Making the Grades
Even though they are on another continent, Tom and Ellen Bowen (Fred Astaire and Jane Powell) are keenly aware of the upcoming Royal Wedding for Princess Elizabeth II. Consequently, the brother/sister dance duo is excited to learn their stage show has been booked into a London theater, and they will be in England to witness the blessed event.
When the entertainers depart America, Ellen leaves behind a string of admirers. But if Tom thinks that will put an end to her romantic notions, he is sorely mistaken. Perhaps it is due to the ever-present expectation of the impending regal affair, but marriage fever is definitely in the air. Once on board the ocean liner, the pretty blond is quickly smitten with Lord John Brindle (Peter Lawford).
Despite his pooh-poohing, the confirmed-bachelor soon discovers he is not immune to the effects of Cupid's arrows either. When the talented Anne Ashmond (Sarah Churchill) auditions for a place in their troupe, she lands more than just a spot on the stage. Tom is even willing to overlook her overseas fiance.
Infected by the love bug, the success-seeking siblings must now decide whether they will break-up their partnership and follow their hearts, or break their hearts and follow their plans as a partnership.
Of course the plot is predictable, and really not the point of the film anyway. Its real purpose is to showcase the incomparable abilities of the stars. And that it does very well, especially when Fred Astaire proves that he can make any one he dances with look good-- including a coat rack! But the movie is best remembered for the now-famous scene "You're All the World to Me," where he tap-dances on the floor, walls and ceiling of his hotel room. Jane Powell also puts her opera soprano voice in the lime light with her rendition of "Too Late Now," which was nominated for a "Best Song" Oscar.
With the exception of some characters (including Astaire) who smoke and drink, a few white lies, as well as a couple of punches between rival beaus, Royal Wedding is as light as the main attractions are on their feet. Made during Hollywood's musical epidemic, if you catch this one, be prepared to have the world turned upside down.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Royal Wedding.
Royal Wedding loosely bases its story on the life of Fred Astaire, who began his dancing career with his sister Adele as his partner. She later retired from show business after marrying a Lord (Lord Charles Cavendish). For more information about this remarkable performer see: http://www.reelclassics.com/Actors/Astaire/astaire-bio.htm
In the film, Ellen and Tom have to choose between advancing their careers or marriage. Why was this decision so difficult? With the changes that have happened in society regarding the roles of men and women, do couples face the same kinds of dilemmas today? Which of the two alternatives would be your priority?