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The Bandwagon
USA 1953
Directed by Vincent Minnelli
Running time 112 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Released the year after Singin’ In The Rain, The Bandwagon is very much MGM’s attempt to do with Fred Astaire what they had done in the former film with Gene Kelly. They don’t quite achieve those heights but this is still an enjoyably sophisticated effort directed by a master of the musical genre, Vincent Minnelli, fully indulging the marvellous artifice that is the world of the musical. The set design by Oliver Smith is truly glorious, particularly in the culminating ‘Rod Riley’ jazz ballet number, which alone is worth the price of the ticket.

The screenplay, by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (present in the characters played by Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant) re-visits the hoary subject of  putting on a show, thus providing the setting for the on- and off-stage numbers penned by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz. The outstanding moments here are the cleverly-staged songs "Triplets" and the classic "That’s Entertainment", whilst Fred’s dance numbers "Shine On Your Shoes" and his duet with Cyd Charisse, "Dancing In the Dark", both recall his RKO glory days, a theme which provides much fun throughout the film as he plays a hoofer who’s past his prime.

 

 

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