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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
The full-skirted white dress worn by Cyd Charisse in "Dancing In The Dark" was actually copied from a dress worn by the film's costume designer Mary Ann Nyberg. Director Vincente Minnelli tried to buy it off the rack (it originally cost about $25), but no store carried exactly that type of frock. It was finally created from scratch for about $1,000. See more »
When Tony Hunter sings "A Shine On My Shoes", the upside down reflection of the cameraman and some crew members can be seen in the funny mirror. See more »
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.
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