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
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. 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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This is my favorite movie musical with no stage forebear.
Consider what's in the mix: A cachet of songs, all tried-and-true from other movies. A cast that was at the top of its form, all the way from Kelly himself to the supporting leads played by Rita Moreno and Millard Mitchell. A script that is, at once, romantic and exciting and sharp and funny.
Stir together with a generous heaping of MGM color and a dash of a director with a stellar pedigree and the result is, well, something like "Singin' in the Rain."
There's not a misstep in the movie's entire 103-minute running time. I love the pokes at early filmmaking ("She never *did* figure out where that microphone was, boss!") and the sheer energy of the musical numbers ("Fit as a Fiddle," "Good Mornin'").
Not only that, but there's not a more romantic scene in all of filmdom that can compare with Reynolds and Kelly dancing to "You Were Meant for Me." Their side-by-side tap dancing says more about how they feel about each other than pages and pages of dialog.
If you think this movie is just the sequence of Kelly splashing like a five-year-old in a puddle, you obviously haven't seen the entire film. Do so--now! You won't regret it!
PS: In the "rent-this-too" category, if you've seen and love "Singin' in the Rain," check out "The Band Wagon." It skewers the world of theater in much the same way as this film roasts Hollywood!
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