HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Don't Nomi
Man from the Alamo, The
Vast of Night, The
Furies, The
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Band Wagon, The That's Entertainment
Year: 1953
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray, Jack Buchanan, James Mitchell, Robert Gist
Genre: Musical, Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 3 votes)
Review: Song and dance man Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) fears he is yesterday's man; for example, a sale of his memorabilia at an auction leaves the auctioneer desperately pleading for bids and when he is on a train to New York from his home in Los Angeles he interrupts two passengers reminiscing about his past glories to tell them that he's all washed up. Yet there's a reason he is going to the Big Apple, and that's because he has a possibility of a new show that he might well star in. After three years of going nowhere, perhaps this will provide a break for him - but the business has changed since he's been away...

Part of the fun of watching The Band Wagon is wondering how much of it was based in fact. Did Astaire really believe himself to be a hasbeen at the time this was made? Was Cyd Charisse too tall for most of her dancing partners? And was putting on a show truly as traumatic as the film makes out - and was this film equally as bothersome for the participants? It was scripted by Betty Comden and Adolph Green who wrote a pair of surrogate characters essentially playing themselves as a husband and wife couple (they weren't married in real life), adding to the musing on precisely how accurate a depiction of backstage troubles this was.

Although this is one of the most graceful musicals of its era, the experience of going through the efforts to make a hit show does appear to bring out the worst in its characters. We're in no doubt that they're all decent people - there are no villains here - it's just that circumstances have them all pulling in different directions when you would think by this time they would understand that they were working in a collaborative medium. They do eventually see eye to eye, but not before their big production looks to be heading for a major disaster.

There are a few reasons for that, but the impresario in charge, Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan spoofing José Ferrer) goes in completely the wrong direction for the talents of Tony, rebuilding the writers' work as an ultra-pretentious musical version of Faust. This could have been played for more laughs than it is, but there are bits which make it clear that this is the cast and crew's livelihood at stake, so it's not so much of a joke to them if they're honest. All the main characters clash, whether it's Tony and ballet dancer and leading lady Gabrielle Gerard (Charisse) thinking the other doesn't want them around, or the relationship between writers Lester (Oscar Levant) and Lily (Nanette Fabray) close to break up.

What saves this from wallowing in misery is the lightness of touch director Vincente Minnelli brings, and some excellent song and dance choices. At first the film is sparing with the big numbers, Astaire's shoeshine performance standing out, but as the characters find ther feet so does the film reflect that, and soon not two minutes is going by without someone breaking out into song. Once Jeffrey's vision is a flop, Tony gets everyone back on track as if to prove the relevance of the older, classic productions that might have been forgotten in a brash modern age, which not coincidentally proves that Astaire still had what it took to succeed as well. Highlights from then on include Astaire and Buchanan's exquisite "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan", the bizarre "Triplets" and the grand finale, obviously inspired by Gene Kelly, where Astaire and Charisse perform a Mickey Spillane tribute. This really is one of the brightest of the fifties.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5324 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: