6.7/10
4,343
51 user 35 critic

Royal Wedding (1951)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 23 March 1951 (USA)
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A brother and sister dance act encounter challenges and romance when booked in London during the Royal Wedding.

Director:

Stanley Donen

Writers:

Alan Jay Lerner (story), Alan Jay Lerner (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire ... Tom Bowen
Jane Powell ... Ellen Bowen
Peter Lawford ... Lord John Brindale
Sarah Churchill Sarah Churchill ... Anne Ashmond
Keenan Wynn ... Irving Klinger / Edgar Klinger
Albert Sharpe Albert Sharpe ... James Ashmond
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Storyline

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 Paul Corr

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M's Gay New Musical


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 March 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Boda real See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,590,920 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "You're All the World to Me" dance was accomplished by putting a whole room, attached camera and harnessed cameraman inside a 20-foot-diameter rotating "squirrel cage." See more »

Goofs

London streets have American fire hydrants. Also the same London bus drives backwards and forwards across the set. See more »

Quotes

James Ashmond: Do I look like a gentleman?
Tom Bowen: You look like a banker.
James Ashmond: But do I look like a gentleman?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Meet Me on the Southbank (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Wedding March Op. 61
(uncredited)
By Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Why isn't this film better known?
19 January 2003 | by SpleenSee all my reviews

I've only seen two other Fred Astaire vehicles: "Top Hat" and "Swing Time", the more recent of which was made 15 years before this. The improvement is remarkable. At some time perhaps in the 1940s Astaire appears to have been given a charm transplant; in "Royal Wedding", instead of coming across, woodenly, as a bit of a cad, he's a perfectly decent fellow, with all of the human impulses it's easiest to like and intelligence to boot. It's as though he'd been taking lessons from Gene Kelly.

If the earlier dance spectacles are not to be judged too harshly for merely marking time between the breath-taking dance sequences – and I concur, they should not be judged too harshly for this – how much less should this one be judged harshly, with at least four sequences likely to get applause (all four DID get applause, at the screening I attended): the bit where Astaire "rehearses" when his partner doesn't show up by dancing with and around the gym equipment (again, this is exactly the kind of thing Gene Kelly would do); the scene in which he dances on the wall, then the ceiling, then the other wall, then the ceiling again – obviously within a set like the one used in "2001", but Astaire disguises this by finding a different, natural-looking transition from surface to surface each time; the over-the-top "I Left My Hat in Haiti" number; and the superbly performed (well acted and sung as well as well danced) "How Could You Believe Me … etc." routine. Any one of these would be reason enough to dust a mediocre film off and watch it at least once.

But this isn't a mediocre film. It's not just that there are four strong numbers and no weak ones; it's that it DOESN'T merely mark time between them. One thing that this has in common with Donen's other films is its desire to entertain at every moment. It's a light film, even a facetious one… yet we can feel for it, too. There's nothing contrived or pointless about the complication that threatens to thwart True Love. (Whether or not this really IS true love is of course beside the point.) Tom likes the lifestyle of a bachelor, Ellen wants to preserve her career; both characters are genuinely torn for perfectly legitimate reasons, and in fact, there's no way for them to resolve their difficulties except by simply choosing, which is why the sudden, simultaneous decision to get married to their respective partners at the end doesn't feel forced.

I go to watch films I've never heard of and expect very little from, all the time. Why? Because every once in a while, I strike gold.


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