Getting the number five nod for AFI's 100 greatest American movies of all time, Singin' in the Rain is considered to be the greatest American musical ever filmed. The film was directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and starred Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen. The story was written by the famous comedy partners Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Gene Kelly, who is considered one of the greatest choreographers of musicals as well as a prolific actor and director, will be seen again soon when we watch the luminescent An American in Paris which ironically is the movie he just finished when he was brought on to head Singin' in the Rain with Stanley Donen. He has an amazing dance scene with the transcendental Cyd Charisse (who goes on to star in the Movie Silk Stockings (1957) which is a remake of the movie Ninotchka (1939) which we will be watching later this year.)
Donen, a protege of Kelly, went on to direct a lot of great movies including Damn Yankees, The Pajama Game and Kismet, as well as the troublesome Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He also directed the Lionel Ritchie music video "Dancing on the Ceiling".
As we watch this movie we want to pay attention to the use of sound in the movies. We will be looking at this this PowerPoint from the British Film Institute to discuss this further. As we watch, try to figure out:
- How were the tap dancing sounds created during the Singin' in the Rain musical sequence?
- How were the voices dubbed in the movie?
- Who actually sang the song Singin' in the Rain during the performance at the movie premiere?
- How does the music impact the scenes in the movie?
- What is a Foley artist and what do they do?