Gene Kelly classic comes to film series

Gene Kelly headlines his memorable movie, “Singin’ in the Rain,” tonight as part of the Churchill Arts Council’s Fall Film Series: Dance on Film.

The third movie, “Saturday Night Fever,” concludes the series a week from today.

Each movie begins at 7 p.m. in the Oats Park Arts Center’s Barkley Theater. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $7 for members or $10 for nonmembers.

“Singin’ in the Rain” has gained a reputation of being one of the best musicals every made. This classic is a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late 1920s as three stars portray performers caught up in the transition from silent films to the “talkies.”

“Singin’ in the Rain” is a 1952 American musical-romantic comedy directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds.

O’Connor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for their screenplay, while Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In one publication after another, “Singin’ in the Rain” is considered as one of the top 10 movies of all time. In 1989, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry. “Singin’ in the Rain” was originally conceived by MGM producer Arthur Freed, the head of the “Freed Unit” responsible for turning out MGM’s lavish musicals, as a vehicle for his catalog of songs written with Nacio Herb Brown for previous MGM musical films of the 1929–39 period.

The movie, which was released in 1952, made $3,263,000 in the United States and Canada and $2,367,000 internationally, earning MGM a profit of $666,000. It became the 10th highest-grossing movie of the year in both countries.

The late movie critic Roger Ebert called the movie a delight: “There is no movie musical more fun than ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ and few that remain as fresh over the years. Its originality is all the more startling if you reflect that only one of its songs was written new for the film, that the producers plundered MGM’s storage vaults for sets and props, and that the movie was originally ranked below “An American in Paris,” which won a best picture Oscar.

“The verdict of the years knows better than Oscar: ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is a transcendent experience, and no one who loves movies can afford to miss it. No one who loves movies can afford to miss it.”


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