His Dark Materials
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WOW - an American masterpiece.
The best, GREATEST musical movie ever made! With the best movie song ever sung: That's Entertainment!
The setup at the beginning of The Band Wagon is astounding. I cannot get enough of this super-serious dramatic actor trying to transform a fun-loving musical into a dark drama. Jack Buchanan deserves a lot of credit for portraying this misguided director so well. The whole film could have culminated in the performance of this show and I would have been satisfied. It goes on for a while after that, but this part was the funniest for me. I wish we could have seen more of the actual show because I was getting a “Springtime for Hitler” vibe from the entire production. Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse are both amazing dancers and they get a few big numbers to show what they can do. But the romance between them was probably the most tacked on portion of The Band Wagon. I appreciated that at least they made a point of referencing the age difference between the two instead of pretending they are the same age. Still, the entire existence of a romantic connection feels like an inclusion solely out of obligation to the traditions of the musical genre. It doesn’t wreck the film, but it diverts focus from the main plot and takes the forefront at the end for some reason. The musical numbers are tons of fun in The Band Wagon. They shove a montage of them at the end of the film, and I’m not sure they all make sense in the story of the show within the show they were supposedly performing. Frankly, I did not care because I was grinning like a fool at the music. There were some familiar songs in here and some that were brand new to me. The tunes were playful and catchy, and I must admit I loved how they broke the fourth wall with the closing song. The Band Wagon is a fun little film, and if I was introduced to it as a child I bet it would already be perennial viewing for me.
Fred Astaire was 54 when he made 'The Band Wagon' with Cyd Charisse (who was 31), and he supposedly loved the role in 'The Band Wagon' because it allowed him to show what it was like to be in productions as an older dancer. The first half of the movie is engaging, as a musical is put together starting with a script from writers played by Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray pitched to a bombastic producer played by Jack Buchanan. Astaire and Charisse's characters initially don't like one another, and the scene where they're all assembled at a gathering of Buchanan's to raise funds as he pitches his vision of the musical to the horror of the writers as well as touting stars who already 'want out' is fantastic. I loved the performance of 'That's Entertainment', which has since become a musical standard. Charisse and Astaire do have some great dance moments with one another, but performances overall are a little uneven. And, as the musical within the movie is reworked in the second half, it becomes a little hodgepodge, and it's hard to fathom how a hayride, a performance on triplets, and a film noir like number fit together (hint: they don't). There are some bright spots and the film is reasonably entertaining, but there is a lack of cohesion that separates it from the truly great musicals of the era.
I really love MGM's Technicolor musicals of the 1950s. My favourite is probably "Singin' in the Rain". Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's choreography really cannot be beat. This one is a close second. The ensemble cast is weaker and even with Fred Astaire, the dancing does not touch Kelly's work, but Vincent Minnelli's use of Technicolor is simply stunning. This is some of the purest cinema entertainment you can find.
Maybe just as good as Singing in the Rain, if not better. This is perhaps Vincent Minnelli's best film with great dances by Fred Astaire, both solo, and with Cyd Charisse. Once again, I think that Fred Astaire did better work with Cyd Charisse and even Rita Hayworth than with Ginger Rogers. Perhaps those films came later, so they might be more modern and more suitable to our times.
This is entertainment? Fred Astaire isn't enough this time. There are a couple of fun songs that I enjoyed, but it's a generic musical with a boring plot. (First and only viewing - 8/2/2015)
A washed up actor goes back to the stage to star in a flop before finding his big comeback break, both in love & life, in this musical starring Fred Astaire (who isn't as good as Gene Kelly.)
"The Band Wagon" es un elegante musical en el que Fred Astaire interpreta a un actor de cine en declive que es invitado por sus amigos compositores y guionistas (un simpático Oscar Levant y una preciosa Nanette Fabray) para participar en un musical de Broadway que va a ser dirigido por un genio petulante (un gran Jack Buchanan). Los números musicales son encantadores, especialmente el número de los trillizos. Una bella película en todos sus aspectos.