Singin' in the Rain (Blu-ray) 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-12-2012, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Warner - 1952
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Genre: Musical

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Cyd Charisse, Millard Mitchell
Directed by: Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen
Music by: Arthur Freed & Nacio Herb Brown
Written by: Adolph Green & Betty Comden
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 17, 2012

"What a glorious feeling"

Film Synopsis:

Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds in a 60th-anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition newly remastered in 2011 4K transfer of the best-loved Hollywood musical ever-filled with memorable songs, lavish routines and Kelly's fabulous song-and-dance number performed in the rain.

My Take:

In 1927, Silent movies are giving way to Talking Pictures. Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are a famous on-screen romantic pair. Lina, however, mistakes the on-screen romance for real love. Don has worked hard to get where he is today, with his former partner Cosmo. When Don and Lisa's latest film is transformed into a musical, Don has the perfect voice for the songs. But Lisa - well, even with the best efforts of a diction coach, they still decide to dub over her voice. Kathy Selden is brought in, an aspiring actress, and while she is working on the movie, Don falls in love with her. Will Kathy continue to "aspire", or will she get the break she deserves?

Singin’ in the rain needs no introduction is a classic musical film that is beloved by fans the world over. Featuring the memorable lyrics/music of Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown and beautifully choreographed dance set pieces built around a wonderfully integrated story of romance/jealousy, friendship and enthusiasm. Gene Kelly’s eponymous dancing is complemented by co-stars Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor as they share the limelight in several of the film’s most popular song/dance numbers, “Make em’ laugh”, “Good morning” “Fit as a fiddle” and the terrific sequence set to the title song “Singin’ in the rain”.

This truly is a charming, funny and endearing film with a contemporary flavor that hasn’t lost its luster 60 years after its release. The large ensemble set pieces are superbly executed (I love the “Broadway Melody” number which includes “You weren’t meant for me” with Kelly and the sultry Cyd Charisse) but for me it’s the smaller pieces the focus on Kelly or O’Connor or both that are mind blowing to watch. This is bolstered by strong performances from the cast, especially Jean Hagen who steals nearly every scene she is in.

For its 60th anniversary Blu-ray debut, Singin’ in the Rain has received a 4k scan of the Technicolor 3-strip negatives and a new DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix. This 3 Disc 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition includes a brand new documentary, Singin’ in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation, presented in high definition. In addition to another half-dozen vintage special features, this new limited edition will include a 48-page hard cover book, with never-before-seen production memos and photos. It will also contain reproductions of the original theatrical posters from the film’s premier and a full-size commemorative umbrella. The entire package comes housed in an attractive, sturdy, embossed cardboard case with fitted velvet inserts to hold the contents in place.

Singin’ in the rain is a classic Hollywood film that epitomizes the lavishly entertaining musicals of its period. In 1989 it was among the first 25 films chosen for the newly established National Film Registry for films that are deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation. This Blu-ray offering from Warner Home Video is a befitting one that makes for a perfect fit for fans.

Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for all audiences.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 76

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Singin’ in the rain comes to Blu-ray from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.

Accordingly to Warner Home Video’s press documentation Singin’ in the rain recently underwent a 4k scan of the Technicolor 3 strip negatives and the results are impressive. This film’s 1.37:1 framed high definition video presentation on Blu-ray looks terrific on my 100 inch screen. Colors are tonally balanced with lustrous primaries, clean rendering and delineated secondary hues that all look terrific. Fleshtones are appreciably lifelike with discernible texture and natural depiction. The level of visible detail in facial features, hair and clothing during close-ups is noteworthy. Wide angle shots vary in terms of visual depth but most reveal subtle degrees of refinement and fidelity is never in question. Resolution is excellent as the blend of interior shots and sets featured in the story offer clarity, detail and dimension that belie the film’s 60 years. Of course this also made some of the special effects more obvious but that’s fine. Blacks are noise free, stable and fairly deep. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enlivens bright scenes and colors while maintaining an appreciable level of visibility and dimension during darker segments. Grain is present and appears undisturbed. Warner is to be commended on this excellent and faithful high definition presentation that is sure to please even discerning fans.

The lossless DTS-HD MA multi-channel mix readily handled the elements contained in the recording. The presentation retains a front loaded perspective with well defined dialogue that has average room penetration. I would have preferred a bit more depth/weight to sounds and voices but that is a limitation of the recording. I would rather have it sound natural than artificially enhanced and I think that this presentation achieves that. The soundfield is one dimensional, with discernible front channel separation and good clarity. The soundstage opens up some during the musical set pieces and provides bass response that is proportionate and adequate. Considering the age of this recording dynamics had fair solidity and impact. Compared to today’s movie soundtracks this presentation sounds a bit dated however all things considered I was pleased with it.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1 (Blu-ray):

  • Feature film in High Definition

  • Audio commentary with Stanley Donen, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, and film historian Rudy Behlmer

  • (HD) *New* Singin’ in the rain: Raining on a new generation – 50 minute documentary

  • Jukebox – Jump to song feature

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Disc 2 Special Features (DVD):

  • Musicals great musicals - 86 minute 1996 PBS special

  • What a glorious feeling – 50th anniversary making of documentary hosted by Debbie Reynolds (35 minutes)

  • Excerpts from the features of Arthur Freed & Nacio Herb Brown

  • “You are my lucky star” deleted scene – 4 minutes

  • Gallery

  • Scoring stage sessions (audio only)

  • Commemorative Limited Edition bundle (see above)
  • 320

    Disc 3:

  • Bonus DVD of Singin' in the rain

Final Thoughts:

Singin’ in the rain is a charming, funny and endearing musical with a contemporary flavor that hasn’t lost its luster 60 years after its release. It makes its Blu-ray debut from Warner Home Video featuring beautifully restored high definition video that is sure to please even discerning videophiles. Fans have a choice of either the 60th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD combo release or this 3 Disc 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition that comes housed in an attractive, sturdy, embossed cardboard case with fitted velvet inserts to hold the contents which include a 48-page hard cover book, reproductions of the original theatrical posters from the film’s premier and a full-size commemorative umbrella. Either way you can’t go wrong with this highly recommended and classic film that has found a home in my Blu-ray library.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-12-2012, 02:13 PM
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Excellent review, Ralph! It appears that Warner gave this gem the treatment it deserved.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-13-2012, 05:52 PM
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I just saw the film last night in the theater (Fathom Events) in what looked like 2K digital projection. It looked a little soft. But it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, especially as I brought along a friend who watched it for the 1st time, and loved it!

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post #4 of 6 Old 07-14-2012, 12:19 PM
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Back in the early 1970s, my movie buff friends and I went to a showing of The Wizard of Oz at the Vagabond Theater in Los Angeles. This was the heyday of revival movie theaters in larger cities around the country and, like the other dozen or so such theaters around town, the Vagabond specialized in showing decent prints of classic movies, typically in double-bills. Two classic Hitchcocks, two classic comedies, and so on. Very popular in those pre-home video, pre-TCM days.

So this one weekend they were showing the great Wizard of Oz and it was a sell-out. We Baby Boomers were well on our way to our 30s and the annual television showing of Oz all through our childhood had turned it into a beloved treasure. We all wanted to thrill at a full theatrical screening of it with our peers and this was our chance.

And, oh by the way, the Vagabond was including as the second feature on this "Oz" night a movie many of us had certainly heard of but might not have ever actually seen in its entirety, and in no way had the cache of Oz in our minds. It was Singin' in the Rain. I should mention this was pre-That's Entertainment!, and SitR was then remembered as a fun and entertaining musical, but had not yet been re-seen enough in those revival theaters or anywhere else for decades to remind us of much more than that. No way was this other MGM technicolor musical up there with The Wizard of Oz in our minds. Not yet anyway.

Well, as expected, The Wizard of Oz was better than ever on the big screen that night. Everything was right about it. Everything worked better than ever with the audience and truly justified the terms "classic" and "great" that it had earned over the years. In fact, it was so satisfying on so many levels, a good 25-30% of the audience left at the intermission because they didn't want to dim the post-Oz glow and were anxious to sit over coffee and dessert to talk about how thrilling it was to see it on the big screen. And, after all, that second feature didn't seem like anything they ought to stay for no matter how well-regarded Kelly was and, who else was in it again? To repeat, this was pre-That's Entertainment!.

From the opening credits on, Singin' in the Rain KILLED! First of all and most surprising to many of us, it was truly a laugh a minute. SitR could easily qualify as one of the greatest, funniest comedies ever made even if it wasn't already considered one of the greatest musicals ever made. As a musical it was dazzling! I remember for weeks later telling my movie-buff friends who couldn't make it that night that, believe it or not, watching Singin' in the Rain on the big screen with an audience was an even BETTER experience than seeing Oz because the "Monumental" pleasures of it were so unexpected for our generation at that time. My claims were met with polite skepticism by most then. But by now, in these post-That's Entertainment!, home video/Blu-ray years, very few who would be the least bit interested has not discovered or re-discovered the incomparable joys of this movie.

Today it seems Singin' in the Rain has always been considered one of the all-time greats and at or near the top on the "beloved" scale with other MGM classics like The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. But there was a time in the not too distant past when it wasn't even well-known or therefore beloved enough by the Boomer Generation to keep all of them in their seats for a screening of it in a real movie theater devoted to attracting serious movie buffs. Hard to believe now. That 25-30% who walked out before the curtain opened for Singin' in the Rain on that "Oz" night 40 years ago missed a truly memorable movie discovery/re-discovery experience.

Thanks for the review, Ralph. This is a day-one purchase for me of course.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-21-2012, 01:54 PM
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Is it just me? I screened the new blu ray in my theatre on a 28' screen and the video quality was just not there. The picture looked dull and lacked the sharpness and clarity of other recent restorations including "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "West Side Story". I happened to have a 35mm Techicolor clip from the film that I played side-by-side the same scene on the BD. The film blew the BD off the map. This is simply one of the greatest films of all time and I had eagerly awaited the blu-ray release but have to admit I'm somewhat disappointed.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-22-2012, 10:09 AM
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The original camera negatives were lost in a fire years ago from what I've read elsewhere - and copies were used for this new restoration. Also, much of the film was dupe elements originally. One scene dissolves to the next and then continues on from that camera angle, many times without any cuts, then dissolves to the next scene which continues on for quite awhile before you finally get a cut. When you consider that so much of the film is done that way, resulting in dupe material and then the fact that the original elements were lost and that this is a copy of the dupe material original used for this scan, it's quite an accomplishment. If you watch the new documentary, all the clips from the film are from an earlier restoration - notice all the speckles, little scratches and even hairs that pass by in those clips - none of that exists in the actual new version - lots of work involved to remove all those artifacts. Knowing what they had to start with, the Warner's people have done a great job. And comparing it to two 65mm films is not a fair comparison anyway.
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