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Don Hewes and Nadine Hale are a dancing team, but she decides to start a career on her own. So he takes the next dancer he meets, Hannah Brown, as a new partner. After a while this new team is so successful, that Florenz Ziegfeld is interested in them, but due to the fact that Nadine Hale dances also in the Ziegfeld Follies Don says no. In spite of the fact that he is in love with Hannah, he keeps the relation to her strictly business. So Hannah is of the opinion that he is still in love with Nadine, and her suspicion grows when he dances with Nadine in a Night Club Floor Show.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Irving Berlin wrote the entire score for the film, including "Everybody's Doin' It Now" (the music during Hannah's number when Don discovers her) and "Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon" (the piano accompaniment during Hannah's audition the following morning). Berlin did not compose these songs in the 1940's leading up to the film's production year of 1948 but rather in 1911 and 1910, respectively. Since the story is set in the year between the Easter Sundays of 1911 and 1912, the songs do not just reproduce the musical sound from the vaudeville era but are authentic period pieces. This is the same for the entire vaudeville montage, whose songs were written between 1911-1915, and "The Girl on the Magazine Cover" (1915). Other songs such as "A Fella With an Umbrella", "It Only Happens When I Dance With You", and "A Couple of Swells" were written in 1948 specifically for the film. See more »
Most or all of the musical arrangements, costumes, and hairstyles date from a much later time period than the setting of the film (1912-1913). This is especially notable since many scenes are stage performances. Although a haphazard attempt is made to made the women's street clothing and hats vaguely appear at least near or approximate to the 1912 time frame, from the knees down, the light colored stockings, and most definitely all the shoe styles, are strictly 1948. See more »
Judy Garland sings "Mr. Monotony" in a sequence cut from the film. An excerpt from the number was included in That's Entertainment Part III (1994). The 2004 DVD box set release of all three That's Entertainment films includes a bonus DVD that includes the complete performance of this number. See more »
"Oh I Could Write a Sonnet, about your Easter bonnet."
For the only teaming of Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, Gene Kelly had to break an ankle playing touch football although he told the studio it was in rehearsal. So Fred Astaire who after another Irving Berlin musical extravaganza, Blue Skies at Paramount, got pulled out of retirement for this film. It was a happy accident for film fans.
Easter Parade by this time had become the national anthem for Easter and enjoys a grand seasonal popularity as Irving Berlin's White Christmas also. It was originally written for the musical revue As Thousands Cheer in 1933 and sung as a duet by Clifton Webb and Marilyn Miller. Bing Crosby reprised it in Holiday Inn in a very nice number driving a horsedrawn sleigh from church Easter services. But usually when it is presented visually, the clip of Judy Garland singing it in the finale is the one always shown.
By the way the melody originally was for a lyric entitled Smile and Show Your Dimple which bombed for Irving Berlin. Berlin was quoted as saying that popular songs are a perfect marriage between words and music and in this case the melody got divorced and married a second lyric successfully.
Easter Parade is a good mixture of old Irving Berlin material and new songs written for this film. Fred Astaire shines with one of the new ones in Stepping Out With My Baby which is a good followup to Putting On the Ritz which Astaire sang and danced to in Blue Skies. And Judy just shines in Better Luck Next Time.
The plot is a pretty simple one and for the MGM opulence that their musicals were known for their are very few actual speaking roles in this film. It's a romantic quadrangle with Fred Astaire being dumped by his erstwhile partner Ann Miller and then taking on Judy Garland in one of those 'I'll show her' moments of bravado. Peter Lawford's around to get whoever Astaire doesn't.
The acting honors in Easter Parade go to Judy. For all that talent Judy Garland was a most insecure person in life and she drew from that in bringing Hannah Brown to the screen.
Ann Miller's big number is Shaking the Blues Away which Ruth Etting introduced in 1927. Doris Day in fact does it in Love Me or Leave Me. Still Ann makes it more of a dance number than Doris did which is what Irving Berlin originally intended it to be.
The thing about Easter Parade and so many other films like it is that all that talent was contracted to that studio. You can't make a film like Easter Parade today because you'd have to pay full market price for the talent, even as Irving Berlin's numbers slip year after year into public domain.
The Easter parade with women dressed in their finest most tasteful frock is still a New York tradition on Easter Sunday. So is this film.
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