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The Band Wagon

A movie directed by Vincente Minnelli.

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the BAND WAGON sparkles like never before!

  • Apr 7, 2005
This stunning new 2-disc edition of THE BAND WAGON - in my opinion the greatest musical ever made at MGM - is a must for all classic movie fans. The story is simple and effective. Washed-up Hollywood hoofer Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) goes to try his luck on the Broadway stage, in a musical written by husband-and-wife team Lester and Lily Marton (Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray). Bombastic `renaissance man' Jeffrey Kordova (Jack Buchanan) is assigned to direct and the simple sunny musical written by the Martons' is transformed into a moralistic Faustian tale. Tony is frustrated-still by his leading lady, elegant ballerina Gabrielle Gerard (Cyd Charisse). Will the show come together? Will Tony and Gaby ever get along? Find and join the joyous BAND WAGON!

The film looks glorious in an all-new `Ultra Resolution' restorative transfer. The colours fairly pop off the screen. The sound is presented in a newly-mastered 5.1 mix (though the original mono track is also available for purists). Extras include a delightful audio commentary where old pals Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein have a grand time (Minnelli talks about her father's experiences directing the picture and she shares her memories of visiting the set as a wide-eyed 6-year-old). There's also a new Making-Of featurette, with new interviews of Nanette Fabray, Cyd Charisse, James Mitchell and Ava Astaire McKenzie, Fred's daughter. The cut number "Two-Faced Woman" is presented both in it's full length and in dailies (I still have no idea why this fabulous number was cut, it's a perfect example of Minnelli's style coupled with the smouldering sensuality that Cyd Charisse was perfect at conveying). There is also silent footage of some other cut scenes (including where "Two-Faced Woman" would have sat in the picture). There's also the vintage TV episode of "The Men Who Made the Movies" that focused on Vincente Minnelli (copious amounts of great footage from his musicals) and a rare Vitaphone short featuring a very young Jack Buchanan.

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April 27, 2011
Thanks for reviewing this, Byron!
More The Band Wagon reviews
review by . August 22, 2011
The Band Wagon was one of the last, great MGM musicals and it shows just how assured and professional those MGM musicals could be. Most people that I know of rank it among the top musicals ever made, usually a half step behind Singin' in the Rain. It's an insider's valentine to show business and putting on a show, written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green as a funny, gentle satire on the professions' pretensions and foibles.       Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire), …
About the reviewer
Byron Kolln ()
Ranked #145
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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About this movie


The Band Wagon
(1953) marked the culmination of a series of near-autobiographical pictures Fred Astaire made for MGM following his return from premature retirement in the late '40s. Astaire plays Tony Hunter, a fading film star (his big hit:Flying Down to Panama) who decides to return to his former glory, the Broadway stage.

(In 1931, Astaire had starred on Broadway with sister Adele in The Band Wagon, a revue that lent some of its songs to this film.) His playwright-songwriter friends (Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant) hook him up with Broadway's hottest director, Jeffrey Cordova (a nicely hammy Jack Buchanan), who proves that the "new" theater traditions can be an awkward fit with the old. Hunter also finds himself at odds with his prima ballerina leading lady (Cyd Charisse), one of his chief worries being that she seems a little tall.

Along the way, producer Arthur Freed, director Vincente Minnelli, choreographer Michael Kidd, and songwriters Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz treat us to some quintessential MGM numbers: Astaire's solo ode "By Myself," the flashy arcade romp "A Shine on Your Shoes," Astaire and Charisse's romantic duet "Dancing in the Dark," the faux-German drinking song "I Love Louisa," the manic trio "Triplets" (with Astaire, Fabray, and Buchanan in matching baby outfits), the Mickey Spillane-esque "Girl Hunt Ballet," and the classic show-biz anthem ...
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Director: Vincente Minnelli
Genre: Comedy, Family, Musical, Romance
Release Date: 7 August 1953 (USA)
Screen Writer: Betty Comden, Adolph Green
DVD Release Date: March 15, 2005
Runtime: 112 min
Studio: Warner Home Video
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