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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Singin' in the Rain (1952)


Plot Summary: Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is a popular silent film star who barely tolerates his vain, spoiled, conniving, and shallow leading lady, Lina Lamont, (Jean Hagen) though their studio, Monumental Pictures, links them romantically to increase their popularity. Lina is convinced that they are in love, despite Don's protestations otherwise.


At the premiere of their latest film, The Royal Rascal, Don is forced to escape his adoring fans and jumps into a passing car driven by Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). She drops Don off, but not before claiming to be a stage actress and sneering at his "undignified" accomplishments as a movie star.


Later, at an after-party, to Don's amusement, Kathy pops out of a mock cake right in front of him, revealing herself to be a chorus girl. Furious at Don's teasing, she throws a cake at him, accidentally hitting Lina in the face, and then flees. Don becomes smitten with Kathy and a budding romance starts.


After rival studio, Warner Bros., has an enormous hit with its first talking picture, the 1927 film The Jazz Singer, the studio head (Millard Mitchell) decides he has no choice but to convert the next Lockwood and Lamont film, The Dueling Cavalier, into a "talkie", but the initial preview screening is a disaster.


Don and Kathy, aided by Don’s musical sidekick, Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Conner), set out to try to save the movie and their careers. Will they succeed or will Lockwood and Lamont be yet more silent film stars sent to the dustbin of history?


Cast:

  • Gene Kelly as Donald (Don) Lockwood

  • Debbie Reynolds as Kathy Selden

  • Donald O'Connor as Cosmo Brown

  • Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont

  • Millard Mitchell as R.F. Simpson

  • Douglas Fowley as Roscoe Dexter

  • Rita Moreno as Zelda Zanders

*Recognition:

  • Singin' In the Rain was nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Jean Hagen) and Best Score.

  • 1998: AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies – #10

  • 2000: AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs – #16

  • 2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – #16

  • 2003: AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains: Lina Lamont – Nominated Villain

  • 2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:

    • "Singin' in the Rain" – #3

    • "Make 'Em Laugh" – #49

    • "Good Morning" – #72

  • 2005: AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:

    • Lina Lamont: "What do they think I am, dumb or something? Why, I make more money than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!" – Nominated

  • 2006: AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals – #1

  • 2007: AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – #5

  • In 2005, the British Film Institute included it in its list of the 50 films to be seen by the age of 14.

  • In 2008, Empire magazine ranked it as the eighth-best film of all time.

  • In Sight & Sound magazine's 2012 list of the 50 greatest films of all time, Singin' in the Rain placed 20th.

  • In 1989, Singin' in the Rain was one of the first 25 films selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Did You Know:

  • In the sequence in which Gene Kelly dances and sings the title song while spinning an umbrella, splashing through puddles and getting soaked with rain, Kelly was sick with a 103 °F (39 °C) fever. The water used in the scene caused Kelly's wool suit to shrink during filming.

  • A common myth is that Kelly managed to perform the entire song in one take, thanks to cameras placed at predetermined locations. However, this was not the case; filming the sequence took two to three days.

  • Another myth is that the rain was mixed with milk in order for the drops to show up better on camera; but the desired visual effect was produced, albeit with difficulty, through backlighting.

  • Debbie Reynolds was not a dancer when she made Singin' in the Rain; her background was as a gymnast. Kelly apparently insulted her for her lack of dance experience, upsetting her. In a subsequent encounter when Fred Astaire was in the studio, he found Reynolds crying under a piano. Hearing what had happened, Astaire volunteered to help her with her dancing. Kelly later admitted that he had not been kind to Reynolds and was surprised that she was still willing to talk to him afterwards.

  • After shooting the "Good Morning" routine, which had taken from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. to shoot, Reynolds' feet were bleeding. Years later, she was quoted as saying that "Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: At the advent of the talking picture, silent movie stars try to reinvent their careers when they are forced to discover their voices.


Best Performance: Gene Kelly (Don)

Best Secondary Performance: Donald O'Connor (Cosmo)

Most Charismatic Award: Debbie Reynolds (Kathy)/Jean Hagen (Lena)

Best Scene:

  • The Royal Rascal Premiere

  • Don Drops In

  • First Talking Picture

  • Make 'Em Laugh

  • Moses, His Toeses

  • Good Mornin'

  • Singin' In The Rain

  • Lina Finds Out

  • Gotta Dance

  • Dancing Cavalier Premiere

Favorite Scene: Good Mornin'

Best Song: Make 'Em Laugh/Singin' In the Rain

Most Indelible Moment: Singin' In the Rain


In Memorium:

  • Harvey Evans, 80, American actor (West Side Story, Bank Shot, Enchanted)

  • Harry Colomby, 92, German-born American talent manager (Michael Keaton) and screenwriter (Johnny Dangerously, Working Stiffs)

  • John Bowman, 64, American television writer (Martin, Saturday Night Live, In Living Color)

  • John Madden, 85, American Hall of Fame football coach (Oakland Raiders) and sportscaster (NFL on CBS, NFL on Fox), Super Bowl champion (1977)

  • Jeanine Ann Roose, 84, American actress (It's a Wonderful Life), abdominal infection.

  • Jay Wolpert, 79, American television producer (The Price Is Right) and screenwriter (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Count of Monte Cristo)

  • Joan Copeland, 99, American actress (Search for Tomorrow, Law & Order, The Peacemaker)

  • Betty White, 99, American actress (The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hot in Cleveland) and comedian, five-time Emmy winner

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

R.F. Simpson: Cosmo, remind me to give you a raise.

Cosmo Brown: Uh, R. F.?

R.F. Simpson: Yes?

Cosmo Brown: Give me a raise.


Cosmo Brown: Talking pictures, that means I'm out of a job. At last I can start suffering and write that symphony.

R.F. Simpson: You're not out of job, we're putting you in as head of our new music department.

Cosmo Brown: Oh, thanks, R.F.! At last I can stop suffering and write that symphony.


Don Lockwood: Dignity; Always, Dignity.


Cosmo Brown: Lina. She can't act, she can't sing, she can't dance. A triple threat.


Lina Lamont: What do they think I am, dumb or something? Why, I make more money than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 8.75

Impact/Significance: 6

Novelty: 7

Classic-ness: 9.25

Rewatchability: 9.88

Audience Score: 9.2 (89% Google, 95% RT)

Total: 50.08


Remaining Questions:

  • Does Kathy become a star, and does Lina fade away?

  • What movie should have won the 1952 Best Picture?

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