This week's musical was a new one for me, Easter Parade! I have owned it for awhile now, but for some reason, I had yet to watch it. Now however, I can add it to the "must see" list I am making for all of you musical lovers.
|Pics via google|
Since watching the film, my boyfriend has been going around singing "Easter Parade," which of course is the most famous songs from the show. You may recognize the lyrics, "In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade." If not, I can get my boyfriend to sing it to you :)
|Garland and Astaire|
The main thing you need to know about this musical is that it stars Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. There is the obvious reason why it is an instant classic. Their singing and dancing is absolutely wonderful. Astaire steals the show with his dancing, and Garland steals the show with her singing... it's a win win!
The film was released in 1948 and featured music by Irving Berlin, which if you have watched a few classic musicals, you should know Irving Berlin is a musical genius. He actually wrote the song, "Easter Parade, " years before this musical was written. One performance to mention is Bing Crosby's in Holiday Inn in 1942. With the song's success, this musical was written around it. And as a result, the film did rather well. Financially, it was both Astaire and Garland's most successful film. It was the highest grossing musical the year it released, and it won an Academy Award for "Best Original Music Score."
|Ann Miller as Nadine Hale|
The film begins with Don Hewes, a 1912 Broadway star, in New York City buying his "sweetheart" and dancing partner, Nadine Hale, an Easter hat and presents for the Easter Parade. When arriving with his gifts, he finds out that Nadine has taken a solo act, and he is left with no partner and upcoming gigs. Out to prove to Nadine that he doesn't need her (and hoping to get her back), he grabs the first women he sees and is determined to prove that he can make anybody a star. Enter Hannah Brown (Garland). He does succeed in making her a star, but he never expects that he will have to sort out feelings that he has for both Hannah and Nadine. The musical ends in New York City at the Easter Parade, where he shows up with the girl he truly loves.
|"It Only Happens When I Dance With You"|
With Berlin's musical genius behind the wheel, the entire musical is full of wonderful songs. Some of my favorites: "Happy Easter," "Drum Crazy," "It Only Happens When I Dance With You," "A Fella With an Umbrella," Steppin' Out With My Baby," "A Couple of Swells," and of course "Easter Parade." One song to especially pay attention to is "A Couple of Swells." It is considered one of the most famous musical numbers in the show, and it is one of Astaire and Garland's most famous songs.
|"A Couple of Swells"|
I included a video for you guys because I wanted you to see Astaire's performance in "Steppin' Out With My Baby." About five minutes into the video (you better watch, or skip, to the five minute mark), the film-makers include a slow-motion effect to show off Astaire's dancing. It is brilliant. Everything surrounding him is moving in real-time, but he is projected in slow motion. At first while watching the film, I kinda giggled because "slow motion" has come so far since 1948. But, then I watched as Astaire blew me away with how easy and flawless his moves were. It is seriously incredible. I actually looked it up in the American Film Institute Catalog and found out that it was the "first-ever slow motion synchronization with sound." How awesome is that!