Singin' in the rain: the making of an American masterpiece

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University Press of Kansas, 2009 - Music - 331 pages
19 Reviews
America's most popular film critic is hardly alone in singing the praises of Singin' in the Rain. This quintessential American film--made in Hollywood's Golden Age, showcasing the genius of Gene Kelly, and featuring what Ebert calls "the most joyous musical sequence ever filmed"--has inspired love and admiration from fellow critics, film scholars, and movie buffs worldwide for more than half a century. Indeed, its reputation continues to grow: the American Film Institute now ranks it number 1 on its list of the Greatest Movie Musicals of All Time and number 5 on its list of the Greatest American Films of All Time. Echoing the enthusiasm of the film's most devoted fans. Earl Hess and Pratibha Dabholkar embrace and illuminate both the film and its reputation. Combining lucid prose with meticulous scholarship, they provide for the first time the complete inside story of how this classic movie was made, marketed, and received. They re-create the actual movie-making experience, on the set and behind the scenes, and chronicle every step in production from original concept through casting, scripting, rehearsals, filming, scoring, and editing. They then trace its distribution, critical reception, and enduring reputation. The book is brimming with human interest, bursting with anecdotes and quotes by and about the film's stars and makers. Here are Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor at the top of their form, along with Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse in their breakthrough roles. Here, too, are fascinating tidbits--about censorship troubles, continuity flaws, stunt doubles for Kelly, voice doubles for cast members, the dubbing of taps, and genealogy of all the songs. Hess and Dabholkar also providein-depth analyses of each of the major song-and-dance performances, including details of everything from the dynamics of "Gotta Dance!" to the physical challenges of the remarkable title number. Based on exhaustive research in oral histories, studio production records, letters, memoirs, and interviews, their book is factually impeccable, compulsively readable, and indispensable for anyone who loves movies at their absolute best.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bostonian71 - LibraryThing

Well-researched and enjoyable look at my all-time favorite movie. In their introduction, the authors say their goal is somewhere in between academic analysis and popular gossip, and in general they ... Read full review

Review: Singin' in the Rain: The Making of an American Masterpiece

User Review  - Elizabeth Fuller - Goodreads

I agree with others who say this book is a bit dry and academic...but I'm also a film geek, so it didn't bother me and I really enjoyed all the minute details. I also got a kick out of the amount of ... Read full review


The Reason We Had Such Good Musicals
Out of Thin Air You Make a Moment Dance
Their Feet Do All the Work

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About the author (2009)

Earl J. Hess is Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. He is author or editor of nine other books, including "Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War: The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864" (from the University of North Carolina Press).

Pratibha A. Dabholkar is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Tennessee.