USA Today - 10/19/1994
"...Astaire called it his favorite film..."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/12/1995
"...Hollywood's last great musical tribute to Broadway....Deliriously colorful..." -- Rating: A
Chicago Sun-Times - 03/27/2005
"THE BAND WAGON has a note of melancholy along with its smiles."
Sight and Sound - 07/01/2005
"Fred Astaire is very amusing....Former stage designer Minnelli nails every theatreland joke..."
Fading movie musical star Tony Hunter, down and out in Hollywood, decides to try his luck on the Broadway stage. Unfortunately, the simple hoofer discovers that a pretentious director has control of the project, and that instead of good humor, happy songs and a tapping chorus line, there'll be lengthy speeches, heavy drama and lots of deep soul-searching. Even worse, Tony's expected to dance with a classical ballerina! Thanks to the massive egos of everyone involved, the play, to no one's surprise, lays an egg. But now Tony takes charge, and he's out to prove the show must go on -- his way! Some of the dazzling Astaire dance numbers include "Triplets," "Girl Hunt," "Dancing in the Dark" and "That's Entertainment."
THE BAND WAGON was was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1995.
In 1931, Fred Astaire appeared in the Broadway musical revue THE BAND WAGON, which also featured songs by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz. The film borrows four songs ("Dancing in the Dark," "I Love Louisa," "Beggar's Waltz," and "New Sun in the Sky") from that production but not the plot.
The film features 12 songs borrowed from various Broadway productions as well as two band-new musical numbers. "A Shine on Your Shoes" first appeared in FLYING COLORS; "Triplets" appeared in BETWEEN THE DEVIL; "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan" appeared in THE LITTLE SHOWS; and "Louisiana Hayride" appeared in COLORS.
Clifton Webb was first approached about playing Jeffrey Cordova, the role that eventually went to Jack Buchanan. The inspiration for that character was Josť Ferrer, who produced four concurrent Broadway shows while acting in a fifth in the early 1950s.