Jack Garner's Plan B: 'Irving Berlin's Easter Parade'

12:58 PM, Mar 26, 2013

As an alternative, critic Jack Garner recommends:

IRVING BERLIN’S EASTER PARADE. Just in time for Easter weekend, this classic musical is available in a stunning new Blu-ray edition. The hyper MGM colors are more lavish than ever, and the fistful of Berlin tunes sound wonderful. Though Easter Parade isn’t in the top echelon of Fred Astaire gems, it’s a fun, tuneful film that features the only pairing ever of Astaire with the great Judy Garland, and is such a showcase for Berlin’s music, his name is part of the title. As I watched, I thought Easter Parade felt a bit more like a Gene Kelly film than an Astaire vehicle, and then I discovered why — the film originally was planned as a third pairing of the Kelly-Garland team. However, Kelly broke his ankle just before shooting was to start, and Astaire stepped in. What fun to watch the graceful, effervescent Astaire tackle a few routines obviously structured more in Kelly’s athletic and overly theatrical style. This is most notable in the famous “A Couple of Swells” routine.

Director: Charles Walters.

Cast: Astaire, Garland, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller.

rating: 9.

New on DVD This week:
Lincoln, Parental Guidance, The Borgias: Second Season, Shakespeare Uncovered, Star Trek: Enterprise — Season One, Jurassic Park (Blu-ray), The Sandlot: 20th Anniversary Edition, McLintock! (Blu-ray).

Next Week:
The Bible: The Epic Miniseries, Hello Dolly!, That Thing You Do!, John Dies at the End, Papua 3D — The Secret Island of the Cannibals (Blu-ray 3-D and 2-D), Highway Patrol: Seasons 2, 3
and 4, Hemingway & Gellhorn.