The Nostalgia Collection: Fred Astaire - Second Chorus/Royal Wedding [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

Royal Wedding
Two real-life events were incorporated into the plot of the 1951 MGM musical Royal Wedding. One, the marriage of Fred Astaire's sister Adele to a British nobleman had occurred years earlier; the other, the wedding of England's Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip was only four years in the past. MGM would probably have gotten Royal Wedding out closer to the Elizabeth-Philip nuptials, but the picture had leading-lady problems; every girl who was cast either became pregnant, ill, or otherwise unavailable. Finally, Jane Powell was cast as the sister and partner of American-entertainer Fred Astaire. The plot has Astaire and Powell heading to Merrie Olde England to perform at the palace. Once they've arrived, Powell breaks up the act when she falls in love with blueblooded Peter Lawford. Astaire himself finds romance in the form of Sarah Churchill (daughter of Sir Winston), and the four happy campers gleefully attend the titular Windsor Castle wedding. Also in the cast is Albert Sharpe, fresh from his Broadway triumph in Finian's Rainbow, and Keenan Wynn, hilarious as twin cousins. The plot is so light that it threatens to float away at times, but Royal Wedding sticks in the memory thanks to its first-rate musical numbers. The Astaire/Powell duets are entertaining enough; the real magic, however, occurs in Astaire's two solos: the hat-rack duet and the now-legendary tap-dance on the ceiling (even knowing how this cinematic legerdemain was accomplished does not detract from its brilliance and virtuosity). Because it has slipped into public domain, Royal Wedding is one of the most easily accessible of all the Fred Astaire musicals. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Second Chorus
Though not the best of the Fred Astaire musicals, Second Chorus is the most easily accessible thanks to its current public-domain status. Astaire and Burgess Meredith play Danny O'Neill and Hank Taylor, friendly-enemy musicians who after spending seven years in a college band aspire to join the Artie Shaw Orchestra. Danny and Hank also spend a lot of time vying over the attentions of their pretty manager Ellen Miller (Paulette Goddard). While Paulette Goddard later became Mrs. Burgess Meredith in real life, guess who wins her hand in this picture? Charles Butterworth steals the show as Mr. Chisholm, a music-loving eccentric who finances Shaw's "swing concerto" concert at Carnegie Hall. Oh, and Fred Astaire dances, too. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Fred Astaire
    Fred Astaire - Tom Bowen
  • Jane Powell
    Jane Powell - Ellen Bowen
  • Peter Lawford
    Peter Lawford - Lord John Brindale
  • Sarah Churchill
    Sarah Churchill - Anne Ashmond
  • Keenan Wynn
    Keenan Wynn - Irving Klinger/Edgar Klinger
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