Royal Wedding (1951)
Pssst, want to check out Royal Wedding in our new look?
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Had to respond here to the underhanded blow to Jane Powell's theatrical legacy (as I took it.) (In full disclosure, note my user name; I may not be totally objective). So, anyway, Jane, or Janie (as her friends and fans call her; btw, happy belated 91st birthday to you Janie, I hope you're reading this; anyway--I sympathize with the notion that, at times, Jane's voice, especially in the upper register, can be off-putting. As a side note people would often be likewise dismissive of Kathryn Grayson's voice, describing it as somewhat thin for the repertoire she was attempting. Unfortunately, Jane's is often even thinner, depending on the given song she was attempting. But in this movie it is mostly very effective, particularly in the ballad Too Late Now (one of the best songs in her career), and of course in How could you believe me when I told you I loved you when you knew I've been a liar all my life... blues, which she did in her normal register broadway style voice, which was always effective, and which I wish she had used more often, even to the point of rejecting coloratura soprano numbers for something more suitable to a given movie. But with this said, check out her version of Chacun le sait from Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment in the tragically forgotten film Athena (the performance can be found on youtube, thank god), which is note perfect, and doesn't sound thin at all. So I will give you the voice can be an acquired taste depending on the material. but it's never off key, and it it possible to learn to accept it as part of the glory that was Jane Powell. While speaking of Janie, did you notice how good her dancing was in this film, and how good her acting was with Peter Lawford (she admits in her bio that she didn't particularly care for Lawford). And did you notice how incredibly beautiful Jane Powell was (and probably still is; I haven't seen her lately.) And beautiful in a such a characteristic petite Jane Powell way. Well, I seem to be going on a bit, so I will stop here. I hope you will get a chance to reconsider Jane Powell and her wonderful film legacy. And have I mentioned Debbie yet? Well, another time.
How charming! 1951's Royal Wedding features (in the background of course) the real Princess Elizabeth's wedding as opposed to some fictional kingdom like Martovia! (It's fact, insert any consonants in the space provided in "Mar__via" and you get a ready-made Balkan country for your 1930s-1950s comedy/musical.) That lends it a real sense of occasion, even if it doesn't actually feature prominently in what is, like many Fred Astaire affairs, a mostly plotless contrivance to hang song and dance numbers (and romance) on. You can count on director Stanley Donen to work extra hard to create numbers we haven't seen before, and he supplies a couple of fun, even great, ones. The two numbers on gimbled sets are most impressive. Co-star Jane Powell is uneven, best when she's playing the comedy, but I'm not a big fan of the high-voice romance stuff. What makes me go as high as four stars, however, is that care was taken to craft all the smaller parts in the film. There's something quirky, amusing and memorable about all of them, so the talking scenes are good too.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!