Singin in the Rain

IntroActorInjured

Like any workplace, injuries happen all the time on set – the only difference is that you don’t tend to burn your genitals while organizing a meeting or suffer major brain injury while carpooling for lunch, unless you suck at driving. On film sets, despite every precaution, these things seem a lot more organic. That said, it’s way more rare when an actor or actress willingly undergoes physical harm, either for the sake of the art or through sheer dedication to the role. I’m not talking about poor Tippi Hedren or Peter Lorre being forced to by their directors – no, these are actors who only had themselves to blame. For the sake of brevity I’ve also excluded crazy people who like to flip around, like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, from the list. They transcend a list like this, but there are plenty of other actors who gave their bodies to the craft in big ways

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Singin in the Rain

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they hail Stanley Donen‘s Singin’ in the Rain as a work of delightful, effortless spectacle that almost killed its cast. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears and more blood to make something this blissful. In the #2o movie on the list, the age of talkies is upon Hollywood, so to celebrate that 1920s transition, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds revive songs from the 1930s for their 1952 musical. But why is it one of the best movies ever?

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ds wb musicals

I don’t like movie musicals. It’s probably more accurate to say that I strongly dislike the vast majority of musicals. Too often I find that the songs and dance numbers take priority over the film’s story and characters, and that disparity leaves me disinterested in the whole shebang. And if I’m being honest, I really hate it when complete strangers suddenly bust out with the same songs and dance moves as if they’ve been secretly practicing them for weeks. (Unless the story is about the history of flash mobs of course, but who the hell would want to watch that?) There are exceptions, but they’re usually films that place as high a value on the story being told and the characters within as they do on the music and dancing and other gibberish. Ones I do like include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 8 Women, South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut and Takashi Miike’s The Happiness of the Katakuris. You could say I lean toward less traditional examples of the form. Warner Bros. just released a series of 20 Film Collection box sets broken down by genre, and when the opportunity arrived to take a look at the one focused on Musicals I literally stood still at the chance. And yet… here we are.

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As far as I can tell, regular folk don’t care for movies about movies or films about filmmaking. They used to, back when Hollywood was a more glamourous and idolized place for Americans. Classics like Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful and the 1954 version of A Star is Born were among the top-grossing releases of their time. But 60 years later, it seems the only people really interested in stories of Hollywood, actors, directors, screenwriters, et al. are people involved with the film industry — the self-indulgence being one step below all the awards nonsense — and movie geeks, including film critics and fans. If you’re reading Film School Rejects, you’re not one of the aforementioned “regular folk,” and you probably get more of a kick out of stuff like Living in Oblivion, Ed Wood, Get Shorty, State and Main, The Hard Way, The Last Tycoon, The Stunt Man, The Big Picture, The Player, Bowfinger, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Argo than those people do. While it is true that The Artist faced the challenge of being a silent film, another major obstacle in the way of box office success must have been its Hollywood setting. Argo isn’t really literally about filmmaking, though, and that might be working in its favor. Ben Affleck‘s period thriller, which is expected to finally take the top spot at the box office this weekend, is about not making a film, so it should have the opposite result of most movies in which […]

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Blu-ray Spotlight

Studios are celebrating, and it’s good for business if you’re in the business of collecting Blu-rays. Universal is celebrating their centential with releases of a number of classics, and it recently yielded us a Jaws Blu-ray that’s to die for. The same can be said for this Singin’ in the Rain collector’s edition from Warner Bros. In recent years, WB has put out new editions of Ben-Hur, The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, each including more than just the movie. Much more than just the movie. But it’s not just a bevy of special features that makes this release of Singin’ in the Rain so special, it’s the film itself that demands your attention. Vibrant and biting, this Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds led musical is dazzling on Blu-ray. It’s sharp and crisp and bursting with a lively soundtrack that is almost too much for the format to handle. Given the fact that it’s a film from 1952, charting the times of conceited silent film star trying to make his way in the new world of talkies, that’s quite the accomplishment.

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From On the Town to Royal Wedding to Singin’ in the Rain, Stanley Donen revolutionized movie musicals by making them truly cinematic. Instead of being anchored to the theater stage, he tossed those anchors away and set his ambitious sights on filming a musical in the largest city in the country (impossible!), using camera work to aid the story (crazy!) and challenging old ideas. That, and the fact that he just turned 88 this month, make him our Movie Icon of April. Let’s celebrate his work together. Download Episode #131

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Every Sunday in September, Film School Rejects will present a musical that was made before you were born and tell you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Musicals presents the story of a young Jewish man struggling between his career and his family who revolutionizes Hollywood by speaking to the audience for the first time. It’s Al Jolson as The Jazz Singer.

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Every Sunday in September, Film School Rejects will present a musical that was made before you were born and tell you why you should like it. This week, Old Ass Musicals presents the story of Hollywood at a time of transition, a production in trouble, and a man who foolishly croons in the middle of a downpour. It’s Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in the immortal Singin’ in the Rain.

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SebastianGutierrez

We wanted to get inside the mind of director Sebastian Gutierrez by finding out his Top 5 films, and he somehow managed do so while naming over a dozen other films. From Bunuel to Gilliam, find out who inspires one of the weirder writer/directors out there.

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Classic 3D Cinema

What if the studios had stepped in and mandated that certain projects be 3D. FSR wondered aloud and we came up with 10 films that could’ve, nay, should’ve been made in vivid 3D.

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