Royal Wedding (1951) became an instant classic thanks not only to the top-shelf words and music of Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane, but also the exemplary acting and dancing of the luminous cast. The action was uncannily derived from two disparate real-life events, the November 20, 1947, marriage of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to Princess Elizabeth and, undoubtedly hitting closer to home, the union of Fred Astaire's sister Adele to British Lord Charles Cavendish. Additionally, the story concerns the brother/sister dance act of Fred Astaire (Tom Bowen) and Jane Powell (Ellen Bowen), who traipse off to the Motherland to perform. But even the best-laid plans go awry when Powell's character falls in love with nobleman Peter Lawford (Lord John Brindale), while Astaire becomes infatuated with Anne Ashmond (Sarah Churchill), the daughter of Sir Winston. The movie produced some of Astaire's most familiar work -- especially the immortal "dancing hat-rack" choreography accompanying "Sunday Jumps," and the equally vivid soft shoe on the ceiling shots used during "You're All the World to Me." While understandably Powell's hoofing isn't as fancy as Astaire's, she provides vocals to a couple of irresistible numbers in the form of the lovely melodic ballad "Too Late Now," garnering her an Academy Award nomination in the Best Song category. On this significantly expanded edition of the original motion picture soundtrack, the film's complete score is offered up for the very first time alongside the aforementioned solos and a trio of Astaire/Powell duets on "Ev'ry Night at Seven," "I Left My Hat in Haiti," and "Open Your Eyes." Concluding the disc is a previously unavailable promotional interview with the co-stars, hosted by radio and television personality Dick Simmons. The Rhino Handmade CD pressing is limited to 2,500 copies and is further augmented by a generous liner notes book with stills and copious text, making it nothing short of definitive.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer