By Emily Binetti
Following the recent death of legendary actress Debbie Reynolds at age 84, the renowned entertainer’s most famous movie, “Singin’ In The Rain” has been dancing back onto the silver screen in theatres across America giving moviegoers an opportunity to pay homage to a Hollywood icon. On Thursday, March 2 the Mass Communication Department at Sam Houston State University will present the 1952 musical which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. The free screening will take place at Old Town Theatre at 6 PM.
Reynolds landed her breakout role in the Oscar-nominated musical playing a budding actress caught up in Hollywood’s transition from the silent era to the talkies. Though she had no dancing experience at the time, then-18-year-old Reynolds held her own with the likes of Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in numbers like “Good Morning” and “You Were Meant for Me.”
While the premiere did not generate much buzz at the time, it’s since gained cult-status. In 2006 “Singin’ In The Rain” was declared “the #1 American musical of all time” by the American Film Institute.
““Singin’ in the Rain is a gem of Hollywood musicals, showcasing the dazzling Technicolor that the studios used to compete with television in the 1950s. Gene Kelly’s famous dancing highlights some unforgettable musical numbers whose creativity unfolds in ways impossible on the Broadway stage,” said Grant Wiedenfeld, Assistant Professor in SHSU’s Mass Communication Department.
According to Wiedenfeld the film is also significant in understanding the American movie industry of the 1920s.
“The film is not only a monument of American film history, it also teaches something—the difficulties and changes posed by the arrival of sound technology in the late 1920s. The 1952 movie is set in the past to poke fun at silent film pantomime and star culture. With “La La Land” gaining attention for awards this year, it is worth looking at the classics that inspired and, in the opinion of most, surpass all contemporary musicals.”
The Old Town Theatre screening is open to the public and will include an introduction by Ralph Pease, Professor Emeritus of English. Wiedenfeld will present a post film discussion.