Fred Astaire came out of retirement to star in this musical, playing one half of a dance team who is ditched by his partner. Deciding he can make a star out of anyone he wants, he chooses a lowly chorus girl (Judy Garland) as his new partner. Songs include `A Couple of Swells', `Stepping Out With My Baby' and `Shaking the Blues Away'. Also starring Ann Miller and Peter Lawford, with an appearance by a 2-year-old Liza Minelli.
Few American musicals come close to holding a torch anywhere near the delightful Easter Parade
, a film that unites Judy Garland and Fred Astaire for the only time in their careers. Fortunately, both of them are in their usual magnetic form.
Easter Parade is the film that Astaire came out of retirement to make, telling the story of his character's split from his long-time dance partner, instead recruiting Garland's chorus girl. Accompanied by astoundingly good music from Irving Berlin, the test is on to see if Astaire's character can make Garland's a star. And while you may be familiar with the ending, the journey there is something really quite special.
It's lovely, then, that a film as delightful as this has been given such an impressive high definition release. The restoration work is excellent, and what was always a colourful and bright film looks quite brilliant. There's less that can be done with the mono soundtrack, but it's crystal clear and a delight to listen to. And then the package is rounded out with some intriguing supplements, including a rich commentary track, and an extensive modern documentary that charts the making of the film. There's some excellent archive material that's also been gathered today.
It's all a fitting monument for an upbeat, happy film, that's never looked better on a television set. A genuine, enduring classic. --Jon Foster