Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Easter Parade (1948)
U

After "For Me and My Gal" Gene Kelly was going to be paired again with Judy Garland, but broke his ankle, so they sent for Fred Astaire instead. The only time he starred with her turned out to be the most successful of his post-Ginger Rogers musicals. He plays one half of a top Broadway dance team whose polished partner (Ann Miller) goes off to strike it alone. He finds an untried unknown (Garland) and grooms her Svengali-style to fill the same shoes. Romance and jealousies inevitably ensue.

The slight plot is laced with generous dollops of vintage Irving Berlin songs, several of them staged with dazzling ingenuity, such as Fred's brilliant solo "Drum Crazy", his "Stepping Out With My Baby" with its accomplished slow-motion effects, and the show-stopping comedy duet with Judy, "A Couple of Swells", which they play in tramp makeup.

Ann Miller's lightning tap-dancing is also magnificently showcased in her solo "Shakin' the Blues Away" and she effectively partners Astaire in "It Only Happens When I Dance With You". But Garland, although a lesser dancer, eclipses her in sheer star power, and overcomes the age difference with Astaire.

Jules Munshin has a caustic comic cameo as an exasperated head-waiter, although it was unfortunate that the atonal Peter Lawford was presented with the opportunity to murder an innocent song, "A Fella With An Umbrella".

The title song finale, evoking Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday back in the days when the carriage-trade throughfare was still lined with millionaires' mansions is the perfect note on which to end one of the happiest of Arthur Freed's MGM musicals.

End Credits

Director: Charles Walters

Writer: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Sidney Sheldon, Guy Bolton

Stars: Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Ann Miller, Peter Lawford, Jules Munshin, Clinton Sundberg

Genre: Musical, Romance, Classic

Length: 103 minutes

Cinema: 1948

VHS: 29 July 1994

Country: USA

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