Gene Kelly’s ‘assault’ kiss left the actress retching on the floor

Later today at 2:50pm on BBC Two, Singin’ in the Rain hits television screens. While the film is famous for bringing Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds to the big screen as the iconic Don Lockwood and Kathy Selden, things behind the scenes were tense between the two stars for many reasons.

During the filming of Singin’ in the Rain, Reynolds was very new to Hollywood and was slowly making a name for herself.

At just 19 years old, she was quite intimidated to work alongside Kelly as her love interest. Things were made even worse by the fact that he was 39 at the time and the fact that they had some intense moments to film together.

Reynolds later recalled having trouble filming the lewd love scenes between them in the film. He said in his memoir Unsinkable: “In Singin’ in the Rain, Gene and I play two people who fall in love. [During] one of the many famous scenes in the film, the camera descends from an overhead crane as we kiss and ‘You Are My Lucky Star’ swells on the soundtrack.”

As their kiss was about to happen, Reynolds was subjected to much more than she bargained for.

“The camera zoomed in,” Reynolds continued. “Gene took me tightly in his arms…and stuck his tongue down my throat.”

Horrified, she reared back in disgust and screeched, “Eww, what was that?”

He then separated from the set and began spitting and vomiting on the ground.

Reynolds continued, “I was running around desperately, screaming for some Coke to wipe my mouth clean. It was the early 1950s, and I was an innocent kid who had never been French kissed.”

READ MORE: Gene Kelly’s rough approach to her partner left her ‘black and blue’

Kelly, however, was a hugely famous actor and world-renowned dancer, and he didn’t want to share the screen with such a young actor.

Because of this, he made her work as hard as he could. Reynolds later called him a “task master” on set.

In fact, she had her and the rest of the cast dance the routine to the song “Good Morning” repeatedly for an entire day.

Reynolds said he danced so much that his feet were bleeding by the end of the session.

Eventually, the constant rehearsals became too much for her. She wrote: “I was crying under the piano on one of my breaks, my feet were killing me and my back was like broken.”

Reynolds wasn’t the only person to criticize Kelly’s behavior on set.

Esther Williams also described the actor as “an idiot” while on the set of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. She added that working with him was “pure misery.”

Lana Turner perhaps came out worst of all. In a staged fight, she demanded that Kelly throw her “harder”. She later reflected, “Like a fool, I broke his elbow.”


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