dancers Cyd Charisse & Rita Moreno (very briefly!) also appear in the "Gotta Dance" film within the film. It also received an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Score. Added to the National Film Registry in 1989. #10 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies list. #16 on AFI’s 100 Funniest Movies list. #16 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Love Stories list. "Singin’ in the Rain" is #3 on AFI’s 100 Top Movie Songs of All Time. "Make ‘Em Laugh" is #49 on AFI’s 100 Top Movie Songs of All Time. "Good Morning" (memorably performed by Kelly, O'Connor & Reynolds) is #72 on AFI’s 100 Top Movie Songs of All Time. #1 on AFI's 25 Greatest Movie Musicals list.

Kelly & O'Connor play vaudeville performing friends who eventually make it in Hollywood as an actor and a music director, respectively. Through a stroke of luck and his incredibly versatile stunt work in silent pictures, Kelly gets a chance to be an actor and is paired with a beautiful, if dimwitted, actress (Hagan) in several films. The studio boss (Millard Mitchell, who gives a solid performance as well) has his publicity department print bogus stories about his two stars being romantically involved to sell more tickets. Kelly meets a young wannabe stage actress (Reynolds), who jumps out of cakes (and sings & dances) for a living while she struggles to find more serious acting roles. Of course, Reynolds and Kelly fall in love. This complicates things with Hagan who, not only believes the papers (that it is she who's practically engaged to Kelly's character) but, has trouble adjusting to the advent of sound pictures, given her squeaky voice. O'Connor's "Make 'Em Laugh" sequence is a classic, not to be missed, which rivals Kelly's titled routine.

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