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Vorhang auf! (1953) HD online

Vorhang auf! (1953) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Comedy / Musical / Romance
Original Title: The Band Wagon
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Writers: Betty Comden,Adolph Green
Released: 1953
Budget: $2,169,120
Duration: 1h 52min
Video type: Movie
Tony Hunter, a famous singer/dancer movie star, is feeling washed up and old hat (old top hat, tie and tails to be exact). The reporters are out for Ava Gardner, not him. But his old friends Lily and Les Martin have an idea for a funny little Broadway show and he agrees to do it. But things begin to get out of hand, when bigshot "artistic" director/producer/star Jeffrey Cordova joins the production, proclaims it's a modernistic Faust and insists on hiring a prima ballerina, Gabrielle Gerard, to star opposite Tony, and it's hate at first sight. And her jealous choreographer isn't helping to ease the tension. The show is doomed by pretentiousness. But romance, a "let's put on a show" epiphany, and a triumphant opening are waiting in the wings. After all, this is a musical comedy!
Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire Fred Astaire - Tony Hunter
Cyd Charisse Cyd Charisse - Gabrielle Gerard
Oscar Levant Oscar Levant - Lester Marton
Nanette Fabray Nanette Fabray - Lily Marton
Jack Buchanan Jack Buchanan - Jeffrey Cordova
James Mitchell James Mitchell - Paul Byrd
Robert Gist Robert Gist - Hal Benton

In the DVD bonus features, Nanette Fabray stated that Oscar Levant was very difficult to work with. Whenever something would go wrong or he would make a mistake, he would blame whoever was around. This Included stage hands, other actors, lighting technicians or whoever was handy. She said that, since she was usually closest, she caught the brunt of it. Following a botched take, he again blamed her for something. She lost her temper and told him off using unladylike language. Everyone on the set applauded. After that, he was much easier to work with.

The full-skirted white dress worn by Cyd Charisse in "Dancing In The Dark" was actually copied from a dress worn by the film's costume designer Mary Ann Nyberg. Director Vincente Minnelli tried to buy it off the rack (it originally cost about $25), but no store carried exactly that type of frock. It was finally created from scratch for about $1,000.

Betty Comden and Adolph Green made the characters played by Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant a married couple because they felt that the audiences would not accept a male/female writing team who weren't married to each other, even though the characters were based on Comden and Green, who were themselves not married to each other.

During the "Louisiana Hayride" number, Nanette Fabray gashed her leg when she broke through the top of a prop crate she was standing on. She said that shooting the "Triplets" number, which was filmed later and where she was forced to stand on her knees, was so painful that she had to take large numbers of pain pills.

Ginger Rogers met Fred Astaire in New York in the early 1930s and they dated briefly. She saw him perform in the original Broadway production of this show. She was enraptured by his dancing with Tilly Losch and wrote: "If I had known that I was going to be Fred's partner in a matter of months, I would have paid closer attention to each move and pause".

The movie reflects two real-life situations. In the movie Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) is washed up. In real life Astaire's career was at a standstill. In the movie much is made of whether Cyd Charisse's character is too tall for Fred's character. This was also true in real life. Whenever Cyd and Fred are together she is in shoes with low heels. The sole exception is in "The Girl Hunt Ballet". Here she is wearing medium height heels. Fred is wearing a hat which offsets and hides the height difference.

After Les and Lilly have their fight in the alley, Les heads for the bar across the street. In the background you can see a poster for the play "Every Night At Seven". This was the title of the play that Fred Astaire and Jane Powell starred in in the movie Königliche Hochzeit (1951).

Julie Newmar appears in the fashion show near the start of the "Girl Hunt" number, just after Fred Astaire walks through the green door. She is the third of the three models, the redhead.

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1995.

The original Broadway show "The Band Wagon" opened on June 3, 1931 at the New Amsterdam Theater, and ran 260 performances. It marked the last Broadway show to feature Fred Astaire and his sister Adele Astaire, who left the act shortly thereafter to get married. The cast also featured such future film luminaries as Helen Broderick (mother of Broderick Crawford), Frank Morgan and Tilly Losch. The movie's plot was completely invented, since the original was a musical revue rather than a book musical. Only three of its Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz songs were retained for the film: "I Love Louisa," "Dancing in the Dark," and "New Sun in the Sky."

The characters reflect real life. Fred Astaire was indeed considering retirement as his career was at a standstill, just like his character in the movie. The characters played by Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant are based on the film's screenwriters, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Jack Buchanan's character is based on José Ferrer, who at the time was producing four Broadway shows and starring in a fifth.

The title is from an original 1931 Broadway musical, by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, which starred Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire. Only the title and some of the songs were borrowed for this film, and the stories are entirely different. The exact same thing occurred later with Fred Astaire in Ein süßer Fratz (1957), in which Astaire and his sister Adele Astaire had originally appeared on Broadway in 1927. The only opportunity Astaire had to recreate a role on film that he had originated on Broadway was in Scheidung auf amerikanisch (1934), from Broadway's "Gay Divorce".

"By Myself" performed by Fred Astaire would later be sung by Jerry Lewis in Der Held von Brooklyn (1957) and become a signature song for Judy Garland who performed it in Bretter, die die Welt bedeuten (1963).

Three other Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz numbers, which can be heard on the Rhino soundtrack CD, were deleted from the movie: "Sweet Music," sung by Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant (NOTE: the melody is played in the background); "You Have Everything," danced by Fred Astaire; and "Got a Bran' New Suit," performed by Astaire and Nanette Fabray (with Oscar Levant on piano).

This film was a dud at the box office upon its initial release, resulting in a loss of $1,185,000 ($10.78M in 2017) according to studio records.

Many of the props, sets, and costumes for the huge production number that goes wrong in rehearsal in Boston are from Männer machen Mode (1952), Ziegfelds himmlische Träume (1945) and Ein Amerikaner in Paris (1951).

The film was originally titled "I Love Louisa", from one of the songs in the picture. This title was later scrapped in favor of "The Band Wagon" after the Broadway play. However, because 20th Century Fox owned the rights to that title, MGM had to pay a reported $10,000 for those three words.

Steve Forrest has an uncredited speaking role as a passenger getting off the train near the beginning of the movie.

During the production Jack Buchanan had to undergo extensive dental work, including three root canal operations and was in pain for most of the filming.

Most of the songs in "The Band Wagon" are not original to the movie. Its most famous song came about when producer Arthur Freed was concerned that there was something missing from the film. Freed asked Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz to come up with something similar to Irving Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business." So, Schwartz and Dietz left, and 45 minutes later they came back with "That's Entertainment."

Several times in the film you see theatre marquees or posters showing the title "The Proud Land" - especially in the "Girl Hunt" ballet number. This is the title of a novel featured in the plot of Vincente Minnelli's film from the previous year Stadt der Illusionen (1952).

"Two-Faced Woman," a Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz number showcasing Cyd Charisse (with Oscar Levant on piano), was cut from this movie. Charisse's song (dubbed by India Adams) and dance, along with footage of her rehearsing, are featured on the DVD from Warner Home Video. The Adams and Levant audio finds a spot on Rhino's soundtrack CD. Later that year in Herzen im Fieber (1953), the prerecording by India Adams was lip-synced by Joan Crawford, who performed her version in blackface. That's Entertainment! III (1994) matches the Charisse and Crawford routines by using a split screen.

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.

During the shoeshine/arcade number, the same extras keep showing up in the background even though they are supposedly walking through. Some of them go by six times.

At the beginning of the movie, the auctioneer in an effort to sell Tony Hunter's top hat and cane, declares it be the same hat and cane Hunter had used in a movie called 'Swinging Down to Panama'. This is an obvious in-joke reference to Fred Astaire's real 1933 movie 'Flying Down to Rio', which had been his first with Ginger Rogers.

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