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Royal Wedding

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Overview

Two real-life events were incorporated into the plot of the 1951 MGM musical Royal Wedding. One, the marriage of Fred Astaire's sister Adele to a British nobleman, had occurred years earlier. The other, the wedding of England's Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, was only four years in the past. MGM would probably have gotten Royal Wedding out closer to the Elizabeth-Philip nuptials, but the picture had leading-lady problems; every girl who was cast either became pregnant, ill, or otherwise unavailable. ...
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Overview

Two real-life events were incorporated into the plot of the 1951 MGM musical Royal Wedding. One, the marriage of Fred Astaire's sister Adele to a British nobleman, had occurred years earlier. The other, the wedding of England's Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, was only four years in the past. MGM would probably have gotten Royal Wedding out closer to the Elizabeth-Philip nuptials, but the picture had leading-lady problems; every girl who was cast either became pregnant, ill, or otherwise unavailable. Finally, Jane Powell was cast as the sister and partner of American-entertainer Fred Astaire. The plot has Astaire and Powell heading to Merrie Olde England to perform at the palace. Once they've arrived, Powell breaks up the act when she falls in love with blueblooded Peter Lawford. Astaire himself finds romance in the form of Sarah Churchill (daughter of Sir Winston), and the four happy campers gleefully attend the titular Windsor Castle wedding. Also in the cast is Albert Sharpe, fresh from his Broadway triumph in Finian's Rainbow, and Keenan Wynn, hilarious as twin cousins. The plot is so light that it threatens to float away at times, but Royal Wedding sticks in the memory thanks to its first-rate musical numbers. The Astaire/Powell duets are entertaining enough; the real magic, however, occurs in Astaire's two solos: the hat-rack duet and the now-legendary tap-dance on the ceiling (even knowing how this cinematic legerdemain was accomplished does not detract from its brilliance and virtuosity). Because it has slipped into public domain, Royal Wedding is one of the most easily accessible of all the Fred Astaire musicals.
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Special Features

Interactive menus; Scene selector; Dolby Digital; Trivia quiz; Biography
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Royal Wedding is an excellent example of a film the strengths of which are so strong as to make its considerable weaknesses almost irrelevant. Among those weaknesses, the most problematic is the screenplay. Alan Jay Lerner's story is commonplace, even if set against the backdrop of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The dialogue is generally good, but the plot offers little in the way of suspense or surprise. The real sizzle and fire come from elsewhere: the cast, the score, and the dancing. Fred Astaire is marvelous, demonstrating in his musical numbers that no other male performer -- even those with technically superior voices -- was better at interpreting a song. His dance numbers here include two of his best: the "Sunday Jumps" gym sequence with the classic hat rack duet and the much heralded "You're All the World to Me," in which he dances up the walls and across the ceiling of his room. Jane Powell is not his equal as a dance partner, but she comes off very well in the amusing "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life." Powell also gets to handle the beautiful and unfortunately overlooked ballad "Too Late Now," which contains a melody of admirable purity. Stanley Donen's direction is assured, glossing over the film's shortcomings and knowing how to showcase its assets. Royal Wedding may fall just shy of being a classic, but its highlights are among the best the musical film has to offer.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/22/1999
  • UPC: 096009015138
  • Original Release: 1951
  • Rating:

  • Source: Platinum Disc
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Sound: Dolby Digital
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 12,390

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred Astaire Tom Bowen
Jane Powell Ellen Bowen
Peter Lawford Lord John Brindale
Sarah Churchill Anne Ashmond
Keenan Wynn Irving Klinger/Edgar Klinger
Albert Sharpe James Ashmond
Jack Daley Pop
Bess Flowers Woman Guest
Wilson Benge Eddie
Francis Bethencourt Charles Gordon
William Cabanne Dick
Andre Charisse Steward
Mae Clarke Phone Operator
James Finlayson Cabby
Alex Frazer Chester, Tom's valet
John Hedloe Billy
Henri Letondal Purser
Richard Lupino Singing Elevator Boy
Stanley Mann Cabdriver
Phyllis Morris Singing Woman
Leonard Mudie Singing Doorman
Kerry O'Day Linda
Albert Pollet Steward
Jack Reilly Pete Comberly
Viola Roache Sarah Ashmond
David Thursby Singing Bobby
Wilson Wood Drinker
Vera-Ellen
Marjorie Main
Alice Pearce
Clinton Sundberg
Gale Robbins
Technical Credits
Stanley Donen Director
Albert Akst Editor
Nick Castle Choreography
Arthur Freed Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Johnny Green Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Burton Lane Score Composer
Alan Jay Lerner Score Composer, Screenwriter
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Robert Planck Cinematographer
Albert Sendrey Score Composer
Jack Martin Smith Art Director
Alfred E. Spencer Set Decoration/Design
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Introduction [12:53]
2. Crossing [12:55]
3. In London [4:33]
4. Night Out [3:54]
5. Still Rehearsing [13:10]
6. In Love [9:09]
7. Dancing on the Ceiling [8:19]
8. New Show [9:23]
9. The Wedding [12:15]
10. End [5:10]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Chapters
   Questions
   Biography
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Wonderful: What a great musical from the legendary Fred Astaire.

    Wonderful:
    What a great musical from the legendary Fred Astaire. You will not be disappointed, because Jane Powell, Peter
    Lawford and even Sarah Churchill, daughter of Winston Churchill, will keep you just as entertained as Fred does.
    Get this movie, it's a must have!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews