June 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / June /

Royal Wedding (1951 M-G-M Musical)  
Music by Burton Lane; Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
  Available On: RHINO RHM2 7777  
Running Time: 60:08

royal wedding

Arthur Freed conceptualised this musical set against the events of the 1947 marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten. Fred Astaire and Jane Powell star as a famous brother-and-sister Broadway team, Tom and Ellen Bowen who bring their hit show to London at the time of the Royal Wedding. Tom falls for a lovely English dancer (Sarah Churchill) while Ellen falls in love with a British nobleman (Peter Lawford). Although not a top-ranking M-G-M musical (mainly remembered today for Astaire’s remarkable dance on walls and ceiling), it has an imaginative, very melodic score. For instance, after the Main Titles ‘Ev’ry Night at Seven’ begins as a clever Gilbert and Sullivan parody before Fred takes over and makes it an upbeat romantic ballad. In a reprise Peter Lawford sings this number very creditably.

Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner’s hit numbers include ‘I like New York in June’, ‘How About You’, the lovely ‘Too Late Now’ and ‘You’re All the World to Me’ (used in Astaire’s wall and ceiling routine) In another more comic mood is the raucous ‘How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You, When You Know I’ve Been A Liar All My Life’ sung with great relish by Astaire and Powell.

Less well-known but charming nonetheless are ‘Open Your Eyes’, ‘The Happiest Day Of My Life’ sung by Jane Powell. Then there is Fred’s exotic novelty number ‘I Left My Hat in Haiti’ .

Adding lustre there are a number of purely instrumental numbers performed by the M-G-M studio orchestra, including the dreamily romantic ‘Anne’s Picture’ and, full of pomp and circumstance, ‘Before the Wedding’ plus the more pensive ‘We Can’t Get Married’.

As if all this was not enough there is one of those Dick Simmons sycophantic interviews with Fred and Jane – thankfully with tongue-in-cheek. Fred pays tribute to Jane all-round talent as a singer and dancer..

A real treat.

Ian Lace

**** 4

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