The Band Wagon

112 minutes

For many, this 1953 feature represents the height of the American musical. Fred Astaire is a washed-up Hollywood star, Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant are a husband-and-wife writing team, and Jack Buchanan is an artsy Broadway director. Roughly translating the film's curious quasi-autobiographical overtones, Astaire equals Astaire, Fabray and Levant equal Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the scenarists, and Buchanan equals director Vincente Minnelli. The musical becomes a frenetic meditation on pop art versus high art, coming down hard on the side of the former. Rife with great numbers, including the ineluctable "Triplets."

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