Sunday, September 26, 2010

1948 - EASTER PARADE, the top moneymaking film of 1948

 A real ordeal to sit through and an Academy Award winning film ( best screenplay).

This was the big film of 1948, the top grossing picture of the year.  Fred Astaire stepped in to replace Gene Kelly after Kelly broke his leg.  Judy Garland was at the peak of her popularity.  Irving Berlin was hired to write some new songs for the film and the picture was filmed in Technicolor.  There were complaints about the age difference between Astaire and Garland, the least of the problems with Easter Parade. 

The whole film, sickeningly bland. As they say, no one watches musicals for the plot but this love story was even more vacuous than usual for this genre. Astaire and Garland play a dance team who fall in and out and in and out of love.  Fred's old partner Ann Miller dumped him to be a big star in the Ziegfeld Follies, you get the picture. 

There are some good Irving Berlin songs in this film.  Still, you also have to sit through the music and lyrics of classics like, "Snookey Ookums, The Ragtime Violin, When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam,"  and "The Girl on the Magazine Cover" and the songs just keep coming at you. 

The color photography is really garish even for a color film from this period.  A blazing purple couch,  glowing flowers and red lipstick.  Towards the end there is a fashion show where they really pump up the ugly color look of the film.  

One scene in a restaurant where a waiter tosses an imaginary salad for Judy Garland and her date has to be seen to be believed, its not even remotely funny and it just never ends.

Judy Garland's OK but what saves this film is Fred Astaire's smooth dancing. 

The whole film is an interesting look at what people in 1948 considered to be wonderful entertainment, audiences just kept coming back to see Easter Parade again and again.  Rent That's Entertainment and watch the excerpts from Easter Parade to save time or just skip the whole thing.

107 minutes.

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