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Easter Parade

4

Irving Berlin’s first MGM musical

Like Gyllenhaal/Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, except dancier, Irving Berlin’s first MGM musical boasts a classic one-off screen pairing.

It almost didn’t happen: only after original lead Gene Kelly broke his ankle did Fred Astaire step out of retirement to play mentor and on/off romantic interest to Judy Garland’s stage hopeful. Icky age-gap alert?

The plot is patchy, sure, but Astaire’s evergreen feet and Garland’s worldly-wise voice transcend it: his madly playful ‘Drum Crazy’ routine, her achingly poignant ‘Better Luck Next Time’ and their joyous duets (‘We’re A Couple Of Swells’, especially) are rare pleasures to treasure.

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