Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

Some movies become classics instantly, but those that have to earn the title seem to deserve it much more richly. "Singin' in the Rain" was a soon-forgotten modest hit upon its initial release, but its exuberance and spirit were undeniable, gradually earning it a deserved reputation as Hollywood's greatest musical. Whatever Gene Kelly's professional difficulties, he was a brilliant dancer, and this film builds so well upon his earlier work (half in tribute, half in parody) that it would seem like his single best performance even if it wasn't. Donald O'Connor has also gained immortality for his version of the semi-original "Make 'Em Laugh," throwing himself around the set like the most graceful stuntman in the business. This is a cheerful production with astounding song-and-dance routines, almost impossible to dislike.

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