The Happiest Musical Ever Made is Irving Berlin's Easter Parade
On the day before Easter in 1911, Don Hewes is crushed when his dancing partner (and object of affection) Nadine Hale refuses to start a new contract with him. To prove Nadine's not important to him, Don acquires innocent new protegee Hannah Brown, vowing to make her a star in time for next year's Easter parade.
“A girl dancer has to be exotic; she has to be - a peach.”
-Don Hewes (Fred Astaire)
I’ve probably said it before, but I’ve never really been that much of a fan of the musical sub-genre, bar several notable exceptions. I would wager that it is actually one of the hardest to work within, since not only is there strong competition, but it really takes something special, some magic spark, in order for one to differentiate itself against other similarly themed films. What this usually results in are several truly great musicals, yet hundreds of poor knock-offs and cheap imitations.
Recently however I have cultivated my love/hate affair with the genre with some sincerely solid entries. Between this, Bye…
By far the best bit of this movie is early on in the running time, when the wonderful Fred Astaire has a routine in a toy shop, to the Berlin number ‘Drum Crazy'.
He's there to get an Easter present for his dancing partner (played with energy by Ann Miller), but she has a bombshell to drop: she's leaving him to join a bigger name stage show, and he's left high and dry without an act.
Step forward Judy Garland, as a waitress who Fred thinks might be able to sing and dance. At first she's reluctant, and hopeless, but of course, this being MGM mush she falls for Fred and suddenly finds her talent. At this sort of thing…
An excellent return for Astaire. I liked how, upon coming out of retirement, he plays a character who gets a new start by breaking away from his usual ballroom style. Garland is also great, switching easily between goofy and classy. Wonderful performances from Ann Miller and a nice supporting role for Lawford. Highly recommended.
Judy Garland and Fred Astaire are a match made in heaven, and they prove it since the first scene they display their talents combined..
Had a hard time staying interested. Probably needed a surer hand like Minnelli's to guide this colorful ship to easy waters.
Three of the greatest musical stars that ever lived - Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, and Ann Miller - are at their best in this wonderful film filled with some of Irving Berlin's finest songs. Highlights include Fred Astaire's tap dance through a toy shop in 'Drum Crazy' and Ann Miller's show stopping 'Shaking the Blues Away' (which she, incredibly, performed while in immense pain and wearing a back brace).
A fine Musical.
A decent musical, although it's pretty standard. I do not for one minute believe Fred Astaire and Judy Garland as a couple. Worth a watch for Ann Miller, who I adore and who dances her butt off!
Not my favorite Fred Astaire musical, but Judy Garland is otherworldly adorable and some of the dance sequences are quite astounding. Still doesn't hold a candle to Singin' In The Rain, but the Technicolor extravagance makes for a wonderful Blu-ray transfer.
Better than decent backstage musical with a couple of staggering numbers (Astaire's slow motion simulation for "Steppin' Out" is remarkable) and glorious Technicolor, etc...