The Band Wagon

1953

Action / Comedy / Musical / Romance

25
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 82%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 8098

Synopsis


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Cast

Julie Newmar as Salon Model / Chorine in Girl Hunt Ballet
Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter
Ava Gardner as Herself
Cyd Charisse as Gabrielle Gerard
720p 1080p
813.04 MB
1280*720
English
Passed
23.976 fps
1hr 52 min
P/S 1 / 5
1.64 GB
1920*1080
English
Passed
23.976 fps
1hr 52 min
P/S 0 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jotix100 10 / 10

When there's a shine on your shoes, there's a melody in your heart!

Vincente Minnelli was a director that worked well in different genres, as his distinguished career shows. He excelled in the musicals he directed. In "The Band Wagon", Mr. Minnelli gave us one of the perhaps, most satisfactory musicals of all times. In fact, this is a film that doesn't have many original songs like some other MGM musicals, but still shows the talented Betty Comden and Adolph Green at their best.

Some of the criticism directed to "The Band Wagon" in this forum has to do with the perception that Fred Astaire, the star of the film, was finished, but as he brilliantly demonstrates, he still had a lot left in him. One of the most brilliant numbers of the film involves Mr. Astaire dancing with Leroy Daniels "Shine on my Shoes" at an arcade on 42 Street. Both Mr. Astaire and Mr. Daniels do amazing dancing in a number that will remain one of the classics of the American musicals in film.

The pairing of Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse proves to be one of the most felicitous things in the movie. Ms. Charisse and Mr. Astaire are seen dancing beautifully in "Dancing in the Dark" and in the ballet sequence. Ms. Charisse was one of the most talented dancing stars at MGM and it's a shame she didn't get more opportunities in which to shine, as she does in "The Band Wagon".

Oscar Levant and Nannette Fabray are excellent playing Adolph Green and Betty Comden, that in the film they are named Lester and Lily Marton. Jack Buchanan plays Jeffrey Cordova, the classical actor that turns all shows into hits. Mr. Buchanan is hysterical with his approach to turn the show the Martons have written into a variation of "Faust", with disastrous consequences.

Among the other great numbers in the film, "The Triplets", in which Jeff, Lily and Tony, are seen as dancing and singing babies in a delightful turn. Also Nannette Fabray in "Louisiana Hayride" shows her best qualities. Other songs heard are "By Myself", "Change my Plan", and that hymn about show business, "That's Entertainment".

"The Band Wagon" is a film to cherish because all the right elements were put together by the genius of Vincente Minnelli.

Reviewed by latics 10 / 10

Last of the great Hollywood musicals

Just saw this again, for the first time in 10 years. What a show! This is unquestionably the last of the great line of MGM – and, therefore, Hollywood – musicals . . . the last real flowering of Arthur Freed's genius at holding together a team of top production talents which had produced such a fine string of musicals. Not a dull spot in the entire movie and tremendous style in Minnelli's direction. Nice to see Jack Buchanan getting a last chance in the spotlight – his top hat routine with Astaire is one of the highlights of the movie. Astaire himself, playing the fading musical star which he was by 1953, has a magnificent opening with two contrasting numbers – the wistful By Myself and the exuberant Shine on your Shoes – tailored to set up his character perfectly. The Girl Hunt ballet is, of course, the dancing highlight of the movie and it is here that the utterly wonderful Cyd Charisse comes into her own. Apart from being arguably the best female dancer in Hollywood history, she was certainly the most beautiful: the scene in the ballet in which she appears on a bar stool and slips off her coat to reveal a dramatic red dress oozes with as much sex appeal as any movie moment I've ever seen.

Reviewed by gaityr 8 / 10

Now *this* is entertainment!

THE BAND WAGON tells the story of faded movie star Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) as he attempts to restart his stage career with the help of his two pals Lester (Oscar Levant) and Lily (Nanette Fabray) Marton. The Martons have written Tony a surefire hit... or so they think, until they fall under the charms of writer/director/producer/actor du jour, Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan) and their lighthearted musical comedy is turned into some kind of freaky Faustian opera. Jeffrey also ropes the famous French ballet-dancer Gabrielle Gerard (Cyd Charisse) and her choreographer boyfriend Paul Byrd (James Mitchell) into the production, but Tony and Gabrielle start off with each other on the wrong foot--almost literally so, since Tony is primarily a hoofer feeling his age, and Gabrielle a ballet star in her prime. They don't seem to match at all, from age to temperament, right down to dancing style. When Tony and Gabrielle finally come to an understanding, however, it's evident their musical is headed for a critical drubbing, and their hint of a romantic relationship thrown into doubt by Paul's annoyance that Gaby doesn't want to leave the show with him. The rest of the film works at resolving this double impasse.

It's probably hard to avoid comparing this film to SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, since they were made just a year apart and were both written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Moreover, the themes are even vaguely similar--THE BAND WAGON is a gentle, sharp satire on theatrical goings-on; SINGIN' IN THE RAIN a wicked parody of Hollywood and movie-making. Both films list Cyd Charisse as one of the characters; both films have a ballet section towards the end of the film. And of course, both films star (separately, unfortunately) the two greatest dancing talents of any and every Hollywood generation--Fred Astaire (TBW) and Gene Kelly (SITR). So certainly, comparisons are rife... the films seem to *beg* one to make them! Personally, the chips fall on the side of SITR for me: it's got a tighter story line, it's less talky, the chemistry between the leads is impeccable, and the songs and dances are simply wonderful.

That is, however, an entirely personal preference. There are people--there are in fact several other IMDB reviewers--who prefer THE BAND WAGON, and with good reason. Entirely on its own merits and not in comparison to SITR (as it should be judged), this film is exactly what it sets out to be: a cracking two hours worth of sheer entertainment. It's cleverly written, while the songs and dances are charming and some even mind-blowing. Vincente Minelli does an excellent job of directing; he is, after all, justly known as the master of musical films. Astaire couldn't be bad if he tried, and he's quite ably supported by his cast of Charisse, Levant, Fabray and Buchanan. The numbers range from the heartbreakingly romantic and simple (Charisse and Astaire falling in love to 'Dancing In The Dark'); through to the clever and amusing (most of the brief numbers attributed to 'The Band Wagon', the play within the movie, but most especially the 'Triplets' number with Astaire, Fabray and Buchanan); on to the rousing and hilarious (Astaire's German accent midway through 'I Love Louisa); and finally to those that are simply stunning in their sheer technical mastery (without a doubt the 'Girl Hunt' ballet). And of course, that's forgetting to mention the song that best sums up the entire spirit of THE BAND WAGON: 'That's Entertainment!'. Joyously performed by Astaire, Fabray, Buchanan and Levant (and in a finale reprisal also featuring Charisse), you really get the feeling that *this* is what Hollywood, and more specifically, the MGM musical, is about. And at the game of entertainment, THE BAND WAGON succeeds handsomely.

I think the only problem I have with THE BAND WAGON is that it just doesn't come together as perfectly and as seamlessly as I'd like. There are moments when my attention drifts, and the acting is frequently uneven. (An exception would be Fabray, who simply radiates exuberance with her big voice and great moves in relatively little screen time.) I've said that Astaire couldn't be bad if he tried. True, he *isn't* bad... just a little listless, it seems to me, particularly in the first half of the film. His dancing, however, is faultless as usual, just as you'd expect from Astaire. And he definitely seems to warm up considerably in the second half of the film. It's rather a shame that there's a spark missing from Charisse's performance as well--as a dancer she is visually *and* emotionally arresting, but she's quite frankly not as much an actress as she is a dancer. (She had the same problem in BRIGADOON, and she didn't have to act in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN except through her dancing.) Most of the time her performance is passable, reaching 'good' and occasionally 'great' at the most naturalistic parts--for example, when she's laughing or pretending to smoke with Tony. Astaire and Charisse are fantastic in their two main numbers together though--'Dancing In The Dark' is one of the best, simplest and most romantic film dances I've ever seen, and 'Girl Hunt' is so inventive and perfectly executed that you can't help thinking these two dancers really *do* match somehow.

Simply put, you just couldn't go wrong with THE BAND WAGON. You'll laugh, you'll marvel, you'll sing along... but most of all, you'll be well-entertained. And if *that's* the point the film is trying to make... point surely very well-taken! 8/10

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