One of the most beloved performers of all time, Gene Kelly (1912-1996) was a multi-talented dancer, choreographer, actor and director. He had a long and hugely successful career in Hollywood, but is probably best-known for his work in the utterly joyous ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, which he co-directed with frequent collaborator Stanley Donen and starred in with Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. Few pinnacles of creativity are as outrageously enjoyable as this Technicolor love song to Hollywood.
Kelly plays silent movie idol Don Lockwood, in love with chorus girl Kathy (Debbie Reynolds), at war with leading lady Lina (Jean Hagen) and desperate to save his career when the arrival of the talkies threatens disaster. The film easily qualifies as one of the best film comedies too – helium-voiced Lina’s attempts to cope with the new-fangled sound technology are belly-laugh funny. And then there are the songs! Not only the timeless title song, which would make anyone want to get up and dance, but the dreamily romantic ‘You Were Meant for Me’ and ‘Broadway Melody’ with its erotic tension between Kelly and Cyd Charisse. Unlike the other songs, ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ and ‘Moses’ were written specially for the soundtrack
The esteemed Observer film critic, the late Philip French, once said, of his favourite film: “I doubt if I could love anyone who didn't wish to see Singin' in the Rain again and again and again.” The BFI’s re-release gives both long-time fans and those who have never experienced it on the big screen the chance to sit back, relax and let it work its magic all over again.
USA 1952 Gene Kelly/Stanley Donen 102m