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SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952)

Saturday August, 10 2019 at 08:00 AM

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The Critics' Corner on SINGIN' IN THE RAIN

"Singin' in the Rain" has been voted one of the greatest films of all time in international critics' polls, and is routinely called the greatest of all the Hollywood musicals. I don't think there's any doubt about that. There are other contenders--"Top Hat," "Swing Time," "An American in Paris," "The Bandwagon," "Oklahoma," "West Side Story"--but "Singin' in the Rain" comes first because it is not only from Hollywood, it is about Hollywood. It is set at the moment in the late 1920s when the movies first started to talk, and many of its best gags involve technical details." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

"Escapism raised to the level of art, Singin' In The Rain inventively satirizes the illusions of the filmmaking process while celebrating their life-affirming joy. Half parody, half homage, the movie became the apex of the splashy MGM musical, while showcasing the collaborative possibilities of the studio system. At the time of its release in 1952, Singin' was overshadowed a bit by An American In Paris, which won the Oscar for best picture and was at the time viewed by many as Kelly's magnum opus. Yet 50 years later, the fizzy pop exuberance of Singin' resonates more strongly than Paris' tasteful ambition." - Nathan Rabin, The Onion A.V. Club.

"As fresh as it was thirty years and as many viewings ago, Singin' in the Rain is truly one of the great joys of the cinema, the most uplifting of films...this is also the best, most perceptive, most informative picture ever made about the movie industry." - Danny Peary, Cult Movies.

Awards & Honors

Most people find it hard to believe but Singin' in the Rain earned only two Academy Award nominations; one for Jean Hagen as Best Supporting Actress and one for Lennie Hayton's musical score. Unfortunately, the film won no Academy Awards on Oscar night. While it certainly was an egregious mistake on the Academy's part to ignore such a bona fide American classic, Singin' in the Rain was not as universally lauded in 1952 as it is today. In fact, it was another Gene Kelly musical that was still fresh in everyone's mind - An American in Paris (1951) which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1951. Singin' in the Rain was considered a lesser effort compared to the popular Vincente Minnelli extravaganza. In fact, the publicity for the April 1952 premiere of Singin' in the Rain was overshadowed by the re-release of An American in Paris (1951) during Oscar month where it swept the awards. It wasn't until 20 years later that Singin' in the Rain started to become an Essential, having been introduced to a new generation of movie lovers via television showings and a prominent place in MGM's feature release, That's Entertainment! (1974). Since its release, Singin' in the Rain has garnered a shelf full of awards and citations, with the exception of the Academy Awards. When the National Film Registry selected their first 25 films in 1989 that were considered culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant, only one musical made the list, and that was Singin' in the Rain. Furthermore, the movie was ranked in the top ten greatest films of all time according to the American Film Institute. Singin' in the Rain reached the number four slot in Sight and Sound's 1982 fiftieth anniversary poll of world film critics' "ten best lists," ranking behind Citizen Kane (1941), The Rules of the Game (1939), and The Seven Samurai (1954).

Compiled by Scott McGee

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