Thursday, July 5, 2012

That Funny Feeling and Easter Parade

While the TV is overloaded with reruns and sports I don't like, I'm making use of the movie channels and DVR to catch up on classic movies.  Search your TV Guide, NetFlix or neighborhood Blockbuster and . . . 
Easter Parade:  (1942) Fred Astaire loses one dance partner/girlfriend (Ann Miller) but gets a new one (Judy Garland) in this delightful 1948 MGM Irving Berlin musical comedy directed by Charles Walters. 

Fred Astaire had announced his retirement before the cameras begn to roll on Easter Parade, but he decided to ccept the film's leading role when its original star, Gene Kelly, broke his ankle.

The highlight of the movie are the seventeen musical numbers, all written by Irving Berlin.  Ten were standards, seven new to this film.  Among the highlights are Astaire's slow-motion version of "Steppin' Out", the Astaire/Garland duet "We're a Couple of Swells", and the closing performance of the title number.

Plot is not necessary in a Fred Astaire movie - just watching him dance is draw enough - but this one actually had a cute story.  Fred's in love with Ann Miller, who's got a crush on Peter Lawford, who's got a crush on Judy Garland, who (of course) falls for Fred.  And through it all they sing and dance to songs by Irving Berlin and wear fabulous clothes. Hit!

That Funny Feeling: (1965) Aspiring actress Joan Howell, makes a living as a maid.  When Tom Milford, a New York City publishing company executive. asks her out she invites him to her apartment but, ashamed of her one-room residence, she borrows the apartment of one of her employers whom she has never seen. Tom (who is the employer) goes along with the ruse.

No music in this one except Bobby Darin singing the title song, which he also wrote, but it was also a romantic "comedy of errors".  

The best part - at least in my opinion - was the supporting cast. Donald O'Connor, if course, is wonderful no matter what part he plays.  The rest of the cast was a lineup of familiar faces with resumes that read like the history of television.  Included are Larry Storch (most famous for F Troop), Arte Johnson (Laugh-In), Don Haggerty (Bonanza, Rawhide), Larry J. Blake (The Virginian, Adam-12)...the list just goes on.  If you have time, look them up on  - it's fascinating how prolific their careers are/were.  

One of my favorite scenes involved four ladies gossiping around a phone booth:  Reta Shaw (Housekeeper in Mary Poppins, Aunt Hagatha on Bewitched), Nora Marlowe (Flossie on The Waltons), Kathleen Freeman (Sister Mary Stigmata from The Blues Brothers) and Minerva Urecal.

I didn't know much about either Sandra Dee or Bobby Darrin, including the fact that they were married.  Actually, I knew nothing beyond "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" from Grease, and Bobby's songs Splish, Splash and Mack, the Knife.  They are both adorable.  Wish they had done more together.


  1. I've been on an old movie kick lately. Adding these to my list; thanks so much.

  2. That was interesting about Fred Astaire stepping in to do Easter Parade under those circumstances. I don't think I knew this trivia before. My sister was a big fan of movies like this; I'm sure she must have watched Easter Parade every time it came on when we were growing up!

    hope the day is a good one!


  3. LOL! The only thing I know about Sandra Dee is from the Grease movie too! Wait, wasn't she Gidget? I guess I did watch last summer. A great summer movie!