Good morning and Happy Easter to one and all! In honor of the day, I’m posting this clip from the 1948 MGM movie Easter Parade, which I love for many reasons.

One of the most delightful things about this scene is the gender role reversal, which is especially unusual for its time. It starts with Judy Garland teasing Fred Astaire for taking so long getting dressed: “Aren’t you ready yet? Just like a man!” When he is ready, she very frankly gives him the eye. She likes what she sees — the female gaze for a change!. The song, “Easter Parade,” was originally written for a man to sing to woman; a man doesn’t generally wear an Easter bonnet “with all the frills upon it.” But Judy’s the one singing it here, and it’s all about how fine looking her man is.

What else do I like about this scene? There’s Judy of course; though often remembered today as a tragic diva, the most important thing about her is that she gave great joy, and she does here. Astaire is breathtakingly elegant; I particularly love that glide up and down the stairs — smooth! Then there’s the song itself, another Irving Berlin classic for a goysihe holiday, with lyrics that evoke a lost world: “Photographers will snap us/And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.” What is a rotogravure, you may well ask? I had to look it up; this was the best explanation I found.

Now on to the clip. Have a wonderful holiday!

YouTube video

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Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee