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A musical remake of Ninotchka: After three bumbling Soviet agents fail in their mission to retrieve a straying Soviet composer from Paris, the beautiful, ultra-serious Ninotchka is sent to ... See full summary »
Johnny Brett and King Shaw are an unsuccessful dance team in New York. A producer discovers Brett as the new partner for Clare Bennett, but Brett, who thinks he is one of the people they lent money to gives him the name of his partner.
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
There are many shimmering moments in Bandwagon: Fred Astaire (playing a role close to his own life story; he was 53 at the time), the acidic wit of Oscar Levant ('that'll keep 'em laughing!!') tempered by the sunny Nanette Fabray and musical numbers including "Shine on Your Shoes," "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan," and a clever novelty trio called "Triplets." But the musical sequence that stands out the most is the one which has no vocal, no dialog, and gently advances the movie's plot of whether or not oil-and-water dancers Astaire and Cyd Charisse can actually perform together (when he thinks she's too tall and she thinks he's too old). Against a Central Park twilight, the film shows its heroes enjoy a hushed walk through a park (only an instrumental refrain of 'High and Low' is heard), after which they step into an empty courtyard (he in a pastel linen suit and spectator shoes, she in a flared white dress and ballet flats; a necessity to keep her from being taller than him on film) and into the pas-de-deux of "Dancing In The Dark." It's an exquisite sequence, which at times resembles courtship, foreplay, and ultimately a romantic climax- all done in dance. It ends, just as smoothly as it began, with the two leads spinning up a short flight of stairs and mounting a hansom cab, without a single hair out of place. Now THAT's entertainment.
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