MGM’s music man, Arthur Freed (producer of some of the greatest musicals of all time, including An American in Paris,Gigi,It's Always Fair Weather,Brigadoon,The Band Wagon,Show Boat,On the Town,Easter Parade,The Pirate, Cabin in the Sky, For Me My Gal, and Meet Me in St. Louis) went to the writing team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green with a project to create a film around the songs he’d written with composer Nacio Herb Brown in the late 1920s and early ’30s. What they came up with is a romantic comedy set during the film industry’s transition from silent movies to talking pictures. It involves silent stars Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), who struggle to adapt and the unknown but talented actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) who’s forced to dub for the screechy-voiced star while Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor) sidekicks for Don, while Cyd Charisse slinks seductively across the screen. Co-directed in 1952 by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly (who did the choreography), it was eventually to become AFI’s #1 musical of all time. This three-disc 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition contains the film on both Blu-ray and DVD, a new hi-def documentary, a host of other extras, and collectible memorabilia including a 48-page hard cover production book, theatrical poster reproductions, and, of course, an umbrella (40” diameter, consumer value $29.99). Fans of Freed will particularly enjoy “Great Performances: Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM” and — one of the best extras ever — a collection of 12 film clips presenting the Freed/Brown songs as they were originally performed in earlier movies.
Video: 1.37:1. Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. Extras: commentary by Reynolds, O’Connor, Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, Donen, Comden, Green, Baz Luhrmann, and Rudy Behlmer, “Singin’ in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation” new documentary, “Great Performances: Musicals Great Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit at MGM” (1996 PBS documentary), “What a Glorious Feeling: The Making of Singin’ in the Rain,” “You Are My Lucky Star” outtake, Brown and Freed songs film excerpts, 26 scoring stage session cues, stills gallery; DVD. Studio: Warner.