Action / Comedy / Musical / Romance
Action / Comedy / Musical / Romance
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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. —Paul Corr.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Aug 15, 2021 at 05:48 PM
- Amzie Strickland as Dancer in Haiti Number
- Bess Flowers as Backstage Guest
- Jane Powell as Ellen Bowen
- Keenan Wynn as Irving Klinger / Edgar Klinger
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The Happiest Day In A Lifetime
One of Fred Astaire's most charming musicals is Royal Wedding where as if taken from his own real life, he's part of a brother and sister act with Jane Powell. We never did get to see Adele Astaire perform on screen, but rumor has it she was exquisite in her steps and lovely to see. And like Jane in this film she married into the aristocracy.In fact both brother and sister have their romances in Royal Wedding, Fred with none other than Sarah Churchill who was the daughter of a well known British politician. On shipboard Jane attracts the attention of Peter Lawford who was a member of the aristocracy and something of a skirt chaser.All this is against the background of the royal wedding that took place in 1947 between Mr. Phillip Mountbatten and Ms. Elizabeth Windsor. Another reviewer astutely remarked this film was on the MGM drawing boards for some time. In fact it was originally meant for Judy Garland, but she had her breakdown and Jane stepped into the part. Despite all the British locales, the cast never left the MGM lot, footage of the real royal wedding and other London establishing shots were used.Jane got three lovely numbers to sing, The Happiest Day in a Lifetime, Open Your Eyes, and Too Late Now, the last being nominated for Best Song. In fact Jane Powell had a unique distinction of having two film songs up in the same year for the Oscar, the other being Wonder Why from Rich, Young, And Pretty. I can't recollect another performer this ever happened to, not even her co-star Fred Astaire or Bing Crosby who did introduce the Oscar winning song for 1951, In The Cool Cool Cool of the Evening from Here Comes The Groom.Songwriters Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner didn't do too bad for Fred either. Royal Wedding is famous as the picture in which Fred Astaire did his surreal dance on the ceiling. Thinking about his lady love Sarah, Fred, alone in his hotel room starts to sing and dance You're All the World To Me and ends up dancing on the sides of the wall and ceiling of his room. This was accomplished by constructing a set that turned with the furniture and fixtures nailed down. I can't fathom the precision it took to get that number right and retain the spontaneous look that Astaire's dancing was noted for. Fred also sang and danced I Left My Hat in Haiti and Every Night at Seven.The duet that Powell and Astaire have is the longest song title on record to date. How Can You Believe Me When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life has Fred and Jane as a gangster and his moll. Astaire was fabulous and Jane more than kept up with him in the number. When Judy Garland had her breakdown, her first public appearance after leaving the hospital was on a pair of Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Program where guest starred with Bob Hope as well. Judy did a rollicking version of the Liar song with Bing and it's the only instance where you can get an idea of what she might have been like in Powell's role. This film was a favorite of my mother's, when we watched on VHS about 20 years ago, she loved Fred Astaire's Sunday Jumps number. This is a sequence on board ship where Fred asks to use the ship's gym for rehearsal and does a marvelously inventive sequence with the gym equipment even including a coat hanger. If there's an example of Fred Astaire's ingenuity in making his material look spontaneous this is it. It's well known the number of man hours he rehearsed to get that spontaneous look, but it certainly pays off here.And this review is dedicated to my mother, a very big fan of this film. I can still hear her remark about how graceful Fred Astaire moved.
Fred Astaire's gravity-be-damned four-wall dance solo was imbued with choreographic wonder and sprinkled judiciously with humor. He did it all because of a woman!!! Tom Bowen is a male dancer who is pure male but the most important woman in his life is not the one who had him defying gravity. It is his sister, Ellen: his equal on the terpsichorean turf. Their Runyonesque number was pitch perfect with lyrical precision provided by Alan Jay Lerner, who obviously spent quality time (physically or spiritually) with Damon Runyon. For the script and acting per sewith Keenan Wynn as a stupendous "double agent" A Royal Wedding is worth the price of admission. Fred Astaire and Jane Powell give award-winning performances but their dancing puts this film on the top shelf of cinematic history. The hat-rack dance, the turbulent ship dance andof coursethe ceiling dance owe a debt to Ernie Kovacs, the man who dovetailed comedy, art, and special effects before George Lucas was born. Too bad "Kovackian" is such a cumbersome word. A personal aside: I was once invited to Alan Jay Lerner's Park Avenue home. The invitation came from the furniture company whose products Mrs. Lerner had ordered. AJ wasn't home. So be it.
Feel good fluffiness
If you like lighthearted, fluffy, feel-good films then this movie could be up your alley. The dancing is superb and very creative, and the singing from both Jane Powell and Fred Astaire is wonderful. Jane Powell is amazing in her role, very convincing. Fred Astaire shines as well. The only things wrong with this movie is a) as other people have commented, is the boring love interests. They seem very wooden, there's no chemistry, they don't sing and dance. Basically, they suck and could have been much better casted. The second thing is that a few of the songs are pretty boring, but I loved "Too Late Now" and "How could I believe you.." Very clever. Great dancing, great stars, beautiful costumes, great acting (from Jane Powell and Fred Astaire) and lovely songs! I really enjoyed watching this movie.
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