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The making of the best musical of all, 'Singin' in the Rain', presented by
Debbie Reynolds who was the female star of the movie is, like the movie, a
delight to watch. She tells us about the early days of MGM, how Arthur Freed
produced this masterpiece, how Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen directed, how
she and others were cast, how the script was changed, how this movie was
Some moments other people are talking, like Donen, Donald O'Connor, Kahleen Freeman, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green and dancer Cyd Charisse. They all give useful information about the movie and the people involved with the movie. This together with the best images from the movie and some material that never made it to the movie make this a fine special about the making of the greatest American musical ever made.
Not surprising, host Debbie Reynolds said everyone connected with this
movie thought they were "just making another splashy MGM musical, like
so many that were so popular in the 1950s. We had no idea this film
would be listed, years later, as one of the greatest films of all
This 35-minute feature is part of the two-disc special-edition DVD of "Singin' In The Rain" which celebrates the 50th anniversary of this famous musical. It starred our host, along with Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Jean Hagen. This has to be Kelly's most famous film. Even those who never watched the movie have, at some time in their life, has seen clips of him dancing to the title number.
Many silent screen stars did not survive the "talkie" revolution, the switch to silent to talking films. That transitional period is the primary story of "Singin' In The Rain."
Debbie gives us the history of musicals at MGM, beginning with the "The Broadway Melody" in 1929. I was shocked to hear that in the next musical, "The Hollywood Revue Of 1929," the key song was "Singin' In The Rain." I guess like others I presumed the song was made for this 1952 hit movie.
Reynolds, director Stanley Donen, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green heap praise on Arthur Freed, who produced those first musicals, and more after that including, of course, this film. He also wrote the lyrics to the songs and those were written back in the late '20s.
It was nice to see Donald O'Connor again, along with Kathleen Freeman, Cyd Charisse and Stanely Donan. O'Connor, however, was only on briefly here. My guess was that he was ill because O'Connor died the following year after this interview.
Kelly, who co-directed as well as starring in the film, was a perfectionist and had to have everything, not just the dancing, to be perfect, such as set decorations and having everything look just as it would in the 1920s. Yet, no one resented this because they liked the guy. Like fellow hoofer Fred Astaire, Gene worked his partners hard. Reynolds feet bled at times and Cyrisse would go home black-and-blue.
Reynolds covers a lot of ground and, of course, a fair amount is about herself but, that's okay. She was fair to everyone. If you really love this film, you'll enjoy all the details she provides.
"What a Glorious Feeling: The Making of Singin' in the Rain" documents
what happened to make "Singin' in the Rain." It talks about the
history, and who was originally cast. It also includes the history of
the music, and talks about two that were left out. It talks about some
important people that helped make the songs and why they chose "Singing
in the Rain" for their theme.
It even tells how the final number ("The Broadway Ballet," I think it was called) had an actual story.
The documentary is about 30 minutes long, and pretty cool if you want to learn the history of "Singin' in the Rain." However, it didn't give too much insight on the story or anything- mostly the music. I would recommend it to fans of the movie, if they want to know how it was made. "Making Of's" are always great.
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This short film was created for the DVD release of "Singing in the
Rain". And, while I enjoyed it, it is a rather weak film for many
reasons. An obvious one is that by 2002, a lot of folks associated with
the film were dead and so they often interviewed folks who were not the
best choices. For example, Kathleen Freeman (who I always liked) is
interviewed a LOT--but she's only a bit character in the film. Another
problem is that the film is a whitewash job--with only glowing stuff to
say from start to finish. Now I do understand that in later years
Debbie Reynolds came to appreciate her experience working with Gene
Kelly. However, here she describes it as perfection...sheer perfection.
Yet, I have heard her interviewed and she admitted that, at the time,
she HATED working with Kelly as he was a bit of a martinet--and drove
her to tears. Donald O'Connor felt pretty much the same about the guy
but none of it is in this sanitized film. In this short it's all
peaches and cream--with one happy story after another. The only
exception, and I was shocked to see it, was the scene where Kelly's
double took a tumble--and you have to see it to believe it! For real
behind the scenes information, this is NOT the film for you. In fact,
I'd much rather you read the IMDb trivia for "Singing in the Rain", as
it is much more informative. You never learn about Kelly having a fever
of 101 when he did the dance for the title song nor about the demands
of the song "Make 'Em Laugh" made on O'Connor (it was brutal and left
him bedridden for days).
All in all, there must be a better making of featurette for this film.
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