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Easter Parade

Easter Parade, starring Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Ann Miller

Synopsis of Easter Parade

On the day before Easter in 1911, Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) is crushed when his dancing partner and girlfriend (Ann Miller) refuses to start a new contract with him.  To prove that he doesn’t need Nadine, Don acquires a new, innocent protegee named Hannah Brown (Judy Garland).  He vows to make her a star in time for next year’s Easter Parade.

Editorial review of Easter Parade courtesy of Amazon.com

We're A Couple Of Swells, performed in Easter Parade by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, composed by Irving Berlin

Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) is devastated when his longtime dancing partner, Nadine Hale (Ann Miller), breaks up the team to set out on her own. Determined to prove that he can succeed without her, Astaire vows that he can pick any random chorus girl and make her a star. Fortunately for him, the chorus girl he picks happens to be one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, Judy Garland (playing Hannah Brown). Easter Parade turned out to be the first and only collaboration between the two screen legends. Garland made the 1948 film despite ongoing health problems then had to pull out of a planned follow-up, The Barkleys of Broadway (Ginger Rogers replaced her); Astaire had retired following Blue Skies in 1946 but was brought in for this film as an emergency replacement after Gene Kelly broke his ankle playing touch football.

Better Luck Next Time song lyrics - written by Irving Berlin, performed by Judy Garland in Easter Parade

Fortunately, Easter Parade always feels like an Astaire film rather than a Kelly film, from its Pygmalion-esque plot (which helps explain the principals’ 23-year age disparity) to its score of Irving Berlin standards (some new, some recycled from earlier films). The film capitalizes on the strengths of both stars, Astaire in dance solos, including “Drum Crazy” and “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” (MGM’s take on Astaire’s earlier, persona-defining “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails“), and Garland in vocal solos, including the torchy “Better Luck Next Time.” The stars especially shine, however, when they perform together in their vaudeville numbers, most notably the persona-defying hobo routine “We’re a Couple of Swells.” Watch this classic every Easter. –David Horiuchi

Songs in Easter Parade

  • Happy Easter, written by Irving Berlin, Performed by Fred Astaire, also by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  • Drum Crazy, written by Irving Berlin, sung and danced by Fred Astaire
  • It Only Happens When I Dance with You, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Fred Astaire and Ann Miller, also by Judy Garland
  • Everybody’s Doin’ It, written by Irving Berlin
  • I Want to Go Back to Michigan, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Judy Garland
  • Beautiful Faces Need Beautiful Clothes, written by Irving Berlin, danced by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  • A Fella with an Umbrella, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Peter Lawford and Judy Garland
  • I Love a Piano, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Judy Garland, danced by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  • Snooky Ookums, written by Irving Berlin, sung and danced by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  • Ragtime Violin, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  • When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam’, written by Irving Berlin, sung and danced by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  • Shakin’ the Blues Away, written by Irving Berlin, sung and danced by Ann Miller
  • Steppin’ Out with My Baby, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Fred Astaire and Chorus
  • A Couple of Swells, written by Irving Berlin, sung and danced by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland
  • The Girl on the Magazine Cover, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Richard Beavers, danced by Ann Miller
  • Better Luck Next Time, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Judy Garland
  • Easter Parade, written by Irving Berlin, sung by Judy Garland and Fred Astaire
  • Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon, written by Irving Berlin