Blu-ray Review: ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition

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The 1952 musical gem "Singin' in the Rain" boasts a 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition featuring a DigiPack release complete with memorabilia items to perk up the package. This three-disc set consists of one Blu-ray disc and two DVDs hosting the film's HD and SD versions, along with a couple of extras. Set during the time when the Silent Era comes to a close with the introduction of talkies, the story chronicles the lives of silent actors as they navigate through the dramatic changes in 1920s filmmaking.

Exploding with energy, exuberance, and whimsy, this motion-picture classic works as a light-hearted spoof that epitomizes the lavishly entertaining musicals of the period. It stars Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. It was nominated for Best Musical Score and Best Supporting Actress for Jean Hagen at the Academy Awards. It was also chosen for preservation at the National Film Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress.

Visuals

Carefully cleaning it up and restoring it to its former glory, this digital transfer does justice to one of Hollywood's most treasured movies. It has its share of minor issues including mild to moderate edge halos, some noticeable waxiness and softness, and minimal color inconsistencies more easily seen by eagle-eyed viewers. Yet, no invasive visual anomalies rob the picture of its top-notch image quality.

This dated piece shines with its vibrant and tonally balanced palette. It presents many rich and savory colors, an undisturbed grain structure, and appreciably lifelike skin tones. Filled with bright and lively scenes with appreciable levels of visibility, contrast, and dimension, its eye-popping props, sets, and costumes are always oozing with Hollywood glamour. Fidelity is never in question. Serious print scratches and blemishes are nowhere to be found.

Audio

The five-channel lossless soundtrack hinges on a masterful balancing act of keeping things faithful to its source, while incorporating just the right amount of surround experience for such a 60-year-old opus. It retains the humble qualities of the original monaural sound design without resorting to flashy directional tricks or any artificially enhanced treatment that goes beyond what the 1950s can offer. The carefully mixed track also understandably hosts some general imperfections coming from its rudimentary recording to keep its novelty as a venerable cinematic material.

The mix sports a front-loaded perspective with a slight boost on the musical sequences. Its alternately vibrant and nuanced score promotes crystalline highs and weighty lows. Atmospherics are distinct but never overpowering. No hints of distortion and age-related defects afflict the mix. This disc set also houses dubbed mono presentations in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Czech, and Polish.

Supplements

This Blu-ray edition provides a wide array of goodies including a commemorative box set, an illustrated hardcover book, and a full-size souvenir umbrella. It also supplies viewers with an audio commentary track, documentary and retrospective works, production and musical featurettes, a reel of deleted scenes, an audio vault of scoring materials, a handy jukebox feature to easily access the film's brilliant musical numbers, an image gallery, and the film's theatrical trailer. Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German SDH, Italian SDH, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Swedish.

Final Thoughts

"Singin' in the Rain" is a tuneful romp that highlights such a genuine behind-the-scene journey around Hollywood's earlier years. Successfully combining comedy, music, romance, and drama, this film by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly showcases an affectionately funny insider look at the industry's uneasy transition from silent pictures to talkies. It rightfully delivers a light and playful feel to keep the audience smiling and toe-tapping from start to end.

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