Slipping and sliding back into Fathom-equipped movie theaters nationwide for one night only on July 12 in honor of its sixtieth anniversary, the iconic and legendary 1952 movie musical masterpiece SINGIN' IN THE RAIN makes its grand return to the silver screen in a brand new HD remastering that any movie musical fan, film fanatic or Broadway baby will definitely want to experience first hand. A special event presented by Turner Classic Movies - also featuring an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary hosted by Robert Osborne and spotlighting original film star Debbie Reynolds - the July 12 showing of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is one more enduring entry in a continuing series of classic releases shown in HD for the first time in Fathom-equipped movie theaters across the country prior to their release on Blu-ray - past highlighted films have included SCARFACE, WEST SIDE STORY, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, CASABLANCA and many more. So, in celebration of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN splashing its way back to the silver screen next week, today we are going to take a look back at some of the most well-known and best-loved scenes from the film - boasting a star-studded cast led by Gene Kelly, Donald O'Conner and Debbie Reynolds; directed by Kelly and Stanley Donen, with songs by Nacio Herb Brown and movie musical magnate Arthur Freed - as well as partake in the many famous and infamous homages paying tribute to the rightly well-regarded movie musical gem over the years since its release. Gene Kelly to Gwyneth Paltrow to Kurt Browning to Usher; GLEE to THE MUPPET SHOW to FAMILY GUY; A CLOCKWORK ORANGE to FAME to SPAMALOT and far, far beyond; this retrospective look at one of the most important and influential - and just plain fun - American movie musicals ever produced certainly has it all; and then some! Ain't it great to stay up late?
More information on SINGIN' IN THE RAIN presented on July 12 at Fathom-equipped movie theaters is available here.
A Glorious Feelin'
Boastin' one of the most memorable and marvel-worthy songstacks of any movie musical ever created, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is simply one of the most entertaining, enjoyable and joyous American films ever produced and any chance that comes along for us to reassess and re-examine its multitude of merits and stunning attributes is one that should be taken with relish and brio. With each and every lyric having come from the pen of the famous and accomplished producer Arthur Freed himself - and every melody (more or less) courtesy of Nacio Herb Brown - this film was a passion project like few others; even in the so-called Golden Age of movie musicals that the 1940s and 50s evidently were (one could make an argument for the current renaissance, as well, but that is a digression of sorts). The fact that the songs were culled exclusively from the catalog of Freed and Brown bolsters the claim for the almost peerless influence that SINGIN' IN THE RAIN has managed to have on movie musicals and musicals in general since its release sixty years ago - it is a through and through, true blue jukebox musical, after all. While the sheer concept of utilizing a retrofitted score for a stage musical or screen musical deriving from the collective drawer of a particular songwriter or group and outfitting it with a new story created specifically to utilize the songs as dramatic or comedic illustrative pieces is nothing new to Broadway or Hollywood, although the re-emergence of this trend and its almost ubiquitous preponderance in recent years is certainly telling insofar as the particular prescience that the format of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN affords just in its mere presence as a jukebox movie musical. While many would be surprised to discover that the film was only a modest hit upon its release in 1952, the years have been more than kind to the now lauded film and it has regularly appeared on top ten lists from film journals and entertainment magazines, as well as holds a place in the National Film Registry and has also been selected as one of the finest American films of all time by the American Film Institute.
Additionally, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN has acted as the source of inspiration to a vast array of actors, directors and performers in the intervening years, with resulting pop culture tributes coming from sources as diverse as a murderous Malcolm McDowell in Stanley Kubrick's chilling and futuristic A CLOCKWORK ORANGE to Matthew Morrison, guest star Gwyneth Paltrow and company donning raincoats and unfurling umbrellas to songs from the seminal soundtrack of the film on Fox's GLEE to unforgettable solo tributes by Olympian Kurt Browning, Grammy-winner Usher, Groundskeeper Willie on THE SIMPSONS, the titular clan and creator himself from FAMILY GUY and many, many more.
Sixty years on, SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is as refreshing and rewarding to experience as ever - maybe even more so. While MAMMA MIA, JERSEY BOYS and ROCK OF AGES may (or may not) pack them in at theaters and multiplexes around the world, the forerunner and grand daddy of them all as far as jukebox musicals are concerned is undoubtedly the one, the only, the resplendent SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. What a glorious feelin' this film can give a viewer! Don't miss your chance to catch it again.
First up, here is the trailer for Fathom's one-night-only in-theater presentation of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN on July 12.
Next, sample one of the most mesmerizing and enchanting movie musical moments of all time as you sway, smile and sing along to the unforgettable title song from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN as performed by Gene Kelly. Fun fact: the rain is really milk (it shows up better on film).
Following that, witness another one of the finest - and plain old most fun - musical numbers in film history; "Good Morning", performed by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Conner and Gene Kelly.
See movie musical history made before your very eyes with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse doing a delectable dance duet in the spectacular "Broadway Melody Ballet" grand finale sequence from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Do not adjust your glasses (leave that part to Gene) - it's all the real deal!
Get swept up in the romance and whimsy of the most fondly remembered ballad from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, the tender Gene Kelly/Debbie Reynolds duet "You Were Meant For Me". An aural and visual swoon made celluloid dream scene!
Take part in the hilarity and stupefying stunts implicit in the simply sensational "Make 'Em Laugh", coming fast and furious from the expressive presence and fleet feet of Donald O'Conner.
While "Make 'Em Laugh" may be the biggest solo showstopper in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN besides the title number, the tongue-twisting lyrical turns and eye-popping choreographic feats accomplished over the course of the immensely impressive "Moses Supposes" are among the most choice moments in the entire movie musical; which, in this case, is clearly saying something significant!
Closing out the clip collection from the original film, Debbie Reynolds shines in this (original) outtake musical number, "You Are My Lucky Star".
The various tips of the top hat to SINGIN' IN THE RAIN over the years has ranged from feature films (FAME) to sitcoms and TV series (GLEE and WILL & GRACE) to animated series (FAMILY GUY and THE SIMPSONS) to Broadway musicals (SPAMALOT and Twyla Tharp's stage adaptation of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN itself), yet perhaps the most infamous homage of all is the ironic and unexpected appearance of Gene Kelly crooning the title song during a brutal rape and beating by a group of thugs in Stanley Kubrick's landmark 1971 film A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. You may click through to revisit that clip by clicking here, but be warned it contains explicit content and violence meant only for mature audiences.
While the hit adult-oriented animated comedy FAMILY GUY has had an odd homage or two to SINGIN' IN THE RAIn over its decade-plus-long run ("Good Morning" by Peter, couch and company leaps immediately to mind), show creator and avowed Broadway baby Seth MacFarlane committed his own seriously strong take on the title song at the Royal Albert Hall in 2009, abetted by no less than the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as his back-up band. See the TED creator show off his major song and dance skills below.
GLEE star and Broadway baby Matthew Morrison tackles "Make 'Em Laugh" in this spirited and well-sung iteration of the comedy classic featured on the hit Fox musical dramedy series.
After that, sample GLEE standout Darren Criss and his re-envisioning of "Make 'Em Laugh" as a futuristic emo-rock/pop guitar ballad in this surprisingly effective and impossibly cool cover version.
A mash-up as only the masterminds of GLEE could ever conceive of making real, enjoy this shockingly smooth merging of the title song from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN with Rihanna's recent international smash hit "Umbrella". Makes you want to get a little wet, as well - particularly with temperatures as hot as they are this week throughout much of the U.S. - does it not?
Olympian Kurt Browning performs his own unique "Singin' In The Rain" in this clip from a 1990s TV special highlighting the renown figure skater.
Here we have AMERICAN IDOL winner David Cook giving his spirited singing of a SINGIN' IN THE RAIN tune in this vintage high school performance capture from 2001. Even then you could tell he was destined for stardom!
Gene Anthony Ray recreates Gene Kelly's hallowed SINGIN' IN THE RAIN raincoat routine in this clip from Alan Parker's touchstone 1980 movie musical FAME. Just how many dancers has that single scene in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN inspired to pursue the artform for a living? Incalculable amounts, no doubt!
Gene Kelly joins the Muppets for a rendition of "Singin' In The Rain" on THE MUPPET SHOW below.
Check out the boisterous and brassy original theatrical trailer for the film below, presented in promotion of the special 50th anniversary select-city re-release ten years ago.
Lastly, include yourself in the wonderment of witnessing 21st century technology at its best in Michael Haussman's astonishing music video incorporating superstar Usher into the original film footage of the eponymous SINGIN' IN THE RAIN signature song. Wow! Dueling cavaliers, indeed!
So, what exactly is it about SINGIN' IN THE RAIN that has helped it to endure for sixty years with seemingly no stopping in sight anytime soon, having gone on to inspire so very many generations since its somewhat unceremonious debut in 1952? Is it the lilting and likeable soundtrack by Freed and Brown and the opportunites it affords performers, then and now? Perhaps, is it the instantly lovable lead performances by the charismatic triple-threat trio of Kelly, O'Conner and Reynolds (with a special nod to cameos by rising stars Cyd Charisse, Rita Moreno, Kathleen Freeman and more)? Is it the brilliant mix of humor, romance, story, song and pure red, white and blue American entertainment at its best? Yes, yes, yes - and yes, oh, yes. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is as good as movie musicals get and July 12 is the ideal chance to experience the singin', dancin' and joy all over again - or, just maybe, for the very first time. Let's thank our lucky stars!