“Whatever I am — whether it’s a new me or an old me — remember, I’m still just an entertainer.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
In terms of the performances, I’m a big fan of Nanette Fabray’s turn as a character loosely based on Comden herself. She’s relentlessly cheerful, yet in a way that comes across as infectious rather than annoying (and film fanatics will be glad to have seen this big-name musical actress in at least one movie). Her musical number with Astaire and Buchanan (“Triplets”) remains my personal favorite in the film — though it’s a bit sad to know how painful it was for Fabray to film it. Equally memorable — in a film filled with memorable sequences — is Astaire’s early shoeshine number, danced with real-life shoe shiner Leroy Daniels. And naturally, all film fanatics will want to see the film where the infinitely hummable “That’s Entertainment!” was first showcased; it’s performed here with plenty of flair and creative choreography.
The Band Wagon is frequently compared with its predecessor, Singin’ In the Rain (also co-written by Comden and Green, and produced by Arthur Freed), with fans endlessly debating the merits of one versus the other, and many taking a decisive “side”. In truth, while I’ll admit to being a more devoted fan of SITR, both films remain vibrantly colorful, cheerily escapist, masterfully danced musicals in their own right. My primary complaint with The Band Wagon lies with the lackluster romantic subplot between Astaire and Charisse, whose “rivalry” never really poses much of a narrative threat — then again, when those two dance together, all such concerns melt away, and we remember why we’re sitting down to watch a film like this in the first place.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)