“This is a pretty box of pickles!”
A successful brother (Fred Astaire) and sister (Jane Powell) dancing team head to London just as a royal wedding is about to take place. Once there, Astaire falls in love with a dancing ingenue (Sarah Churchill), while Powell pursues romance with a lord (Peter Lawford) she met on board the ship.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Fred Astaire Films
- Jane Powell Films
- Keenan Wynn Films
- Peter Lawford Films
- Stanley Donen Films
This innocuous MGM musical — loosely inspired by Fred Astaire’s dancing partnership with his sister Adele, as well as the upcoming real-life nuptials of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten — is perhaps best known as the film that features Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling and walls (see TCM’s article for more information on how these nifty effects were achieved). Judy Garland was originally slated to co-star with Astaire, but due to her infamous health concerns was replaced by Powell, who (fortunately) does a fine job portraying Astaire’s spunky younger sister, and more than keeps up with Astaire during their dance numbers together — especially during the wonderfully named, energetically performed “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life?” (purportedly the longest-titled song in MGM’s musical history). Unfortunately, the storyline itself is negligible at best, and Astaire’s romantic interest — Churchill, the daughter of Winston himself — is utterly bland. The primary reason to check this one out is for the fun musical-dance sequences.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Astaire’s hatrack dance
- Astaire’s fun ceiling-and-wall dance number
- Astaire and Powell performing “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life?”
No, but the three musical numbers listed above make it worth a one-time look. As a public domain title, this one is available for free viewing on www.archive.org.