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
The story was loosely based on the real-life partnership of Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire. In real life, Adele Astaire married Lord Charles Cavendish, son of the Duke of Devonshire, just as Jane Powell, playing Fred's sister, marries an English Lord at the end of this film. As she retired in 1931, and Fred did not make his film debut until 1933, Adele never appeared onscreen with brother. This was the only time in his career that one of Fred Astaire's screen characters ever had a sister. See more »
After opening in London Ellen and John go for a walk but the buildings are those of a village, the road is a dirt one and when they stop on a bridge to look at the river on which there is punting being done so it's not the River Thames and London. See more »
Typically enjoyable Fred Astaire vehicle from the 50's and if not on a par with the wonderful "The Bandwagon", "Royal Wedding" certainly deserves a podium position for its vibrant colours (in some scenes, you almost think you're seeing all seven colours of the rainbow in the shot!), fine cinematography (London is faithfully rendered with cobbled streets, red buses and postboxes, even a pea-souper before the "Clean Air" Act was passed later in the decade), topped of course by Astaire's superb dancing. Okay, he's way too old to be Jane Powell's brother and the plot is wafer thin as per usual with Fred's flicks, but his dancing both solo, including the celebrated "Dancing on the Ceiling" scene (later updated by director Donen in the 80's for pop star Lionel Richie's hit song of the same name), but including almost as good scenes dancing with the ship's gym equipment and in another scene, the room furniture, including his hatstand and in concert with the young vibrant Powell, he shines. She can dance by the way... The songs didn't quite connect with me apart from the riotously funny "How Could you Believe Me When I Said Loved You when You Know I've been a Liar all my Life"(surely a country and western song-title from heaven!), but then Fred hasn't the greatest voice and Powell's light operatic warblings don't move me much either. In the minor parts, a young Peter Lawford lords it up, improbably, as an - ahem - English lord, while Sarah Churchill, the great war leader's niece, no less, seems a tad plain both in appearance and her minimal dancing efforts. The humour, centring mainly on the different takes on the languages from the US and UK perspectives, is somewhat forced too but maestro Donen exerts a sure hand at the helm, from the stylish "wedding invitation" titles to the fly-away pan-out shot over London at the close. A pleasant underrated musical comedy with which to while away an afternoon or evening.
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