Friday, April 29, 2011

Video: The 1947 Royal Wedding that Made Fred Astaire Dance on the Ceiling

Friday, April 29, 2011

Susan reporting:

Royal Wedding Frenzy is at its peak today, with an estimated two billion people around the world watching the ceremonies. But while media outlets are proclaiming this to be the "wedding of the century," there was another royal wedding within the last hundred years – 64 years ago, to be precise – that was just as breathlessly reported. In 1947, heir to the British throne Princess Elizabeth (the present Queen Elizabeth II) married Prince Philip, and the celebrations were equally joyful.

In those distant pre-internet and cable days the coverage wasn't as encompassing, but the wedding did inspire Hollywood. In 1951, Fred Astaire and Jane Powell starred in the musical comedy film Royal Wedding, set in London during the week of the wedding festivities. Fred and Jane didn't play royalty, but a singing & dancing brother and sister stage act.  Still, moviegoers of the time would have been quick to see the real-life parallels in the (slender) plot: just as Jane's character falls for an English lord, Fred's older sister and partner Adele had fallen in love with and married Lord Charles Cavendish, the son of the 9th Duke of Devonshire.

What is best remembered about Royal Wedding today is that it contains one of Fred Astaire's most famous dance performances. Inspired by love, he's quite literally head over heels, and dances on the ceiling – a technical feat of film making magic. Here's the clip for you to enjoy.

While we doubt that Prince William has been dancing on the palace ceiling, we do wish him to feel that kind of love for his bride Catherine, and for her to share the same for him. Best wishes to them both for a long and happy life together!


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Charles Bazalgette said...

This scene was shot using a rotating room, in case you wondered.

Emma J said...

This has always been one of my favorite Astaire routines, though I'd forgotten the royal wedding connection.

Congratulations to the new Duke & Duchess of Cambridge!

Deb said...

I think you mean "two billion" in your estimate of the number of people watching.

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Oh, my, you're right Deb - I did indeed mean two billion! Corrected now. :)

An Historical Lady said...

I was up at 4 AM, and watched every minute of the royal wedding. It was perfection from start to finish. It was so moving and real...The music choices at the ceremony made me cry---so lovely.
I am glad I did not miss this wonderful and historic day~

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