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 classic MGM musical pairs Jane Powell and Fred Astaire, whose dance on the ceiling is as impressive today as it was back in 1951. Family entertainment doesn't get any livelier. For grade-schoolers, the relatively wholesome love story is less likely to capture their attention than the colorful, energetic dance numbers. For older kids, watching might even spark an interest in the dramatic arts.
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What's the story?
In this 1951 MGM musical, American entertainers/siblings Tom (Fred Astaire) and Ellen Bowen (Jane Powell) cross the pond to jolly old England to put on a show for the royals. But the excursion turns complicated when Ellen falls for upper-crust Lord John Brindale (Peter Lawford), and Tom finds himself taken with Anne Ashmond (Sarah Churchill).
Is it any good?
While not as technically brilliant as his unbeatable follow-up, Singin' in the Rain, ROYAL WEDDING is nevertheless another very impressive effort on the part of director Stanley Donen. The script is a bit weak--a simple, run-of-the-mill love story--yet there's that old Hollywood charm to it, an innocence that makes it perfectly enjoyable to watch no matter how young or old you are. The story is all just an excuse for incredible staging and numbers like the sizzling "I Left My Hat in Haiti" and Powell's Oscar-nominated song "Too Late Now."
Fred Astaire and Jane Powell are wonderful together, but costars Peter Lawford and Sarah Churchill are little more than props to be danced around. Keenan Wynn is more engaging than either of them in a funny turn as identical twin brothers. As usual, Astaire steals the show. The scene in which he dances with a coat rack is evidence enough of his mastery, but to pull off that famous bit where he dances up the walls and across the ceiling, without making it look at all awkward, well, what is there to say? Thank goodness for the movies, for we'll never see his like again. Children getting their first glimpse of Astaire are sure to be wowed.
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