The Easter Parade in New York started in the latter 1800s and continues on till the present time. In fact, on March 31st (Easter Sunday) is the 2013 Easter Parade which will run from 10am to 4pm EST and will be along the area of Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets. However, in the past the Easter Parade was much different than it is now. It was once a day when everyone had come out in their finest attire, wearing their beautiful Easter Bonnets and in many ways representing the prosperity of America.
The song Easter Parade was written in 1933 by Irving Berlin, 15 years before he would help create the film Easter Parade, the highest grossing film of that year. It had won an Academy Award and Best Written American Musical Award from The Writers Guild of America. Easter Parade had two of the most most successful people in Hollywood at the time and created an incredible film with a score that would live long after the box offices closed.
The film is set in 1912 when Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) is buying Easter gifts for his dance partner / sweetheart Nadine Hale (Ann Miller). When he brings them in to her she doesn’t seem interested and lets Don know that she is going to be dropping off their partnership to enter into a solo act. Don tries to woo her over to no avail and later finds himself in a bar drinking and bragging that he doesn’t need Nadine and he can make a star out of any girl. Picking Hannah (Judy Garland) from the girls doing a number at the bar, Don tells her to meet him the next morning to start work. After a bit of a rough start, they go out for a walk and realize they are walking together in the Easter Parade. Don promises Hannah she will be the biggest star at the Easter Parade the following year and set a date.
The movie in rich in so many things. The HD Blu-ray gives it so much clarity and makes the dance numbers pop off the screen, Judy Garland’s voice is electric and when her and Fred Astaire begin to do their famous acts together it is remarkable seeing how passionate they are about what they’re doing. It isn’t simply acting, it is going to the heart of what each of them are best at. Even the concept of the relationships within the movie mimic realistic emotional experiences that they’ve had moving up in the world; which you can hear about on the Special Feature “Easter Parade: On the Avenue”.
This is a classic that stands the test of time and nothing had shown me that more than when my tot started trying to pull off dance numbers like Fred Astaire. And the masterpiece scene of Drum (crazy) where Don tries to get a bunny away from a little boy really had him moving! If a 4 year old can love a rich classic from the 1940s, you know it is timeless.
Here are some remarkable things about Easter Parade:
- Ann Miller (who plays Nadine Hale) got her big break working on this film and actually is the actress who popularized Panty Hose!
- Easter Parade is one of Judy Garland’s last movies with MGM and was filmed after a breakdown in 1947 and her first suicide attempt.
- Gene Kelly was originally cast as Don Hewes, but was injured right before production was set and Fred Astaire, who had just retired, was convinced to come back and replace him.
- Peter Lawford who plays Jonathan Harrow III, was first married to Patricia Kennedy (JFK’s daughter) and they had four children together. He had gained his citizenship just in time to vote for JFK in the presidential election.
You can find out more about Easter Parade in the Special Features, which include:
- Easter Parade: On the Avenue
- American Masters – Judy Garland: By Myself
- Mr. Monotony Outtake
- Mr. Monotony Dailies
- Radio Promo (Audio Only)
- 3/11/1951 Screen Guild Theater Broadcast (Audio Only)
- Theatrical Trailer
A perfect movie to pick up before Easter Sunday! Grab your own copy of Easter Parade, for the first time on Blu-ray, for $18.95.
Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win a copy of Easter Parade! 2 Winners.
I received a copy for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions are my own and are not influenced by any form of compensation.