The Band Wagon (1953): The Martons

Lilly and Lester Marton are a New York writing team who convince former film star  and friend Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) to try Broadway for a career comeback. They are secondary characters as the plot concentrates on Tony the hoofer's antagonism with Gabrielle the ballerina (Cyd Charisse).

Still, the Martons deserve a closer look.

Lilly (Nanette Fabray) and Lester  (Oscar Levant) are modeled after the real-life writing duo of Betty Comden and Adolph Green who were often mistaken for man and wife when actually they were each married to other (very understanding) spouses.
The Martons are successful playwrights and performers. We see them argue a bit when under stress, but mostly they are a solid couple. It is their strength and solidarity that provides a safe haven for Tony, a forgotten star and confirmed bachelor whom no one seems to want either professionally or personally.
Tony is forever putting on a facade, masking how he genuinely feels. ("I'm by myself, alone.")The Martons gently ease Tony into admitting his despondency, admitting that he actually likes Gabrielle. They are careful not to break his spirit.

These are great friends and a lovely and talented couple. I wish there were more movie characters like these two.


  1. Its so true! Betty Comden and Adolph Green were a dynamic duo of great proportion! The Band Wagon is one of my all time favorite MGM "heyday" movie musicals and the instant feeling of "long time friends" these two give off is one of the many things that make it a hit for me!

  2. Aww! These two sound wonderful - and this movie sounds great, too. Thanks for this info! :)

  3. Nice idea to look at the Martons. I love Nanette Fabrays's 'Louisiana Hayride'.
    Top musical.


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