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Posted on: December 8, 2017

Cinema at the Center: Singin' in the Rain and Chicago

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On Thursday, January 11, 2018, we’ll be showing Singin’ in the Rain, a 1952 American musical-romantic comedy film directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. It offers a lighthearted depiction of Hollywood in the late 1920s, with the three stars portraying performers caught up in the transition from silent films to “talkies”. Singin’ in the Rain is often regarded as the best movie musical ever made, and the best film ever made in the “Freed Unit” at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It topped the AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals list and is ranked as the fifth-greatest American motion picture of all time in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007. In 1989, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry. It also made Sight & Sound magazine’s 2017 list of the 50 greatest films of all time.

On Thursday, January 25, 2018, we’ll be showing Chicago, a 2002 American musical crime comedy-drama film based on the stage-musical of the same name, exploring the themes of celebrity, scandal, and corruption in Chicago during the Jazz Age. The film stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger and Richard Gere. Chicago centers on Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Zellweger), two murderesses who find themselves in jail together awaiting trial in 1920s Chicago. Velma, a vaudevillian, and Roxie, a housewife, fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows. Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, and adapted by screenwriter Bill Condon, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Chicago won six Academy Awards in 2003, including Best Picture. The film was critically lauded, and was the first musical to win Best Picture since Oliver! in 1968.

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