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William A. Seiter
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 movie reflects two real-life situations. In the movie Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) is washed up. In real life Astaire's career was at a standstill. In the movie much is made of whether Cyd Charisse's character is too tall for Fred's character. This was also true in real life. Whenever Cyd and Fred are together she is in shoes with low heels. See more »
About halfway through "Louisiana Hayride", a crew member can be clearly seen for 2-3 seconds, creeping off to the left of screen See more »
[narration during the Girl Hunt ballet]
She came at me in sections... more curves than a scenic railway.
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Perhaps the finest hour of Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse together (although Silk Stockings comes a close second); the 'Dancing in the Dark' sequence says it all about both this film, and the two impeccably classy stars.
There are, of course, other highlights - Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray's acidic writers; Jack Buchanan's overblown producer; Fred's dance with the shoeshine boy, Le Roy Daniels; anything featuring Cyd Charisse - and those wonderful musical numbers, ranging from the anthem 'That's Entertainment' to the hilarious 'Triplets'.
'The Band Wagon' sends up the old film staple plot "putting on a show" and does it brilliantly, thanks to the crackling Comden/Green script. One of MGM's best musical efforts, hugely enjoyable.
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