EASTER PARADE (1948) C 103m. dir: Charles Walters

w/Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Peter Lawford, Jules Munshin, Clinton Sundberg, Jeni le Gon, Richard Beavers, Richard Simmons, Jimmie Bates

From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "Easter Parade is a musical with old and new Irving Berlin tunes and standout dance numbers. The Berlin score includes 17 songs, seven new and 10 from his extensive catalogue.

"The light story by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, scripted in conjunction with Sidney Sheldon, makes a perfect backing for the Berlin score and playing. Plot opens on Easter 1911 and carries through to Easter 1912. It deals with splitup of Astaire and Miller as partners and recruiting of Garland by the dancer, who is determined to make her outdraw his former hoofer.

"Astaire's standout solo is the elaborate production piece 'Stepping Out with My Baby,' during which he does a slow-motion dance in front of a large chorus terping in regular time.

"Highpoint of comedy is reached when Astaire and Garland team for vocals and foot work on 'A Couple of Swells.'"

From The Movie Guide: "Pretty, deft, and tuneful but, given the top-rate talent involved, not particularly inspired. Between Easter 1911 and Easter 1912, Astaire gets dumped by dance partner Miller and vows revenge by grooming unknown chorus girl Garland for stardom.

"Gene Kelly was originally slated to play the lead, but injured his ankle playing volleyball, so he suggested to producer Arthur Freed that they prevail on Astaire to come out of his 'retirement' for the role. Astaire had announced he was done after BLUE SKIES, but jumped at the opportunity and gave yet another classic performance. Garland was beginning to tire of the formula of her films, and the horrendous pace of her filming schedule, but Astaire apparently helped coax her through the production despite her exhaustion. Look for cameos from Lola Albright, as a hat model, and a two-and-a-half-year-old Liza Minnelli in the finale."

EASTER PARADE won an Oscar for Best Score (Johnny Green, Roger Edens).