1952, Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen, 103 mins.
The coming of sound in words and music.
Often cited as the greatest of all Hollywood musical comedies, Singin’ in the Rain is particularly notable as a historical reconstruction of the early days of sound cinema and the crisis it brought about in the industry. Many of the funniest set-pieces are based on the various problems of recording sound, the biggest joke of all being that the gorgeous leading lady of the silents, deliciously played by Jean Hagen, has a voice that could strip paint at fifty yards. So the comedy works a treat but what most people remember is the music and dancing, both of which are top-notch. Gene Kelly is at his most creative and least pretentious, particularly in the iconic title number and the Broadway Melody ballet, and Debbie Reynolds is simply radiant. The sensational Technicolor photography, courtesy of Harold Rossen, is to die for.