What it does have is every gay man's favorite singer/actress, the legendary, Judy Garland (Sorry, Liza. Mama came first, so you'll have to settle for being every gay's second fav), and iconic movie-musical dancer/actor, Fred Astaire, in the only time the two teamed up on screen together. It also has some pretty great musical numbers from Irving Berlin, including the titular song (which I always associate with the televised Disney Easter Parade. I didn't even know New York had an Easter Parade and I live here) and perhaps, the most famous number, 'A Couple of Swells', in which Judy and Astaire, while dressed as bums, imagine a grand, MTV Cribs-like, lifestyle.
This was my first time watching the film and I couldn't stop grinning like a fool the whole time. There's not much in the way of plot; it's really just a framework for some musical numbers. Almost the entire first ten minutes of the film is a musical number. You get to hear Judy sing, Fred dance–what's not to love? Everything is so colorful and entertaining, you'd have to be a grinch (is there an Easter equivalent?) not to enjoy it. The film was actually a big success at the time of its release in 1948. In fact, it was MGM's biggest hit that year. They sure don't make 'em like this anymore. (God, that makes me sound like a such a early-bird-special-eating geezer. I'm only 30, y'all. The way they were making them when I was younger is Clueless.)
With so many great production numbers, how to pick a favorite shot? Well, I didn't. Not from one of the musical numbers anyway. Leading up to this scene, Hewes (Astaire) has been grooming Hannah Brown (Judy) to take over as his new dancing partner in his act. She is replacing the glamourous, exotic Nadine, played by Ann Miller. (A woman so talented that her tap shoes make sounds even when her feet aren't moving...)He has changed Hannah's name to Juanita and even started dressing her like his previous partner. You see, Hewes said that he could take any girl and make her a star. After picking Hannah out of some chorus girls at a local club, he's beginning to think differently. And Hannah isn't exactly enjoying the whole Vertigo game he's trying to pull. As a test, he tells Hannah that she needs to turn heads and has her walk in front of him to see if she can do it. After her first attempts:
He notices that she is, in fact, causing quite a stir with the fellas–who seem to be straining their necks looking back at her. We soon learn why:
Comedic genius. It's like a cross between a pufferfish and Angelina Jolie. It was such an unexpected choice that I couldn't stop laughing. And that's what struck me the most about Judy in this film and why I ultimately chose that shot–what an effortlessly adept comedienne she was.
When I think of Judy Garland, the first thing that always comes to mind is the image of a tragic star. She had such soul in her voice and conveyed such rich emotions that it made you want to comfort her. She was such a talent and so damaged that it was heart-breaking to watch the way she destructed. Her life-long addiction to pills ended her life (and amazing career) too soon. She had even attempted suicide just months before filming Easter Parade. Which is why this scene (and her dance rehearsal scenes and her perfect line-delivery) makes the comedy that much funnier. Even with the troubles in her life, she was still capable of bringing joy and entertaining us with her immense talent.