Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

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, capitalizing on an imminent royal wedding.

On the ship, Ellen meets and quickly falls in love with the impoverished but well-connected 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 fiancé 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.

REVIEW:

Last night, I was watching some old TV shows on YouTube and Royal Wedding was recommended for me to watch. Normally, I don’t pay attention to the stuff they recommend, but this is a film that I’ve been curious about for a while now. Hopefully, this will be worth the wait!

What is this about?

Brother-sister dance duo Tom and Ellen Bowen (Fred Astaire and Jane Powell) get the chance of a lifetime when they’re booked for a London performance on the eve of Elizabeth II’s nuptials. In the course of their journey, Ellen meets her match in Lord Brindale, and Tom finds romance with a British hoofer. Will love break up the act?

What did I like?

Song and dance man. I am firmly entrenched as a member of Team (Gene) Kelly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and admire the things Fred Astaire does. The man is a master show man when it comes to dancing, his warm voice brings emotion to the most lifeless of songs, and he isn’t a bad actor, either. What ever happened to guys like this? I know Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris can sing and dance, but the only time they get to show off these skill is when they host award shows or are in a play. Just think…NPH! Jackman! Kelly! Astaire! Now that’s some talent!

Art imitates life. It isn’t part of the plot, but there are shadows of a subplot where Jane Powell’s character wants to have fun rather than practice all the time. As it turns out, this is what happened with Astaire’s actual sister. She got fed up with him being such a taskmaster. This was about the time that he was making it big in Hollywood, so breaking the duo up was no big deal. Still, this must have been a deeply personal project for Astaire.

Solo. Early on in the picture, Astaire is waiting for Powell to show up so they can rehearse. While he is waiting for her (to not show), he performs a solo routine that is quite entertaining. Along with his trademark tap and class, he appears to parody himself and his friend Gene Kelly by using props known to both of them. It really is quite a treat to watch, if you ask me.

What didn’t I like?

Love interest. I don’t want to comment on someone’s looks, but in comparison, Sarah Churchill is nowhere near as attractive as Jane Powell. Perhaps they should have switched roles. I say this because I also bought the chemistry between Astaire and Powell more than I did between him and Churchill. When they were on screen together it was like watching magic happen, but when he and Churchill were together, the audience might as well have been watching paint dry.

Royalty? For a film called Royal Wedding, there sure is very little to do with said event. It is mentioned here and there, but not until the last few minutes do we get anything resembling royalty, unless you count the opening number. Does this hurt the picture? No, not really. I think had they forced some sort of royal in there, things would have been worse, but perhaps there should have been more of a focus toward the wedding that they made the trip to England for. Eyes on the prize, people!

Momentum. Pacing is something that nearly every film has an issue with it seems. In this case, things were going fine, for the most part, until the last act. At this point, everything needs to be resolved and tied up in a nice little package. Before we can rush into all of that, though, there has to be a point where everything comes almost to a complete stop. Why do these films follow this formula? It completely takes the audience out of it and by the time we get back into the swing of things, the film is over!

Royal Wedding was actually very entertaining. This is one of the few times we get to see Fred Astaire let his guard down and do comedic dance routines, as opposed to his normal classy ones. Great acting and some decent songs are really what spur this on, as well as outstanding production numbers. I guarantee you that without those, this would not be worth watching. Do I recommend it? Yes, this is a film that can be found pretty much anywhere, as it is currently in the public domain, so give it a shot sometime!

4 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Royal Wedding”

  1. […] tribute to MGM musicals, this week’s trailer brings us the incomparable Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding. I encourage you to look up the scene where dances on the ceiling. You’ll be blown […]

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