The other day, I came to a conclusion about the beloved Hollywood musical The Band Wagon.
Ready? Here it is.
I don’t like it as much as Singin’ in the Rain.
OK, big whoop. That’s like saying I don’t like foie gras as much as caviar. Honestly, they’re both top-notch films. They both have terrific scripts. They both have rollicking numbers.
But after years of viewing The Band Wagon, I noticed that some of the songs just aren’t up to par. Take “Louisiana Hayride,” for instance. Or “Triplets.”
As Mad Magazine‘s Alfred E. Neuman might opine: “Ecch!”
“Triplets” is a particular puzzlement. Why is this corny, unfunny number so vaunted in the annals of…well, corny, unfunny numbers? It’s dull. It’s forced. It tries too hard. The verdict: phooey.
Same with “Louisiana Hayride.” If I told you how cheesy I thought this bit of idealized Americana is, you might run for a scraper and some quince paste.
The fact is, The Band Wagon is good enough to make these tiresome numbers an afterthought. “That’s Entertainment,” of course, is a showstopper. And the “Girl Hunt Ballet” is a lot of fun. But I don’t think it measures up to Singin’ in the Rain‘s economy, let alone the charm of the songs. Plus, the latter flick’s got better cinematography. Some of the shots in The Band Wagon look strangely drab.
So in conclusion, this arbiter of Superb Movie Musicals has to drop a personal favorite down from its former perch. Just a notch below, but enough to make me wonder if something that’s entertainment can really compete with another thing that’s art.