First shot following the list of credits is the original billboard: 16 girls sitting for raised letters spelling the title and reciting the opening lyric in unison. The opening number is terrific: a formation tap routine by the ensemble in black-and-white costume.
The staging of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is a sweet dance melody delivered by Cliff Edwards and his uke under a side-screen tree as the water pours down into a stage-wide pool.
Individually no one stands out like Marie Dressler. Stage veteran has the one real comedy number of the picture in ‘For I’m the Queen’, and runs away with the femme trio, rounded out by Bessie Love and Polly Moran.
Trick camerawork is confined to Jack Benny taking Bessie Love out of his pocket, not as well done as might be supposed, and Charlie King’s sudden diminutiveness after hearing Conrad Nagel sing ‘You Were Meant for Me’, and King’s song in ‘Broadway Melody’ to Anita Page.
First of the [two] color sequences is John Gilbert and Norma Shearer’s Romeo and Juliet, a modern version, with Lionel Barrymore briefly flashed directing. Both principals look great and play well, Gilbert appearing a bit nervous on the straight interpretation, but hopping to the slang phrasing.
Joan Crawford sings ‘Gotta Feelin’ for You’, assisted by a male quartet, but doesn’t do much with it.
It’s a revue from gong to gong [in two acts, eight scenes and 18 numbers]. No semblance of a story, and considering cast nobody is going to care.
1928/29: Nomination: Best Picture