"In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,

You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.

I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,

I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter parade"

(Irving Berlin)

Or as a friend of mine sings to the same air: "When I sit upon it, my lovely Easter bonnet"

Well as Easter approaches, this is the musical that springs to mind, but would you believe Easter Parade was released over seventy years ago?

Directed by Charles Walters and starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, this 1948 musical was the highest-grossing musical that year.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Garland and Astaire were superb together, and were joined by Ann Miller and Peter Lawford. Irving Berlin provided hit after hit, including A Couple of Swells, Steppin’ Out with My Baby, Shakin’ the Blues Away, A Fella with An Umbrella and I Love a Piano.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

It’s hard to believe that this was the first pairing of Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Gene Kelly was the original choice for the male lead, but broke his ankle the weekend before shooting was due to start. Ann Miller, who plays Garland's rival for Astaire's affections, was cast only after Cyd Charisse tore ligaments in her knee. Judy Garland was initially very nervous at the prospect of starring opposite Astaire, as remarkably they had never met before. Well, it should be noted that there was a twenty- three year age difference.

However, the chemistry was there and the ensemble impressed. Yes, it all looks a little dated now, and the plot is thin, but Irving Berlin’s seventeen songs - complete with the super dance routines - means that this musical stands the test of time.

Fred Astaire’s Steppin' Out with My Baby proves to be one of his most memorable dance numbers, while Judy Garland’s performance of A Couple of Swells with Astaire was a triumph and became a signature song for her.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Back in 1948 when Easter Parade was released, The New York Times’ reviewer wrote:

"With seventeen Irving Berlin songs to record and with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and Ann Miller itching to exercise their accomplished legs and adequate vocal chords, it's no wonder that the slim story line on which "Easter Parade" is spun is almost completely lost in the shuffle. But don't give that loss a second thought for the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical, which opened yesterday at Loew's State, is at its best when the boy and girls are on their toes. And since the song and dance routines are plentiful and varied in tempo and design the picture runs its close to two-hour course with only an occasional slip from high to low gear."

So dust off your Easter bonnet, and see what you make of this classic musical seven decades on.

Movies and Musicals, RTÉ lyric fm, Saturday 1-4 pm - listen back here.