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The Band Wagon (1953)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 7 August 1953 (USA)
A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Lester Marton
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Tony Hunter, a famous singer/dancer movie star, is feeling washed up and old hat (old top hat, tie and tails to be exact). The reporters are out for Ava Gardner, not him. But his old friends Lily and Les Martin have an idea for a funny little Broadway show and he agrees to do it. But things begin to get out of hand, when bigshot "artistic" director/producer/star Jeffrey Cordova joins the production, proclaims it's a modernistic Faust and insists on hiring a prima ballerina, Gabrielle Gerard, to star opposite Tony, and it's hate at first sight. And her jealous choreographer isn't helping to ease the tension. The show is doomed by pretentiousness. But romance, a "let's put on a show" epiphany, and a triumphant opening are waiting in the wings. After all, this is a musical comedy! Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


M-G-M's Top Technicolor Musical! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 August 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Love Louisa  »

Box Office


$2,169,120 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The characters reflect real life. Fred Astaire was indeed considering retirement as his career was at a standstill, just like his character in the movie. The characters played by Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant are based on the film's screenwriters, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Jack Buchanan's character is based on José Ferrer, who at the time was producing four Broadway shows and starring in a fifth. See more »


At the New York opening night, the theater name on the marquee is Alcott Theatre, but the program cover has Stratton Theatre. See more »


Gabrielle Gerard: The show's a big hit, Tony... It's going to run for a long time.As far as I'm concerned, it's going to run forever.
See more »


Spoofed in The Boy Friend (1971) See more »


National Emblem
(pub. 1906) (uncredited)
Written by Edwin Eugene Bagley
Played by one of the arcade games
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User Reviews

Now that's entertainment!...
28 March 2005 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Last night's viewing changed my mind...this really is one of the great MGM musicals.

Strangely, this never held the same appeal for me as some of the other technicolor musicals of the period, but watching it last night for the first time in years, I appreciated what a really fine actor/dancer FRED ASTAIRE was and what a gorgeous dancer and woman CYD CHARISSE always was.

Mix in the great supporting cast--JACK BUCHANAN who does a neat tap routine matching Astaire every step of the way and hamming it up appropriately, and those two devils--NANETTE FABRAY with her quick smile and Oscar LEVANT with his quick wit and you realize that Comden and Greene were two of the best comedy writers the screen had, this side of Dorothy Parker.

The two musical highlights for me were "Triplets" (smashing good job by Astaire, Fabray and Buchanan) and the Astaire/Charisse Central Park dance sequence that flows to the music of "Dancing in the Dark".

Summing up: If you love MGM musicals, you owe it to yourself to see this one for the magic of Astaire and Charisse together, not to mention all the other plus factors--costumes, scenery, backstage plot and those marvelous songs that come one after another to delight eye and ear! And give Jack Buchanan a hand for squeezing every bit of ham from a role that calls for it, in spades!

Almost forgot: the opening "Shine on Your Shoes" number set in Times Square is a howl! The only black seen anywhere is the shoeshine man himself.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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