Singin’ In The Rain: 60th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
In 1949, the famed MGM producer Arthur Freed sought to create a vehicle that would include many of the classic songs he and his partner, Nacio Herb Brown had composed for musicals of the early talkie era. He elicited the aid of his cracker-jack creative staff, and, in 1952, "Singin’ in the Rain" was premiered to critical and popular acclaim. Logically, a story was concocted set in Hollywood during the awkward transition from silent to sound films. Gene Kelly co-directed with Stanley Donen, and enacted some of the screen’s most memorable song-and-dance routines, which have been analyzed and praised ad infinitum in numerous documentaries on the movie musical. Yet two key ingredients that make this film a consistently entertaining classic are seldom stressed: the pungently satirical script of Comden and Green, and the hilarious performance of Jean Hagen as the vain, airheaded movie goddess, Lina Lamont (a role the writers intended for buddy Judy Holliday.)
With the enormous popularity of "Singin’ in the Rain," the film has been well-served, and consistently available, on home video, having appeared on every format from Beta to DVD. In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the film’s release, Warner Brothers has finally issued the musical on a high-definition Blu-ray. It can be purchased singly, or as part of a large box entitled the Ultimate Collector’s Edition.
The box set is a lavish affair, housed in a decorative mylar slipcase. It opens to reveal a hardcover book containing photos and every known fact about the film, a collectable, collapsible umbrella, original poster repros , and a foldout case with three discs. The Blu-ray edition contains many extras itself, including commentaries. trailer, and many more. The film transfer is touted as being a 1080P remaster from a new 4K scan, but the finished product is entirely unremarkable. The color is appropriately vibrant, but the picture is often grainy and indistinct. This may be a factor of the original film stock; however, such an important film should really dazzle in hi-def; and the Blu-ray is only a marginal improvement on the DVD version, also included in the compilation.
The third disc contains the superb special features, which have all been issued before on prior DVD versions. They include a comprehensive documentary on Freed, and "What a Glorious Feeling," on the making of the film. This indispensable documentary is hosted by star Debbie Reynolds, and features historic interview footage of the key actors, Donen, Comden and Green, as well as Kelly himself. It is far superior to a new, but useless Blu-ray documentary entitled "Raining on a New Generation" in which contemporary Hollywood and Broadway choreographers wax ecstatic over SITR, and attempt to compare their work to that of the geniuses who created it ...ugh!
The 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s edition is intended for fanatic fans of the film and avid Blu-ray collectors. Most would gladly forego the hype---and the umbrella----in favor of breathtaking picture quality.
Singin’ in the Rain’- 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition
Blu-ray / DVD