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2005 volkswagen golf commercial
This is your first chance to see one of the most iconic scenes in the history of cinema metamorphosed into a TV advert - Gene Kelly rapping and breakdancing to a club-mix of Singin' in the Rain.
The advert for the new Volkswagen Golf GTI hits screens tonight and was the result of months of negotiations with the star's family, the movie rights' owners and record label EMI.
It remasters the scene using masks, wigs and a digital techniques to impose Kelly's face on the dancers.
The ad agency hopes it will be as big a hit as Ford's campaign for a new Mustang "starring" Steve McQueen and a scene out of the 1967 classic Bullitt.
And the car company will be hoping it will overshadow the row over a spoof advert for the Volkswagen Polo featuring an apparent Arab suicide bomber.
"The idea of Gene Kelly doing this wasn't disrespectful. If he was around it's the kind of thing that he would do, he was very innovative," said copywriter Martin Loraine, from the advertising agency DDB London.
He and his team had to persuade Kelly's widow, Patricia Ward Kelly, that it would be faithful to the famous scene from the 1952 film of the Hollywood star dancing along a rain-soaked street.
"We wanted to assure her and Turner that we weren't going to be disrespectful to Gene," said Mr Loraine said.
"Even though he was from the 1940s he was very interested and approved of modern dance," Mr Loraine said.
Turner Movies had to grant rights to use the scene and EMI had to give permission to use the song, which has also been remastered by Mint Royale and which will be released in the charts.
The 60-second advert was filmed on the same set at Shepperton Studios where the 60s musical Oliver was filmed and recreates the early part of the sequence showing Kelly singing and dancing in the rain but then breaks into the 21st century with a club mix of the song.
The dancers wore prosthetic face masks and wigs and were filmed many times to replicate as closely as possible the moves that Kelly made and his face has been digitally added to the film.
Rather than use the film's slogan, "What a glorious feeling" the advert ends with the slogan: "The original, updated."
"The idea behind the commercial is all about the fact that the new Golf GTI is the original mark one but updated for 2005. The latest Golf is seen as a classic and iconic car and we really wanted to show that in a very unusual and memorable way," said Catherine Woolfe, the Volkswagen communications manager.
Another idea DDB toyed with for the advert was to use Fred Astaire, or have Frank Sinatra singing the Robbie Williams hit Angels.
An interactive version of the advert will launch in late February. Its content will include a video of the car, footage of the making of the ad, and the song. People will be able use the interactive advert to request a test drive of the car.
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