Happy Easter 2012
Posted on: 31st March 2012 20:44:02

Welcome to Easter Parade -- April 2012 Edition.


As I take a second look at this film I am instantly reminded why I love it—why I love all of these films, they are not only classics but -- classy.  It is a word I used quite frequently in the January Blog  -- Orchestra Wives. It certainly applies here. From the moment Astaire appears on screen in “Happy Easter” in his suit, spats, cane and bowler, he exudes confidence, grace, manners and class!   He commands attention and gets what he wants – from all the shopkeepers with a simple smile and a tip of the hat.

This scene and others like it (“It Only Happens When I Dance with You”, “Fella with an Umbrella”), illustrate that even when a man is out to get what he wants, the girl, the first step is not, as it often is today, the kiss. On the contrary, it is the courtship.  Courtship begins with a tip of the hat, an offer of an umbrella in the rain, a dance, holding hands and in the end  (the end of the film to be precise), a kiss.  Now that’s class!  

Classic style and manners are not only reserved for the men in the film (Astaire and Peter Lawford) but also the ladies, (Miller and Garland).

Miller (who was plagued by a back injury and wore a back brace throughout the film) exudes elegance when waltzing with Astaire. Even when she is being “catty" in her comments, about Garland, (“tell that seamstress you’ve got working with you to stop imitating me!”), she looks classy doing it. (In her gloves and hat daintily eating a roll. Perhaps she took lessons from Jaynie in Orchestra Wives)!

Although Garland is a simpler woman, having grown up on a farm (“I Wanna Go Back to Michigan”), she has her moments of grace.  In  “I Love a Piano” she commands the song, (“with the peddle, I love to meddle…I love to stop right by an upright”. What great rhyme – thanks to Irving Berlin), and demonstrates along with Astaire that not all dances have to be waltzes to be graceful.

In her simplicity, Garland demonstrates, even when you stand up for yourself, (“you told me to move like that!”), you can get what you want -- your dignity and still make the man think it was his idea. (“Whatever you say”).

It is here I stop and ask the ladies in my group about the behavior of each character. I would like to ask which lady they feel they most mirrored at the time of their various courtships. Although they may not admit to being “catty” like Nadine, I think when the situation calls for it every woman lets her claws out a little. I’ll find out this month when I add this question to our discussion.

Our discussion of “class” comes full circle with one of the final scenes mentioned in the workbook -- "A Couple of Swells”.  It is here that Astaire and Garland shine as they put on the “air” of being classy, when in fact they are not.  (“We stop at the best hotels but we prefer the country far away from the city smells…We’re the favorite lads of girls in the picture ads. We’d like to tell you who we kissed last night but we can’t be cads”).  The contrast to what they are here and how they present in the film is great fun and allows for a bit of discussion regarding those words, swells lads, cads, etc.


I hope you and your group find your own fun and a bit of “class” as you walk up the Avenue in this month in Easter Parade.



Thanks for looking in. Share your comments. I’d love to hear from you!


See you in May for a trip to Oklahoma!




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