It was a musical all about technical innovation in the movies. Now you can see and hear "Singin' in the Rain" like never before on that latest of exciting innovations: DVD. A real treat of a special edition awaits you here.
Picture Get ready to see this Technicolor classic in a beautiful, vibrant, fresh-looking transfer that's glorious to behold.
Sound The disappointing aspect to the April 2001 DVD release of this musical was the 1.0 mono sound, particularly as it came out the same time as a wonderful 5.1 update of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers".
This new Special Edition release has got the 5.1 treatment and the film sounds all the better for it. In particular, the movie's signature song sets the tone with a quality mix between the front speakers. This is given extra depth by sparing, but intelligent, use of the subwoofer channel.
DISC ONE SPECIAL FEATURES
Audio Commentary Sit back and enjoy an aural painting of a different era with this quality commentary track. It's hosted by Debbie Reynolds and features contributions from: Donald O'Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, co-director Stanley Donen, screenwriters Betty Comden and (the late) Adolph Green, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, and film historian Rudy Behlmer.
Reel Sound This small gallery may just look like a brief text guide to the introduction of sound to movies, but select any of the film posters within and you get to watch a clip from that movie. Enjoy musical numbers from such groundbreaking motion pictures as "The Jazz Singer", "Don Juan", "The Lights of New York", and "The Broadway Melody".
Singin' Inspirations Select this option and, whenever an image of a film reel appears in the movie, you can see clips from other movies that inspired the songs for "Singin' in the Rain". This includes extraordinary footage of the premiere of "Rainbow Girl" with stars such as Al Jolson turning up. It's a look into a Hollywood of a different, and far more glamorous, era.
Additional Extra Features Also on disc one is a trailer, awards list, and a cast and crew list.
DISC TWO SPECIAL FEATURES
Musicals, Great Musicals At 86-minutes long, this is a luxurious look at a magical time in the history of the once great MGM. It's when the Arthur Freed unit produced such musicals as "Singin' in the Rain", "Meet me in St Louis", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Show Boat", and "An American in Paris" amongst others.
What a Glorious Feeling Debbie Reynolds hosts this 35-minute look at the making of "Singin' in the Rain" from the soundstage where it was shot. She recalls how, with only three months of dance training, she was thrown in opposite masters of movement Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. By the end of the day her feet were bleeding but these memories seem like happy ones for Debbie.
There's some interesting footage on show here, including alternate opening titles and Gene Kelly's stuntman missing the car that Debbie was driving after jumping from a tram. Thankfully he didn't get more than a sore bum, but it's rare to get such insights into such an old movie.
Movie Excerpts Twelve song numbers written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown are seen here in their original movies before they were then re-scored and used in "Singin' in the Rain". There's over 40-minutes of vintage film on show, including a somewhat miserable original version of "Singin' in the Rain" sung with the accompaniment of a sole ukulele.
Outtake A four-minute outtake from the movie where Debbie Reynolds sings "You are my Lucky Star". It's a sweet little song, and lovely to find that it wasn't binned (or just rotted away) as so much excess footage has been over the years.
Scoring Stage Sessions Twenty-sex audio cues, making up over 90 minutes of music, is here for you to listen to.
Additional Extra Features Also on the disc is an image gallery featuring stills and behind the scenes shots. There's also a hidden 'Easter Egg' feature with Baz Luhrmann talking about how he got into musicals. It's very easy to find. Simply press left on your arrow selector on the main menu.
Ratio: 1.33:1 (fullscreen original Academy ratio)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 (with optional 1.0 mono original)
Audio Tracks: English, French and Italian
Subtitles: English and multiple languages
Captions: English and Italian
Menus: Static, with music
Special Features Subtitles: All the special features come with subtitles apart from the audio commentary, trailer, outtake, scoring stage sessions, and old movie excerpts.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.