Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding is a 1951 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical comedy film starring Fred Astaire and Jane Powell, with music by Burton Lane and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. The film was directed by Stanley Donen; it was his second film and the first he directed on his own. It was released as Wedding Bells in the United Kingdom.

The story is set in London in 1947 at the time of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh. Astaire and Powell play siblings in a song and dance duo, echoing the real-life theatrical relationship of Fred and Adele Astaire.

The story sees brother and sister Tom and Ellen Bowen as stars of a show Every Night at Seven, a Broadway success. They are persuaded to take the show to London, capitalizing on an imminent royal wedding.

 Royal WeddingOn the ship, Ellen meets and quickly falls in love with the impoverished but well-connected Lord John Brindale. Whilst casting the show in London, Tom falls in love with a newly engaged dancer, Anne Ashmond. Tom assists Anne to reconcile her estranged parents and also asks his agent to locate Anne’s supposed fiancé in Chicago – only to discover that he’s married.

Carried away by the emotion of the wedding, the two couples decide that they will also be married that day.

Stanley Donen and Jane Powell were not part of the film’s original crew and cast; former dancer Charles Walters was the film’s original director, with June Allyson as Astaire’s co-star. Judy Garland was then signed as Ellen due to Allyson’s pregnancy, over the objection of Walters who had spent a “year-and-a-half nurturing her through her previous film, Summer Stock; instead of listening to Walters’ objection, Arthur Freed brought in Donen as director; Garland, who during rehearsal worked only half-days, started calling in sick as principal photography was to begin. That prompted Freed to replace her with Jane Powell, which in turn caused MGM to cancel Garland’s contract with the studio, one that had lasted 14 years.

Principal photography took place in 1950, from July 6-August 24; retakes took place in mid-October.

The scene featuring the song “You’re All the World to Me” was filmed by building a set inside a revolving barrel and mounting the camera and its operator to an ironing board which could be rotated along with the room.

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