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“Dancing In The Dark” August 26, 2007

Posted by Jeff in 1946 through 1960, Comden and Green, Dance, Fred Astaire, Movies, Musicals, Theater.

Band Wagon Poster

“I don’t think a dancer should smoke,” says Gabrielle Gerard (Cyd Charisse) to Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) early on in The Band Wagon (1952). And, indeed, Astaire chain-smokes through the movie. But by the end, Gabrielle is in love with him — and bumming smokes off him as well.

I am a huge fan of backstage stories — my screenplay Equity is proof of that — and I can think of few as fun and as realistic as this one. With music by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Howard Dietz (yes, “Dancing In The Dark” does have lyrics), the title and several songs come from the last Broadway revue Fred did with his sister Adele before she retired in 1931. And here he is, at the age of fifty-four, keeping up with dancers some of whom are less than half his age.

Vincente Minnelli’s direction and Betty Comden and Adolph Green‘s screenplay reflects the paranoia and insecurities of the theatrical world. Tony Hunter isn’t getting any younger, and he’s paired with a “serious” dancer who may be too tall for him (and she is, at least in heels).

Even when Tony and Gaby reach detente, they’re still worried: can they really dance with each other? Well, of course … but only if they’re …

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1. dilettanteville - August 13, 2006

Thank you! This is one of the most beautiful dance scenes in musicals. Watching this was a lovely way for me to start my morning. I’m off to read your other links about Astaire as he is one of my favorites.

2. Jeff - August 13, 2006

It shames me to think Astaire was two years older than me when he made The Band Wagon!

3. David Ocker - February 25, 2007

Comparing ages? Probably best if you don’t listen to any music by Mozart for a while. Or On the Town.

4. Jeff - October 27, 2007
5. Bwca Bwican - November 29, 2007

Hi – I just discovered your blog today while trawling about for the lyric of Dancin’ In The Dark.
Impressive versatility of Arthur and Howard Ditz to have also composed and written Triplets!
god I love songwriters … and torch songs.
Now I can see I am gonna be here reading allover your blog for some time … see you later

6. punk forte vi rompo le cose - September 9, 2008

hallo meine namen ist anna und ich bin ein fan tokio hotel vaffanculo a tutti voi

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