Gene Kelly gleefully splish-splashing in a downpour as he’s “Singin’ in the Rain.” The cheerful Charleston dance Debbie Reynolds performs in “All I Do Is Dream of You.” Donald O'Connor’s hysterical routine to “Make ’Em Laugh.” And as a dim-bulb blonde, Jean Hagen blissfully declaring, “If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'.”
Topping the American Film Institute’s list of Greatest Movie Musicals and ranking No. 5 among the Top 100 Movies, “Singin’ in the Rain” remains as fresh, vibrant and thoroughly entertaining today as it was 60 years ago at its original release. To celebrate the anniversary, the landmark film will grace the silver screen in a one-day-only national screening by Fathom Events, including showings at 11 Utah theaters, on July 12, with a commemorative DVD release on July 17.
To mark the occasion, the Deseret News asked Utah’s film scholars, rabid fans and movie buffs to comment on the undeniable charm of "Singin' in the Rain."
Dr. James D’Arc, curator, BYU Motion Pictures Archive; author, “When Hollywood Came to Town: The History of Moviemaking in Utah:”
"Singin' in the Rain" celebrates the heritage of the movies and of movement as a central ingredient of the musical genre. The "Singin' in the Rain" dance sequence features the camera itself as a "character" in the film as in no other film prior to it. The sequence not only shows Kelly dancing his way down a city street immersed in a downpour as he uses his umbrella as a dance partner, but the camera pans, cranes up and down, dollies in and out and gives this centerpiece performance a dynamic sense of liberation and buoyant joy as nothing else could. In the 60 years since it was released, "Singin' in the Rain" has never failed to delight audiences.
James C. Christian, director of musical theater studies at Weber State University:
Two words: Cyd Charisse! Her double-edged performance in the "Broadway Melody" sequence as both "angel" and "devil" set the standard for dancing women in Hollywood. Even as a young boy, I thought that she was the hottest thing I'd ever seen on the big screen. Still do. And the movie has a few more things to offer: Donald O'Connor's phenomenal "Make 'Em Laugh" has never been equaled as a comic and dance tour de force; the trio of O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly frolicking in the exuberant "Good Morning" may be the singularly most infectious musical number in Hollywood history; Rita Moreno, in a featured cameo as Zelda Zanders, holds a soft spot for me because I had the opportunity of sitting down with her for lunch at Weber State several years ago. Classy then ... classy now.
Karen Azenberg, artistic director, Pioneer Theatre Company:
I love “Singin’ in the Rain” because it expresses the magic of love and the magic of movies and dance — and, with Gene Kelly, it’s two hours of total bliss! Sigh...
David Smith, actor:
I grew up watching “Singin' in the Rain,” laughing and smiling at the amazing performance by Donald O'Connor as Cosmo Brown. That man was funny. He could sing. He could dance. He could play the piano. And he gave and gave and gave to his audience as an actor. I had the opportunity to play this role at the Hale Center Theater Orem, and it is one of the greatest performing experiences I've ever had the chance to be a part of. “Singin' in the Rain” takes you away, makes you forget about your troubles and makes you want to sing and dance. What a wonderful gift “Singin' in the Rain” is.
Dr. Christopher Clark, assistant professor, Utah Valley University:
The most recent time I saw "Singin’ in the Rain" was with four of my five children on TV about three months ago. I wasn't sure if they would be able to focus on it and figured they would give it a half hour or so. But I was wrong. Not only did they watch the entire movie, but they also stopped and rewound the funniest parts. It was so exciting to me to see that the film still has an impact on new generations. We had a great time watching it as a family, and now my kids are begging me to take them to see the big-screen showing. I think that says a lot about that movie.
Teresa Love, playwright, director, BYU theater instructor:
When sexy Gene Kelly and hilariously athletic Donald O'Connor seemed to burst through the screen I had a new understanding of what "matinee idol" meant. "Make 'Em Laugh" made me cry tears of delight. "Moses Supposes" was a revelation of dance, music, lyrics and humor. There’s an absolute abandonment to the joy of being in love as Kelly performs the title song/dance number. That's how I dreamed my future husband would feel about me. Years later, before we married, I made sure he was on the same page as I was about “Singin' in the Rain.” Best. Movie. Musical. Ever.
Travis Poppleton, Deseret News contributor:Comment on this story
I love “Singin’ in the Rain” not just because of Donald O’Connor’s weightless, goofball energy that is just mesmerizing or because young Debbie Reynolds was about the most adorable girl on the planet, but “Singin’ in the Rain” is that wink Hollywood gives to audiences telling us, “Yeah, it’s all fake, but we have some great times together, don’t we?” You see other films make the same gesture, but nothing has captured the fun of it all like “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Dave Mortensen, founder, Utah Theater Bloggers:
With “Singin’ in the Rain,” script and song come together so well that it naturally becomes a part of your own story. I'm glad to consider it part of mine.
For more information on this re-release, visit fathomevents.com.