The Band Wagon

Discuss North American DVDs and Blu-rays or other DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
Message
Author
User avatar
malcolm1980
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:37 am
Location: Manila, Philippines
Contact:

#26 Post by malcolm1980 » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:10 pm

This is one of my favorite musicals ever. I know Singin' in the Rain gets all of the attention these days but The Band Wagon is equally (if not more) magical.

User avatar
Michael
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:09 pm

#27 Post by Michael » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:38 pm

Can someone please explain why Singin' in the Rain's being recognized as the greatest Hollywood musical or at least, an icon by most critics? And The Band Wagon gets much less recognization, how come? Is it because the latter was released a year later or perhaps it's too subtle and complex for the mainstream? I mean Singin' in the Rain is a fine film that still holds up perfecltly well - it's funny and energetic (probably the reason that's appeal more to most) but I think The Band Wagon is better written, scored, directed, etc. I know it's the matter of taste but if I"m not mistaken, The Band Wagon seems to be falling through the crack to the land of forgotten, I hope not. I talk to people around me - home, work, etc and every single person has never heard of The Band Wagon, but everyone's familiar with Singin' in the Rain whether he has seen it or not.

User avatar
souvenir
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:20 pm

#28 Post by souvenir » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:09 pm

This may be too simplistic of an answer, but, as someone who doesn't generally enjoy musicals (gasp, I know!), I love Singin' in the Rain much more. I think it's funnier, has better, livelier songs and overall doesn't feel like a musical. The Broadway setting of The Band Wagon doesn't interest me much while the transition between silent and talking pictures does. I also like Gene Kelly better than Fred Astaire, which doesn't seem to be a popular choice in this thread.

Cyd Charisse is stunning though and the Girl Hunt Ballet sequence is fantastic.

User avatar
Michael
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:09 pm

#29 Post by Michael » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:26 pm

I also like Gene Kelly better than Fred Astaire, which doesn't seem to be a popular choice in this thread.
True that Singin' in the Rain is livelier, funnier, and more energetic but the "old soul" feeling of Band Wagon punches me much harder (Astaire nursing his wife dying from cancer, Minnelli divorcing Garland, etc.. I felt all that - their quiet desperation and melancholy seeping through the Technicolored surface before I learned anything about their heartaches at home.

It's impossible for me to decide between Astaire and Kelly.. I love them both the same but for different reasons. But Kelly can ruin a musical number for me, he seems to love having the camera sliding quickly close up to his face as his smile splash across the whole screen right after some numbers, such as the Broadway Melody and It's Always Fair Weather 's rollerstaking number. I've heard folks calling him a "stagehog" - stepping over others to keep the spotlight fixated on him, only him. I'm not sure about that but I think he's phenomenal in his pairing with Judy - For Me and My Gal and Summer Stock and in An American in Paris, he's simply stunning. Astaire, on the other hand, is more humble and a bit more soulful.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: The Band Wagon

#30 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:52 pm

The Museum of Modern Art is screening this today, tomorrow and Friday at 1:30 p.m. (plus I Vitelloni and The Life of Oharu on various days - check their listings, everything's in 35mm and one ticket gets you into every screening of that day). Kicking myself for missing this today, because it's a holiday and I can't see this tomorrow or Friday.

To address a few old questions posted here, Singin' in the Rain is also my favorite musical, but I still consider it on equal footing with The Band Wagon. FWIW, the former was the first musical I ever saw - my brother taped it off a TV broadcast and I saw it when I was about 10 - and I loved all of it instantly. I didn't see The Band Wagon until late high school or early college, and the experience was a little different. I was stunned by the musical sequences, and they still look absolutely amazing, especially since my appreciation for Minnelli has only grown over the years. But Charisse's dramatic scenes were a little disappointing. I don't feel that way anymore, at least not in a way that brings down the movie for me, but there is a huge disparity in what she delivers as an actor in the non-musical sequences and as a dancer. I don't think I ever liked her as a dramatic actor until I saw Nicholas Ray's Party Girl.

Also, I'm a little confused by an old post here that says this was not shot in Technicolor. I thought it was three-strip Technicolor?

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: The Band Wagon

#31 Post by david hare » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:32 pm

Tech and three strip Tech were synonmous for negative until single strip Eastman Kodak neg became Universal for filming by 1955 and the old clunker cameras were abandoned. No more three strip neg filming after that. But YCM seps were often derived from positives to maintain a three strip record.

Tech positive printing was the definitve difference. Dye imbibition process, (IB) - a dye additive process like lithography, not dye subtractive like standard photographic neg to pos.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: The Band Wagon

#32 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:09 pm

I didn't realize the term was used so loosely. One reviewer claimed it was one of the last MGM musicals to use three-strip Technicolor before the studio switched to Ansco, but Daniel Eagan's authoritative book, America's Film Legacy (i.e. the reference guide to every film in the National Registry) clearly lists Ansco as the color process used for The Band Wagon.

Shame, but I have to say, on home video the color does look gorgeous, but I guess I shouldn't expect it to "pop" on the big screen the way an archival Tech print would.

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: The Band Wagon

#33 Post by david hare » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:50 pm

Daniel Eagan's listing is clearly erroneous. It states Tech on the posters, on the promotional materials, on the print itself and on all the studio records. This is a mistake that should have been proofed out. The first Metro musical to use Ansco (Eastman) was Kiss me Kate. Nobody at Metro really liked this process ( hideous brown and blue bias) and they went back to Tech or for Scope movies their proprietary Eastman process, Metrocolor. This latter was one of the few reasonably quality controlled versions of Eastman by the studios in the 50s. I suspect Ansco was to a degree a stopgap to deal with the first year or two of negative monopack cameras, after the years of the giant Three Strip monsters.

I am so hanging out for a Band Wagon Blu Ray.

felipe
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 11:06 pm

Re:

#34 Post by felipe » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:45 pm

Michael wrote:Can someone please explain why Singin' in the Rain's being recognized as the greatest Hollywood musical or at least, an icon by most critics? And The Band Wagon gets much less recognization, how come? Is it because the latter was released a year later or perhaps it's too subtle and complex for the mainstream? I mean Singin' in the Rain is a fine film that still holds up perfecltly well - it's funny and energetic (probably the reason that's appeal more to most) but I think The Band Wagon is better written, scored, directed, etc. I know it's the matter of taste but if I"m not mistaken, The Band Wagon seems to be falling through the crack to the land of forgotten, I hope not. I talk to people around me - home, work, etc and every single person has never heard of The Band Wagon, but everyone's familiar with Singin' in the Rain whether he has seen it or not.
That really bugs me. I'm from Brazil and everyone here, I mean everyone knows Singin' in the rain (even though most haven't seen it). On the other hand I know of many movie buffs who have never heard of The band wagon! And that's sad because it's as good as Singin', if not better.

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: The Band Wagon

#35 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:16 am

"The Band Wagon" quite simply is the best Hollywood musical of the 1950s. Full stop. That "Singin' in the rain" gets more attention has probably got to do with Kelly's more 'modern' style and with the film's take on the Hollywood industry which probably caused more scholars to write about it. Astaire in "The Band Wagon", on the other hand, was close to the end of his dancing career, even though he still looks youthful and does a perfect job here. "The Band Wagon" is in many ways a summing-up of the old tradition of the backstage musical, whereas "Singin' in the rain" with its more 'integrated' style is easier to enjoy perhaps by people who are not necessarily fans of musicals. But the way in which Minnelli handles the 'old' form seems completely unsurpassed to me (and not just in the famous final dance sequence), and Astaire and Charisse have a chemistry that works at least as well as his pairing with Rogers in the 30s. In this respect, also check out Mamoulian's 1957 "Silk Stockings", which is indeed an underrated film and which again couples Astaire and Charisse to marvellous effect.

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: The Band Wagon

#36 Post by david hare » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:29 am

I've written exhaustively about how much I love the Minelli here over the years, if you can find it, and/or care. Or if they left it here.

But if you wish to come and meet me one afternoon at the Tiergarten in Berlin in September where I will be sinking Steins of pilsener with a bunch of people you also know, then we can argue till late in the night about the relative worth of Band Wagon and Funny Face which I have been carrying a torch for years now as the greatest movie in the Freed genre, at least. It is naturally not produced by Freed but Roger Edens, (who else) and, well come along....

I should though add...
Singin' has one fo the five or six most sublime extended imaginative fanatsies in all of cinema.

Broadway Rhythm. Charisse's gams alone are enough to strangle you around the neck and send you to paradise. (And I am not straight!)

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: The Band Wagon

#37 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:39 am

It's really too bad, but unfortunately I again won't be able to make it to this next September meeting, as I have a commitment to extol the virtues of the three different versions of "The Student of Prague" to some audience on that particular weekend. Dammit. I really think I missed something from what I heard about your adventures the last time you were in Berlin.

Oh, and I have nothing at all against "Funny Face". I love it. But probably I'm just more into Cyd than into Audrey. Especially, as you put it, her gams. One of the reasons for my just-mentioned liking for "Silk Stockings"...

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: The Band Wagon

#38 Post by david hare » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:39 am

Well this time in the Tiergarten I have effectively promised to perform the role of "Lolita" ("Fifi" in the Harlan original) from the Third Sex, and sing the song of the Twlight Drag Artiste for the Three Fans Nite Klub ("direct from Paris" which in my case is literally true to the day) with transistor for music backup in Three Sex multi/sex drag/LGBT (dreay!) to the assembeld group - or not.

You really should come: These engagements of mine dont happen so often. Like every twenty fucking years. Even Schreck is trying to shake out of his cocoon to get there. We might even finally mate.

User avatar
Tommaso
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am

Re: The Band Wagon

#39 Post by Tommaso » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:53 am

Yes, I heard about Schreck also coming. And I too would love to come, but well, I simply can't :(
So I'm trusting in you guys that someone makes a video recording of your performance and allows me to see it. Sounds like it's not to be missed. :D

felipe
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 11:06 pm

Re: The Band Wagon

#40 Post by felipe » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:03 am

Tommaso wrote:In this respect, also check out Mamoulian's 1957 "Silk Stockings", which is indeed an underrated film and which again couples Astaire and Charisse to marvellous effect.
Silk stockings is great. Hope it'll make it to blu-ray someday.

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: The Band Wagon

#41 Post by david hare » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:46 pm

Tommaso wrote:Yes, I heard about Schreck also coming. And I too would love to come, but well, I simply can't :(
So I'm trusting in you guys that someone makes a video recording of your performance and allows me to see it. Sounds like it's not to be missed. :D
If you've seen the US dub version of the Harlan which is available to you elsewhere, you will surely recall "Lolita's" cabaret routine as genuinely unforgettable. I doubt I could do her/him justice. Not many drag performers look like truck drivers who seem to be wearing old curtain fabric in simulation of evening gowns. But I will try.

User avatar
George Kaplan
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:42 pm

Re: The Band Wagon

#42 Post by George Kaplan » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:42 pm

For David,

Image

GET ABOARD!

User avatar
George Kaplan
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:42 pm

Re: The Band Wagon

#43 Post by George Kaplan » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:33 pm

david hare wrote:Not many drag performers look like truck drivers who seem to be wearing old curtain fabric in simulation of evening gowns. But I will try.
Something rather like this?

Image

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Band Wagon

#44 Post by zedz » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:12 am

Is that the most perfect use of a screengrab ever or what?

(David, I think George has replaced my mental image of you as Fritz Lang once and for all.)

User avatar
david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller

Re: The Band Wagon

#45 Post by david hare » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:11 am

Put a black nylon Louise Brooks wig on him (bought yesterday at a kids' magic shop) and you've got it! I'm stilll working out how to do those dives behind a screen in which "Lolita" changes back and forth between man garb and woman garb. (I'm assuming you've seen the Harlan?)

Voila Lolita/Fifi:

True?
Image

Or False?
Image

Post Reply