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.
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.