Easter. It’s that holiday that some think of for religious reasons, some for candy reasons, and some for 3-day weekend reasons. Whatever your celebration is though, I’ve picked out a few different options for you to choose from, in different places, so it’s sure to fit any Easter weekend style.
First is “Easter Parade” from 1948, starring Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford, and Ann Miller. It is a wonderful musical about a girl (Garland) who joins up with a dance star (Astaire), changing up his style and his life, only to fall in love and became a huge success. This was the only movie to pair up Garland and Astaire. In fact, the two had never even met before the making of this film. So when the first scene to be shot turned out to be a kissing scene between the two, Garland kept delaying the start until they were properly introduced. Originally, Gene Kelly was supposed to star opposite Garland, but he ended up breaking his ankle prior to filming when he got a little angry after losing a volleyball game. Also, Cyd Charisse was supposed to be in Ann Miller’s role, but she had some torn ligaments in her knees and couldn’t perform. However, Miller wasn’t in much better shape. She had hurt her back when her husband pushed her down some stairs, so many of her dances were done wearing a back brace. She still managed some amazing dances though. You can catch this Irving Berlin spectacle on TCM Sunday at 10am EST.
(A deleted number from "Easter Parade")
Monty Python’s Life of Brian” from 1979. It’s the story of Brian (of course) who is born in the manger next door to Jesus on the same day, and therefore has a life filled with being mistaken for his birth mate. As always, the majority of the roles are played by the six members of Monty Python, with Graham Chapman in the title role. The Python guys actually came up with this movie idea after being bombarded by reporters after “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” came out. After being asked for the millionth time “What is your next project going to be,” Eric Idol sarcastically threw out “Jesus Christ - Lust for Glory” to shut them up. The group, however, started playing around with the idea, and thus, “Life of Brian” was born. This Python gem is available on DVD.
And if you’re in need of family fare, but want to get out of the house too, I suggest “How to Train Your Dragon” in theaters now. Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with Easter, but it’s a fun story your whole family should enjoy. Based on the children’s book by Cressida Cowell, it tells the story of Hiccup, a young teenage Viking, who longs to be a dragon slayer, but, unwilling to kill them, befriends a dragon (whom he names Toothless) instead. You may notice some similarities between Toothless and Stitch from Disney’s “Lilo & Stitch.” This is no coincidence. “Dragon” was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the writer-directors of “Lilo & Stitch.” It’s a heartwarming, fun adventure for all.
So, whatever your preference this weekend, I hope you have a wonderful time with your holiday. Enjoy! And I’ll be back Monday with another of my favorite films!
(Post-tidbit: “Life of Brian” was banned in many countries for blasphemy, including Norway and Ireland. Norway lifted their ban in 1980 and Ireland in 1987.)