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
Like Lina Lamont, when sound films arrived, many silent screen actors lost their careers because their voices didn't match their screen personas. The most famous example is silent star John Gilbert. However, it wasn't the sound of his voice that killed his career; it was the rumored behind-the-scenes backstabbing (speeding up of his voice by sound technicians, on direct orders from someone with an agenda) and the ridiculously florid lines he had to say. The lines that Gene Kelly's character speaks in "The Dueling Cavalier" are based on the types of lines that killed John Gilbert's career. Gilbert's actual lines as a mock Romeo in the "William Shakespeare Scene" in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) is an example of this. See more »
The scene where Gene Kelly is shown performing in an action sequence from the silent film "The Dueling Cavalier" actually uses footage from his earlier film The Three Musketeers. At one point, Lana Turner, who played Lady de Winter in that film, is briefly seen coming through a door to embrace Kelly before being immediately replaced by new footage of Jean Hagen hugging Kelly. 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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The transition from the silent film era to the newly arrived technique of the 'talkies' proved to be the ruin for many well established stars that were great on the screen, but who had no professional training in the theater, or otherwise, and had horrible speaking voices. Thus, a star of the magnitude of Lina Lamont, suffers a hard blow to her career and ego.
That's the basis of one of the best movies about old Hollywood of all times: "Singin' in the Rain". The film is one of the classics it is because of the marvelous direction of Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, two men who knew a lot about musicals. The screen play is by one of the best people in the business, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
MGM was the studio that employed all the stars one sees in the film, and what a cast they put together: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Cyd Charisse in a dancing part, Millard Mitchell and Rita Moreno. As if those names weren't big enough, there is the fantastic musical numbers that even, viewing them today, have kept their freshness because of the care in which this film was crafted.
"Singin' in the Rain" is one of the best musicals of all times. It's right up there with the best of them thanks to the vision of Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and it will live forever as more people discover this wonderful example of entertainment.
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