“Dancing In The Dark” August 26, 2007Posted by Jeff in 1946 through 1960, Comden and Green, Dance, Fred Astaire, Movies, Musicals, Theater.
“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 …