Easter Parade - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Easter Parade Reviews

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May 11, 2016
The image one remembers most from 1948's "Easter Parade" is not of a refined dance sequence but of a comedic musical piece reminiscent of a vaudeville number. The stars of the image are Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, who are dressed up as dirty street urchins. Their faces humorously soiled and their smiles characterized by faux rottenness, they pander around the stage singing Irving Berlin's "A Couple of Swells," which is about as self-deprecating as one might expect in a showpiece that calls for the Hollywood Golden Age's most respectable talents to look ridiculous for a couple of minutes.
So it's odd that it works as one of the most iconic performances in the careers of Astaire and Garland. It doesn't show off Astaire's frenetic feet and it doesn't hurl Garland's velvety vocal talents at us either, rather tapping into their remarkable abilities to make any scene appear to be the most important of their profession. And I think that's why they've never been considered to be anything other than esteemed: to go on autopilot was never an option for them.
They easily could have in "Easter Parade." Astaire considered himself to be retired before being coerced into starring (he replaced an injured Gene Kelly); Garland had only recently been released from a psychiatric hospital after multiple mental health issues. So it's nothing short of a miracle that the film is the bubbly Technicolor musical that it is - as we enjoy ourselves tremendously, never does it cross our minds that our leading man was perhaps slightly tired of dancing for a living, that our leading lady had bigger fish to fry (psychologically, I mean) than singing her heart out for adoring audiences.
"Easter Parade" is a commanding achievement in the powers of star quality and the powers of a great soundtrack; it's a satisfying, frothy delight that plays into the enviable capabilities of its headliners. It's never much more than a collection of what MGM does best - anything not revolving around singing or dancing is overwhelmingly lightweight - but what MGM does best is still unfathomably good. And it's a treat to see Astaire and Garland, in their only partnership, do the representing.
In "Easter Parade," Astaire portrays Don Hewes, a Broadway star whose career is at a standstill due to his dancing partner's (Ann Miller) decision to leave him in pursuit of a solo offer. Uninterested in doing anything else with his life, Don almost immediately searches for someone to take her place - anyone with a sense of rhythm will do. Hastily, he picks Hannah Brown (Garland), a chorus girl who captures his interest at a local bar.
The quick choice turns out to be a good one: though not graced with the dancing abilities of Rita Hayworth, Hannah has a chocolatey voice that could melt the heart of any audience member. Don is forced to adjust his style in order to create better balance between him and his newest partner - unfamiliar to him is the incorporation of extensive signing - but, before long, success meets the recently formed pair. Dubbed Hannah & Hewes by the press, popularity is a given. But things cannot always be so idyllic in a Hollywood musical; romance is waiting in the wings, and such could harm the occupational perfection of the situation.
Like the partnership at the center of "Easter Parade," smart is the way the screenwriting team of the film (consisting of Sidney Sheldon, Frances Goodrich, and Albert Hackett) recognizes the strengths of Astaire and Garland and counterweights them with notable symbiosis. Emphasis is put on their individual specialities, of course, but the choosing of the numbers they perform together is ingeniously wise. "A Couple of Swells" being a befitting instance, downplayed are broader singing and dancing elements (as, clearly, one actor is better than the other). Essences are left behind to ensure that our stars both appear to be in their comfort zones, and the results are spotless. There isn't a weak component within "Easter Parade." It's an adroit showcasing.
I additionally like Miller's vaguely villainous role (which is forgivable only because the actress was also one of the finest dancers of the Golden Age), and I like director Charles Walters's intelligent, inviting staging. If only it had the wit of "The Band Wagon," of "Singin' in the Rain" - then "Easter Parade" would have the potential to stand among the greats. For now, though, it's pretty damn good.
April 2, 2016
A happy feel good musical. Great performances and dancing.
½ March 23, 2016
Fun filled, jazzy, easter film that never stops entertaining. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire are a hilarious duo.
½ January 5, 2016
One of the best. MGM's Technicolor delight features the only onscreen pairing of Judy Garland and Fred Astaire - both stars are given a chance to shine; solo ("Drum Crazy," "Steppin' Out with My Baby," "Better Luck Next Time") and together ("A Couple of Swells"). Ann Miller (in her first MGM film) also wows with her solo dance number "Shakin' the Blues Away."
½ April 7, 2015
There are some great songs in this, and fun dance scenes, but this is the kind of musical that isn't my favorite: the kind where many of the songs could fit into any movie and really don't have much to do with the story at all. There are some songs that work well for this movie, but there are too many scenes where the story just stops for another song/dance number that does not move the story along at all. Also, I don't buy the love story. As much as I love the song "Easter Parade," if the lyrics say "I'll be all in clover" why not dress someone in clover?
March 6, 2015
Easter Parade is little more than an excuse to show off the remarkable talent of its leads; its musical numbers are impressive, but its plot is mainly non-existent.
½ January 20, 2015
A little uneven. Nevertheless so cheerful, colorful and amusing that you let it pass by the giant talent of Astaire and Garland in the musical numbers both perform.
November 21, 2014
Fine musical and cast list. Not one of MGM's best, but it's still very much worth a watch.
½ July 19, 2014
steppin out with my baby number & the way Garland decided to make-up at the end the song & hat & everything .. cute
½ May 28, 2014
Easter Parade is a decent film. It is about a nightclub performer who hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star. Fred Astaire and Judy Garland give good performances. The screenplay is a little slow in places. Charles Walters did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the music and romance.
½ May 7, 2014
Colorful and upbeat. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire together is a film lover's delight. (First viewing - In my early twenties)
April 22, 2014
The songs don't really stand out in my mind and I am not a Judy fan.
April 20, 2014
On the day before Easter in 1911, Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) is crushed when his dancing partner (and object of affection) Nadine Hale (Ann Miller) refuses to start a new contract with him. To prove Nadine's not important to him, Don acquires innocent new protegee Hannah Brown (Judy Garland), vowing to make her a star in time for next year's Easter parade.

also stars Peter Lawford, Jules Munshin, Clinton Sundberg, Jeni Le Gon, Richard Beavers and Lola Albright.

directed by Charles Walters.
November 26, 2013
a wonderful movie! I love judy garland and fred astaire, and they are terrific together. the music is great too.
October 19, 2013
More a variety show than a film, more quantity than quality, more good than great. Who cares? It's got Garland and Astaire in their primes.
September 14, 2013
I love this film, Judy Garland is the absolute best!!!
½ September 10, 2013
Easter Parade features two of the best known entertainers in movie history, glorious music, fresh Technicolor and amazing - and I mean amazing dancing routines. Prepare to be entertained and amazed! There is no other way to describe the creative, fun and bedazzling colour, costumes and dances.

Popular dancing team Don Hewes (of course, Astaire) and Nadine Hale (wonderful singer/dancer/actress Ann Miller) break up because Nadine wants to pursue her own career. Don Hewes is determined to find a new dancing partner and to make her a smash... and guess who he finds - unknown dancer Hannah Brown (Judy Garland) - who he picked out randomly. It is a relatively simple and sweet story, however flimsy it may be. You find yourself not really caring about the plot as you are emerged in a world of spectacular song, dance, costume and colour.

Three musical sequences stick in my mind: firstly, Ann Miller's mind boggling tap dance 'Shakin' the Blues Away'. Not only a great song, but an incredible dance. Then there is Fred's turn in the toy shop. The timing for that is beyond belief. Everything is perfection - the music, the decor, the dance. It isn't an ordinary Tapdance because he uses rhythm, drums and instruments to give it a more flavour. I honestly don't know how he does it. Lastly, 'Down the Avenue' is one of my favourite songs. I laugh every time I see Judy Garland and Fred Astaire - two absolute legends - dressed up as bums!! Some very famous and spectacular dancing - top notch.

Along the way there are a few laughs (Garland really helps the comedy side), but I mainly watch this movie for it's eye candy. It is a perfect way to escape reality and dive into the world of the magnificent MGM musical. One of the best.
August 26, 2013
Fun, bubbly movie featuring two great talents. Enjoyable little musical, even if the musical numbers aren't the most memorable. The movie makes a huge mistake though; near the end it gives the (supposedly) 2nd string Ann Miller the better musical numbers, and give Garland and Astaire only one musical number together, "A couple of swells." A terrible number to portray Astaire and Garland's couple dance chemistry. And Garland's character is supposed to fall totally in love with Astaire though their dancing, but we the audience never really get to see it portrayed through the movie - mostly we're just told. There's no questioning their individual talent, and together Garland and Astaire should be a great all-time dance couple; but the movie really fails to showcase their talent together. I guess I blame the musical numbers; Ann Miller surprising gets the best dance numbers, and none of the music is very memorable, and while the dancing displayed is very good, none of it is top notch. Despite these flaws, Easter Parade is probably the best of the musicals I've been watching lately; it's not a favorite genre of mine (a lot of the stories are too hokey), but I think I can watch anything with either Astaire or Garland in it. Their personalities are able to elevate the material that's given to them, in Easter Parade and also pretty much in every movie of theirs that I've seen.
July 19, 2013
I love Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.
July 18, 2013
Easter Parade stars a powerful couple, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.

The story begins and ends on Easter Day during the famous Easter Parade. This film is known as the (acclaimed) "happiest musical ever made." The film is about love, trust, loyalty, and is quite a pleasant Astaire type dance/musical film to watch.

I loved Judy in this as well as Fred, as I love him in any of his films. The choreography, the singing, the score, and the acting were all fantastic!

If you love musicals, then you definitely have to see this one.

Easter Parade, I give you a 100%.
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