Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse! The Band Wagon is a 1953 musical comedy film that many critics rank, along with Singin’ in the Rain, as the finest of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals, although it was only a modest box-office success.
It tells the story of an aging musical star who hopes a Broadway play will restart his career. However, the play’s director wants to make it a pretentious retelling of Faust, and brings in a prima ballerina who clashes with the star. The songs were written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and some were created for the original 1931 Broadway musical also called The Band Wagon, with a book by George S. Kaufman and starring Fred Astaire and his sister Adele.
The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, Color, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay. Screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, who received the nomination for the screenplay, patterned the film’s characters Lester and Lily Marton after themselves, although the fictional characters were a married couple and Comden and Green were not romantically involved.
In English, with English subtitles. 112 mins, IMDB rating: 7.6.