Friday, January 15, 2016

Backstage Blogathon-The Bandwagon


Here we go with another bloghop co-hosted by Movies Silently who has started off the year to host a bloghop about films...about films or theatre, anything related to the backstage. The films must have been made before 1970 and must show some behind the scenes  of these nuts, I mean, actors on the job.  I chose one of the great musicals ever made.

THE BANDWAGON-1953


The plot concerns a man who's career in film is waning, so he decides to go back to his roots and travels to New York City to be in a stage musical. He meets his old pals, a husband and wife writing team who not only write the show but also the music. They bring in the fabled star and director of Shakespearean theatre to direct the musical. The team want to lure the fabled ballet star into the production as well.  The lead is played by the elegant Fred Astaire (54 yrs old at the time) whose career was not what it once was and the leggy Cyd Charisse plays the ballerina. Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray  are the husband and wife song writing team and the very funny and equally elegant Jack Buchanen plays the Olivier director actor. The characters of Astaire and Charisse don't get along at first since he feels he is more of a hoofer where she comes from the ballet style (true in real life). Everyone is struggling to make this musical a go and finally the 2 main characters have a meeting of the feet, shall we say, in Central Park.


There is an opening night  in another city and it literally lays an egg(on screen and I laugh every time). Everyone feels the musical is doomed but Fred Astaire comes to the rescue and over their travels, they change the show and the numbers showcasing some great ones....



Finally they reach New York and you see the final Girl Hunt Ballet which no one will forget, not only for the great dancing but the way Cyd dances


How will they be received at the end? Is everyone happy? Well...it is the 1950's and in the great heyday of the musicals last hurrah so you can guess but this is a great film that I consider the bookend to Singing In The Rain.

The actors are superb  especially Jack Buchanen as the director. Everyone is great and Oscar Levant is..well, Oscar Levant. The songs are so much fun except for one...I hate the shoeshine song. "Shine the shoes, shoes that shine..." AGHHHH but I still watch it for the ending part because I love the jazzy style of how it ends and the man who shines the shoes is engaging.  How I wanted to learn how to dance like Cyd Charisse when I saw this film but I don't have those  killer legs. I am a bit happy that Cyd Charisse couldn't sing a note (she was dubbed).

What I love about this film as well is if you took out the musical numbers, the film still stands on its own. It is very witty and it does show how people never saw the sun while they were neck deep in rehearsals for a major broadway show.  You should see this film if you get a chance. If you are not a musical lover this film and Singing In The Rain are 2 that people will enjoy regardless.

Bye for now...


59 comments:

  1. Remember watching this on a Sunday afternoon with my Mum and Dad....I think my Dad was in love with Cyd Charrise....those long long legs and wonderful dancing....a great film xxxxx

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    1. I can't think of one man who wouldn't like Cyd and dream about her dancing around them:)

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  2. Fantastic movie and fantastic choice. The song 'That's Entertainment' came from this movie, which is reason enough to watch it, I think.

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    1. You are right! I love that song and the way it is done

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  3. I don't honestly remember if I have seen it, I think I might have from some of the pics you chose. I always loved Cyd Charisse she was fabulous. My favourite was Silk Stockings.

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    1. Silk Stockings was Cyd's favourite also. That is a great film as well and Fred can move and he is in his later 50's

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  4. Sounds like a good movie. I don't know, if I had a choice between being talented with a singing voice or long shapely legs, I would have chosen the legs and be able to dance great since I have two left feet I think :)

    betty

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    1. Give me dancing any day and those legs

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  5. So you have a hate for shoe shiners? lol Haven't seen this one at my sea, but sounds like a fun one indeed.

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    1. If you watch it, you will understand but the film is a blast

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  6. Hi, dear Birgit!

    Thanks for the review. I love musical comedies or musicals that have a sense of humor. Remember Oscar Levant's frequent appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson? Johnny got a genuine kick out of Oscar, who used to sit in the guest chair chain smoking while discussing his health problems. On one show Johnny asked Oscar what he does for exercise and Levant quipped, "I stumble and fall into a coma."

    Can you believe that Nanette Fabray (singer/actress Shelley Fabares' aunt) is still alive - age 95? Remember Lucille Ball in the early years of her career appearing in the 1937 movie Stage Door?

    Have a great weekend, dear friend BB!

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    1. Levant is one of a kind and was a classic hypochondriac. Nanette is still going which is wonderful and yes I know Stage Door

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  7. Leggy is an understatement! I'm surprised they don't spill out of the picture. Not big on musicals in general, but if the story stands alone without the music, I may just give it a watch some time.

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    1. It is a good one-Singing in the Rain is better but this is still a class act. Cyd Charisse is one you will want to see dance

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  8. I loved this movie and basically everything Fred Astaire was ever in. Cyd Charisse was fab (though I've always loved Ginger more).

    (Thanks for visiting my blog. Weird about those celebrity deaths in threes, huh? I had no idea that Bing and Elvis died so close together or that Peck, Hope, and Hepburn died within a week of each other. Creepy!)

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    1. Rogers and Astaire are the team to beat and can't be. It is weird how these people die in groups

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  9. Not a big musicals guy. Except "The Wall." Although that probably isn't what you'd call a traditional musical.
    Except for that Ethel Merman cameo.
    Just kidding.
    It was Gene Kelly.

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  11. Don't think this is one I've seen. I do like Astaire though. So graceful & ditto for Cyd Charisse. Too bad they don't make movies like 'they used to'. Is why I love the old movies best. TFS & Happy wkend. Stay warm.

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    1. Oh how I agree with you about the movies especially musicals and there is some great talent out there that we can't see since they don't make the classic musicals any more. I think you would like this one

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  12. I thought I had seen it, but your description didn't sound familiar. But then the stills from the film jarred my memory. I have seen it. And Singing in the Rain.

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  13. Another one that's new to me! Did like Singing in the Rain though, so will look out for this.

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    1. I think you will like this one also

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  14. The before 1970 criterion disqualifies Noises Off, I suppose.

    I have never seen Bandwagon but I think I probably should.

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    1. Noises Off doesn't work since it came out after 1970 but that is a fun movie. I saw it in NYC with Jane Curtin. This is a good movie

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  15. I have never seen Bandwagon, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Definitely added to my list. Awesome recommendation. Thanks! :)
    ~Jess

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  16. I love Fred Astaire. Have a great weekend, Birgit.

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    1. he is great eh? Have a fab weekend too

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  17. I haven't seen this, but I definitely WOULD. I laughed at your enthusiasm over Cyd's inability to sing a note. That would seem a bit unfair, would it not???

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    1. Oh...when you see how she dances with her beautiful legs and sinuous body looking perfect, it does feel good that she couldn't sing a note-hahahaaa. Mind you she had a good career and a great 2nd marriage so it's ok if she can't sing

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  18. So true what you said about non-musical lovers enjoying this film and "Singin' in the Rain". I would also include "Les Girls". ☺ Cyd Charisse was a class act and I like her better than Ginger Rogers. Great choice of film, Birgit!

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    1. Les Girls is a great hidden gem and stars the wonderful Kay Kendall.

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  19. This is such a wonderful film. I'm a fan of anything that Astaire is in and I've really grown to appreciate the unique humor of Levant. The Central Park scene with one of my favorite songs, "Dancing in the Dark", is divine. I watch it on YouTube every once in a while I like it so much.

    Back in 1976, when I'd just turned 25, I went to see Cyd Charisse and her husband, Tony Martin, do a show at a dinner theater in Evansville, Indiana. Great show! She would have been 54 at the time, but what a hot lady and a great dancer. She really impressed me.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out
    &
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Dancing in the Dark is also one of my favourite numbers-so elegant and romantic. You were so lucky to see her and her husband at a dinner theatre-that is amazing that they did these shows.

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  20. I love to see the dancing in these films. I'm always blown away by how beautifully the couple move together. Of course, Fred Astaire is perfection.

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    1. They move so well together despite Cyd being taller (which is why she is almost always in flats)

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  21. Yes, you make a good point about the film standing on its own if the musical numbers were removed. Breathtaking dancing in this film. I just realized it's been a loooong time since I've seen it. You've prompted me to see it again soon!

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    1. Thanks! It does stand on its own as a funny movie. It is one of my favs

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  22. This may sound shocking but I've never seen a Fred Astaire movie. Just looking at those images makes me wish I could move like Cyd.

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    1. Ahh! Never!!?? Oh my goodness! Well, if you had to write about a dancer but was unsure how to go about it, then you should watch 2 men-Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Both excellent but very different in their style. If you want to know how a leopard moves if she was a human, then watch Cyd dance in 2 dance numbers, one from the film and the other from Singing In The Rain.

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  23. Birgit, this sounds like an oldie I would enjoy a lot. Lately, DH and I have enjoyed several old movies some of which were musicals, which I really enjoyed. Of course, I've always like them. There is something magical about musicals. Anywho, great review. I checked Netflix and Amazon Prime to see if it's available, but sadly it is not. :( Have a good week and I'm sorry for the late return visit, my friend!

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    1. It is a great film and I would say go to your local video store and actually rent it-hahahaa I know, I am so old school but many great films are not on netflix. I own this film

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  24. It is a very witty and entertaining movie! I love Cyd Charisse's outfits and swoon when she dances with Fred in the park - it's a beazutiful and über-romantic scene.
    Thanks for the kind comment!
    Cheers!
    Le

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    1. You are welcome and this is a great film. Oh I wish I could have worn a few of her outfits but now, my thigh wouldn't even fit in one of her's

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  25. (Hope my other comment went through!)

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  26. Ok, the other comment didn't go through. Fiddle-dee-dee. Anyway, thanks so much for participating! Yes, if Cyd Charisse could sing, life would be entirely too unfair.

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    1. How true! She makes up in her amazing dancing

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  27. A very great and entertaining read. I must admit I've never seen this classic musical, but I've heard a lot about it. Your article make it look even more appealing than in already was. I'm always in the mood for a great musical!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading this. It is truly a fun film

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  28. Thanks for writing about one of the greatest of film musicals, imo equal to Singin' in the Rain. It's one of the most perceptive of backstage musicals—the pep talk before the opening, the hokum for the backers, the rehearsal process where couples conflict and other people fall in love in the hothouse of working long days together in the womb of the theater, cut off from the real world...

    Lesley
    Second Sight Cinema

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  29. Thanks for writing about one of the greatest of film musicals, imo equal to Singin' in the Rain. It's one of the most perceptive of backstage musicals—the pep talk before the opening, the hokum for the backers, the rehearsal process where couples conflict and other people fall in love in the hothouse of working long days together in the womb of the theater, cut off from the real world...

    Lesley
    Second Sight Cinema

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  30. Whenever I think about downloading Windows 10, I remind myself of your experience.

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  31. Oh what a movie! LOVE LOVE LOVE it ... as much as I envy Cyd's never ending legs ... and the way she moves. This is one movie I could watch over and over again and not get bored. Great choice, Birgit.
    x Asha

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