Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1953. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Story and Screenplay by Betty Comden, Adolph Green. Cinematography by Harry Jackson. Produced by Arthur Freed. Music by Alexander Courage, Adolph Deutsch, Conrad Salinger. Production Design by E. Preston Ames, Cedric Gibbons. Costume Design by Mary Ann Nyberg. Film Editing by Albert Akst, George White. Academy Awards 1953.
Vincente Minnelli outdid his own An American In Paris with this brilliantly photographed and staged musical, probably the best from Fred Astaire‘s later career period. Astaire plays a has-been movie star who is given the chance to make a comeback when his good friends (Nanette Fabray, Oscar Levant) write a Broadway musical and ask him to star in it. The show should go well, but first he has to put up with a snotty prima donna (Cyd Charisse), her Svengali-style choreographer boyfriend (James Mitchell) and a melodramatic producer/director (Jack Buchanan) who has totally different ideas for the show than originally planned (a modern musical version of Faust to be exact). No one knew colour like Vincente Minnelli, and this is one of the best examples–the song and dance numbers are beautiful and Charisse’s dancing couldn’t be better.