The Band Wagon is a 1953 musical comedy film that many critics rank, along with Singin’ in the Rain, as the finest of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals despite only a modest box-office success. The film tells the story of an aging musical star who hopes a Broadway play will restart his career. The play’s director wants to make it a pretentious retelling of Faust, and brings in a prima ballerina who clashes with the star.
The songs were written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and some were created for the original 1931 Broadway musical also called The Band Wagon. The Broadway production featured a book by George S. Kaufman and starred Fred Astaire and his sister Adele. The movie’s dances and musical numbers were staged by Michael Kidd.
The Band Wagon‘s finale, The Girl Hunt Ballet- A Murder Mystery In Jazz was the inspiration for Michael Jackson’s 1987 music video Smooth Criminal.
Murder Mystery in Jazz: Girl Hunt
It’s often been said that Cyd Charisse was the greatest female movie dancer. She was able to partner the very different styles of the two most popular male movie dancers, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Charisse considered Dancing in the Dark her best dance film performance.