January 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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DVD Review

Singin' in the Rain -  DVD Special Edition 2 disc set
Music by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Freed
starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds
  Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen
  Available on: WARNER HOME VIDEO DVD ZI 65621  
Running Time: film – 99 mins approx plus features
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Fullscreen/ colour
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital in English versions; 1.0 mono in English, French and Italian
Subtitles in 9 languages
Amazon UK  

singin in the rain dvd

In our December 2002 pages we carried the following review of the 2 CD Special 50th Anniversary Edition of Singin' in the Rain (RHINO R274497).  It is worth repeating here because this new DVD has much the same content and more:-  

Ask most movie fans and they will probably tell you that Singin' in the Rain is up there with The Bandwagon and An American in Paris as the greatest of all Hollywood musicals. But Singin' in the Rain is not just a wonderful, glamorous M-G-M musical, it is also an important historical document (brilliantly stated with a light, humorous touch) charting the often painful transition between silent and sound movies that took place in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  Amazing to think that this wonderful film is now 50 years old. In celebration, Rhino have released this splendid 2 CD deluxe anniversary edition.

To begin with the compilation covers the whole of the score that included those memorable songs: 'All I Do is Dream of You'; 'Beautiful Girl'; 'You Are My Lucky Star' 'You Were Meant For Me'; 'Good Morning'; 'Would You?'; 'Make 'Em Laugh'; 'Moses'; and, of course, 'Singin' in the Rain' plus 'Broadway Melody' and additional orchestral tracks (separated out on CD2 so that listening pleasure is enhanced). Then there are outtakes and alternative material not used in the film – it is interesting to note, for instance, that Debbie Reynolds's singing voice was dubbed for 'Would You'.

Broadway Melody of 1935 with the M-G-M chorus and orchestra conducted by Alfred Newman. Jeanette MacDonald sings 'Would You'; and Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney give their rendition of 'Good Morning'. And Arthur Freed, himself, in a radio broadcast also sings 'Singin' in the Rain'. Eleven of the 46 tracks have never been issue before.

A sumptuous memento of one of Hollywood's greatest classic musicals.

This new Special Edition DVD has crisp fidelity colour pictures and audio making it a real pleasure to be reacquainted with the many delights of Singin' in the Rain.

Disc 1 includes feature-length commentary by: Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, Co-Director Stanley Donen, Screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and Author/Film Historian, Rudy Behlemer. Disc 1 also has the theatrical trailer.

Disc 2 has the excerpts from the M-G-M musicals of the late 1920s and 1930s referred to in my CD review above. Furthermore there are two significant documentaries. 

A new 35 mins 50th anniversary documentary, What a Glorious Feeling, hosted by Debbie Reynolds charts the story of the making of the film (much of it related in the sumptuous booklet accompanying the 2 CD set).  Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at M-G-M is an 86 min documentary covering all those great M-G-M musicals that sadly withered away in the late 1950s after Gigi (1958).  Also on this second disc are: 90 mins audio of scoring stage sessions, a stills gallery and a feature on Baz Luhrmann.

A huge, magnificent nostalgic wallow in those wonderful M-G-M musicals centring on the what is generally considered to be the greatest of them all – here's to Singin' in the Rain and to its being just as fresh in another 50 years time.

 Ian Lace

***** 5

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