Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Band Wagon

by Vincente Minnelli, 1953

I considered referring to it as Minnelli’s Faust, as the Mephistopheles character, played by Jack Buchanan, was intended as something of a self portrait (as reported by others, but as well, and, especially, by the director’s daughter.)  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 while singing I guess I’ll have to change my plan.  Still, this musical film plumbs some of the same depths as the Pirate before coming up for air.  There is also a near Jacobean theatrical element to the film's making in that some five different individuals, including one team, wanted to claim credit for writing the Mickey Spillane parody narration beneath the Girl Hunt ballet.  Call it the Comedy of Faustus by Michael Kidd.


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