I enjoyed spending Easter Sunday seeing EASTER PARADE “on the big screen” ie in an actual cinema.
It might have been the best day of the year so far,weather wise, but 49 other fans and myself chose to sit in the darkness and let this glorious musical wash over us.
EASTER PARADE is a bumper fest of Irving Berlin songs, performed to perfection by Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Ann Miller.
I talked about some of the background to the film in my post on “Mr.Monotony”. Here’s some extra information followed by a LOT of pictures!
……..Fred Astaire had talked about retiring after BLUE SKIES in 1946. Standing in for an injured Gene Kelly began another phase of Fred’s career. He was back in the swing again and Barkleys of Broadway, The Band Wagon and Funny Face,Silk Stockings were still to come.
…….For the film, the Irving Berlin score was a mixture of 10 older songs and 8 newly composed. His deal with MGM for the song package was $100,000 plus a percentage of box office receipts. His deal amounted to 20% of the film’s budget!
……….This was Ann Miller’s MGM debut. Cyd Charisse was cast for the part of Nadine but had to pull out because of injury. Anne auditioned and started a 7 year MGM contract. She had On The Town, Kiss Me Kate in the future.
……….I pointed out that “Mr.Monotony” may have been cut from the film because it was too modern. The same could be said of Ann’s “Shaking The Blues Away”, which is hardly 1912. But who cares. it’s a terrific tap number.
……….The whole Irving Berlin score is great and it’s amazing to think that some of his songs were written a lot earlier than 1948:
“Everybody’s Doing It”, the number in which we first see Judy, was written in 1911.
The title song,Easter Parade, was written in 1933 for the stage show,”As Thousands Cheer”, and was first sung by Clifton Webb and Marilyn Miller.
“Shaking The Blues Away” was written for ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1927, and was introduced by Ruth Etting.
The other songs in this medley ( which is a highlight of the film for me) are “I love A Piano”,”Ragtime Violin” and “When The Midnight Choo-choo Leaves for Alabam” , written in 1915,1911 and 1912 respectively. all a hundred years old and still great!
Irving Berlin had been writing songs for 30 years at the time of Easter Parade, and he was still writing hits in 1948 – “A Couple of Swells”,”Stepping Out With My Baby”, “A Fella with an Umbrella” and the film’s first song,”Drum Crazy”.