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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

why their stars hated Gene Kelly

For many, it is the best musical of all time. One that does not age with the passage of time, the passing of the years and the appearance of different formats, VHS, DVD, Blue-ray and even streaming platforms. Singing in the rainby Stanley Donen and Gene Kellycelebrates 70 years of its glorious premiere.

Consultations with specialists or the general public determined that the musical co-starred by Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds be there, high in the consideration of all, in the list of the best. In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked it as the fifth greatest film of all time. And it was voted the 10th greatest movie of all time by Entertainment Weeklybeing the highest ranked musical.

But, and whenever there is a but… Not everything was joy on the set of the shoot.

Gene sings in (little) rain.  The water pressure was very low, and they had to suspend filming.  Clarin Archive Photos

Gene sings in (little) rain. The water pressure was very low, and they had to suspend filming. Clarin Archive Photos

Here are some questions left by the film, about a silent film artist who falls in love with a showgirl, when trying to go from silent to sound film, and which has the famous Don Lockwood scene (Gene Kelly, you’ll see, quite a tyrant on set, despite his eternal smile) dancing, yes, in the rain.

The shooting of Crazy Veil of broadway ballet had to stop for several hours when it was discovered that Cyd Charisse’s pubic hair was visible through his disguise.

The last take of the number Buenos diaswith Don, Kathy and Cosmo falling on the sofa, spectacular, it demanded not one, not two, not five, not ten, not twenty, not thirty: it took 40 shots until everything went chronometrically right.

Cosmo, Kathy and Don in one of the most famous sequences.  It demanded 40 shots!  until Kelly was satisfied.

Cosmo, Kathy and Don in one of the most famous sequences. It demanded 40 shots! until Kelly was satisfied.

“The scene

Studio technicians had to cover two outdoor city blocks on the backlot with tarps, darken them for the night scene, and then rig them with overhead sprinklers for Gene Kelly to dance to the title number. But there was a severe water shortage in Culver City the day the sequence was shot. For decades, many thought the number was actually filmed indoors, on a street set built inside one of MGM’s big studios.

Gene Kelly had a temperature of 39º4 when he shot the sequence, which, although it seems shot indoors, was outdoors.

Gene Kelly had a temperature of 39º4 when he shot the sequence, which, although it seems shot indoors, was outdoors.

The first time they tried to film the sequence Singing in the rain They did it at the end of the afternoon. But sadly, homeowners in the area had just gotten home from work and had turned on their lawn sprinklers, so there wasn’t enough water pressure for the “rain” to work. They finally shot the sequence the next day, early enough that everyone was at work and the water pressure was adequate for the shot.

Gene Kelly was sick: his temperature was 39°4 when he filmed the scene.

Debbie and Donald, against Gene

Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds admitted that they did not like working with Gene Kelly, as Kelly was a belittling and tyrannical type. O’Connor said that for the first few weeks he was terrified that he would make a mistake and that Kelly would yell at him.

Gene Kelly, who co-directed the film with Stanley Donen, was a tyrant on set.

Gene Kelly, who co-directed the film with Stanley Donen, was a tyrant on set.

Debbie Reynolds commented many years later that the two hardest things she had ever had to do were make this movie and survive childbirth. Carrie Fisher (the actress who was Princess Leia in starwars, and who died a day before his mother, in 2016). The filming experience was particularly unpleasant, due to the harsh treatment given to him by a perfectionist Gene Kelly. But decades later, Kelly expressed remorse for his behavior: “I wasn’t nice to Debbie. It’s a miracle she still talks to me.”.

It’s just that Debbie Reynolds had no professional dance experience. She had never danced before rehearsals began. Fred Astaire, who was in a dance studio adjacent to hers, found her crying under a piano and assured her that all her hard work was worth it.

Don and Kathy (Kelly and Debbie Reynolds).  She was 19 years old, she woke up at 4 in the morning and took three buses to get to the shoot.

Don and Kathy (Kelly and Debbie Reynolds). She was 19 years old, she woke up at 4 in the morning and took three buses to get to the shoot.

So why did you accept the role of Kathy? She advised that she didn’t know how to dance when she was asked to be in the movie, and Gene Kelly decided that she could teach her as she had done with Frank Sinatra in weigh anchors (1945). Reynolds had been a gymnast, so she was familiar with physical movement.

After they finished the number of Hello, Debbie Reynolds had to be taken to her dressing room, because she had some burst blood vessels in her feet. And despite her hard work, Kelly decided to dub the sound of her feet…

Just 19 years old when she was cast in the film, Debbie lived with her parents and commuted on her own to the set. She had to wake up at 4 AM and ride three different buses to the studio. And sometimes, to avoid the trip, she just slept on the set.

O'Connor, Reynolds and Kelly: living together was not easy.

O’Connor, Reynolds and Kelly: living together was not easy.

But Reynolds would also later open up: “I learned a lot from Gene Kelly. He’s a perfectionist, the most exciting director I’ve ever worked for. And he has a good temper. He would yell at me from time to time and make me cry, but it took him a lot of patience to work.” with someone who had never danced before. It’s amazing that I could keep up with him and Donald O’Connor.”

With the death of Debbie Reynolds on December 28, 2016, Rita Moreno, who played the role of Zelda, is the last surviving star of the film.

Donald climbing the walls

Near the end of the movie's title sequence.  When the policeman gives Don a weird look...

Near the end of the movie’s title sequence. When the policeman gives Don a weird look…

Sequence Make ’em Laugh was created because Gene Kelly felt that Donald O’Connor needed a solo number. As O’Connor noted in an interview, “Gene had no idea what kind of number it was supposed to be.” The two got together and brainstormed in the rehearsal room and came up with a compendium of jokes and things O’Connor had done. for years, many in their vaudeville days. O’Connor recalled, “Whenever I had a new idea or remembered something that had worked well for me in the past, Gene would write it down and, little by little, the whole number would build.” .

So for that number of Make ’em Laugh, Kelly asked Donald O’Connor to relive a trick he had done as a young dancer: run up a wall and complete a somersault. The number was so physically demanding that O’Connor, who smoked four packs of cigarettes a day, ended up in a hospital bed for several days. She suffered from exhaustion and painful burns. Unfortunately, an accident ruined everything that was shot, so after a short break, O’Connor agreed to do the number…again.

Incredible how Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly flew in "Singing in the rain".

Amazing how Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly flew in “Singing in the Rain.”

Donald O’Connor recalled it this way: “I was smoking four packs of cigarettes a day then, and climbing those walls was criminal. We did it on a concrete floor. I came back to the set three days later. All the technicians applauded me. Gene Kelly applauded, told me it was a great number. That’s when he told me what had happened, “we’re going to have to do it.” again tomorrow. No one had checked the camera aperture and they fogged the whole film.”

A microphone was hidden in Debbie Reynolds’ blouse so her lines of dialogue could be heard more clearly. During one of the dance numbers, her heartbeat can be heard.

The original poster for the film, which premiered on April 11, 1952 in the United States.  In Argentina?  Two years later, on April 14, 1954.

The original poster for the film, which premiered on April 11, 1952 in the United States. In Argentina? Two years later, on April 14, 1954.

The working day was sometimes extended to 19 hours.

The original film negative was destroyed in a fire.

The script was written after the songs, so the writers had to come up with a plot for the songs to fit into.

The start of the sequence.  First they wrote the songs, and then the script, which had to be adapted to the music.

The start of the sequence. First they wrote the songs, and then the script, which had to be adapted to the music.

The sequence of broadway ballet It took a month to rehearse, two weeks to shoot, and cost $600,000, almost a fifth of the total budget.

Gene Kelly choreographed her dance scenes with Cyd Charisse, to hide the fact that she was taller than him. To keep the height difference from being obvious, Kelly arranged the routine so that the two were hardly upright when side by side, always leaning in or away from each other.

Singing in the rain was Gene Kelly’s letter to get out of his contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer. It’s just that the studio had never allowed his star to play lead roles in other movies, like them and them (Guys and Dolls). Kelly was so hostile during the filming of Singing in the rain that MGM released him from his exclusive contract.

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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com

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