The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.
Even though “Singin’ in the Rain” is celebrating its 70th anniversary with this 4K release, in my 36 years on this planet, I have yet to see it until now. I was familiar with a few of the songs from the film, as they are part of cinema history, but I never sat down to view it from start to finish. It’s better late than never! That is the beauty of film: even if you think you have seen all of the classics out there, there is always one that slips through the cracks from time-to-time. “Singin’ in the Rain” is one of the best 4K releases of this year so far with its vivid colors, lifelike images, and crystal-clear picture. It is truly a treat to enjoy.
The film stars Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood, a Hollywood stuntman and hoofer. He is quite popular in silent films and lives by the motto, “Dignity. Always dignity.” It’s appropriate for his performance in this film, as it’s dignified and classy. You can’t keep your eyes off him whether he is dancing, singing, or acting. He has the “it” factor on screen in this film. He was also the co-director on the film along with Stanley Donen. Don’s leading lady, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) is the complete opposite of him as she’s superficial, selfish and rude throughout their time together. Monumental Pictures, the studio behind Lockwood and Lamont, tries to put out this image of the two of them together as a happy couple in order to better increase the gate on their films together.
Don, on the other hand, sees right through Lina and tries to distance himself from her as much as possible. Don’s best friend is Cosmo Brown, played brilliantly by Donald O’Connor. He’s always there to listen, come up with ideas for Don and support him. He understands why Don has to get as far away as possible from Lina at times. It causes him to jump into the car of Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), a stage actress who doesn’t think too highly of the movies Don Lockwood is putting out there. She is there to tell him the truth about exactly what she thinks of him, which opens up Don’s eyes, as he’s used to people telling him how great he is all the time. He sees she is talented and smart, and he quickly takes a liking to her.
With the success of “The Jazz Singer,” talking pictures are becoming more and more popular in Hollywood. This puts Lamont and Lockwood in a position where they have to learn a new way of doing things. Don is a natural and is also willing to put in the work to adapt to the new way of Hollywood. Lina, on the other hand, has a voice which is rough on the ears. However, people are used to seeing the two of them in films together. Because of this, Cosmo comes up with the idea of dubbing over Lina’s lines with Kathy’s voice in an upcoming musical. This idea is spawned after the public laughs at a screening when they hear Lina’s voice and mistakes throughout one of their films.
Kathy and Don start to become closer and closer, which does not make Lina happy at all. She is still unwilling to see her flaws or work on her craft to get better. Kathy, on the other hand, is immensely skilled and talented. I must admit I am not the biggest fan of musicals as it’s not one of my favorite genres. The beauty of “Singin’ in the Rain” and why it’s a classic is the fact they know when to have music and dancing, but also know when to focus on the actors and give them the space they need to act and develop their characters. When the musical numbers hit, they are out of this world. The songs are memorable, and they will stay in your head after the film is over. That is huge in a musical.
The dancing is also top-notch and terrific. There are certain scenes where they keep the camera on the actors dancing, and my eyes were glued to their movements and the poetry in which they were moving. It was truly something to behold. The amount of work, preparation, and time it took to pull this off is why people are still interested in watching this movie 70 years later. It holds up incredibly well. I’ve always been a fan of old-Hollywood. The 50’s created some of the most iconic movies, and “Singin’ in the Rain” is up there. I’m just disappointed it took me this long to check it out. Now, I want to watch it again and again.
For me, the two stand-outs in the film are Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Kelly has an effortless charm and is so darn likable. He’s the perfect actor for this role. Reynolds is elegant and pure class in her role. As an audience member, I was really rooting for them to end up together. Of course, the “Singin’ in the Rain” moment is one even I was familiar with, even though I hadn’t seen the film. It’s a gorgeous scene to watch and it just put a big smile on my face. This film has it all: humor, romance, heart, love and great, great music. People will still be talking about “Singin’ in the Rain” 70 years from now.
* * * * out of * * * *
4K Info: “Singin’ in the Rain” is released on a two-disc combo pack from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. It has a running time of 103 minutes and is rated G. It comes with the 4K, Blu-ray and a digital code as well.
4K/Blu-ray Info: The film is released in 2160p High Definition, and it’s leading the way as one of the best 4K releases of 2022. The film might be 70-years-old, but it looks incredible. With high dynamic range, you see every color come to life on screen. This is a visual feast for the eyes. As mentioned earlier, this film was made for 4K. It is a huge improvement over the previous releases.
The Blu-ray comes in 1080p High Definition. The 4K comes with the following audio formats: DTS-HD MA: English 5.1, English Mono, Dolby Digital: French and Spanish. Subtitles are in English, French and Spanish. For the Blu-ray, it comes on DTS-HD MA: English 5.1 and Dolby Digital: French and Spanish. The subtitles are also in English, French, and Spanish.
Commentary by Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, Stanley Donen, Betty Camden, Adolph Green, Baz Lurhmann and Rudy Behlmer
“Singin’ in the Rain:” Raining on a New Generation Documentary
Should You Buy It?
If you are a hardcore physical media collector like yours truly, this one is a no-brainer. If you have seen the film before and don’t own it, it’s an even bigger no-brainer. The one disappointment I always bring up with some of these 4K releases is they are still using previously released special features. I know it’s a 70-year-old film, but I still think you can add a modern-day special feature with new interviews from film historians and actors to the 4K release instead of just recycling the old ones. For the price point and the look of the film, Warner Brothers has knocked it out of the park with this 4K release. It’s simply mesmerizing. As far as the film itself, it’s one of the greatest of all-time for a reason. If you own a 4K TV and player, this is the movie you need to buy right now. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. This one comes highly recommended!
**Disclaimer** I received a 4K/Blu-ray copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free. The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.