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Singin in the Rain - new SE (Fall)


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31 replies to this topic

#1 of 32 Patrick Mirza

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:30 AM

Singin' In the Rain will be getting a new 50th anniversary special edition DVD this Fall according to the AP.
To celebrate the musical's golden anniversary, Warner Brothers plans to release a newly restored 35mm print in selected theaters and a special edition DVD in the Fall. Extras will include a new documentary about the perennial favorite as well as Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer, a documentary that recently aired on PBS.

#2 of 32 Ed St. Clair

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:32 AM

Great to hear.
Transfer was always highly thought of, soundtrack ok, let's see this with the red carpet rolled out!
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#3 of 32 Dan Brecher

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:45 AM

I read about this on Yahoo earlier this evening. I am absolutely thrilled, especially since I held out all this time from ever buying the initial release in the hope of an eventual SE. Great news!

Dan

#4 of 32 gregstaten

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:46 AM

This is a film that I've not only owned on VHS, LD and DVD, but one that's always been an early purchase and a great way to compare one system to another.

Back in the late eighties, I used the Criterion LD of it to convince a fellow home video fan that he had to dump VHS and go LD. The difference between the two was jaw dropping, especially in the color rendition. Later, when DVD came out, I repeated the same test, this time syncing up the Criterion LD to the DVD. Boy did the previously gorgeous LD look lousy!

Incidentally, I hope they can license the Criterion commentary. It is a great discussion not just about the musical form, but also about the actual time portrayed in the film. It is truly amazing how much they got right about the transition to sound. It also included the actual sound demo film that was spoofed in the movie.

-greg

#5 of 32 Jason Whyte

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:49 AM

This is incredible news for my favorite musical. Just thinking about this film makes me happy. I too hope that the materials from the Criterion laserdisc will be used on this version.

I'm also hoping for an original vintage MONO track this time around!!!

Make 'em laugh! Posted Image

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#6 of 32 Peter Kline

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Posted March 29 2002 - 10:57 AM

Perhaps co-director Stanley Donen, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor will do the commentary on the DVD?

"Dum dee dum dum da da dum dee dum dum...." Posted Image

#7 of 32 Peter Kline

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Posted March 29 2002 - 11:04 AM

,K0the Rain' marks 50th year with screenings, DVD, TV special
Thu Mar 28, 8:47 PM ET

By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - Stanley Donen says the idea was born when he encountered Arthur Freed on a street at the MGM studio in 1950.

Freed produced the studio's "class" musicals. He also was a lyricist who had been at MGM since 1929's "The Broadway Melody," the first talkie to win an Academy Award as best picture.

As Donen recalls it, "Arthur said, `I've made movies with Rodgers and Hart, Berlin and Kern songs. Why don't we do something with my songs?'

'"Singin' in the Rain' was the result of that."

"Singin' in the Rain," co-directed and co-choreographed by Donen and Gene Kelly and starring Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor, first reached America's movie houses 50 years ago, on April 10, 1952.

It was an immediate hit and has remained one of America's best-loved musicals.

Critic Pauline Kael, often tough to impress, praised it years later in The New Yorker as "perhaps the most enjoyable of all movie musicals." In 1998, the American Film Institute (news - web sites) survey of the top 100 American movies ranked "Singin' in the Rain" at No. 10.

And Kelly's soggy solo in the title song has become one of the most replayed moments in film, right up there with Rhett's emphatic goodbye to Scarlett in "Gone With the Wind" and Humphrey Bogart's noble farewell to Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca."

To celebrate "Singin' in the Rain's" 50th anniversary, owner AOL Time Warner (the classic was part of the MGM library sold by the studio to Ted Turner) plans to release a newly restored 35mm print in selected theaters, and a DVD version with a new documentary in the fall.

PBS showed another new documentary, "Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer," during a recent pledge break, and that, too, will be released as a DVD.

Donen was recently asked if the filmmakers knew they were making a movie that would be revered a half-century later.

"You can't get through a movie if you don't think it's good," he replied. "Certainly we thought it was good. More than that? I don't know. You don't think about that. You just think about how you can do it. That's what's on your mind."

Back in 1950, once MGM had green-lighted the "Singin' in the Rain" project, Freed began looking for the right vehicle to feature the lyrics he had written for Nacio Herb Brown's music. The producer hired Broadway aces Betty Comden and Adolph Green to write a screenplay.

Comden and Green had been fascinated with Hollywood's transition to talkies in the late 1920s, when actors' careers could be ruined by the sound of their voices. At first, they fashioned a story about a Western star who made a comeback in talkies as a singing cowboy. Howard Keel was considered for the role. But the cowboy was dumped for a song-and-dance man.

Kelly was the obvious choice as star, and he and his collaborator, Donen, enthusiastically joined the project. Freed wanted to cast Oscar Levant as Kelly's on-screen collaborator, but Kelly, Donen and the writers insisted on a dancer. O'Connor, who had been dancing in B musicals and playing straight man to Francis the talking mule at Universal, was chosen.

For the leading lady, Freed took a chance on the 20-year-old Reynolds, who had played minor roles in two MGM musicals. She underwent punishing tap lessons to meet Kelly's exacting standards. In the latter she failed.

"Gene was hard on me," she said in an interview last year, "But he had to be. I had to learn everything in three to six months. Donald O'Connor had been dancing since he was 3 months old, Gene since he was 2 years old. Cyd Charisse and everybody were so talented. To be thrown in there, Gene knew I had to be challenged.

"I was terrified. I was crying. I was practicing and rehearsing all the time, my feet were bleeding. I was trying, but it was so much to learn."

"Debbie was scared because she had never worked with two guys like Kelly and myself," O'Connor said in a recent interview. "There was a lot of fear there. But Gene was just marvelous to her."

"Debbie wasn't a dancer; she hadn't had the training," Charisse explains. "I had just come out of a Russian Ballet company, so I was a very strong dancer. She did a helluva job, but I think she cried her way through it, because she was just sick. She wasn't used to the drive that Gene had. He was very strong, and he liked to be the blue collar guy, the man of the streets."

Charisse was a latecomer to "Singin' in the Rain." Freed felt the movie needed a smash number for a finale, and he ordered a 15-minute ballet incorporating his songs "Broadway Melody" and "Broadway Rhythm." Kelly's assistant, Carol Haney, was cast as his dance partner, but Freed didn't like her test and replaced her with Charisse, an MGM contract dancer.

In a 1987 interview, Kelly — who died in 1996 at age 83 — recalled that one of the biggest challenges of his famous rain number was "how to get into it."

He hated the Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy musicals in which the songbirds suddenly broke into a duet. "(Musical director) Roger Edens solved that by coming up with the `Doodedoo-doo'" intro, said Kelly.

In the movie, Kelly's lovestruck character had just fallen for Reynolds' chorus girl.

"This was my way of expressing it: by splashing around in the rain just like a kid," Kelly remarked. "I remember when I was a boy in Pittsburgh. You couldn't resist playing around in the slush, even though your mother told you not to."

Always a meticulous planner, Kelly indicated where depressions should be dug in the studio street and sidewalk so he could splash them on cue with the music.

"We shot the number on a backlot street in the daytime," Donen told The Associated Press. "Tarpaulins were pulled across overhead to make it night. It was summer when we were shooting, and under that tarpaulin it was extremely hot. Around 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon, we couldn't shoot; people in Culver City were watering their lawns because of the heat and we lost our water pressure. But we got through it. You always find a way."

The classic number was completed in a day and a half. And Kelly caught a cold.

The other standout solo of "Singin' in the Rain" was O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh" routine in which he races through clownish skits aimed at bellylaughs. The climax comes when he seems to defy gravity.

"I had climbed up the wall in two other pictures, but I made only one revolution," O'Connor remarked in a phone interview from his Sedona, Arizona, home. "It was very difficult to find a finish for `Make 'em Laugh.' So I decided that I would climb up a wall and do a back somersault, then I'd climb up another wall and do a back somersault. Gene said, 'Can you do it?' I said, `I dunno, I've never tried it before.'

"So I did it — no wires or anything — and it was wonderful. Two days later, I went to the set, and everybody was so happy with that number. And Gene says, `Do you think you could do it again?' I said, `Oh, sure, anytime.' `We're going to have to do it tomorrow,' Gene said. `The cinematographer left the aperture open, and it's all foggy.' So I did it again."

Probably because the motion picture academy had bestowed seven Oscars (news - web sites) and a special award on Kelly the previous year for another Freed-Kelly musical, "An American in Paris," the academy voters overlooked "Singin' in the Rain" among 1952's movies.

It was nominated only for supporting actress (Jean Hagen) and for Lenny (actually spelled "Lennie" - PK) Hayton's score, and won neither.

#8 of 32 Jon_Are

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Posted March 29 2002 - 11:16 AM

This is one great movie. I'll toss my current copy up ebay way and pick up this SE.

Here's a thought: how about a Roger Ebert commentary, ala Citizen Kane? I know Rog loves the film; I bet he'd do it.

Jon

#9 of 32 Paul J Anderson

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Posted March 29 2002 - 11:21 AM

i would buy this in a heartbeat, especially with an Ebert commentary. i'm sure he would fill us in on the story behind how this great film was snubbed by the Academy.
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#10 of 32 GerardoHP

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Posted March 29 2002 - 11:30 AM

No one here indicated whether this will be a new print of the film or not. Despite the raves about the LD's and DVD's in this thread, I think every version of SITR that's been out in the last 30+ years (video and theatrical) is way too blue. This title has been needing a new print emulating the old Technicolor palette for decades. I sincerely hope this will be it.
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#11 of 32 Scott Leopold

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Posted March 29 2002 - 12:13 PM

This is one I'll definitely be getting! I nearly donated $100 to PBS a week or two ago just to get the Gene Kelly special (it was nearly that good). That documentary is worth purchasing on its own, and I'm thrilled that I'll be able to add it to my library.

#12 of 32 Peter Kline

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Posted March 29 2002 - 12:52 PM

The most recent DVD version didn't have a blue cast (although TV's in general do). It was made from the Technicolor separations I believe. I'm sure we will be treated to a 5.1 surround sound version using the Chace system even though the film was not meant to be this way. I also hope a mono mix is included.

#13 of 32 Steve Christou

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Posted March 29 2002 - 01:08 PM

My favorite musical, I'll definitely get this.Posted Image

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#14 of 32 Ryan L B

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Posted March 29 2002 - 01:42 PM

how does the original look. oh yeah, no snapper case!!!!!!!!!

#15 of 32 RobertR

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Posted March 29 2002 - 01:51 PM

I won't buy it unless I'm reassured that EE hasn't been added to make the transfer "better" (the current transfer doesn't suffer from EE).

#16 of 32 GerardoHP

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Posted March 29 2002 - 02:00 PM

[quote]The most recent DVD version didn't have a blue cast{/quote]I respectfully and totally disagree. In the most recent DVD version the blue is a lot better (less) than in previous versions, but it's there nontheless, and it's most visible on subjects that should be white or black, like the men's tuxedos, Gene Kelly's hair, the women's white furs, and the reflections on people's faces. Blue, blue, blue where it should be deep white and black.
Gerardo

#17 of 32 Andrew Budgell

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Posted March 29 2002 - 02:05 PM

I have been holding out on the current DVD, because of rumours of this. I can't wait! Warner keep 'em coming! I can't wait for Giant, now! Any updates on this one?

Andy

#18 of 32 Patrick McCart

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Posted March 29 2002 - 03:19 PM

Sadly, Singin' In The Rain's original negative(s) are not around anymore due to fire damage.

I'll gladly see this film in the theater...I haven't even seen it yet!

As for the DVD...I'm glad I held out on this title. I'd love a commentary with Reynolds, O'Connor, and Donen!

Since they're including a PBS doc, this'll probably be a 2-disc SE like Citizen Kane. Great idea since they have DVD rights to PBS titles anyways.

#19 of 32 paul o'donnell

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Posted March 29 2002 - 08:28 PM

Yes, holding out and dealing with VHS has paid off, yay me Posted Image
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#20 of 32 Peter Kline

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Posted March 30 2002 - 12:07 AM

Patrick,
Where did you hear that the original negs were destroyed in a fire? That seems improbable since MGM was one of the few major studios to keep all their original negs in proper storage (a salt mine somewhere?) and not in warehouses in New Jersey as WB did for many of their films. Also George Feltenstein supervised the restoration years ago and that was taken from black and white sep negs I believe. The blue cast was very slight on the version I have and certainly not as bad as "An American In Paris". I think it also depends on the brand of televsion one has. Toshibas are known to be "warm" while Sony's tend be "cooler" in the picture. Anyway, it will be great to have a SE version.