A film which achieved immortality and eternal youth - now with a bonus second disc
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 September 2013
There is only one thing that needs to be said about "Singin' in the rain": it is a beautiful masterpiece, produced to make people "happy again" - and which succeeds in doing it again and again, since more than 60 years now! Enough said. If you saw this film, you know enough about it - and if you didn't see it yet, shame on you! Do it immediately!
In this 2-disc edition we have a good copy of the film itself with numerous subtitles available and that includes English for sound impaired. The bonuses on the second disc are really worth watching, especially "Musicals, great musicals". Enjoy!
Not having much to say about this wonderful film which most people know anyway, I would like to write a little more about the actors, who offered us this beautiful thing. Sadly, most of them departed since to join Lord's great troupe in heavens...
The first to go was Millard Mitchell, who plays R.F Simpson, the tough but mostly benevolent boss of Monumental Pictures. Known also from films like "Twelve o'clock high" and "Winchester 73", lifelong heavy smoker Mitchell died from lung cancer one year after starring in this film, on 13 October 1953. He was 50 years old.
Jean Hagen, a girl from Chicago, a very beautiful and talented actress who plays the crucially important and totally despicable character of Lina Lamont, was already well known from her great role in "The Asphalt Jungle". After "Singin' in the rain" she played a lot and made again quite a splash in "The big knife" in 1955. She had to interrupt her career because of serious illness in 1964. As soon as she became ill her husband of 18 years dumped her and sued for divorce. She spend almost all the rest of her life in various hospitals and a convalescent home, before dying in 1977, at the age of 54, after losing a long battle against throat cancer. In this film she really doesn't have an easy role but she performed PERFECTLY - as consequence her character, Lina Lamont, is probably the most despicable, most ridiculous, dumbest, meanest bitch in all history of cinema! It took a REAL talent to play THAT!
The legendary Gene Kelly, one of the greatest dancers and singers in whole history of cinema, who plays here the main masculine character of Don Lockwood, remained a great Hollywood star for many years, but mostly bowed out from big screen after the end of musicals era in 1960. As an old man he finally confessed a little secret to a journalist - when performing the legendary scene of singing the song "Singing in the rain" and splashing through water puddles, he was running a 39,8° fever! Gene Kelly died in 1996, aged 83.
Douglas Fowley, who plays here the small but important (and extremely funny) role of hyperactive, overstressed and overworked director Roscoe Dexter, had a long and succesful career playing mostly second roles in Hollywood and then continued into an even more succesful career on TV. He died in 1998, just before his 87th birthday, leaving behind 3 children - and SEVEN former wives!
Donald O'Connor, who plays Cosmo Brown, a singing, dancing, piano playing entertainer - and who needed three days of medical rest after performing the splendid "Make them laugh" song and dance in this film - also had a long and succesful career. He died in 2003, aged 78, survived by Gloria, his wife of 47 years as well as by four children.
Cyd Charisse, a girl from Amarillo, Texas, was, as everybody knows, THE one exception in world's history to the rule "even the longest legs have an end"...))) Her legendary career started with this film - in fact soon after an insurance company accepted to insure her legs for FIVE million dollars (1952 dollars!). She danced a lot more in the 50s, mostly with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, before taking more or less an early retirement when musicals went out of fashin after 1960. A tough and clever great lady, a lifelong member of Republican Party, she lived a long and happy life and left us in 2008, aged 87, survived by Tony, her husband of 60(!) years, two children and two grandchildren.
Debbie Reynolds, a girl from El Paso, Texas, the youngest cast member (born in 1932 she was barely 20 years old then), who plays the main feminine role of Kathy Selden, played a lot after this film, even if she never scored such a hit again. The world and the whole humanity owe her two great things - "Singin' in the Rain" and Princess Leia (yes, she is Carrie Fisher's mum!). She is still with us as of September 2013 - and may she live 100 years and more!
This is a great and wonderful film, which will never age and will never be forgotten. I am so grateful to all people who made it - they left behind them a great gift to us all. THANK YOU!
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