Easter Parade (1948)
Directed by: Charles Walters
Production co.: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
World premiere: New York, 30 June 1948
A couple of weeks ago I realized that I have too few of Fred Astaire's films in possession, and by that I mean the ones without Ginger in it. Soon enough, it hit me that I have to start on his personal filmography now or never. So I started with Easter Parade, for the reason that this was the film that relaunched his fame after his short 'retirement' from Hollywood that lasted less than two years.
Fred, still looking so dashing and amazingly graceful even when I can see that he certainly has aged, amazes us with his Drum Crazy performance right at the beginning of the film. Judy Garland is also a delight to watch, although it was more for her musical performances than her character that capture my heart the entire time.
The plot is really just a so-so: a man, Don Hewes, angered after his lover/dance partner, Nadine Hale leaves him (Fred Astaire and Ann Miller, whose character I hate and yet find very hard to resist because she's so good at dancing!), decides to recruit another girl as his dancing partner on impulse (and by another he means just about any other girl he could find) and chooses Hannah Brown (Judy Garland) when he meets her in a small bar. From there chemistry begins to develop and the story blossoms... into something quite predictable, but still very enjoyable, because each and every Astaire film is always a pleasure to watch, and because the musicals performed here are all amazing. You get Fred Astaire dancing (in slow motion, even), you get Judy Garland singing, you get Irving Berlin for the songwriting and superb supporting casts like Peter Lawford and Ann Miller-- what else could you be asking for? You like romance? Grab this film now. You adore musicals? What are you waiting for? You're looking for something refreshing to watch? Well this is the answer. Searching for some new tunes? Here, here.