Musical Monday: Easter Parade

Monday, April 02, 2007 by
Darlings, Jesus just doesn't want us to recap The Harvey Girls. We went to two videostores. Neither had it - and the film student working behind the counter at the second one informed us that it hadn't even been released on DVD! Stupid clerk. Some day, darlings.

But Jesus knew what he was doing because it's MUCH more appropriate to rip on Easter Parade the week before Easter, so let's get started! It's what Jesus wants!

Our story opens with Fred Astaire and the fabulous Ann Miller as world-famous hoofers, "Nadine & Hewes." It's the day before Easter in 1911 and Fred arrives loaded with gifts for the entitled little bitch. She allows him a cheek kiss before informing him that she's breaking up the act. Now, if you're Fred Astaire and your girl is telling you she's outta here, what do you do?


She swoons - what woman wouldn't? - but she still tells him "No dice." He's Fred Astaire, so he stomps off petulantly, but not before Peter Lawford (back when he was gorgeous) shows up.

Fred is no sooner out the door when Ann attempts to sink her claws in. Peter's firmly in the cute-but-dim-witted category but manages to rebuff her.

He meets up with Fred at what passes for a strip joint in 1911. Fred Astaire was always a joy to watch, but whenever he had to play it a little rough - smoking, drinking, "Dames. What are they good for?" - it always came off a little silly. It's not that he was effeminate at all but you have to admit, he was the very picture of "effete". Stick to the spats and top hats, Fred. It's what you were born for.

Anyway, in a drunken moment of "I'll show HER!" He brags that he can pick any lowly girl out of that chorus and make her as big a star as Nadine ever was.

Meet lowly girl.

Also, meet plot.

Fred fast talks her backstage and tells her to quit her job and meet him tomorrow.

The next day, hungover Fred is full of regrets - especially when Judy shows up wearing a UPS maternity uniform and informs him she can't dance.

Killer heels, though.

After several hours of practice, Fred takes her out to lunch when they run smack into the Easter Parade on 5th Avenue.

And of course, Ann Miller is there looking fabulous. This bitch knew how to make an entrance. Judy is agape at the sight of her but Fred tells her that when he's done with her she'll be even more fabulous than Ann. Color us skeptical.

The debut of their dance act goes over about as well as you'd expect in a funny scene where Judy gets to display her comedy chops.

The next day Fred meets Ann for lunch. Just look at her. Fabulous. Ann is pissed and claims all her friends are laughing at her because "that little seamstress" he's got dancing for him is ripping off her schtick.

From now on, whenever a woman pisses us off, we're going to refer to her as "that little seamstress." "That little seamstress got my order wrong!" "Did you see what that little seamstress did? She gave me the finger!"

Meanwhile, the little seamstress meets up with Peter Lawford. She politely stands there and doesn't laugh at him as he painfully attempts to warble his way through the one song he's required to sing. He's nuts about her but she can't bring herself to be with such an untalented lunk.

Fresh from his lunch with Ann, Fred realizes that he has to play to Judy's strengths, so he checks out her singing. Well duh.

What follows is your typical musical montage of increasingly ugly clothes paired with several Irving Berlin songs to indicate that the new Hanna & Hewes is a hit.

And while it's always fun (and easy) to make fun of the clothes, we're going to go further out on that limb and declare that not everything that Irving Berlin wrote was a masterpiece. Seriously, "Snookie-Ookums?" Painful.

BUT! The montage ends with the pair auditioning for Ziegfeld with the "Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam" number and honeys, it's a show-stopper. Sit down, we're going to pay Judy a compliment.

It's astonishing to watch her in a piece like this because she's only 26 years old and not only is she dancing with Fred Astaire in a fairly intricate and fast-paced tap routine, not only is she holding her own step for step, but she's also BELTING out a song at the top of her lungs at the same time. It's really something when FRED ASTAIRE is not the one you're paying attention to in a dance routine.

Good god, that dress is ugly. Judy wasn't conventionally pretty but she certainly wasn't ugly. Why is it that when Hollywood was at the very apex of its glamour-making skills, those legions of lisping costumers and makeup people could never really make her look good - or look her age?

Ann shows up in yet another jaw-dropping outfit and pays the little seamstress a backhanded compliment. We worship Ann. Dimwitted Judy puts two and two together and realizes that the lady they saw at the Easter Parade was Fred's former partner and that he didn't see fit to inform Judy of that. She's pissed.

She's even more pissed when she finds out Ziegfeld offered them a job and Fred turned him down because he doesn't want to be in the same show as Ann.

Later that night, she goes on a date with Peter and instead of sleeping with him (which, well, look at him. It's the only thing that makes sense) tells him that she's in love with Fred. Okay, you know what? We have to slap you now. Fred's great but he's old enough to be your father AND he's still in love with someone else. You ain't the prettiest girl on the lot and you've got the hotness of a twentysomething Peter Lawford trying to get into your crinolines. Then again, Judy wasn't exactly known for wise personal decisions.

Someday, we're going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It's why so many of the men had walking sticks too.

Think about it.

And speaking of vaginas, Ann shakes hers all over the stage in another eye-popping dance routine "Shakin' the Blues Away." This is probably her most iconic performance on film. She looks stunning and the dancing is absolutely amazing. It kills us that there's not one clip on YouTube from this film.

Anyway, Fred takes Judy to dinner and informs her that they have a new show opening. She's all "But I wore this really ugly dress just for you!" And he's all "Fine. Here." Not exactly the most passionate kiss in the history of the silver screen.

So their new show opens and Fred treats us to another eye-popping dance routine in the also somewhat iconic "Steppin' Out with my Baby" number. This number unfortunately bears the weight of too much cultural referencing and it's virtually impossible to watch the sequence without thinking of Michael Jackson, who ripped it off from top to bottom in countless videos.

It's interesting watching Astaire over half a century later. Unlike Gene Kelly, his style doesn't always age well and a lot of his best work has a quaint feel to it which really isn't fair, because when he pulls it out, he REALLY pulls it out. We'll always be partial to Gene Kelly because his was a more modern, sexy, masculine approach to dance but there's no denying that Fred, if he didn't own the top spot (which many would claim he did), he at least shared it with Kelly. You can freeze frame any moment during this number and no matter what Fred is doing, his body is always perfectly arranged, composed even. Every limb, every joint, every digit - it's all serving the act and it's all in perfect position at all times.

Later they both sing the "Couple of Swells" number and we, little fags that we are, find this number really frustrating. We just want to travel back to 1948, take her aside and say "Look, your rival in this picture is Ann Fucking Miller, bitch. Fine, you want to let them stick you in ugly dresses for two hours, be our guests, but do NOT let them black out your teeth. Are you crazy?"

Anyway, the show's a huge hit and Fred says "Let's go out to dinner to celebrate!"

" catching my ex-girlfriend's show!"

Whenever we feel less-than-pretty, a little Ann Miller swirls around in her heads, spewing maribou feathers and reminding us that if you've got the right attitude, men will fall at your feet.

Judy's all "Are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit?"

"Oh...uh...look, honey! She wants me to dance with her. Crazy right? Guess I've got no choice!"

"Yeah, you really look like you're being forced to do this. Asshole."

Later, Judy tears into him for making a fool of her and she calls the whole thing off.

The next morning (which is Easter), Judy's really going for the Oscar by not wearing any makeup and Peter's all "Holy shit, I wanted to tap THAT?" Scared of the prospect of actually having to follow through on his earlier declaration of love, he smacks her around a little (figuratively speaking) and knocks a little sense into her.

So she buys Fred a top hat, puts on yet another shitty dress and sings to him. All problems solved. Ah, musicals.

Fred takes her to the Easter Parade, slips an engagement ring on her finger and sings his way into a happy ending for all.

Except for Ann Miller, but then again, she probably got tagged by Peter Lawford and that's not so bad, is it? Unless you're Marilyn Monroe, but that's another story.

Next week, there's a bright golden haze on the meadow, bitches! It's Oklahoma!


Anonymous said...

Dear T&L -

Like Jesus, you rise to the occasion. Thanks for starting my work week with smiles and musical memories.

May the Easter Beagle shower you with top-of-the-line jellybeans and chocolate confections!


Ms. Place said...

Another great post, guys. I never knew it could be more much fun to read about a movie, than view it. I love starting out my week this way.

The Scarlett said...

Ah, Fred. I've always loved his slightly too-short trousers (designed to show off his dancing feet and flash of colored sock - learn something from this, sockless Jonathan Adler), his receding hairline I completely adore his dancing no matter how it ages. Fred had the ability to make any woman that danced with him feel like a princess. If you would ever ask me my biggest regret in life it would be that I never danced with Astaire.

Loved the costumes (especially the hats) on Miller. I swear I'm going to get a borzoi or two just so that I have a reason to wear some of my own hats and stoles and march down Fifth Avenue like I own the city.

ToddNY said...

LOL. And "little seamstress"? Freaking hilarious!! Does she really say that? I don't remember.

BG said...

I think it is pronounced "Oklahomo" when you're referring to the musical.

Another fabulous musical summary. The best part of Monday, but you have to share that slot with a grande from Starbucks and a cab ride to work.

loyal kitten said...

This has only cemented what I always thought. I want to be Ann Miller when I grow up. No, not want, need to be her. I think I still have time, I'm only 20, and as long as you boys keep showing me the way I can make it.

Poor Judy. Really? Blacked out teeth? She needed a better agent.

mike said...

"Someday, we're going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It's why so many of the men had walking sticks too."
T&L, I had to clean my screen because I did a mini "spit take" when I read this... TMI, really TMI!

Dejathoris said...

Oklahoma?!!?? I hate that about insipid....State Fair was much better and it had she of the bouncy hair, Jeanne Crain!!!!She wore the dress with cherries, can you say subtext? Le sigh, I hate Oklahoma. I expect heaps o' ragging and snide comments,otherwise I'll only grudgingly read the review.

valpal said...

I heard somewhere that, because Fred Astaire's vocal range wasn't wide, the songs written for him were always within that same range.

While I love Gene Kelly, Fred has always been on the top of my list of dancers to watch, for precisely the reasons that you describe. His choreography and intimacy with his own movements is/are awesome.

Thanks, T&L, as always.

Bill said...

"Holy shit, I wanted to tap THAT?" Hilarious, T&L.

The Vaginal Hat Theory? LOVE it. Can't wait.

Peter Lawford - early cinematic eye candy. I adore him.

Gene Kelly was originally set to star with Judy in this but was injured and replaced by Astaire.

Did you happen to catch Jimmie Dodd playing the cab driver? He was Jimmie on the Mickey Mouse Club. He always creeped me out a little because I couldn't figure out why an adult would want to dress up in those mouse ears and hang out with all those kids. Not as creepy as the other adult on the show, Roy (the portly guy), but still always a little odd to me.

Also in the movie was Lola Albright (as a showgirl). She earned later fame playing the nightclub singer Edie Hart in the Peter Gunn TV series. She was also Tuesday Weld's cocktail waitress mother in the 60's satire "Lord Love a Duck" (check it out - with Roddy MacDowell - not your standard 60's lite comedy - much blacker and sends up the other movies of the times).

Back to Easter Parade. I couldn't agree with you more on the Judy assessment. She was never a beauty but she was no dog either, but MGM always managed to make her look so dowdy. With the exception of 'Meet Me in St. Louis' where she did look young & attractive, she seemed to go from her teens (Wizard of Oz, Andy Hardy movies, etc.) right into middle age. They often pulled her hair back and made her look so severe.

Ann Miller - bitch can dance but she seemed to me to be one dippy broad in real life (at least the real life she presented on Mike Douglas and other talk shows). And the laetr-in-life hair lacquer was just plain scary.

Okay - is it just me? In the "Shakin' the Blues Away" and "Easter Parade" numbers, the ladies look to me to be wearing opera length Playtex Living Gloves. Is Ann (yellow Playtex gloves) going to work scrubbing pots in the kitchen of the club after her number? Is Judy (pink Playtex gloves) going home after their Fifth Avenue stroll to scrub Fred's tapping scuff marks off the hallway floor? Just asking.

Kerry said...

"Someday, we're going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It's why so many of the men had walking sticks too. Think about it."


You are so right it's scary!!!

I freaking love you guys. I wish I knew you both in person because you would fit in so will with my gaggle of gays!!

Oklahoma next week!! I can't wait!

Toran23 said...

"Whenever we feel less-than-pretty, a little Ann Miller swirls around in our heads, spewing maribou feathers and reminding us that if you've got the right attitude, men will fall at your feet."

Hahaha hha hahaha HA! That is sheer genius! I also will adopt this way of thinking and learn to rule the world, Ann Miller style. Thanks boys, Musical Mondays always bring a big smile to my face.

Anonymous said...

Ok boys.... It's high time you sign up for a little Netflix action. You still go to the "video store". *precious!* That's awfully quaint, and I'm sure the "video store clerk" appreciates your quaintness, but get with it! That shit will come to your door. And never again will you disappoint your eager underlings. Cheers!

Dova1965 said...

Loved your review, but you failed to mention what I hated about this movie...
The restaurant scenes with Jules Munshin as Francois, pantomiming the menu. Painfully unfunny, and clearly a time-filler. In fact, before the days of VCR's and fast-forwards, this was the scene that provided an opportunity for my sister and me to go make popcorn. They should never have relied on this hackneyed comedy bit, and they should never have forced the other actors to sit and watch and pretend to be entertained by the antics of Francois.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys actually rent from Blockbuster? What, are you nowhere near a TLA?


TLo said...

It was the guy from TLA who told us it hadn't been released yet!

We use Blockbuster online to get our films, but we go to the TLA to rent the musicals so we're not waiting for them to arrive in the mail in time for Monday.

thombeau said...

Love love LOVE you guys!

"That little seamstress"!---LOVE IT! "That little seamstress told us it wasn't on dvd!"

Nice example of the effeminate/effete dichotomy.

Did anyone else totally forget that Peter Lawford was in this movie?

Vagina hats! So true!

And yes, Ann Miller is always a joy to watch. She IS fabulosity.

Looking forward to next week....

Anonymous said...

Ohh, that hat and walking sticks comment had me literally LOLing.

Too funny.

Love the musical madness.

Keep it up, you guys.

Kathryn said...

I CANNOT tell you how much better you make every single Monday for me. I really need to share this with my bff, who is obsessed with all things dance, because she'd probably have a conniption. You two are FABULOUS! ♥

Anonymous said...

Vagina hats!

It's Easter, so I like to think of them as Stigmata hats...

I'd like to recommend "Starring Fred Astaire - A Columbia Series Release". This CD set was a revelation to me.

Listening without distraction of watching helped me appreciate what a musical talent Fred was. Brilliant.

(Only used copies available on Amazon. What is wrong with the record-buying public?)

-- desertwind

Sunny610 said...

>>Judy shows up wearing a UPS maternity uniform <<

LOLOL. That was MY spit-take for the day.

Mondays used to make me blue... until I found you fabulous creatures and Monday Musicals.

I simply LOOOOVE musicals, especially from the '30s, '40s, and '50s, and I know many of them almost by heart. Your perspective just enchances what is basically a total fantasy.

Thanks for making blue Mondays... turn rosy pink. :)

macasism said...

I think I want them to show "Shakin' the Blues" at my funeral. Ann Miller was so awesome.

While I love Gene Kelly, Fred is still the best male dancer of all time, with the possible exception of Baryshnikov. He was also a task master and perfectionist. My aunt was in a couple of his films in the chorus, and he rehearsed them for HOURS. And there are NO EDITS folks, all done live, with the exception of the slomo part.

By the time he did this he was in his '50's. You want virtuosity, check out any of his solos during the Ginger years. Man was miles beyond anyone out there.

The only thing that bugs me about Fred is he spots the floor. Check it out. He must have been nearsighted or something.

BG said...

Who is the (camera shy?) silver fox in picture #17?


Grrg said...

Regarding Astaire not being convincing when he's butching it up... well, you're probably right, but have you seen The Sky's the Limit (1943), in which he gets drunk and smashes everything in the bar while dancing during "One More for my Baby"? It's kind of an amazing sequence, and more intense and convincing than you might expect.

Gorgeous Things said...

"Whenever we feel less-than-pretty, a little Ann Miller swirls around in her heads, spewing maribou feathers and reminding us that if you've got the right attitude, men will fall at your feet."

Seriously, take it from this one-time-little-seamstress-turned-fabulous-bitch-with-needles, a little Ann Miller is all you need to totally change your luck!

Oh, my sides still hurt from laughing about this one. Thank you for making this wet dreary Monday so much sunnier!

frogboots said...

why don't the plots of these movies ever make sense? people always getting together at the end when you KNOW they shouldn't....

thank god for those hats! ann miller is my hat-wearing goddess, and whoever designed those hats is a saint.

and i LIKE judy's green dress in that "dinner at my ex's show" scene! she looks good in it.

i am LOVING this, because i hate watching musicals but damn! I like looking at the pictures and reading your fabulous, fabulous commentary!

frogboots said...

oh: my opinion doesn't count because i don't know my Stars of the Hollywood Sky the way y'all do, but i always thought judy was awfully pretty. maybe even beautiful. not glamourous. but if i woke up one day looking like her, i wouldn't be upset.

they do give her some hideous clothing to wear, though, don't they.

bungle said...

A little perspective here guys! You've only been doing this for a short time! Word will spread and your comments section will be swamped with thousands of posts of adoration. Hope you're prepared for that!

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ both camps re: Astaire vs. Kelly. Both were awesome, both had very different styles as the boys so succinctly identified. Personally, for agility, expression and technique, no one came close to Donald O'Connor. Just watch "Fit as a Fiddle" and "Roses Supposes" (et al not a bad 1 in the bunch really) from "Singin' in the Rain". While he was mostly known for the showstopping "Make 'em Laugh" number, but the other two show how incredibly smooth his dancing was.
Can't wait for the PRGAYBOYS to get ahold of that 1 (especially that drag queen Lena Lamont!)!

Neverwhere said...

Another fantastic commentary T&L.

I don't think I will ever recover from the Vagina Hat Theory. *laughs* (You should really think about getting a patent for that. ;-)

The final screencap shows off just how attractive Judy can be. Why can't she look like that all the time? She's a STAR after all. *G*

vera said...

Aside from being horrified -HORRIFIED- that you think that this Ann Miller number was better than "Too Darn Hot" from "Kiss Me, Kate" (when is that one coming, kids?), reading this was the most fabulous thing that happened to me all day.

personette said...

Oh Judy...

Oh GayBoys...

Sewhat? said...

I just want to know if it is appropriate to wear your "Vagina Hat" to see "The Vagina Monologues"?

Lisa said...

The only celebrity-impression I'm capable of doing is Anne Miller. It's a silent impression, requiring only that I strike a dynamic leg pose, raise my arms aloft, heave my bosom as if hyperventilating, then fix my mouth into a huge, gummy, unnatural smile.

Strangely, the genius of my Anne Miller impersonation is lost on everybody but homos.

yawningdog said...

Next Easter, how about 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.

I can't wait to hear your take on the hippy costuming.

Bill said...

"Lisa said...
The only celebrity-impression I'm capable of doing is Anne Miller."

Lisa, we want to see a picture, please!

Lisette said...

Boys, some of us seamstresses have needles and we're not afraid to use them!

As usual, divine commentary! even if I didn't get to it till tues.

Anonymous said...

The only celebrity-impression I'm capable of doing is Anne Miller. It's a silent impression, requiring only that I strike a dynamic leg pose, raise my arms aloft, heave my bosom as if hyperventilating, then fix my mouth into a huge, gummy, unnatural smile.

Bill said...

"Lisa said...
The only celebrity-impression I'm capable of doing is Anne Miller."

Lisa, we want to see a picture, please!

2nd THAT!
Put it on YOUTUBE!
She used to freak me out on those Campbell soup commercials (I think it was Campbell's Soup) when I was a kid. That shellacked hair and those long, strange nylon'ed legs. Yikes!
She was HOT in her prime, though! But perfect fodder for parody now. Are there any Ann Miller drag queens out there?
Must Google that!

Red Seven said...

I always hated the fact that Fred & Judy got together at the end of this movie. It could have been both a HAPPIER and MORE INTERESTING ending if Fred and Ann had rekindles and if Peter and Judy had, y'know ... kindled.

Hats as vaginas ... that is just fucking hysterical. Congrats.

BrianB said...

You guys are the limit! I was staring at the very last picture of Judy and Fred at the Easter Parade and thinking, well the hat makes that plain dress look complete. Then I realized that it was the biggest, most blooming Vagina Hat in the whole damned movie! Especially compared to the tight, constricted ones she wore at the beginning. Call him old, but Judy got her man at the end!

I don't know about Fred's dancing not aging well, nine times out of ten I go into a delighted trance watching Fred work it, except maybe with Sarah Churchill in Royal Wedding. WTF?!! I think I may have severe Movie Musical Madness Syndrome that makes the here and now completely disappear to the point where I'm back in 1948 watching the movie when it first came out. I don't see Michael Jackson at all when I'm watching the 'Stepping Out...' number. But you're right about his indebtedness to Fred and Gene and all the hoofers who came before him.

Ann and the "Shakin' the Blues Away" number is simply heaven! Just Ann and the Drapes! I love when she starts the song singing about the blues then she unhooks her skirt only to reveal....more drapes!

bg 2:37pm, I'm not sure, but I think the camera shy silver fox is a guy named Greg Palmer, who had a bigger role in "Magnificent Obsession" with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman. He played Barbara Rush's boyfriend in that film.

Delightful recap of this movie, guys! Jesus would love it too!


PJ said...

Sir, your review of Easter Parade is the best I've ever seen. And I thought I'd seen 'em all.


GG said...

Someday, we're going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It's why so many of the men had walking sticks too.

Think about it.

Oh. My. God. You two are going to cause me to get fired due to giggling insanely in my office!

If your scenario is true, wouldn't we see more men in musicals banging the shit out of leading ladies' hats with their sticks?

I think I need a moment alone for quiet reflection.

K. said...

in that first scene, it looks like ann miller busted into michael kors' personal cache of bronzer (no. 326, jack-o'-lantern glow)

Jukey said...

I need to know who Gorgeous is to the far right in the Judy-and-Gene-catch-Ann-Miller's-act scenes. Like, NOW.
What's so great about musicals is that they allow the culture to get away with so much insane, freaky, perverted, buried stuff the Golden Age (30s through 50s, approximately) could not have handled in a drama. Not that Easter Parade is a particularly shining example of that (it is as misogynist as hell, though. Cf: My Fair Lady as well), but Oklahoma is just crazy weird. And Show Boat, and Seven Brides, as seen here, and just about everything else.
Must run out and buy big hats ...

Cyn said...

I loved you before but now I really LUV YOUSE. Brilliant.

BigAssBelle said...

"Michael Jackson, who ripped it off from top to bottom." Heh.

and "the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It's why so many of the men had walking sticks too."

that is about the funniest thing i've ever read in my entire life. i am laughing out loud. precious.

oh. my. god. i have missed you darlings the last several weeks! where have you been? i've felt abandoned!!!!

BigAssBelle said...

must be why i love hats and have a collection of walking sticks. wonderful.

and doing oklahoma next week? be still my heart.

aimee said...

Too fabulous! Thanks, boys. I'll be watching this over the weekend, hoping that a little Ann Miller will drop some maribou feathers in my head.

Anonymous said...

Oklahomo...Goodie! I'm headed over to ebay to find a surry-with-the-fringe-on-top. They got all kinds of shit, maybe they'll have one of those!

karen s said...

No comments on Ann Miller's two-toned hair? You know, she may be a fabulous dancer, but I get distracted by her flaming cheeks and "is-it-brown-or-is-it-black?" hair.

Oh, I so cannot WAIT to read your State Fair analysis! (Said with conviction... so that you'll definitely do it!) Keep up the good work, boys!

pyramus said...

We watched "Easter Parade" on Turner yesterday, and I'm sorry to have to report that Ann Miller didn't actually call Judy Garland "that little seamstress": she said "that seamstress".

However, you're right: "that little seamstress" (which is much better than what the screenwriter came up with) is just about the perfect thing to call someone. Tonight at work, instead of my usual catalogue of sotto voce cusswords, I just called everyone who displeased me "that little seamstress" (out of earshot, obviously), and it put me in a really good mood. You guys are miracle workers.

Signed D.C. said...

Bill wrote:

I couldn't agree with you more on the Judy assessment. She was never a beauty but she was no dog either, but MGM always managed to make her look so dowdy.

Clearly you haven't seen her Kay Thompson-coached turn in Ziegfeld Follies--she looks divoon in that.

Anonymous said...

I just found your web page a week ago. I LOVE your monday musicals. I hope you continue! this one and South Pacific were my favorites! (Lawford and Brazzi...sigh)

Anonymous said...

This would have a great movie had Gene Kelly not broken his damned foot. I'm sorry, but to me Fred Astaire's face looks like a donkey's ass to me, tap dancing or not. Judy was great, but with Gene Kelly there would have been beef and sex appeal.

Ellen M said...

I am in the Fred Astaire camp as far as dancers go. A fabulous ballroom dancer and tap dancer to boot. I saw a TV special on him years ago and several black tap dancers were raving about his style, more-or-less saying that he was the lone decent white tap dancer.

I think he trumps Kelly in this regard because he had such a loose-limbed, effortless quality and he kept the focus below the waist, as the classic tap dancers do. With Kelly it is too athletic and he always does the ballet arms with it.

Fred was also a fine singer. He had a natural, conversational style to his singing, and his voice was very pleasant.

Yeah, I'm a fan. But the guy was no looker!

As far as Judy goes, I always thought she was very pretty, in the cute, girl-next-door way of June Allyson, Meg Ryan, and that type. It's ironic that the designers struggled with her body type (busty, high- and fairly thick-waisted, long, slender legs) as much as modern designers do with "real" women.

They didn't seem to get the colors going for her in this movie. They had the colors nailed for Ann, with the great reds, tans, corals, etc., but Judy's dresses were all over the map. That last dress would have been pretty in a color that flattered her coloring.

The movie would have made more sense with Gene Kelly in it. He and Judy looked right together, and he would be a mismatch with Ann. But the "Stepping Out..." number would have been quite different, and not as great.

Anonymous said...

Love it! And by the way, you can find a lot of these scenes on youtube now.....

LaFlacaD said...

Love this. I know it's like 3 years later but how appropriate.