10 Fun Facts You May Not Know About''Singin' In The Rain''
1.Dub A Dub Dub! Three Gals In A Boat(?!)
In the film, Debbie Reynolds has been hired to re-dub Jean Hagen’s dialogue and songs in the latter’s first talking picture. We see the process being done in a shot of Reynolds matching her dialogue to Hagen’s and synchronizing it while watching a scene from the film. But the voice that is used to replace Hagen’s shrill, piercing one is not Reynolds’ but Hagen’s own quite lovely natural voice - meaning that Jean Hagen dubs Debbie Reynolds’ dubbing Jean Hagen! To further confuse matters, the voice we hear as Hagen mimes 'Would You?', supposedly supplied by Reynolds, is that of yet a third girl ... Betty Noyes.
Confusing? Well, there’s more. Although Debbie sang in the movie, notably the title tune (dubbing Hagen!), Debbie herself is dubbed again by Betty Noyes in her duet with Gene Kelly 'You Are My Lucky Star.'
2.The Milk Myth
The biggest myth surrounding the musical was that the crew used milk instead of water to shoot the “Singin’ In The Rain” dance sequence so the rain would show up better on camera. Co-director Stanley Donen debunked that in a column for the Directors Guild Association. “When you’re shooting rain, it has to be backlit, or you may not see it very well,” he wrote. “There have been a lot of stories about how we put milk in the water so you could see the rain. It’s not true. You have to put the light behind the rain so that the raindrops show. If you put the light in front of the rain, with no light behind it, the rain disappears.”
3.'Make 'Em Laugh ' was partially improvised- and much longer than screened!"Donald was a spontaneous artist and comedian," Kelly recalled, "and he could never do anything the same twice. There was no way you could say, 'Do it this way, and it will be funnier.' It was all improvisation. "The dummy he uses in the dance, for example, was lying on a rehearsal stage next door to us. We walked in one day and Donald started to fool around with it. For half an hour, we just roared with laughter. Finally, we said, 'Well, let's put that in the number.' All of it came right out of Donald. It was unbelievable. We had to throw out 20 minutes of it."
4.Donald O'Connor was afraid of his wall flip at the end of 'Make Em Laugh'
''After a screening of Singin' in the Rain at the Hollywood Bowl on August 17, 1990, Gene spoke to me at length about the making of the film,'' recounts his widow, Patricia Ward Kelly, ''He told me that they needed an ending for Donald O'Connor's "Make 'Em Laugh" number. He said, "Everything else was so good up to there. How could we top that? So we did. We made the big finish and had him run up the wall and do a back flip. He hadn't done that since he'd been in vaudeville with his family when he was a little boy and he was a little frightened of it. So we got his older brother over with a harness on him and he practiced running up the wall until he was sure of it."
5.'Make 'Em Laugh' wasn't filmed in one take!
Donald O'Connor recalled, "I was smoking four packs of cigarettes a day then, and getting up those walls was murder. They had to bank one wall so I could make it up and then through another wall. We filmed that whole sequence in one day. We did it on a concrete floor. My body just had to absorb this tremendous shock. Things were building to such a crescendo that I thought I'd have to commit suicide for the ending. I came back on the set three days later. All the grips applauded. Gene Kelly applauded, told me what a great number it was. Then Gene said, "Do you think you could do that number again?" I said, "Sure, any time". He said, "Well, we're going to have to do it again tomorrow". No one had checked the aperture of the camera and they fogged out all the film. So the next day I did it again! By the end my feet and ankles were a mass of bruises."
6.Cyd's Hair Problem
Filming of the Cyd Charisse dance number had to be stopped for several hours after it was discovered that her pubic hair was visible through her costume. When the problem was finally fixed, the film's costume designer Walter Plunkett said, "It's OK, guys, we've finally got Cyd's crotch licked."
7.Life Imitates Art
A microphone was hidden in Debbie Reynolds' blouse so her lines could be heard more clearly. During one of the dance numbers, her heartbeat can be heard, mirroring what happens to Lina Lamont in the movie itself.
8.The Ballet Ban
9.It'sAll In The DetailStanley Donen wrote in his column that the crew dug holes in the cement. But the choreography had to be perfectly on the mark. “All the things that look like they just happened, didn’t,” he wrote. “They were planned. So when Gene splashes in the water, we had to dig holes in the cement to make a place where he would stamp. The dance step had to take him to that place on that note, so it’s very detailed.”Kelly’s wife Patricia revealed another fun fact about that scene. The crew used so much water during the filming that the area surrounding the studio in Los Angeles, Calif., suffered a water shortage. “It is true that the Culver City supply of water was diminished, and when people came home from work, they had to hang extra rigging,” she said.
10. The Show Must Go On!
Gene Kelly had a scorching fever during his song and dance in the soaking rain. His wife, Patricia Ward Kelly, said that the scene took two and a half days to film in its entirety. But despite being sick for the shoot, Gene nailed it anyway. “He had a fever of about 103 and he had been sick the days before,” she said.
How fabulous was that! How fabulous is this:
Gene Kelly sang a reprise of "All I Do is Dream of You" after the party at R.F. Simpson's house when Kelly chases after Reynolds. The song, ending in Kelly's bedroom, was cut from the release version after two previews, and the footage has been lost.
This discussion thread from 2008 throws up some interesting facts regarding the details and process of recovery of 'Singin' in The Rain'.