Royal Wedding

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Royal Wedding

Fred Astaire and Jane Powell in Royal Wedding
Directed byStanley Donen
Produced byArthur Freed
Written byAlan Jay Lerner
StarringFred Astaire
Jane Powell
Peter Lawford
Sarah Churchill
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)March 8, 1951 (U.S. release)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$1,590,920 (estimated)
Box office$2.6 million (US rentals)[1]
 
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Royal Wedding

Fred Astaire and Jane Powell in Royal Wedding
Directed byStanley Donen
Produced byArthur Freed
Written byAlan Jay Lerner
StarringFred Astaire
Jane Powell
Peter Lawford
Sarah Churchill
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)March 8, 1951 (U.S. release)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$1,590,920 (estimated)
Box office$2.6 million (US rentals)[1]

Royal Wedding (MGM) is a 1951 Hollywood musical comedy film known for Fred Astaire's dance performance on a ceiling and another with a coat rack. The story is set in London in 1947 at the time of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Mountbatten, and stars Astaire, Jane Powell, Peter Lawford, Sarah Churchill and Keenan Wynn, with music by Burton Lane and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. The film was directed by Stanley Donen. It was his second film and the first film he directed by himself.

Astaire and Powell play a brother and sister song and dance duo, echoing the real-life theatrical relationship of Fred and Adele Astaire. Powell, who was not first choice for the role, surprised her colleagues with her all-round ability. She falls for Lawford, who plays an English aristocrat – mirroring Adele Astaire's romance and eventual marriage to Lord Charles Cavendish, son of the Duke of Devonshire.

Royal Wedding is one of several MGM musicals (another being Till the Clouds Roll By) that lapsed into public domain on their 29th anniversary due to failure to renew the copyright registration.[2] As such it is widely available on Video and DVD, but the quality of these versions varies. In 2007, however, Warner Home Video issued a restored version of Royal Wedding in a DVD set along with The Belle of New York. The film was later featured in an episode of Cinema Insomnia.[3]

Contents

Plot

The story sees brother and sister Tom and Ellen Bowen as stars of a show Every Night at Seven, a Broadway success. They are persuaded to take the show to London, capitalising on the imminent Royal Wedding.

On the ship, Ellen meets and quickly falls in love (a habit with her) with impoverished but socially well connected aristocrat Lord John Brindale. Whilst casting the show in London, Tom falls in love with a newly engaged dancer, Anne Ashmond. Tom assists Anne to reconcile her estranged parents and also asks his agent to locate Anne's supposed fiancee in Chicago – only to discover that he's married.

Carried away by the emotion of the wedding, the two couples decide that they will also be married that day.

Cast

Key songs/dance routines

Choreographer Nick Castle collaborated with Astaire on several of the numbers. Although none of the songs is considered a standard, dance-wise, the film is notable for the inclusion of not one but two Astaire solos, both of which are amongst his best known works. Parody, of himself and of some well known colleagues, is an important theme of the choreography.

Fred Astaire in "Sunday Jumps"
Fred Astaire in "You're All the World to Me"

Casting

Jane Powell was far from the first actress approached to play the role of Ellen opposite Astaire. Initially Ginger Rogers was asked, but she declined. Then June Allyson was signed for the role but had to drop out when she became pregnant. Judy Garland was then signed as Ellen but due to personal issues was fired from the film (and her MGM contract was terminated). Jane Powell ultimately replaced Garland.[3]

See also

References

Fred Astaire: Steps in Time, 1959, multiple reprints.

John Mueller: Astaire Dancing - The Musical Films of Fred Astaire, Knopf 1985, ISBN 0-394-51654-0

Notes

  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  2. ^ Pierce, David (June 2007). "Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain". Film History: An International Journal 19 (2): 125–43. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. ISSN 0892-2160. OCLC 15122313. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25165419. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  3. ^ "Cinema Insomnia, with your Horror Host, Mister Lobo! - SHOW INFORMATION". http://www.cinemainsomnia.com/show.php. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Mueller p.327

External links