A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this light movie contains no truly worrisome content. Kids might learn that reinventing yourself for someone else can be a costly compromise of your individuality.
What's the story?
After Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) loses his partner (Ann Miller) to the lure of a solo career, the renowned dancer spots pretty chorus line member Hannah (Judy Garland) and vows to mold her into Nadine's equal within a year -- in time for the big Fifth Avenue Easter Parade. Hannah needs work, so they work, but their act just doesn't fly. When Don stops trying to force his ex-partner's style on Hannah and allows her to be herself, the two finally form a true creative partnership. Things get complicated when Don's friend Johnny (Peter Lawford) falls in love with Hannah, because Hannah's in love with Don, and Don, it seems, is still carrying a flame for Nadine. But this is no tragic opera, it's an MGM musical. Things are bound to work out in the end.
Is it any good?
Loaded with great Irving Berlin songs, this 1948 spectacular will grab children with its wholesome, uncomplicated story. It will also mesmerize adults with its pairing of superstar talents in their sole screen appearance together. "The Happiest Musical Ever Made," EASTER PARADE's promotional trailer declares, and director Charles Walters appears to have put in plenty of overtime trying to live up to that grand promise. He gives us Oscar-winning musical scoring, inventive choreography, and plenty of Irving Berlin songs.
But what really makes this movie sing and dance is the once-in-a-lifetime pairing of Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Whether cane-twirling to "Steppin' Out with My Baby" or reeling through a toy store pounding on every drum in sight, Astaire is mesmerizing. Beside him, Judy Garland is absolutely radiant -- and that's not just the Technicolor. For family entertainment, this is a hard one to beat. It's spirited, easily digestible, and fun. Don't worry about that sticky love situation; it resolves without much fuss, and all in time for the big Easter Parade.
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