Let’s sing in the rain: Gene Kelly was 39 feverish for this cult scene

Discover how actor Gene Kelly gave of himself on the set of the legendary rain sequence “Singin’ in the Rain” in the film “Singin’ in the Rain”.

Singing in the Rain is a masterpiece of the Hollywood musical and a classic among classics. But did you know that the filming of his famous rainy sequence on Singin’ in the Rain had been very difficult for Gene Kelly?

On the day of filming the dance scene in the rain, Kelly is exhausted. The filming is very demanding, and he has a fever of 39.5. An anecdote confirmed by his wife Patricia Ward Kelly to Radio Times in 2016 (via Collider):

We must remember that it is [co-]director, choreographer and star of the film, so it’s difficult for someone with these responsibilities to rest… People could get sick, but we could shoot around them, or shoot other scenes. But Gene was the movie.

This sequence was also complicated because it was filmed in a real neighborhood. The homeowners had turned on the water jets in their garden, and there was no longer enough pressure left to “make it rain.” So the film crew returned the next morning, early enough to have all the pressure possible.

Patricia Ward Kelly continues:

Everything was covered with a black tarpaulin, so that [Gene] would come out of the tarpaulin into the daylight and lie down in the sun to try to get out of this fever, then he would go back under the tarpaulin and do it again… They shot the number in a day and a half.

An ordeal for the actor who was rinsed for hours, while having a fever that could have confined him to bed. Under the direction of his co-director Stanley Donen, Kelly will give his best in a sequence that has gone down in the annals of cinema.

“If I didn’t smile enough, he yelled at me”: for this actress, filming was painful for a completely different reason

Contrary to what one might believe, the song Singin’ in the Rain by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown was not created for the film, but for a Broadway revue in 1929, and was first performed by Doris Eaton Travis.

She was then heard in numerous films including The Most Beloved Man and Little Nellie Kelly with Judy Garland. The song is credited as an inspiration by the writers of Singin’ in the Rain.

In any case, it is this version – and Gene Kelly’s dance number that goes with it – which earned it the number 3 best cinema song by the American Film Institute in 2006.

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