Study Guide

Singin' in the Rain Production Design

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Production Design

Glorious Technicolor

You'd be hard-pressed to find a movie that's more colorful than Singin' in the Rain. It's brilliant, it's vibrant, it's intense. That's all thanks to Technicolor, a dye transfer printing process that ruled Hollywood from the early 1920s to the early 1950s and created the bright, saturated tones in movies like Singin' in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz.

Technicolor was such a big deal back in the day that the fact that Singin' in the Rain used the process was advertised right on the movie's poster. Kind of like they do today with IMAX and 3-D films, since the technologies are relatively new.

Sweep the Leg! Er, We Mean Sweep the Set

Since it's a musical, filled to the brim with song and dance numbers, Singin' in the Rain makes use of wide, tracking, and crane shots to capture all of the action. Let's break it down: The wide shots make it easy to feature multiple dancers at once, like in "Good Morning," when Don, Kathy, and Cosmo dance around Don's mansion side-by-side. Zoom in on Don and Kathy, and you lose Cosmo. Poor guy. He's a perpetual second fiddle.

In "Fit as a Fiddle," Cosmo's a literal second fiddle. That song and dance number is one of several that use tracking shots to follow the dancers' movements. As Cosmo and Don ham it up back and forth across the vaudeville stage, tracking shots are used to keep up with them and their antics.

When it's time to get all dramatic and majestic, call in the crane shot. The best example of this is during the "Broadway Melody Ballet" sequence—specifically, when the woman in white and the young hoofer dance across the pink-tinged soundstage. If her super-long, gauzy white train isn't already theatrical enough, the crane shot sweeping around them will give you your dramatic fix.

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