Singin' in the Rain
The Making of an American Masterpiece
Earl J. Hess and Pratibha A. Dabholkar
There is no movie musical more fun than Singin' in the Rain, and few that remain as fresh over the years. . . . It is a transcendent experience, and no one who loves movies can afford to miss it.—Roger Ebert.
America's most popular film critic is hardly alone in singing the praises of Singin' in the Rain. This quintessential American film—made in Hollywood's Golden Age, showcasing the genius of Gene Kelly, and featuring what Ebert calls "the most joyous musical sequence ever filmed"—has inspired love and admiration from fellow critics, film scholars, and movie buffs worldwide for more than half a century. Indeed, its reputation continues to grow: the American Film Institute now ranks it number 1 on its list of the Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time and number 5 on its list of the Greatest American Films of All Time.
“Captivatingly presented and flawlessly executed.”
—Film and History
“Even the most die-hard Singin’ fan is likely to find new facts in this tribute to a film that is truly a work of art.”
—New York PostSee all reviews...
“A great movie deserves a great book, and thats what readers get in this meticulous behind-the-scenes look at the movie the American Film Institute calls the ‘Greatest Movie Musical of All Time.’ The text is never dry, and those involved—including Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green—are present through their quotes, commenting on the action. And what action! Its all here: the relationships, the decisions, the intricacies of how scenes were shot and how dances were choreographed.”
“The authors tell the story of this seminal film musical in a way that will appeal to both general audiences and scholars. Reminiscent of the fine work of Jeanine Basinger (e.g., The Star Machine), the book is entertaining, thoughtful, and a serious academic work based on a treasure trove of archival and published primary material. This is the definitive study of this classic American musical. Highly recommended.”
“A valuable, and readable, account that often corrects anecdotal versions told and retold over the years. . . . If youve ever wondered how Kelly and Donen planned and executed the magnificent ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ number, or the ambitious ballet that climaxes the film, you’ll get fascinating and irrefutable details about everything from the tarping of the MGM backlot to create a nighttime look to the creation of puddles in the street. It’s that kind of solid information that makes this book worthwhile.”
—Leonard Maltin’s Movie Craze
“Loving and appreciative, researched to a fare-thee-well, and pitched to both fans and first-time viewers of Singin’ in the Rain, this delightful book delivers almost as much fun as the film itself.”
—Jeanine Basinger, author of American Cinema: 100 Years of Filmmaking and The Star Machine
“Very much in the vein of Harmetz’s classic works on The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca, this study should become the last word on its subject. . . . a bonafide page-turner that will be welcomed by general readers and academics alike.”
—Rick Altman, author of The American Film Musical
“For those who love Singin’ in the Rain (and who doesn’t?), this is a detailed appreciation of how it happened.”
—Harold Prince, legendary producer of Broadway musicalsSee fewer reviews...
Echoing the enthusiasm of the film's most devoted fans, Earl Hess and Pratibha Dabholkar embrace and illuminate both the film and its reputation. Combining lucid prose with meticulous scholarship, they provide for the first time the complete inside story of how this classic movie was made, marketed, and received. They re-create the actual movie-making experience, on the set and behind the scenes, and chronicle every step in production from original concept through casting, scripting, rehearsals, filming, scoring, and editing. They then trace its distribution, critical reception, and enduring reputation.
The book is brimming with human interest, bursting with anecdotes and quotes by and about the film's stars and makers. Here are Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor at the top of their form, along with Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse in their breakthrough roles. Here, too, are fascinating tidbits—about censorship troubles, continuity flaws, stunt doubles for Kelly, voice doubles for cast members, the dubbing of taps, and genealogy of all the songs. Hess and Dabholkar also provide in-depth analyses of each of the major song-and-dance performances, including details of everything from the dynamics of "Gotta Dance!" to the physical challenges of the remarkable title number.
Based on exhaustive research in oral histories, studio production records, letters, memoirs, and interviews, their book is factually impeccable, compulsively readable, and indispensable for anyone who loves movies at their absolute best.