The Band Wagon
1953 | Musical | In English | 111 minutes
Tony Hunter is an aging star of musical shows who is no longer sought after by the big producers. His good friends, writers Lester and Lily Marton, convince Tony that he should take the train from Los Angeles to New York and look over their new musical. They feel it will be a great comeback for Tony. The Martons were also able to nab the great Jeffrey Cordova to direct. Jeffrey feels the show should be a reinterpretation of the “Faust” legend and signs the beautiful and talented ballerina Gaby Gerard to join the cast. Tony and Gaby are hostile to each other when they first meet. She thinks he’s too old and he thinks she’s too tall. A bit of insecurity on both sides. Eventually they put their concerns aside and, what do you know, they fall in love. The first out-of-town tryout is a disaster. Tony replaces Jeffrey and, together with the Lester and Lily, rewrite the show to be a the kind of breezy musical they envisioned in the first place. The show opens in New York, is a huge hit, and Gaby and Tony kiss before the entire cast, with everyone singing the rousing “That’s Entertainment.”
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Academy Awards: Nominated for Best Screenwriters (Betty Comden and Adolph Green), Best Music (Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz), and Best Costume Design.
The film was selected for preservation in the United States Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “Culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
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Seamlessly directed by Vincent Minnelli, THE BAND WAGON is one of the finest musicals ever made. Playing its hackneyed story with tongue firmly in cheek, it simultaneously reflects upon musical genre, satirizes its conventions, and delivers marvelous entertainment.
This literate and witty combination delivers a show that respectfully bids for recognition as one of the best musical films ever made.
The Band Wagon has a note of melancholy along with its smiles, a sadness always present among Broadway veterans, who have seen more failures than success, who know the show always closes and that backstage family breaks up and returns to the limbo of auditions and out-of-town tryouts.
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