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The Band Wagon (1953)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Musical, Romance  |  7 August 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 7,001 users  
Reviews: 93 user | 56 critic

A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition.



(story), (story), 2 more credits »
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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
Lily Marton
Jack Buchanan ...
Jeffrey Cordova
Paul Byrd
Robert Gist ...


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 »





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 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 »


During the dance audition scene, Paul Byrd demonstrates the steps and then walks over to Lester Marton. The camera cuts briefly to a seated Jeffrey Cordova, who is watching the audition, and shows Paul standing behind him. But in the next shot, Paul is still standing next to Lester. See more »


Jeffrey CordovaLily MartonLester MartonTony Hunter: [singing] That's En-ter-tain-ment.
See more »


Featured in Great Performances: The Fred Astaire Songbook (1991) See more »


You and the Night and the Music
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Lyrics by Howard Dietz
Sung by chorus
Danced by Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse
See more »

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User Reviews

Last of the great Hollywood musicals
22 December 1998 | by (kent, uk) – See all my reviews

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.

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