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TCM Spotlight: Dance Numbers


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Just watched TCM Spotlight:  Dance Numbers last night.  Producer-director-choreographer Adam Shankman joined TCM host Dave Karger for a month-long celebration of great dance numbers.  They made comments before and after one of my favorite films "The Band Wagon" (1953) starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.  I thought it was really interesting to listen to the observations regarding the dancing made by the choreographer Adam Shankman.  One of the most magical dance duets in this film is "Dancing in the Dark" with Astaire and Charisse.  Shankman pointed out how the dancers actually stop or pause during the duet and it's very effective at conveying the romantic feelings of the characters.  It's also unique that they dance in Central Park (as opposed to a more formal situation).  Dancing in the Dark has a dreamlike quality for me.  The dancers show tentative steps toward embracing one another.  Shankman also commented on the amazing film noir dance in the film.  Somehow, the dancers have translated what film noir is to a dance.  I love the stunning costumes in this number.  Cyd Charisse is amazing in the bar scene dress.  I really look forward to more dance discussions on this TCM Spotlight.  There's quite a diversity of great movies on their list.  I'd love to know your favorites.

*  Just a side note.  I never could make sense out of the new show that is created in The Bandwagon (replacing the terrible musical based on Faust).  How do the songs "Louisiana Hayride", "Triplets" and the Film Noir number relate to each other?  What is going on in the Film Noir dance number story?  It's a confusing story for me.

image.jpeg.000b1613a3cc7ccdde8f2d0f53d8dcf1.jpeg      image.jpeg.3f330d9bdb8f64053909b6a4bf5b32b4.jpeg    image.jpeg.572824fe7ef29c9c9089de4df2e26c86.jpeg     The Band Wagon (1953) - Flick Minute Flick Minute

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6 hours ago, Toto said:

 

*  Just a side note.  I never could make sense out of the new show that is created in The Bandwagon (replacing the terrible musical based on Faust).  How do the songs "Louisiana Hayride", "Triplets" and the Film Noir number relate to each other?  What is going on in the Film Noir dance number story?  It's a confusing story for me.

image.jpeg.000b1613a3cc7ccdde8f2d0f53d8dcf1.jpeg      image.jpeg.3f330d9bdb8f64053909b6a4bf5b32b4.jpeg    image.jpeg.572824fe7ef29c9c9089de4df2e26c86.jpeg     The Band Wagon (1953) - Flick Minute Flick Minute

Ha!  This disconnected bunch of musical numbers -- Triplets, Louisiana Hayride, Girl Hunt Ballet, etc. has always confounded me, too.  I guess because The Bandwagon is such a fabulous musical the producers figured they could get away with throwing in a few Don't-really-relate-to-one-another-at-all musical numbers for the "replacement show" for the original Faust musical.   

Having said that, Dancing in the Dark is one of my absolute favorite dance sequences ever.

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Well the answer to those songs being in the play was it was that Jeffrey said it was a "Faust" story, it was not the story that Oscar and his wife wrote. So when they let Fred take over, the went back to the original storyline the Lester and Lilly wrote. Remember, he was a writer of books and wrote murder mysteries on the side. So, I could see the Hayride and the Triplets as the fun stories he wrote as the book writer.

 

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Oh boy! The "Show within a Show" not making much sense.  I think the percentage of movies that handle these in such an unbelievable way is about 98.73%.  I'm still waiting for Jimmy Cagney to pack up and ship out a waterfall and aquacade-style swimming pool each time there is a prologue to present at the local Bijou.  In the end I just go along with whatever the creative team has thrown at us to pal around with the great tunes.

Now "The Band Wagon," some such as Oneeyeopen might argue,  could possibly have a non-review style book that was part of the  original Marton vision.   Triplets, Louisiana Hayride, and the others might all very well  be depictions of books that the Fred Astaire character has written -- though I didn't see any reform school girls playing softball. (Drat).  It's all a showcase for some terrific Dietz and Schwartz songs.  Certainly no complaints from me.

My beef with the musical numbers is the "Girl Hunt" ballet.  I listened to the TCM intro to the movie, and I just don't buy that the ballet is a send-up of noir films of the era.  Maybe that's because I don't particularly care for the entire number.  I always think that's where the artist sketch of the egg that's laid comes from.  

"Dancing in the Dark" is my wife's favorite part of the movie, and she always comments how much she adores Cyd Charisse's outfit.  I'll admit that Cyd's a stunner, and I see no reason why she would think she'd be embarrassedly underdressed going to a swanky club.  Why, the minute she'd walk into the joint, every head would turn.

Since I enjoy looking at the backgrounds in movies, did anyone notice how often theater marquees and playbills mentioned "The Proud Land" and "A Woman of Taste?"  Hint, if you didn't notice, take another look at "The Bad and the Beautiful"  sometime soon.

In short, "The Band Wagon" has been added to my list of It's Grown on Me movies, and it pleases me to say that. 

 

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22 hours ago, Toto said:

Just a side note.  I never could make sense out of the new show that is created in The Bandwagon (replacing the terrible musical based on Faust).  How do the songs "Louisiana Hayride", "Triplets" and the Film Noir number relate to each other? 

Yes, I've wondered about this before. Based on these glimpses, the new show is definitely all over the place! I'd love to see the dialogue scenes connecting these numbers.

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10 hours ago, brianNH said:

Oh boy! The "Show within a Show" not making much sense.  I think the percentage of movies that handle these in such an unbelievable way is about 98.73%.  I'm still waiting for Jimmy Cagney to pack up and ship out a waterfall and aquacade-style swimming pool each time there is a prologue to present at the local Bijou.  In the end I just go along with whatever the creative team has thrown at us to pal around with the great tunes.

Now "The Band Wagon," some such as Oneeyeopen might argue,  could possibly have a non-review style book that was part of the  original Marton vision.   Triplets, Louisiana Hayride, and the others might all very well  be depictions of books that the Fred Astaire character has written -- though I didn't see any reform school girls playing softball. (Drat).  It's all a showcase for some terrific Dietz and Schwartz songs.  Certainly no complaints from me.

My beef with the musical numbers is the "Girl Hunt" ballet.  I listened to the TCM intro to the movie, and I just don't buy that the ballet is a send-up of noir films of the era.  Maybe that's because I don't particularly care for the entire number.  I always think that's where the artist sketch of the egg that's laid comes from.  

"Dancing in the Dark" is my wife's favorite part of the movie, and she always comments how much she adores Cyd Charisse's outfit.  I'll admit that Cyd's a stunner, and I see no reason why she would think she'd be embarrassedly underdressed going to a swanky club.  Why, the minute she'd walk into the joint, every head would turn.

Since I enjoy looking at the backgrounds in movies, did anyone notice how often theater marquees and playbills mentioned "The Proud Land" and "A Woman of Taste?"  Hint, if you didn't notice, take another look at "The Bad and the Beautiful"  sometime soon.

In short, "The Band Wagon" has been added to my list of It's Grown on Me movies, and it pleases me to say that. 

 

I was just talking with one of my friends about the crazy production numbers in Footlight Parade. Especially the By a Waterfall one. They’ve been locked up for days for rehearsals. But there’s no big swimming pool in the rehearsal hall. So how in the world did they pull that off? Did they just pretend to swim in the hall then said “we’re fine. We’ll just wing it on performance night.” Never mind that they’re busing from theater to theater between shows. It’s nuts. 😂 

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What I like best about THE BANDWAGON is the film ( I do like the musical numbers, though.)

I just find the whole "putting on a Broadway show" in a comedic way so entertaining.

Jack Buchanan steals the show as the over-the-top director/producer/actor Jeffrey Cordova.

 

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11 hours ago, brianNH said:

Oh boy! The "Show within a Show" not making much sense.  I think the percentage of movies that handle these in such an unbelievable way is about 98.73%.  I'm still waiting for Jimmy Cagney to pack up and ship out a waterfall and aquacade-style swimming pool each time there is a prologue to present at the local Bijou.  In the end I just go along with whatever the creative team has thrown at us to pal around with the great tunes.

Now "The Band Wagon," some such as Oneeyeopen might argue,  could possibly have a non-review style book that was part of the  original Marton vision.   Triplets, Louisiana Hayride, and the others might all very well  be depictions of books that the Fred Astaire character has written -- though I didn't see any reform school girls playing softball. (Drat).  It's all a showcase for some terrific Dietz and Schwartz songs.  Certainly no complaints from me.

 

I found that rationale that the unrelated musical numbers in the "revised" show had something to do with Fred Astaire writing books to be, well, just plain wrong. Fred Astaire writing books (and I barely remember that reference) has nothing to do with anything.  It is clearly stated that the revised show is going to be "the show that the Martons originally wrote. "  Nothing to do with Fred's alleged "writing." (And I think the reference is to him writing is that he is bored and working on his autobiography which would be an inside joke  --  actors who no longer can get jobs are always supposedly working on their autobiography!) We, the audience, are not supposed to "question" that the new show has no continuity from number to number.  The Freed Unit wanted to do what they wanted to do.  I actually have a great book on Vincente Minnelli and his Freed Unit years and I'm going to see if there is any "explanation" as to why all of these musical numbers had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN COMMON other than "we want to do them."

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5 hours ago, sagebrush said:

What I like best about THE BANDWAGON is the film ( I do like the musical numbers, though.)

I just find the whole "putting on a Broadway show" in a comedic way so entertaining.

Jack Buchanan steals the show as the over-the-top director/producer/actor Jeffrey Cordova.

 

Yes!!!   Jack Buchanan as the over-the-top director is fantastic!  I love when he orders people to take down a lot of things he says because he thinks he's so clever.  I laugh every time I see this film.  His comedic part reminds me of the great comedic performance of Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont in "Singin' in the Rain".  Her voice is so bad.  I love it.

Jack Buchanan as the over-the-top director Jeffrey Cordova and Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain.

image.jpeg.b71c00342829eab2ca8db89a0306478b.jpeg    image.jpeg.9c4497c95ee9f7730bdb7500526b4d24.jpeg

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13 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I do love the surprise scene where everybody in the cast is ready to move on from the original production, and then we see Buchanan has been sitting among them the whole time and is agreeable.

I love this, too!

 

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On 11/10/2021 at 10:37 AM, lydecker said:

I found that rationale that the unrelated musical numbers in the "revised" show had something to do with Fred Astaire writing books to be, well, just plain wrong. Fred Astaire writing books (and I barely remember that reference) has nothing to do with anything.  It is clearly stated that the revised show is going to be "the show that the Martons originally wrote. "  Nothing to do with Fred's alleged "writing." (And I think the reference is to him writing is that he is bored and working on his autobiography which would be an inside joke  --  actors who no longer can get jobs are always supposedly working on their autobiography!) We, the audience, are not supposed to "question" that the new show has no continuity from numb

Well, since you can't barely remember the reference that Tony Hunter, played by Fred Astaire  was a book writer, I decided to go and get this information from the actural script: 

(Lester) Now I have here a script.

It's great. It's ready to roll.

Jeff, I want you to take this home.

I want you to read it tonight...

But before I do,

give me a rough idea of the plot.

- Now?

Throw it at me for a quick impression.

- I'm dying to hear it.

- You tell it, Lester.

- You do it so much better.

- Lester, honestly.

- Please, Lily, tell them.

- Lester, honestly.

With Tony in mind, we naturally

visualize a light and intimate show.

We want to give him a chance to play

charming guy, with just enough plot...

to make him do lots

of gay and varied numbers.

He's a writer and illustrator

of children's books...

but to get in the real dough...

on the side,

he writes lurid murder mysteries...

full of violence and buckets of blood.

- - Lester does mention girls playing softball, children's playground..and I believe Lester was kidding about reform school. 

For the children's playground (children's books he writes) we getThe Triplets, Probably couldn't afford to buy softball uniforms, so we have a Hayride,  Any way point made that he was a writer of children's books.  And this was a great muscial film. For those who did not appreciate the club dance with Cyd in the red dress, the great and talented Michael Jackson did appreciate it and used a similar formula in his Smooth Criminal video. Michael wear a white suit, dances with the girl in the red dress and he's Smoooooooth like Fred Astaire.

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Nice try there, Oneeyeopen!  My hunch is that for the "show within a show" category of musicals for the screen, "The Band Wagon" actually comes pretty close to providing a rather plausible outline of a story.  Of course, it's all conjecture really.  These movies were so very much showcases for the great songwriters of the era to offer a variety of musical numbers -- both song and dance -- for some of the most talented performers of the day.  Catchy tunes and numbers to spotlight the dancing of Astaire and Charisse in all kinds of costumes and scenes.   That's the Hollywood way, I suppose.  But it's fun, isn't it?!

Compare this to, say, the Wallace and Davis show in "White Christmas" that features everything from "Mandy," "Counting My Blessings," and "Choreography" to "White Christmas" itself.  And throw in "We'll Follow the Old Man" for good measure!  Then there's "Every Night at Seven" from "Royal Wedding."  And a barrelful of others.  (One can only speculate as to the plots of "The Proud Land" and "A Woman of Taste!")

Another approach to this topic may be to look at Broadway musicals that are in the tradition of reviews and follies and so forth.  There must be more knowledgeable people out there than I that can comment on this; but I think when Hollywood goes to film what would be referred to as a musical, it really ends up in this tradition.  Since the movie itself already covers a story, all we really need are separate, self-contained songs and dances.  And we the audience just go along with it as entertainment.

Still, Oneeyeopen, I commend your unflagging appeal to put together those little jigsaw puzzle pieces that are all those songs  to form a true musical called "The Band Wagon" (with book, lyrics, and music by the Martons)  Nicely done.

Oh, by the way, I think I would like the "Girl Hunt" ballet a whole lot better if Michael Kidd were dancing in it instead of Fred Astaire.    

 

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11 hours ago, Oneeyeopen said:

Well, since you can't barely remember the reference that Tony Hunter, played by Fred Astaire  was a book writer, I decided to go and get this information from the actural script: 

(Lester) Now I have here a script.

It's great. It's ready to roll.

Jeff, I want you to take this home.

I want you to read it tonight...

But before I do,

give me a rough idea of the plot.

- Now?

Throw it at me for a quick impression.

- I'm dying to hear it.

- You tell it, Lester.

- You do it so much better.

- Lester, honestly.

- Please, Lily, tell them.

- Lester, honestly.

With Tony in mind, we naturally

visualize a light and intimate show.

We want to give him a chance to play

charming guy, with just enough plot...

to make him do lots

of gay and varied numbers.

He's a writer and illustrator

of children's books...

but to get in the real dough...

on the side,

he writes lurid murder mysteries...

full of violence and buckets of blood.

- - Lester does mention girls playing softball, children's playground..and I believe Lester was kidding about reform school. 

For the children's playground (children's books he writes) we getThe Triplets, Probably couldn't afford to buy softball uniforms, so we have a Hayride,  Any way point made that he was a writer of children's books.  And this was a great muscial film. For those who did not appreciate the club dance with Cyd in the red dress, the great and talented Michael Jackson did appreciate it and used a similar formula in his Smooth Criminal video. Michael wear a white suit, dances with the girl in the red dress and he's Smoooooooth like Fred Astaire.

Ah ha!  Good one. I applaud your attention to detail.  So, that might explain the Girl Hunt Ballet and Triplets but Louisiana Hayride and that "Sun" number that Cyd does?? I don't get those at all (and Triplets, though fun,  continues to seem out of place to me. )   I still say the Freed Unit did what it wanted to do and what they mostly wanted to do was to give everybody (Fred, Cyd, Nannette & Jack Buchanan) a chance to shine so they did these disparate numbers that (to me) have absolutely no continuity.  By the way, Oscar Levant was supposed to be one of the triplets but he kicked up such a fuss about doing it, that they stuck poor Nannette Fabray in that one instead. 

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9 hours ago, brianNH said:

Nice try there, Oneeyeopen!  My hunch is that for the "show within a show" category of musicals for the screen, "The Band Wagon" actually comes pretty close to providing a rather plausible outline of a story.  Of course, it's all conjecture really.  These movies were so very much showcases for the great songwriters of the era to offer a variety of musical numbers -- both song and dance -- for some of the most talented performers of the day.  Catchy tunes and numbers to spotlight the dancing of Astaire and Charisse in all kinds of costumes and scenes.   That's the Hollywood way, I suppose.  But it's fun, isn't it?!

Compare this to, say, the Wallace and Davis show in "White Christmas" that features everything from "Mandy," "Counting My Blessings," and "Choreography" to "White Christmas" itself.  And throw in "We'll Follow the Old Man" for good measure!  

 

You got me thinking about White Christmas with this comment.  I will admit that I am NOT a lover of musicals and I probably only "like" about 5, one of which is White Christmas.  So, I was musing about the discontinuity problem with that movie, too, but it doesn't bother me as much as The Bandwagon.  Once again, at least this film (like The Bandwagon) has the show within a show going for it.  They get away with "Count My Blessings," (for me) because it is a love song which Bing & Rosemary sing beautifully and it is outside the actual "show" they are doing.  However, having said that . . . "Mandy" and "Choreography" don't seem to have a single thing in common but . . . Bing & Danny do say that they will kind of "throw a show together using some of their old show numbers and routines from Rosemary & Vera-Ellen's nightclub appearances."  So, the writers of White Christmas cleverly cover-off that the show they are putting on at General Waverly's Inn is sort of a hodge-podge anyway.  In any case, as you say, if you really like the movie, you don't really care that the numbers don't have much in common!

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11 hours ago, brianNH said:

Nice try there, Oneeyeopen!  My hunch is that for the "show within a show" category of musicals for the screen, "The Band Wagon" actually comes pretty close to providing a rather plausible outline of a story.  Of course, it's all conjecture really.  These movies were so very much showcases for the great songwriters of the era to offer a variety of musical numbers -- both song and dance -- for some of the most talented performers of the day.  Catchy tunes and numbers to spotlight the dancing of Astaire and Charisse in all kinds of costumes and scenes.   That's the Hollywood way, I suppose.  But it's fun, isn't it?!

Compare this to, say, the Wallace and Davis show in "White Christmas" that features everything from "Mandy," "Counting My Blessings," and "Choreography" to "White Christmas" itself.  And throw in "We'll Follow the Old Man" for good measure!  Then there's "Every Night at Seven" from "Royal Wedding."  And a barrelful of others.  (One can only speculate as to the plots of "The Proud Land" and "A Woman of Taste!")

Another approach to this topic may be to look at Broadway musicals that are in the tradition of reviews and follies and so forth.  There must be more knowledgeable people out there than I that can comment on this; but I think when Hollywood goes to film what would be referred to as a musical, it really ends up in this tradition.  Since the movie itself already covers a story, all we really need are separate, self-contained songs and dances.  And we the audience just go along with it as entertainment.

Still, Oneeyeopen, I commend your unflagging appeal to put together those little jigsaw puzzle pieces that are all those songs  to form a true musical called "The Band Wagon" (with book, lyrics, and music by the Martons)  Nicely done.

Oh, by the way, I think I would like the "Girl Hunt" ballet a whole lot better if Michael Kidd were dancing in it instead of Fred Astaire.    

 

You're right about the tradition of Broadway musicals as reviews, "follies", etc. being how Hollywood thought of Broadway. The problem was that they kept thinking that way after the Broadway musical had morphed into something very different, cohesive book musicals with plots and themes instead of a hodge-podge of skits and unrelated novelty numbers. I can't even think of a Hollywood movie about the Broadway milieu that actually got it right, with the possible exception of All About Eve. (But Aged in Wood, a hit drama with Bette in hoop skirts again? Really?) Stage Struck (1957) with Henry Fonda and Susan Strasberg came kind of close but, again, that was a drama. But the depiction of New York musical shows always reverted to that outdated review format. A ludicrous example is in The Opposite Sex (1956), with the philandering husband as a Broadway producer. We get to see the title number of the show, Yellow Gold, and it's an atrocious, derivative, overworked tropical-themed, banana-laden novelty number with every stereotype you'd expect. And the show itself is called Yellow Gold? What credible show could you build around that kind of nonsense? But it was such an easy trope to use to signify "legit Broadway musical" and such an easy, lazy excuse to sneak in whatever they felt like sneaking in that Hollywood always found it irresistible.  

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11 hours ago, Oneeyeopen said:

Well, since you can't barely remember the reference that Tony Hunter, played by Fred Astaire  was a book writer, I decided to go and get this information from the actural script: 

(Lester) Now I have here a script.

It's great. It's ready to roll.

Jeff, I want you to take this home.

I want you to read it tonight...

But before I do,

give me a rough idea of the plot.

- Now?

Throw it at me for a quick impression.

- I'm dying to hear it.

- You tell it, Lester.

- You do it so much better.

- Lester, honestly.

- Please, Lily, tell them.

- Lester, honestly.

With Tony in mind, we naturally

visualize a light and intimate show.

We want to give him a chance to play

charming guy, with just enough plot...

to make him do lots

of gay and varied numbers.

He's a writer and illustrator

of children's books...

but to get in the real dough...

on the side,

he writes lurid murder mysteries...

full of violence and buckets of blood.

- - Lester does mention girls playing softball, children's playground..and I believe Lester was kidding about reform school. 

For the children's playground (children's books he writes) we getThe Triplets, Probably couldn't afford to buy softball uniforms, so we have a Hayride,  Any way point made that he was a writer of children's books.  And this was a great muscial film. For those who did not appreciate the club dance with Cyd in the red dress, the great and talented Michael Jackson did appreciate it and used a similar formula in his Smooth Criminal video. Michael wear a white suit, dances with the girl in the red dress and he's Smoooooooth like Fred Astaire.

Thanks for providing the actual script from the movie!  It sort-of answers the question i had about how the new show numbers (Triplets, Louisiana Hayride, film noir Girl Hunt) relate to each other but I don't really see a connection to a children's book writer.  I'm wondering if being very logical was a concern.  Perhaps like the song "That's Entertainment", they just wanted to be entertaining.

I just viewed a Busby Berkley musical I had never seen before from 1935 featuring a wildly creative big musical number "Broadway Melody" done in true Busby Berkley style with a multitude of pianos and patterns made by dancers.  This is meant to be a show at a hotel which it could not possibly be.  This film - like many others - doesn't have musical numbers presented to tell a story or in a logical way (although they're great to watch!).  Perhaps out of this tradition, there are the unrelated musical numbers in the Bandwagon?

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On 11/11/2021 at 9:55 PM, brianNH said:

Another approach to this topic may be to look at Broadway musicals that are in the tradition of reviews and follies and so forth.  There must be more knowledgeable people out there than I that can comment on this; but I think when Hollywood goes to film what would be referred to as a musical, it really ends up in this tradition.  Since the movie itself already covers a story, all we really need are separate, self-contained songs and dances.  And we the audience just go along with it as entertainment.

Really interesting insights Brian NH!  I'd love to learn more about the roots or history of musicals going back in time and how they evolved.

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On 11/12/2021 at 8:44 AM, DougieB said:

You're right about the tradition of Broadway musicals as reviews, "follies", etc. being how Hollywood thought of Broadway. The problem was that they kept thinking that way after the Broadway musical had morphed into something very different, cohesive book musicals with plots and themes instead of a hodge-podge of skits and unrelated novelty numbers. I can't even think of a Hollywood movie about the Broadway milieu that actually got it right, with the possible exception of All About Eve. (But Aged in Wood, a hit drama with Bette in hoop skirts again? Really?) Stage Struck (1957) with Henry Fonda and Susan Strasberg came kind of close but, again, that was a drama. But the depiction of New York musical shows always reverted to that outdated review format. A ludicrous example is in The Opposite Sex (1956), with the philandering husband as a Broadway producer. We get to see the title number of the show, Yellow Gold, and it's an atrocious, derivative, overworked tropical-themed, banana-laden novelty number with every stereotype you'd expect. And the show itself is called Yellow Gold? What credible show could you build around that kind of nonsense? But it was such an easy trope to use to signify "legit Broadway musical" and such an easy, lazy excuse to sneak in whatever they felt like sneaking in that Hollywood always found it irresistible.  

Even though Oklahoma! ushered in the era of the integrated (integration of music, dialog, & dance to advance a plot) book musical (though there were earlier prototypes), Broadway was still producing a lot of revues up through the 1950s.  The thing is - they typically had short runs, nobody remembers them today, and they'll almost certainly never be revived, because they were usually built around a certain personality of the era. 

Revues are still a part of Broadway today, but there are far fewer of them.  Modern ones tend to be built around composers (like Ain't Misbehavin' in the 1970s or Side by Side by Sondheim) rather than performer personalities.  

And in the last 20 years or so, we've seen the rise of the jukebox musical, or as some put it more diplomatically, the catalog musical.  This is a throwback somewhat to Hollywood, where a ready-made catalog of songs is stitched together with a story, sometimes biographical, but not always.  Mamma Mia!, Cher, Tina, Jersey Boys, Jagged Little Pill and others are examples.  Moulin Rouge is a somewhat different take on this.  It's similar to what M-G-M would do with their musicals - take a bunch of songs (typically ones they already owned) and stitch them together to make a movie.  Singin' in the Rain is a familiar example, as nearly all of the songs in the film were not written for it.

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On 11/9/2021 at 8:25 AM, Toto said:

Just watched TCM Spotlight:  Dance Numbers last night.  Producer-director-choreographer Adam Shankman joined TCM host Dave Karger for a month-long celebration of great dance numbers.  They made comments before and after one of my favorite films "The Band Wagon" (1953) starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.  I thought it was really interesting to listen to the observations regarding the dancing made by the choreographer Adam Shankman.  One of the most magical dance duets in this film is "Dancing in the Dark" with Astaire and Charisse.  Shankman pointed out how the dancers actually stop or pause during the duet and it's very effective at conveying the romantic feelings of the characters.  It's also unique that they dance in Central Park (as opposed to a more formal situation).  Dancing in the Dark has a dreamlike quality for me.  The dancers show tentative steps toward embracing one another.  Shankman also commented on the amazing film noir dance in the film.  Somehow, the dancers have translated what film noir is to a dance.  I love the stunning costumes in this number.  Cyd Charisse is amazing in the bar scene dress.  I really look forward to more dance discussions on this TCM Spotlight.  There's quite a diversity of great movies on their list.  I'd love to know your favorites.

*  Just a side note.  I never could make sense out of the new show that is created in The Bandwagon (replacing the terrible musical based on Faust).  How do the songs "Louisiana Hayride", "Triplets" and the Film Noir number relate to each other?  What is going on in the Film Noir dance number story?  It's a confusing story for me.

image.jpeg.000b1613a3cc7ccdde8f2d0f53d8dcf1.jpeg      image.jpeg.3f330d9bdb8f64053909b6a4bf5b32b4.jpeg    image.jpeg.572824fe7ef29c9c9089de4df2e26c86.jpeg     The Band Wagon (1953) - Flick Minute Flick Minute

I agree with you about the disjointed musical numbers.  I really wish we would have seen a whole musical based on the film noir-esque "Girl Hunt Ballet" number.  That, and the "Dancing in the Dark" song (which isn't part of the musical within the film) are the best numbers in the film.

I loathe the "Triplets" number.  That and the "Heavenly Music" song from Summer Stock, are two of my most despised musical numbers ever.   Summer Stock also features a series of unrelated musical numbers that supposedly make up the "Memory Island" musical that they were putting together. I would have loved to have known what expository scenes existed between the numbers to tie everything together. 

Personally, while I like The Band Wagon (mostly for the Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire numbers), I much prefer Comden and Green's other works, like Singin' in the Rain and On the Town

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On 11/12/2021 at 6:03 AM, lydecker said:

You got me thinking about White Christmas with this comment.  I will admit that I am NOT a lover of musicals and I probably only "like" about 5, one of which is White Christmas.  So, I was musing about the discontinuity problem with that movie, too, but it doesn't bother me as much as The Bandwagon.  Once again, at least this film (like The Bandwagon) has the show within a show going for it.  They get away with "Count My Blessings," (for me) because it is a love song which Bing & Rosemary sing beautifully and it is outside the actual "show" they are doing.  However, having said that . . . "Mandy" and "Choreography" don't seem to have a single thing in common but . . . Bing & Danny do say that they will kind of "throw a show together using some of their old show numbers and routines from Rosemary & Vera-Ellen's nightclub appearances."  So, the writers of White Christmas cleverly cover-off that the show they are putting on at General Waverly's Inn is sort of a hodge-podge anyway.  In any case, as you say, if you really like the movie, you don't really care that the numbers don't have much in common!

I love White Christmas.  You're correct that White Christmas isn't trying to put on a play.  I think they're putting more of a revue together, so it's just a series of individual performances and routines. And not that Bing and Danny aren't trying to put together a quality show, but I think it is something that was thrown together on the fly in light of learning that General Waverly is about to lose everything. 

I also love Rosemary's "Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me" song that she performs outside of Bing and Danny's show.  This of course is shown when Rosemary temporarily leaves the show and goes to New York to make it on her own as a singer.

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