Fred Astaire had announced his retirement before the cameras began to roll on Easter Parade, but he decided to accept the film's leading role when its original star Gene Kelly became incapacitated. The thinnish plot, which finds Astaire trying to turn chorus girl Judy Garland into a star in order to show up his former partner Ann Miller, is hardly what keeps the audience's eyes riveted to the screen. All that truly matters are the 17 musical numbers, all written by Irving Berlin (ten were standards, while seven were new to this film). Among the many highlights are Astaire's slow-motion version of "Steppin' Out," the Astaire/Garland duet "We're a Couple of Swells," the opening rendition of "Happy Easter," and the closing performance of the title number.
Classic Film Series
Classic Film Series
The Happiest Musical Ever Made!
EASTER PARADE (1948)
Saturday, April 11
Directed by: Charles Walters
Cast: Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller and Peter Lawford
Door open at 10am - Admission is $5 - Harry Hamm of KMOX will be on hand to introduce the film
' Easter Parade,' With Berlin's Hit Tunes, Astaire's Nimble Feet, at Loew's State
With seventeen Irving Berlin songs to record and with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and Ann Miller itching to exercise their accomplished legs and adequate vocal chords, it's no wonder that the slim story line on which "Easter Parade" is spun is almost completely lost in the shuffle. But don't give that loss a second thought for the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical is at its best when the boy and girls are on their toes. And since the song and dance routines are plentiful and varied in tempo and design the picture runs its close to two-hour course with only an occasional slip from high to low gear. "Easter Parade" may not strike the perfect balance between song-dance interludes and story, but it's an appealing show just the same. - Thomas M. Pryor / New York Times - Published: July 1, 1948