Filled Under: Peter Lawford
Full of melody! Full of young love! The happiest musical ever made!!
Don Hewes (Fred Astaire): “Miss Brown, what idiot ever told you you were a dancer?”
Hannah Brown (Judy Garland): “You did!”
Easter Parade is a 1948 American musical film starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Peter Lawford and featuring music by Irving Berlin. The film won the 1948 Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. It also received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical. It was the most financially successful picture for both Garland and Astaire as well as MGM’s highest-grossing musical of the year. It finished second only to “Road To Rio” with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour.
Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) and Nadine Hale (Ann Miller) are a famous dance team. Don is also in love with Nadine, or at least he thinks he is. Nadine tells Don she has an offer to do a show where she would be featured as a solo dancer. Don tries to change her mind, and it looks as if he has succeeded (“It Only Happens When I Dance With You”), until Don’s best friend, Johnny (Peter Lawford), turns up. Nadine reveals that she and Don are no longer a team, and it is obvious that Nadine is attracted to Johnny. Angry, Don leaves to drown his sorrows at a bar where he brags that he does not need Nadine and that he can make a star of the next dancer he meets. Of course Don chooses Hannah Brown (Judy Garland), a relatively unpolished, unknown dancer and promptly begins to train her to be his new partner. This creates all sorts of gaity and fun as personal and professional jealousies erupt, along with romantic complications as Hannah falls in love with Don who loves Nadine who is attracted to Johnny who becomes infatuated with Hannah.
Trailer for Easter Parade (1948)
Filmed in Technicolor, with a dozen Irving Berlin musical numbers performed by two of the greatest entertainers of all time in Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, along with the beauty and magnificent dancing of Ann Miller, “Easter Parade” is a must see. Highlights include: Fred Astaire”s solo to “Drum Crazy” while in a toy shop, Ann Miller’s great tap dance to “Shakin’ The Blues Away”, and Fred Astaire and Judy Garland dressed as bums while performing “We’re A Couple Of Swells”.
Gene Kelly was originally scheduled to play Don, but he broke his ankle. It was at his suggestion that he be replaced by Fred Astaire. Cyd Charisse was up for the role of Nadine, but a torn ligament in one of her knees forced her to drop out. She was replaced by Ann Miller.
Sidney Sheldon revealed this in an interview decades after the film came out: On the first day of filming, before the first scene, Sidney Sheldon was telling Judy Garland a story. Though it was time to shoot, Judy pressed him to continue on, ignoring the calls. When Sidney jokingly asked if she wanted to do the scene, Judy said no because the first scene was a kissing scene with Fred Astaire and she had never met him before, though it was assumed that they had since Astaire and Garland were both already big stars at the time. Sidney introduced Judy to Fred, and they all went on to filming the movie.
The song “Easter Parade” that the movie was based upon was first sung in Irving Berlin’s 1933 Broadway revue “As Thousands Cheer” by Marilyn Miller and Clifton Webb and was inspired by the annual event in New York City where people stroll down Fifth Avenue displaying their new hats (some very outrageous) and their Easter finery. The song also appeared in the Irving Berlin movie “Holiday Inn” (1942).