1927 Hollywood. Monumental Pictures' biggest stars, glamorous on-screen couple Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood, are also an off-screen couple if the trade papers and gossip columns are to be believed. Both perpetuate the public perception if only to please their adoring fans and bring people into the movie theaters. In reality, Don barely tolerates her, while Lina, despite thinking Don beneath her, simplemindedly believes what she sees on screen in order to bolster her own stardom and sense of self-importance. R.F. Simpson, Monumental's head, dismisses what he thinks is a flash in the pan: talking pictures. It isn't until The Jazz Singer (1927) becomes a bona fide hit which results in all the movie theaters installing sound equipment that R.F. knows Monumental, most specifically in the form of Don and Lina, have to jump on the talking picture bandwagon, despite no one at the studio knowing anything about the technology. Musician Cosmo Brown, Don's best friend, gets hired as Monumental's ... Written by
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 . See more »
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. See more »
[broadcasting on radio]
This is Dora Bailey, ladies and gentlemen, talking to you from the front of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. What a night, ladies and gentlemen, what a night! Every star in Hollywood's heaven is here to make Monumental Pictures' premiere of "The Royal Rascal" the outstanding event of 1927! Everyone is breathlessly awaiting the arrival of Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood!
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One thing I noticed in reading the comments of this movie is that nobody recognized the screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Without their screenplay the movie does not get made. It is a great script that was made better by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donens' fluid direction. Everything in this movie glides effortlessly. Throw in dancing by Donald O'connor, Debbie Reynolds, Cyd Charisse and of course Gene Kelly, Great songs and the willingness of producer Arthur Freed to let the creative people to do their thing and you have a classic.
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