Easter Parade (1948)

102-103 mins | Musical | 8 July 1948

Director:

Charles Walters

Producer:

Arthur Freed

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling

Editor:

Albert Akst

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Jack Martin Smith

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to a Nov 1947 NYT article, composer and lyricist Irving Berlin was paid $600,000 for his contribution to film, which included the use of his name, his consultation on the story, the title of the picture and his songs. More than half of the songs performed in the Easter Parade were written by Berlin in the four decades prior to the film, and many of the songs were performed in various stage and film musicals. The songs that Berlin wrote especially for Easter Parade were: "It Only Happens When I Dance with You," "Better Luck Next Time," "Drum Crazy," "Stepping Out with My Baby," "A Couple of Swells," "A Fella With An Umbrella" and "Happy Easter." Another song, "Mr. Monotony," which was also written especially for the film, was not used. Berlin wrote the melody for the film's title song in 1917 and originally used it for a song entitled "Smile and Show Your Dimple." The song "Easter Parade" grew out of Berlin's reworking of "Smile and Show Your Dimple" for the 1933 revue As Thousands Cheer .
       A Feb 1947 HR news item announced that the following actors were cast in the film: Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson and Red Skelton. An Oct 1947 HR news item indicated that Fred Astaire took over the role originally intended for Kelly, who withdrew from the film one month before the start of production due to a broken ankle. The film marked the return to the screen of Astaire, who had announced his retirement from movies in 1946, after completing Blue Skies (see above). ... More Less

According to a Nov 1947 NYT article, composer and lyricist Irving Berlin was paid $600,000 for his contribution to film, which included the use of his name, his consultation on the story, the title of the picture and his songs. More than half of the songs performed in the Easter Parade were written by Berlin in the four decades prior to the film, and many of the songs were performed in various stage and film musicals. The songs that Berlin wrote especially for Easter Parade were: "It Only Happens When I Dance with You," "Better Luck Next Time," "Drum Crazy," "Stepping Out with My Baby," "A Couple of Swells," "A Fella With An Umbrella" and "Happy Easter." Another song, "Mr. Monotony," which was also written especially for the film, was not used. Berlin wrote the melody for the film's title song in 1917 and originally used it for a song entitled "Smile and Show Your Dimple." The song "Easter Parade" grew out of Berlin's reworking of "Smile and Show Your Dimple" for the 1933 revue As Thousands Cheer .
       A Feb 1947 HR news item announced that the following actors were cast in the film: Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson and Red Skelton. An Oct 1947 HR news item indicated that Fred Astaire took over the role originally intended for Kelly, who withdrew from the film one month before the start of production due to a broken ankle. The film marked the return to the screen of Astaire, who had announced his retirement from movies in 1946, after completing Blue Skies (see above). A Dec 1947 NYT article noted that Astaire only meant his "retirement" to be a "mental retirement" or a hiatus from the demands of creating new ideas and steps for dance numbers. Astaire appeared in many additional films from the late 1940s through the 1970s and did not completely retire from the screen until the early 1980s.
       Easter Parade marked the motion picture debut of Broadway actor Jules Munshin, who appeared in a number of popular M-G-M musicals from the late 1940s through the late 1950s. The film also marked the film debut of Richard Beavers. According to publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library production file, more than 700 extras were used in the film's Easter parade finale, which was filmed on a specially built set constructed on M-G-M's backlot. Publicity materials also noted that the M-G-M camera department, headed by John Arnold, was responsible for creating the first ever slow motion synchronization with sound. The slow motion effect, used in the "Steppin' Out with My Baby" sequence, features Astaire dancing in slow motion in front of a chorus moving and singing in real-time. A Feb 1948 DV article indicated that the final cost of Easter Parade was $3,000,000. It was the studio's top grossing picture of the year, taking in about $6,800,000 at the box office in its initial release.
       According to an Apr 1949 HR news item, Freed was one of two recipients of the Inter-American Music League's award honoring the "greatest contributions to music in 1948." The award was given in recognition of Freed's work on Easter Parade and Words and Music (see below). Sidney Sheldon, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett received the award for "Best-Written American Musical" at the first Annual Screen Writers Guild Awards. Roger Edens (who did not receive screen credit) and Johnny Green won an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.
       According to a biography of Judy Garland, Berlin originally offered the film rights to Easter Parade to Twentieth Century-Fox. Fox rejected Berlin's offer because of the high price he was asking and because he demanded a share of the film's profits. Modern sources note that Vincente Minnelli was originally set to direct the film but was taken off the picture just before it went into production. Minnelli's removal, according to modern sources, came at the urging of Dr. Kupper, a psychiatrist who was treating Minnelli's then wife, Judy Garland. Kupper reportedly warned M-G-M that Garland, who had just been released from a sanitarium where she was treated for mental distress and drug dependency, could not withstand the pressures of being directed by her husband. Berlin is quoted in a biography of Freed as having said that he "worked very closely on the story with Hackett" and that Edens was "responsible for the whole musical context of the picture." The Freed biography also indicates that noted playwright Guy Bolton contributed to the screenplay. According to a modern source, Albert Sendrey did the musical orchestrations for the film. According to a biography of Ann Miller, Miller replaced Cyd Charisse, who had pulled a tendon in her leg and could not work on the picture. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 May 1948.
---
Daily Variety
13 Feb 48
p. 12.
Daily Variety
26 May 48
p. 3, 18
Film Daily
1 Jun 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 47
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 47
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 47
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 48
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 48
p. 3, 13
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 49
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 49
p. 1, 4
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Apr 48
p. 4127.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 May 48
p. 4181.
New York Times
30 Nov 1947.
---
New York Times
14 Dec 1947.
---
New York Times
1 Jul 48
p. 19.
Variety
26 May 48
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Joy Lansing
Jimmy Dodd
Sig Frohlich
Bob Jellison
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Women's cost
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
Orch
Orch
Vocal arr
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Mus numbers staged and dir by
MAKEUP
Hair styles des by
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
SOURCES
SONGS
"Easter Parade," "Happy Easter," "Drum Crazy," "It Only Happens When I Dance with You," "I Want to Go Back to Michigan," "Beautiful Faces Need Beautiful Clothes," "A Fella with an Umbrella," "I Love a Piano," "Snooky Ookums," "When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam," "Shakin' the Blues Away," "Stepping Out with My Baby," "A Couple of Swells," "The Girl on the Magazine Cover" and "Better Luck Next Time," music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 July 1948
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 30 June 1948
Production Date:
19 November 1947--mid February 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 May 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1643
Physical Properties:
Silent with sound sequences
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
102-103
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12947
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

On a spring day in 1912, Don Hewes, a dancer living in New York City, learns that his dancing partner, Nadine Gale, has signed a contract to appear in a Broadway show and will no longer be performing with him. Don, who is in love with Nadine, is crushed by the announcement and goes to a bar to drink away his sorrows. At the height of his drunkeness, Don brags that he does not need Nadine in his act and that he can make a star out of any common showgirl. Hannah Brown, a showgirl at the bar, soon catches Don's attention, and he hastily offers her $100 a week to be his new dancing partner. Don later regrets having made the impulsive offer, but keeps his Easter Sunday appointment with Hannah at a dance studio. Don puts Hannah through a difficult rehearsal session, struggling in vain to teach her his dance moves. Afterward, Hannah and Don take a stroll down Fifth Avenue, where they see Nadine walking her dogs and commanding a great deal of attention with her poise. Hannah does not know Nadine but she is awed by her beauty and style. Don passes by Nadine without greeting her, and then tells Hannah that in exactly one year she will be a bigger star than Nadine. After buying a new wardrobe for Hannah, Don changes her stage name to "Juanita" to make her seem more exotic. Hannah eventually falls in love with Don, but Don is too distracted by his feelings for Nadine to notice her interest. Jonathan Harrow, III, a friend of Don, tries to forge a reconciliation between Don and ... +


On a spring day in 1912, Don Hewes, a dancer living in New York City, learns that his dancing partner, Nadine Gale, has signed a contract to appear in a Broadway show and will no longer be performing with him. Don, who is in love with Nadine, is crushed by the announcement and goes to a bar to drink away his sorrows. At the height of his drunkeness, Don brags that he does not need Nadine in his act and that he can make a star out of any common showgirl. Hannah Brown, a showgirl at the bar, soon catches Don's attention, and he hastily offers her $100 a week to be his new dancing partner. Don later regrets having made the impulsive offer, but keeps his Easter Sunday appointment with Hannah at a dance studio. Don puts Hannah through a difficult rehearsal session, struggling in vain to teach her his dance moves. Afterward, Hannah and Don take a stroll down Fifth Avenue, where they see Nadine walking her dogs and commanding a great deal of attention with her poise. Hannah does not know Nadine but she is awed by her beauty and style. Don passes by Nadine without greeting her, and then tells Hannah that in exactly one year she will be a bigger star than Nadine. After buying a new wardrobe for Hannah, Don changes her stage name to "Juanita" to make her seem more exotic. Hannah eventually falls in love with Don, but Don is too distracted by his feelings for Nadine to notice her interest. Jonathan Harrow, III, a friend of Don, tries to forge a reconciliation between Don and Nadine, but his efforts end in failure. Following Don and Hannah's disappointing first performance, Don realizes that he has been trying to make Hannah into a carbon copy of Nadine, and that she is not suited for that role. Instead, he decides to let Nadine be herself and perform in the showgirl style that she knows best. Jon, meanwhile, falls in love with Hannah, though Don remains her only romantic interest. One day, Hannah and Don audition for the "Ziegfeld Follies," but when Don realizes that Nadine has been cast as the star of the show, he turns down the part. After a year of polishing their act, Don and Hannah are signed to their first big show, which is set to open in New York on Easter. While celebrating the new contract with a romantic dinner, Don confesses to Hannah that he is in love with her. They give a flawless performance on opening night, and afterward Don takes Hannah to see Nadine perform in the "Ziegfeld Follies." During her first number, Nadine steps into the audience and takes Don in her arms and dances with him. Hannah sadly concludes that Don is still in love with Nadine and leaves the theater. A series of misunderstandings further alienates Don and Hannah, but Jon intervenes and eventually forces a reconciliation. Then, remembering the Easter day promise that Don made to her exactly one year earlier, Hannah, dressed in her best clothes, walks down Fifth Avenue just as Nadine did, and attracts the admiring attention of all the people she passes. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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