July 23, 2014

hmv.com presents… The Best Soundtracks of All Time: Singin’ In The Rain
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

hmv.com presents… The Best Soundtracks of All Time: Singin’ In The Rain

With some great in-store offers coming this summer on film soundtracks as part our 'Decades' series, every day we'll be picking the best soundtrack, one for every year, starting with 1950 right through to the present day. Today we're up to 1952 and we've picked a classic: Singin' In The Rain...

 

What?

Singin’ In The Rain

Released When?

1952

So what’s the film about?

It's a film that really shouldn't need any introduction, but Singin' In The Rain is a 1952 musical comedy directed by and starring Gene Kelly. Kelly plays Don Lockwood, one half of an on-screen couple alongside Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) who are big stars in the silent film industry. The press have started a rumour that the couple are together off-screen too, a story that neither actor sees the sense in denying since it offers them plenty of publicity, but privately they cannot stand each other's company.

Both actors work for studio named Monumental Pictures that is one of the main players in the silent movies of the 1920s. In a storyline that echoes Richard Attenborough's Charlie Chaplin biopic, talking pictures - or 'talkies' - are beginning to arrive on the scene and although Monumental boss R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell) initially sees them as nothing more than a passing fad, when The Jazz Singer becomes a huge hit in 1927 he realises that Don and Lina must get on the bandwagon if he is to keep making money out of their star status.

Is this a score or a soundtrack?

Being a musical, we're very much in score territory here and Gene Kelly's song and dance numbers are the lynchpin for this 50s classic, although the musical themes do reappear in various forms throughout the film.

 

Singin' in the Rain
Singin' in the Rain Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen

 

So what's it like?

Kelly performs the majority of the big numbers himself but the vocal duties are shared out among the rest of the cast in places, particularly Debbie Reynolds' rendition of 'All I Do is Dream of You' and Donald O'Connor's 'Make 'em Laugh'.

With the majority of the music written by Nacio Herb Brown, with lyrics by Arthur Freed, the score is packed with light-hearted, fun show tunes that have become famous in their own right.

What does it give the film?

Gene Kelly was at the height of his powers when this film was made and, being a musical, there really is no film without the score.

What’s the best moment?

It has to be the iconic scene in which Gene Kelly sings the main theme while skipping and dancing down the street. As well as the fact that many of us find it hard to even put up an umbrella without knocking out a couple of lines from the song.

Has it stood the test of time?

We think it's fair to say it has, given that it still features in popular culture these days – think back a couple of years and you'll remember Mint Royale's remix on the Volkswagen advert. There really are so many classic show tunes in this film and they have become completely timeless.

 

Singin' In The Rain (Gene Kelly)

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