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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best of Fred Astaire
Hey, you're 54 and you have to dance round the screen! WOW Could this guy dance or not? Astaire was the very best exponent of screen dancing (sorry Kelly fans) and this is his best film by a long chalk. Cyd Charisse is, well, fantastic. Beautiful, elegant, and a great partner. Different, very different, from Ginger but then the dancing is different proving that...
Published on 13 Nov. 2005 by M. Porter

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad because I like the lighthearted films that Fred Astaire ...
Beginning to slow and the story to far fetched for me. Sad because I like the lighthearted films that Fred Astaire usually made. After the first 50 minutes I gave up.
Published 5 months ago by Sue Griffin


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best of Fred Astaire, 13 Nov. 2005
By 
M. Porter (Chattanooga, TN) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
Hey, you're 54 and you have to dance round the screen! WOW Could this guy dance or not? Astaire was the very best exponent of screen dancing (sorry Kelly fans) and this is his best film by a long chalk. Cyd Charisse is, well, fantastic. Beautiful, elegant, and a great partner. Different, very different, from Ginger but then the dancing is different proving that Fred did move with the times. There isnt a bad song in the show nor a bad dance. It is quite simply, along with Silk Stockings, the best of Astaire.
If you like good music, good dancing, a happy ending, and a 'put on a show' story, then this will do.
Buy it, buy it now and enjoy!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the magic of Astaire and Charisse together,, 17 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
(THE FILM)
The Band Wagon
-Get Aboard!

Fading movie musical star Tony Hunter, down and out in Hollywood, decides to try his luck on the Broadway stage. Unfortunately, the simple hoofer discovers that a pretentious director has control of the project, and that instead of good humor, happy songs and a tapping chorus line, there'll be lengthy speeches, heavy drama and lots of deep soul-searching. Even worse, Tony's expected to dance with a classical ballerina!
Thanks to the massive egos of everyone involved, the play, to no one's surprise, lays an egg. But now Tony takes charge, and he's out to prove the show must go on - his way!
Some of the amazing Astaire dance numbers include "Triplets," "Girl Hunt," "Dancing in the Dark" and "That's Entertainment."
WHAT CAN I SAY?
What a show! This is unquestionably the last of the great line of MGM and one of the last Hollywood musicals . the finest hour of Fred Astaire also the utterly wonderful Cyd Charisse comes into her own.in this most sophisticated musical ever made the scene in the ballet in which she appears on a bar stool and slips off her coat to reveal a dramatic red dress oozes with as much sex appeal.
This was a very smart musical comedy of the 50s, an era when New York adults still set pop trends there is Not a dull spot in the entire movie and tremendous style in Minnelli's direction.,After almost 60 years, The Band Wagon, like the MGM musicals before it, rings beautifully. A great cast, fine musical numbers, and a song that says it all...THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! And almost 60 years, it still is. it does it so brilliantly, thanks to the crackling top script.
it is One of MGM's best musical efforts one thing left to say?
When there's a shine on your shoes, there's a melody in your heart..
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's entertainment!, 16 May 2011
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
The Band Wagon was one of those films I'd always managed to miss but which turned out to be a lot of fun. There are minor flaws - Cyd Charisse is unflatteringly shot for much of the picture and is nobody's idea of a prima ballerina, Oscar Levant is clearly well lubricated and sadly well past his prime, while there are quite a few technical fluffs, be it the shadow of the camera making yet another appearance or the stagehand strolling casually across the background in the Louisiana Hayride number, and the Girl Hunt ballet finale goes on far too long as per many post-American in Paris MGM musicals - but Comden and Green's script is so sharp and the numbers so good that none of that really matters. Great fun, and glorious Technicolor too - and the extras package on the two-disc set is particularly impressive: a deleted musical number Two Faced Woman and unused dailies, documentaries about the making of the film and Vincente Minnelli (with daughter Liza and Michael Feinstein providing an audio commentary on the feature), a musical short Jack Buchanan with the Glee Quartet, and a slew of Astaire trailers.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the ride!, 1 Mar. 2009
By 
Adele Winston (Barnet, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
The Band Wagon is an old-fashioned Hollywood musical. Sadly, they don't make them like this any more. It's worth the money just for Fred Astaire and Jack Buchanan's duet "I guess I'll have to change my plan". It's all great fun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Band Wagon"; THAT'S Entertainment!, 22 Mar. 2013
Dating from 1953, "The Band Wagon" stands as one of the finest productions from that purple patch of great MGM musicals. The story revolves around a jaded Hollywood star (the far from jaded Fred Astaire!) who returns to Broadway in the hope that a new musical written by his former collaborators (played in great style by Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray) will relaunch his fading career. Unfortunately, the trouble (and the fun!) starts when the project is hijacked by the pretensions of a egomanic director (Jack Buchanan)...
For fans of screen musicals, "The Band Wagon" ticks all the boxes. It's got a sharp, witty script, a super set of songs from Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwarz, excellent performances from the cast (inc Cyd Charisse, a rather limited actress, but a first rate dance partner for Astaire), and excellent, imaginative choreography. Most of all, however, it has the peerless singing and dancing of the legendary Astaire, by now in his 50s, but still displaying all that effortless elegance and charm that was his so much his trademark.
Now 60 years old, "The Band Wagon" may be deemed vintage, but that is purely in terms of age; in terms of style and appeal, it remains a timeless treasure. As the film's trademark song puts it, "That's Entertainment!".
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total escapism, 25 July 2009
By 
J. Buckingham (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
For some reason I never saw this film until an advanced age, though I was familiar with all the b/w Astaire films of the 30s, and other musicals of the 50s (Singin' in the...well you get the picture). For some reason I thought this one might be a bit limp and hammy, but it's absolutely terrific. Astaire dances as well as ever, all the numbers are great and surely Cyd C. is one of the most desirable women ever invented. And a special word for Jack Buchanan, whom I had never seen properly in action. My Mother always said how great he was, and here he is in action, a consummate if rather camp actor giving a great performance. And the design! America (well, Hollywood anyway) in the 50's in all its opulent glory. I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Syd Charisse is something special in this film, 29 May 2014
By 
Ruby Rocket "Ruby" (Gwynedd, North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
I bought this film after looking at a BBC documentary on Darcy Bussell doing a Fred Astaire number.They played a clip of Fred and Syd sinuously dancing in a night club- it was the sexiest dancing I have ever seen to date, made me buy the film just to relive the experience.
Apparently, this is Syd Charisse's best film and although watchable and full of enthusiasm and energy I will watch it again and again for the scenes in the nightclub which are evocative and atmospheric and very much Hollywood of the time; flamboyant and tinsel towny. The plot is just a foil for the dancing but I made it through the film twice back to back.
I bought the two disc special version with the Liza Minelli commentary which was absolutely riveting as she spoke to Michael Feinstein, the son of the choreographer, and related anecdotes and stories about the making of the film and her childhood reflections, interspersed with lots of giggles and affectionate banter which was absolutely enchanting and I'm not easily moved by such lovey theatricals.
If you get the chance on a dull day or a celebration day when you want to escape into a fantasy world of artistic brilliance buy the two disc copy with L.M commentary and drift into magic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE WHOLE CAST WAS WONDERFUL, 18 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Band Wagon [DVD] (DVD)
I just wasn't crazy about the "Girl Hunt" routine but enjoyed the rest; would have preferred more dancing/routines with the full cast.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 14 Mar. 2009
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This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
Fred is a bit old in this one but he can still dance. The story about putting on a show is a familiar tale and the supporting cast are good - Jack Buchanan, Cyd Charisse and Nanette Fabray - with the exception of Oscar Levant. He is a horrible man in real life (as we discover from the extras) and seems to have no acting, singing or dancing ability. Why is he in the film? This aside, and even though the film runs for nearly 2 hours, the show is a good one. Great musical numbers with a stylish finale in the "Dem Bones" nightclub.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Grand Wagon., 26 Nov. 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Band Wagon (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
The Band Wagon is directed by Vincente Minnelli and written by Alan Jay Lerner, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Songs are written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz. It stars Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray and Jack Buchanan. Out of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it's a Technicolor production with cinematography by Harry Jackson.

Story tells of aging musical star Tony Hunter (Astaire) whose cinema glory days appear to be well behind him. Upon the request of his friends Lester (Lavant) & Lily Martin (Fabray), he heads to Broadway to appear in a play they have written with him in mind. He hopes this will restart his career, however, the play's director, Jeffrey Cordova (Buchanan), changes the play into an arty interpretation of the Faust legend. Not only that, but he brings in prima ballerina Gabrielle Gerard (Charisse) to star in it, and Tony and Gabrielle don't exactly hit it off.

One of the greatest musicals to come out of MGM, The Band Wagon makes up for what it loses in plot ingenuity, with quality songs, stunning choreography, bustling vitality and heart, big heart! Three parts of the film is made up of character building and said characters attempts to put a show on successfully in spite of behind the scenes worries. Then the final third then switches in mood with a different show and primary characters come to their respective destinies.

Along the way we are treated to a series of wonderful song and dance routines, with the stand outs being "Be Myself," "A Shine on My Shoes," "That's Entertainment," "Dancing in the Dark," "I Love Louisa," "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan" and the joyously macabre, "Triplets." These are then crowned magnificently by "Girl Hunt," an elongated parody of noir-type crime movies from the golden era, where it's not just Fred and Cyd who sparkle, but the dance troupe around them also dazzle the eyes with some truly amazing moves.

Where the big heart comes in to it is with Astaire's take on the role of Tony. It's very touching at times, full of nostalgia pangs for his former glories. He also has good comic timing, whilst readily able to laugh at himself as the (thin) narrative thread reminds him of his aging years. The latter of which accounts for the not so great chemistry with the divine Charisse, but the film under Minnelli's active direction easily overcomes this tiny flaw. There's also some salt in the story in the observation of what goes on behind the scenes of a Broadway play, specifically the people pulling the strings.

Big production for a big movie, all told, it's big entertainment, yes indeed. 9/10
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