The movie has an extraordinarily intelligent plot, which greatly contributes to the work being systematically classified as the best musical comedy ever. Themes of certain arts being inferior to others, or the immortal if you seen one of them, you've seen them all (which is what Rossini also said about his operas) are today as vivid as ever.
Kelly plays Don Lockwood, a silent film star with humble roots. Lockwood barely tolerates his vapid leading lady, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), who is convinced their screen romance is real. After the smash-hit of the historical talking picture innovator, The Jazz Singer, Lockwood's studio decides to convert the current Lockwood/Lamont vehicle, The Dueling Cavalier, into a talkie. The production is beset with difficulties, not least Lina's inadvertently comical speaking voice.
After a terrible screen test, Lockwood and his partner Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor) decide to return to their roots and convince the studio to overdub Lamont's voice and turn The Dueling Cavalier into The Dancing Cavalier, a musical comedy. Meanwhile Lockwood falls in love with the overdub artist Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and Lamont does everything possible to sabotage the romance.
The film features a rendition of the 1929 song "Singin' in the Rain" by Arthur Freed (who also produced) & Nacio Herb Brown, along with other Freed and Brown tunes from the late 1920s and the 1930s. The song "Make 'Em Laugh" uncomfortably resembles the Cole Porter song "Be a Clown." Comden and Green wrote the music and lyrics to the number "Moses Supposes."
The dance routine in which Gene Kelly sings the title song while twirling an umbrella, splashing through puddles and generally getting soaked to the skin, is probably the most famous of all movie musical sequences. It has of course been parodied several times, notably by Morecambe and Wise and Paddington Bear. It was also the subject of a 2005 advert for the new VW Golf GTI, in which Kelly appears to be break dancing instead of doing his usual routine until he reaches a policeman standing by the car. This was done using three break dancers, a recreation of the original set and superimposing Kelly's face onto the dancer.
The film was directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. Kelly was also responsible for the Choreography. Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
The audio commentary on the movie's "Special Edition" DVD includes a claim that the original negative was destroyed in a fire. In spite of this, the movie has been digitally restored to an impressive standard of picture and sound quality.
- Gene Kelly as Donald (Don) Lockwood. His performance in the song "Singin' in the Rain" is now considered to be iconic.
- Debbie Reynolds as Kathy Selden. Directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen insisted that Reynolds was always first in their minds for the role.
- Donald O'Connor as Cosmo Brown, Don's lifelong pal and vaudeville partner, who becomes the head of Monumental Pictures' music department.
- Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont. Fresh off her role in The Asphalt Jungle, Hagen read for the part for producer Arthur Freed. She did a dead-on impression of Judy Holliday's Billie Dawn character from Born Yesterday, – for which Hagen had been Holliday's understudy – which won her the role.
- Millard Mitchell as R.F. Simpson. The initials of the fictional head of Monumental Pictures are a reference to producer Arthur Freed. R.F. also uses one of Freed's favorite expressions when he says that he "cannot quite visualize it" and has to see it on film first, referring to the "Broadway Melody" sequence. This is a joke, since the audience has just seen it.
- Cyd Charisse as the long-legged woman in the green sequined dress and Louise Brooks hair who vamps Gene Kelly in the "Broadway Melody" sequence.
- Douglas Fowley as Roscoe Dexter, the director of Don and Lina's films.
- Rita Moreno as Zelda Zanders, the "Zip Girl" and Lina's friend.
- Betty Noyes as the singing voice of Debbie Reynolds on "Would You" and "You Are My Lucky Star."
- King Donovan as Rod, head of the publicity department at Monumental Pictures.
- Judy Landon as Olga Mara, a silent screen vamp who attends the premiere of The Royal Rascal.
- Madge Blake as Dora Bailey, a Hollywood gossip columnist based on Louella Parsons.
- Kathleen Freeman as Phoebe Dinsmore, Lina's diction coach.
- Bobby Watson as Lockwood's diction coach during the "Moses Supposes" number.
- Jimmy Thompson as the singer of "Beautiful Girl".
- Mae Clarke as the hairdresser who puts the finishing touches on Lina Lamont's hairdo.
- Julius Tannen as the man demonstrating the technology of talking pictures.
- Tommy Farrell as Sid Philips, the director of the movie featuring the song "Beautiful Girl".
- In the scenes where Kathy (Debbie Reynolds) is seen over-dubbing Lena Lamont (Jean Hagen), it is actually Hagen's voice we hear. She provided her own track for both talking and singing and Reynolds is actually miming to that.
- However most sources give Betty Noyes as the proprietor of the "beautiful" singing voice, used in Would You and the final You Are My Lucky Star. It is certainly different from Debbie's talking voice.
- Another related legend is that Jean Hagen actually dubbed Debbie in the entire movie, since Debbie's Texas accent was judged too thick, although this rumor has long been debunked.
- In the famous rain scene, Kelly is actually dancing in a weak solution of milk so that it would be picked up by the camera.
- Gene Kelly was sick with a 103-degree fever when he danced to the title song.
- An additional performance of You Are My Lucky Star featuring Debbie Reynolds singing to a giant poster of Gene Kelly was cut from the final film and was not released to the public until the 1990s. Surviving prints of the sequence feature Reynolds singing in her own voice.
- The initials of the fictional Monumental Pictures' owner, R. F. Simpson are a reference to Arthur Freed. R. F. Simpson also uses one of Freed's frequent expressions when he says that he "cannot quite visualize it and has to see it on film first", referring to the Broadway ballet sequence.
- Dora Bailey, the gushy gossip columnist is an uncredited role played by Madge Blake who was later famous for her role as Aunt Harriet on Batman.
- In the lead in to Make 'em Laugh, O'Conner/Cosmo sarcastically references the tragic line "ridi pagliaccio" ("Laugh, clown") from I Pagliacci.
- The title song was hauntingly used as a mocking sort of song that Alex DeLarge would sing while he and his Droogs performed acts of rape and violence in the Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange.
- The film The Duelling Cavalier that is made by the characters in Singin' in the Rain is probably a reference to The Cavalier (1928), a largely silent picture notable only for its poorly dubbed songs that were thrown in when it became clear talkies were popular.
- The first all-out musical produced by Hollywood is The Broadway Melody (1929) - the name of a song in Singin' in the Rain.
- In January 2005 a TV advert remake was made consisting of a Gene Kelly "look-alike" Rapping and BreakDancing to a club mix of the famous song advertising a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Guardian Article
- Donald O'Connor apparently did not enjoy working with Gene Kelly, finding him to be somewhat of a tyrant on set.
- Singin' in the Rain on IMDb
- Roger Ebert's Great Movies review of Singin' In the Rain 
- Singin' in the Rain Volkswagen Golf GTI Advert
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