Small-town Indiana girl Lily Mars dreams to be a stage actress. She begs visiting Broadway producer John Thornway for a role but he dismisses her as an amateur. She follows him to New York and worms her way into his show, and his heart.
Johnny Brett and King Shaw are an unsuccessful dance team in New York. A producer discovers Brett as the new partner for Clare Bennett, but Brett, who thinks he is one of the people they lent money to gives him the name of his partner.
Rich kid Danny Churchill (Rooney) has a taste for wine, women and song, but not for higher education. So his father ships him to an all-male college out West where there's not supposed to ... See full summary »
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>
The dye from the feather on Judy Garland's hat in "Fella with an Umbrella" song ran all over her face and jacket, so they coated it with Vaseline. The feather looks different in two different shots. See more »
While Hannah sings "It Only Happens When I Dance With You", she's supposed to be accompanying herself on the piano; but her hands never reach the low notes that we hear. See more »
[as he enters the apartment]
Essie, Nadine's Maid:
Oh, Mr. Hewes.
Hello darling! Where are you?
Oh Don, I've been trying to call you.
Uh, Essie, will you help me with these things please?
[laughs while struggling with several stacked boxes]
Thank you. Well, I got all tied up with an Easter rabbit. Hello sweetheart.
[...] 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 »
Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon
Written by Irving Berlin
Played as second number by orchestra in restaurant as Nadine and Don reminisce See more »
Charming with great singing and dancing, but that's all.
EASTER PARADE doesn't tell the typical tale of a love triangle; in fact, it's more like a love square. Even though it's Easter and he's just told her that 'It Only Happens When I Dance With You', Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) is most unceremoniously dumped by his dancing partner Nadine Hale (Ann Miller) for a high-prestige solo job headlining the Ziegfeld Follies. Bitter at being dumped both professionally *and* personally, Don swears that he'll pick any girl off the street and turn her into a dancer to rival Nadine (hard to imagine considering who was playing her!). Although he first tries to model her in Nadine's image (naming her, of all things, Juanita), he soon realises that the girl with the heartbreaking voice that he's picked up, Hannah Brown (Judy Garland), must remain Hannah Brown. They come up with new routines that suit 'Hannah & Hewes', while Hannah falls for Don as Don's buddy Johnny (Peter Lawford) falls for her. Things get a little messy for a while when Don can't seem to get over Nadine, Nadine has a lascivious eye out for Johnny, Johnny carries a torch for Hannah, and Hannah pines for Don. Still, the square doesn't remain a square for long.
In a lot of movie musicals, one tends to get the feeling that the writers are struggling to pad the plot with songs. There appears to be no such pretense in this film: from the very beginning, with Astaire singing 'Easter Parade' to open the film, one gets the impression that EASTER PARADE sets out to be a showcase for songs and a stage for dances--this is further emphasised when 'Easter Parade' segues immediately into Astaire's famous solo 'Drum Crazy' (with no intervening dialogue), which, while enchanting, has next to nothing to do with the story. The plot is skimpy, but not worriedly pushed to the side as in some other musicals... in fact, it quite happily moves over of its own accord to make way for the Irving Berlin tunes. Most of which are, no offense to the immeasurable Berlin, pleasant but not particularly memorable. There are exceptions, of course, particularly the fantastic 'A Couple Of Swells' (with enchanting dance accompaniment--Garland mugs and Astaire parodies his own 'top hat, white tie and tails' image to excellent effect). I'm also partial to the recurring love theme, 'It Only Happens When I Dance With You' and 'Better Luck Next Time'.
And of course, there's nothing really wrong with being all about the singing and the dancing when it's *such* incredible singing and dancing. It almost goes without saying that Garland, with that slightly off-kilter but heartbreakingly beautiful voice of hers, lights up the screen in all her scenes. (It's a credit to Peter Lawford that he manages to hold his own in their one number together 'A Fella With An Umbrella'!) There are also very few dancers better than Fred Astaire and Ann Miller; Astaire in all the scenes that has him tapping away as he was born to do, and Miller particularly in her rousing, beat-perfect 'Shakin' The Blues Away'. It will always be a mystery to me why Miller wasn't given more choice roles and more opportunities to show off her dancing skills (and legs!), since she always acquits herself wonderfully in any film I've seen her in (particularly ON THE TOWN and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU) with the little screen time she almost inevitably gets.
In the late 1940s, one couldn't really be blamed for getting the impression that the MGM musical--though still big and splashy (witness the overblown 'calendar girls' segment shoved into EASTER PARADE)--was just limping along until Gene Kelly came along and shook things up with AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (and SINGIN' IN THE RAIN to follow). Unfortunately, even with its impressive cast and great dancing, that's just what EASTER PARADE feels like... a filler. It's a slight, not too complicated or strenuous musical that's enjoyable but hardly a classic. Watch this for the performances of all concerned, but not for the plot. For that, the main stars (Astaire, Garland and Miller) have been in far worthier musicals.
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