A round of cheers and applause accompanied the opening credits of “Singin’ in the Rain” at the Fremont Theatre Tuesday night. As the lights dimmed, the atmosphere was one of an old- fashioned movie premiere with the anticipation running high as the audience waited for this classic of the screen to unfold.
The film was shown as part of the classic movie series “Hollywood’s Great Musicals and Spectacles” and was met with great success among the audience. There was a wide range of people present, from those old enough to have seen the film’s original release in 1952 to young children with their parents.
The evening kicked off with a brief round of trivia put together by the staff of the Fremont. It was a fun and effective way to draw the crowd into the movie and gave the audience a chance to win prizes like a free dinner at a local restaurant. As each question was asked, dozens of hands went into the air, showing that the majority of the audience members were long-time fans of the film.
This comedic musical (directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly) tells the story of several actors working in Hollywood during the transition from silent to talking films.
Tinseltown heartthrob and silent film star Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) meets the lovely aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and falls in love with her. The pair, along with Lockwood’s best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor), work together to save their studio Monumental Pictures as it attempts to make the transition into “talkies” and fails miserably. The trio is pitted against Lockwood’s vapid but conniving co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), who is interested only in personal gain.
The film features about a dozen different songs, all beautifully sung and choreographed. The songs do an excellent job of showcasing the many talents of the actors while advancing the plot of the film.
The song “Make ‘Em Laugh,” for example, not only helps the audience understand the attitudes of Lockwood and Brown about their careers in Hollywood but also features an amazing feat of acrobatics by actor Donald O’Connor. In the finale of the number, O’Connor even summersaults off the walls while he sings. Fans of the film might be interested to know that after completing the number, O’Connor spent a week in the hospital for exhaustion. This kind of complete commitment the actors have to the film has contributed in making this musical stand out from its competition.
The audience at the Fremont was excited and very enthusiastic about the film, clapping and cheering after the particularly well-done musical numbers. When Lockwood and Selden shared a tender moment, there was even a chorus of sighs.
It was a fantastic evening that recreated the atmosphere and excitement that probably surrounded the films premiere in 1952, and an enjoyable experience for all. Seeing the film on a big screen, as it was meant to be seen, was an event the audience will not soon forget.
The “Hollywood’s Great Musicals and Spectacles” series will be continuing through May with a different film every month. The next film will be “The Sound of Music,” which will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The film starts at 7:30 p.m., but trivia and games will be held at 7 p.m.