Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: In Singin’ in the Rain, there was a bizarre series of voice dubbings.
Singin’ in the Rain is a classic musical film starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen that is about the production of one of the first “talkies,” a film where people’s voices were heard.
One of the major issues in the film is that Hagen, a former major silent film star, is having trouble making the transition to “talkies,” because of her shrill, uncouth voice.
Therefore, the studios hired Reynolds’ character, a young ingenue with a “proper” voice, to dub Hagen’s character’s lines and to sing her songs in the musical film.
That’s the story in the FILM, of course.
Behind the scenes, though, an amusing and bizarre case of life imitating art was taking place.
First off, for one of her major songs in the film, “Would You,” Reynolds’ singing voice was dubbed over with that of Betty Noyes, whose voice had a much richer sound to it.
Secondly, and here’s the craziest one – the scenes where Reynolds’ voice is being dubbed over Jean Hagen’s voice, the studio decided that Reynolds’ voice wasn’t strong enough, so Reynolds’ voice was itself dubbed over…by HAGEN!!! Yeah, Hagen put on a “proper” voice and did the voiceover for HER own character!!
Voiceover work rarely gets any more bizarre than that (although when it does, I’ll be sure to feature it here)!
The legend is…
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