The Band Wagon

Synopsis: 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!
Director(s): Vincente Minnelli
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
112 min


Yes, ladies and gentlemen,

we are in luck today here in Los Angeles.

Through the years,

the Bullwinkle Galleries...

have brought up for auction...

many collections of the personal effects

of your famous movie stars.


But today is indeed a red-letter day.

The personal effects of Tony Hunter!

Lot 94.

Ladies and gentlemen,

let's start out with Lot 94.

Some of the potpourri

of Mr. Hunter's own personal costumes...

that he used in his famous

dancing-singing pictures.

Remember this?

Perhaps the most famous top hat...

and stick of our generation.

Yes, the one he used

in Swinging Down to Panama...

and all his other famous pictures.

Let's start with $5. Do I hear $5?

It's worth a lot more.

All right. Let's start with $2.

Well? 50 cents?


Just one more for the road.

About 20 minutes to New York.

Bottoms up.

- So you're from California?

- That's right. Sunny Cal.

- Sunny Cal?

- Yeah. Sunny Cal.

Say, you're from Sunny Cal. I bet

you know a lot of movie stars out there.

I got to confess. I'm just like you and me.

Only get to see them in the movies.

But I read about them.

I know all about them.

Boy, I'd sure like to meet

that Ava Gardner.

- You're a little late. She's married.

- Yeah.

- You know this one?

- Who's that?

- Tony Hunter.

- Oh, him. The singing-dancing fella.

My wife used to go see all his pictures.

Almost broke up our home.

"Tony Hunter! Tony Hunter!"

He was good 12 or 15 years ago...

but the columnists out there

say he's through.

Through? He's washed up.

Hasn't made a picture in three years.

- Did you say something, mister?

- I said I agreed with you.

That Tony Hunter's a has-been.

- Got a match?

- Yeah.

I wouldn't go to see him

if they gave away $5 bills with the ticket.


We should be pulling...

The funny thing about what you're saying,

boys, is that it's absolutely true.

Here. Have an exploding cigar.

- This the last of the bags, Mr. Hunter?

- Yeah.

Say, porter, could you see that

they get put in a taxi...

- and taken up to the Plaza Hotel?

- Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

Everybody's getting off, sir.

If you don't mind,

I'll just sit for a minute or two.

You couldn't just make up my berth

for the night here, could you?

No, sir. I couldn't do that.

There's a mob of reporters

and photographers out there.

Yep. There must be some big shot aboard.

Maybe the President.

No, too many for that.

Probably a movie star.

- Hi, fellas.

- Tony Hunter! Hello, Mr. Hunter!

Thanks for the red-carpet bit.

I didn't expect it.

- What brings you to New York?

- Just fooling around and relaxing.

- Between pictures, Tony?

- In a manner of speaking.

Didn't I read something in Variety

about you going into a show?

Lily and Les Marton had something

planned for me. I haven't decided yet.

I haven't been on the stage in a long time.

And you get into a different medium.

- What it actually is...

- Here she is, fellas!

- Excuse me, Mr. Hunter.

- See you later, Tony.

Hi, Miss Gardner.

Miss Gardner, hold it, please?

Smile pretty. Thanks.

- How long you going to be in town?

- I have no definite plans. I thought...

Tony! I had no idea you were on the train.

This is a surprise.

You going to be here long?

- Perhaps a week or two...

- Excuse me, Miss Gardner.

Could the boys get one more shot of you

coming out the door?

Honestly, isn't all this stuff an awful bore?

- Good to see you, Tony.

- It's nice to see you.

By the door, please, Miss Gardner.

Once more! Here we go! Thank you.

Miss Gardner, my paper would like

to do a Sunday feature on you.

Those poor movie stars. People just

won't let them alone, will they?

No. I don't know how they stand it.

I'll go my way by myself

like walking under the clouds

I'll go my way by myself

all alone in a crowd

I'll try to apply myself

and teach my heart how to sing

I'll go my way by myself

like a bird on the wing

I'll face the unknown

I'll build a world of my own

No one knows better than I, myself

I'm by myself alone

Tony Hunter! There's Tony Hunter!



Did you kids paint those signs just for me?

That's cute. Piggy.

Let's get rid of this stuff.

This is the biggest surprise I've had.

- Mister, can I have your autograph?

- You certainly can, gal, come here!

That's my wife. Let go.

Don't worry.

I'll get around to you in a minute.

- Who's he?

- Never saw him before in my life.

- Hello, piggy!

- Hello, yourself, you two-headed creep!

Why didn't you say

when you were coming?

We had to ask your agent.

- Why didn't you send us a wire?

- I wanted to sneak in quietly.

Believe me, I didn't have any trouble.

I want to see if you've changed in a year.

No, Les, you haven't changed a bit.

You look desperately ill, as usual.

- What'd you have to say that for?

- Just kidding.

I've been feeling terrible all day.

Kind of faint, light-headed,

a lot of pressure here, queasy inside...

- my pulse...

- You look great.

As for you, that New York pallor

is like a breath of fresh air.

You're too pretty to be a successful writer

and much too pretty to be married to that.

That's the prettiest compliment

I've had all day!

Come on, you two-headed lovebirds,

there's work to be done!

- Now I have here a script of a show!

- Les, you didn't bring it.

It's great. It's the best thing

we've ever written.

Take it, boy. Smell it!

You can tell it's good.

There's a great part in it for you,

nice little parts for us.

Wait. This boy must be starving.

Let's take him to Sardi's.

Only two blocks more, then Sardi's.

- Shall we tell him, Lil, the big surprise?

- You tell him, Les.

Who do you think is going to do the show?

Only the greatest director /producer

in town, Jeffrey Cordova.

- Who?

- Jeff Cordova.

We're meeting him tonight, backstage,

right after the show.

- What did you say his name was?

- Jeffrey Cordova!

You're not serious.

I don't think he ever heard of this fella.

What's the matter? Don't you

get newspapers back in California?

This genius directed Man in a Mousetrap...

The Lost Nymph, and did them both

while starring in Oedipus Rex.

He's got three hits running,

and he's starring in one of them.

Only one?

This fella's fabulous, phenomenal,

fantastic! He can do anything.

Has he ever directed a musical?

What's the difference? He can do anything.

He's theatre.

He's a new kind of theatre man, Tony.

The theatres changed.

Lots of things have changed.

They certainly have.

What's happened to 42nd Street?

I just can't get over it.

I just can't understand it.

This used to be the great theatre street

of the town. The New Amsterdam.

I had one of my biggest successes there.

Ran a year and a half.

Noel Coward and Gertie

were here in Private Lives in the Selwyn.

Strictly carriage trade,

nothing but the finest.

First show I ever did was at the Eltinge,

and I don't believe that's here anymore.

What's the matter?

- I think he broke my leg.

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Betty Comden

Betty Comden (born Basya Cohen, May 3, 1917 – November 23, 2006) was one-half of the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, who provided lyrics, libretti, and screenplays to some of the most beloved and successful Hollywood musicals and Broadway shows of the mid-20th century. Her writing partnership with Adolph Green, called "the longest running creative partnership in theatre history", lasted for six decades, during which time they collaborated with other leading entertainment figures such as the famed "Freed Unit" at MGM, Jule Styne and Leonard Bernstein, and wrote the musical comedy film Singin' in the Rain. more…

All Betty Comden scripts | Betty Comden Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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