Tom and Ellen Bowen are a brother and sister dance act whose show closes in New York. Their agent books them in London for the same period as the Royal Wedding. They travel by ship where ... See full summary »
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Tom and Ellen Bowen are a brother and sister dance act whose show closes in New York. Their agent books them in London for the same period as the Royal Wedding. They travel by ship where Ellen meets and becomes involved with Lord John Brindale. This causes her to miss a rehearsal. Tom (Astaire) uses the time to dance with a hat rack and gym equipment. Later Tom and Ellen attempt a graceful dance number as the ship rolls. Upon arrival Tom holds auditions and meets Anne. There is much indecision by the siblings about their romantic partners even though they are in-the-clouds. Tom dances on the walls and ceiling of his hotel room. All ends well in this light musical. By the way, there is a vaudeville-style dance number in their show that features slapstick. It's a hoot. Written by
Fred Astaire's gravity-be-damned four-wall dance solo was imbued with choreographic wonder and sprinkled judiciously with humor. He did it all because of a woman!!! Tom Bowen is a male dancer who is pure male but the most important woman in his life is not the one who had him defying gravity. It is his sister, Ellen: his equal on the terpsichorean turf. Their Runyonesque number was pitch perfect with lyrical precision provided by Alan Jay Lerner, who obviously spent quality time (physically or spiritually) with Damon Runyon. For the script and acting per sewith Keenan Wynn as a stupendous "double agent" A Royal Wedding is worth the price of admission. Fred Astaire and Jane Powell give award-winning performances but their dancing puts this film on the top shelf of cinematic history. The hat-rack dance, the turbulent ship dance andof coursethe ceiling dance owe a debt to Ernie Kovacs, the man who dovetailed comedy, art, and special effects before George Lucas was born. Too bad "Kovackian" is such a cumbersome word. A personal aside: I was once invited to Alan Jay Lerner's Park Avenue home. The invitation came from the furniture company whose products Mrs. Lerner had ordered. AJ wasn't home. So be it.
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