SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
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SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, 1952, Warner Bros., 103 min. Dirs. Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen. On a short list of the greatest screen musicals ever made, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN began with legendary MGM producer Arthur Freed giving screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green a stack of songs he’d written early in his career (with partner Nacio Herb Brown) – including “Broadway Melody,” “You Are My Lucky Star” and the title song – with the simple request to weave a story around the numbers. What emerged was a sublime marriage of song and dance, innocence and nostalgia, heart-tugging romance and surreal comedy (especially in co-star Donald O’Connor’s show-stopping “Make ’Em Laugh” routine). Co-director Kelly shines as silent-movie idol Don Lockwood, whose career (and leading lady, hilariously played by Jean Hagen) are imperiled by the coming of sound – until he hooks up with lovely ingenue Debbie Reynolds. The brilliant supporting cast includes Millard Mitchell, Douglas Fowley and the great Cyd Charisse, whose long-legged “Broadway Melody” ballet with Kelly nearly steals the show!