1953 movie with standout all-time classic "Dancing in the Dark" and a breathtaking bravura setpiece "Girl Hunt": not Minnelli's best, showy staging reveals lack of commitment in acting. But with commentary by Liza Minnelli: one of the great comedy/melodramas of our time.
One of the greatest musicals of all time. The Man Hunt ballet at the end is what all commercial filmmakers aspire to--iconographic, ground-breaking, ravishingly beautiful. Cyd Charisse, no actress, hits her dancing apotheosis here. Legs till Tuesday and beyond.
I personally love the spectacle which the thirties musical used to be. In The Band Wagon Minnellli steers away from the grandeur of the thirties and trades it for a more modest approach. Probably fine tuned to Astaire's capabilities at his age. Nonetheless it includes so much of what I love about Hollywood in the fifties. And that Girl Hunt Ballet scene. WOW!
We know this kind of 'delightful' touch with some of John Ford or Jean Renoir. See the last 3 cuts. Levant, Buchanan and Fabray starts singing along with a joy. Astaire and Charisse respond it by advancing towards the dollying camera then supporting casts follow up the middle part. Those five take over the rest with the camera gradually getting closer to them. A tiny grand finale.
It should be called Minnelli’s Faust, as the Mephistopheles character, Jeffrey Cordova, played by Jack Buchanan, was intended as something of a self portrait. Of course Astaire’s Tony Hunter, the Faust figure, doesn’t end up damned but happily partnered with his Margaret or Gretchen, embodied by Cyd Charisse and called Gabrielle Gerard, and dancing with the Devil himself in Top Hat and Tails, having changed his plan.
Has to be one of the greatest films ever made, yes? Mise en scene & decoupage at their most expressive. This film goes so far out there in terms of framing, of shots reverberating wildly off each other. As always with V.M., style & spectacle are forces against time and domesticity. Vincente Minnelli is a painter, a self-reflective assessor of the world; here is a very rich, very powerful viewpoint.
Cyd Charisse's legs are the most beautiful in film history. They have a life of their own. When they move the top part of her into the stratosphere, she becomes a great actress. As soon as they stop, and she opens her mouth to speak, she is truly earthbound. However, when I watch her in "The Girl Hunt," I know there is no one else who can move like that because no one has legs that long, that expressive, that sexy.
Like Astaire, it moves a bit slow; age has caught up with him. And yet, it hasn't, for he is still lighter than air and 10x better than you'll ever be. Around him, the production inflates until the borders of the theater force its implosion. From the wreckage, cinema is born.
begs to question the comparison between Astaire and Kelley, and this film has made me Team Astaire. A sexy musical with mesmerizing dancing and cute, sometimes kitschy constructed mise-en-scene. Enjoyed it so much, scene in central park is so beautiful i'm having dreams about it.