7.5/10
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106 user 60 critic

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.

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Writers:

Betty Comden (story by), Adolph Green (story by)
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire ... Tony Hunter
Cyd Charisse ... Gabrielle Gerard
Oscar Levant ... Lester Marton
Nanette Fabray ... Lily Marton
Jack Buchanan ... Jeffrey Cordova
James Mitchell ... Paul Byrd
Robert Gist ... Hal Benton
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

7 August 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Love Louisa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,169,120 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. The sole exception is in "The Girl Hunt Ballet". Here she is wearing medium height heels. Fred is wearing a hat which offsets and hides the height difference. See more »

Goofs

After the "Faust" play flops and Paul is telling Gabrielle that he is leaving on the 9AM train there is a checkerboard sitting near the head of the bed and a gold cup and plate near the foot. After Paul leaves and the camera goes back to Gaby the checkerboard is at the foot of the bed and there is no sign of the cup and plate. See more »

Quotes

Tony Hunter: What's happened to 42nd Street? I just can't get over it! I just can't understand it? I mean, this used to be the great theater street of the town. The New Amsterdam - I had one of my biggest successes there. It ran a year and a half. Noel Coward and Gertie were over here in "Private Lives".
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Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the cast
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User Reviews

 
Now that's entertainment!...
28 March 2005 | by DoylenfSee 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.


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