Singin’ in the Rain was an Oscar-nominated film from 1952 which starred Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. Kelly and Stanley Donen directed the musical and Kelly also oversaw choreography. The comedic film follows the three main stars during Hollywood’s days of switching over from silent films to “talkies.”
Kelly plays silent film star Don Lockwood. He and co-star Lina Lamont (played by Jean Hagen) are a famous on-screen romantic couple and the studio has even promoted the idea that they are linked off-screen as well, even though Lockwood can barely tolerate her. When faced with the transition from silent film to talkies, Lamont’s shrill voice just won’t work and Lockwood faces career jeopardy.
Lockwood’s best friend, Cosmo Brown (played by O’Connor), suggests dubbing Lamont’s voice with that of aspiring actress Kathy Selden (played by Reynolds). Lockwood falls in love with her, which poses problems since Lamont is convinced her relationship with Lockwood goes beyond the screen.
The film wasn’t a big hit upon its initial release, but has achieved legendary status. It topped the AFI’s list of top musicals of all time and the AFI also ranked it as the fifth best American film ever made. Interestingly, while Kelly’s performance in the movie – especially the title cut – has become one of the most iconic images in movie history, he wasn’t originally cast for the role. Initially Howard Keel was slated to portray the character as an actor in Westerns, but the role become more one of a vaudeville performer.
Singin’ in the Rain
- National Film Registry
- Oscars – nominated for best picture
- BAFTA – nominated for best picture
- Directors Guild of America – Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly nominated for best director
- Golden Globes – Donald O’Connor won for best actor
- Golden Globes – nominated for best musical or comedy
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