Tuesday, September 25, 2012
In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of its release, Singin’ in the Rain has been added to The Orpheum's 2012 Classic Movie Series, and it will be dancing its way back into the theatre for a one-night-only event this Friday at 7:15pm. (Doors open at 6:15 for trivia and prizes!)
Dubbed "The Greatest Musical of Ever" by Time Magazine, Singin' In The Rain is a joyful piece of cinema set during the transitional period between silent films and "talkies" in the 1920s a la The Artist (winner of the Oscar for Best Picture this year).
Here are a few things you might not know about this classic film:
1. The movie was mostly an excuse for Arthur Freed, the producer who made so many of the classic MGM musicals, to recycle songs that he'd written as a lyricist with composer Nacio Herb Brown two decades earlier for some of the studio's earliest musicals. As Betty Comden recalled, she and co-screenwriter Adolph Green were told by Freed, "‘Kids, you’re going to write a movie called “Singin' in the Rain”. Just put all of my songs in it.’ All we knew was there would be some scene where someone would be singing, and it would be raining."
2. The title number took seven days to film, with six hours of fake rain each day. The water was mixed with milk to make it show better on camera. The constantly drenched Kelly had a bad cold and fever the whole time, which makes his sunny demeanor during the piece all the more impressive.
3. In an ironic case of double dubbing, when Debbie Reynolds (Kathy) was dubbing Jean Hagen (Lina)'s voice during the movie, the voice you hear is actually not Debbie Reynolds but Betty Noyes.
4. Debbie Reynolds (Kathy) was quoted as saying "The two hardest things I ever did in my life are childbirth and “Singin' in the Rain'." Although she praised Gene Kelly for his directing skills, he was a notoriously hard taskmaster when it came to the dancing routines. At one point she was so exhausted she curled up under a piano to cry, where Fred Astaire found her and offered to give her some pointers. She was only 19 when she was given the role.
5. O'Connor also worked himself to exhaustion on the "Make 'Em Laugh" number, which used bits of acrobatic comedy he'd done in vaudeville (including running up a wall and flipping into a somersault). O'Connor was a four-pack-a-day smoker, and after filming the number, he was bedridden for several days, only to learn that the footage had been accidentally destroyed. So he did it all again.