In 1953 Singin’ in the Rain was nominated as best musical or comedy, but With a Song in My Heart won. Obviously, it was a popular choice for the HFPA members who also voted Susan Hayward the best actress in a comedy or musical and anointed her World Film Favorite.
With a Song in My heart is the story of singer Jane Froman’s valiant comeback after a military plane crash, which left her crippled and confined to a wheelchair. The film was Twentieth Century Fox’s major musical of the year and followed a long line of hugely successful Fox musicals that starred their top money earners Betty Grable, Alice Faye, June Haver, and Mitzi Gaynor.
Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck assembled his best contract talent to make this film including director Henry King, Screenwriter Lamar Trotti, Music Director Alfred Newman, and Cinematographer Leon Shamroy. Of course both Hayward and Thelma Ritter contract players. Thanks to Jane Froman, whose actual voice was used in the film, the film holds up as a terrific entertainment, featuring most of the best songs of that era, the work of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (their title song and “Blue Moon”) Harold Arlen, Jules Stein, George and Ira Gershwin, Sammy Fain, and Vincent Youmans.
Although Singin’ in the Rain has been voted the best musical of all time, and even the fourth greatest movie ever made (1982 British Film Institute poll) its initial reception was not quite as auspicious. Even the Academy recognized only Jean Hagen as best supporting actress and Lennie Hayton for best score that year, and the film itself was not nominated.