|ROYAL WEDDING (1951)|
|Time: 93 mins.|
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nomination for Best Song.
I'm a huge fan of Fred Astaire and will pretty much sit through any of his films. His talent for creating spectacularly different and enjoyable dance numbers is unparalelled in the world of cinema. The fact that he plays pretty much the same character from film to film does get a bit old, but those thoughts are quickly dispelled once he starts moving his feet. It doesn't really matter who his partner is, though Ginger Rogers does make him a bit sexier than the others. Jane Powell replaced an unexpectedly pregnant June Allyson and does a fine job as Astaire's younger sister. It's not exactly believable since he's old enough to be her father, however, they look wonderful together as dance partners, so who really cares.
The plot is pretty similar to every other Astaire flick extremely successful and popular dance team gets opportunity of a lifetime, in this case to put on a show in London during the build-up to the royal wedding, all while trying to avoid love and marriage. Of course, through the course of the film both Tom (Astaire) and Ellen (Powell) find their perfect match. Tom's is a British dancer who's heart is initially promised elsewhere. Ellen falls for an English lord who has trouble with committment, played by the dashing Peter Lawford. They are, of course, a smash in London and even though they've both found true love, neither is willing to give up their careers to grab it. In the end, they decide to take the plunge and give love a chance.
There's no real depth or character development in this film, but that's nothing new when it comes to musicals. The core reason to watch this kind of movie is for the dance numbers and ROYAL WEDDING has some outstanding ones. Astaire outdoes himself as he dances with a hatrack, during a seastorm, and on the ceiling. ROYAL WEDDING really allows him to demonstrate not only his talent as a dancer, but a choreographer as well. He has just as many scenes by himself, as with Powell, but all of them are original, exciting and lovely to watch. Even after all this time, it's obvious that Astaire loves what he does and loves sharing it with the world. The dance number during the roiling sea storm is actually quite funny, giving Astaire the chance to have a little fun with his perfect image.
The acting, costumes and art direction are pretty on par for a musical of this time. Nothing extraordinary, just plain good fun. This film is all about the dancing, and believe me, it will mesmerize you. If you're looking for an enjoyable way to pass the time, ROYAL WEDDING will make it worthwhile.