Tuesday, 15 September 2015

I've Just Seen: The Band Wagon (1953)

The Band Wagon (1953)

Director: Vincente Minnelli

I had not watched a musical for a while, so I was looking forward to seeing The Band Wagon.  Sadly, for me, the film fell short. While it is unfair to compare anything to Singin' in the Rain, this film's chronological and thematic similarites invite such comparisons. There was only one song from this film that I remembered after watching it ('That's Entertainment'); the plot feels less focused, and the love story is rather undeveloped. I also didn't laugh as much as I would have wished.

Despite those flaws, there was some enjoyment to be had. Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire are wonderful to watch dance, both doing solos and together; and the Noir/pulp number at the end is great. While not memorable, the songs are good, and the triplet song is incredibly well done. The gentle satire around the financing the play is funny; Jack Buchanan's pretensious director is a hoot!

I did enjoy this, but when one film reminds of just how great another one is, something is clearly not working. Perhaps if I had seen this during childhood I would like it much more.


  1. It has its moments. As a matter of fact, it has a number of great moments.

    I used to love it! I saw it the first time about 20 years ago and I thought it was amazing. But I've seen it two or three times since then over the years and I've found it to have a few too many slow spots and scenes that just aren't very interesting.

    Cyd Charisse is as amazing as ever. All her scenes are great. She's my favorite dancer from the movies! (Eleanor Powell is another one I like but overall her movies aren't as good so I don't watch them as often.)

    Yet, despite my adoration for Cyd Charisse, the first thing I think of when I remember The Band Wagon is Triplets! I find it hilarious. The last time I watched The Band Wagon, I rewound the Triplets number and watched it several times before I watched the rest of the movie.

    Have you seen The Harvey Girls? I saw it for the first time early this year and I was really blown over by it! It's almost as good as Singin' in the Rain. I'm looking forward to TCM showing it again because it's just non-stop enjoyable.

    1. I have not seen The Harvey Girls, but I shall now look out for it. Thanks for the recommendation!

      You are right about The Band Wagon's consistency; it has great moments, but the greatness is not sustained. The Triplets number is a hoot!

  2. The best, or worst, about The Band Wagon is the Faustian show and that they replace it for a totally inconsistent, run of the mill show. I would have loved to have seen the faustian version.

    1. Yes! I thought that too. It probably would have been as wonderfully bad as 'Springtime for Hitler' in The Producers.