Fred Astaire stars as Tony Hunter, a movie star whose career is in a downturn. Looking for a boost, Tony decides to try starring in a Broadway musical. His friends Lester and Lily Marton (Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray) have written a show they feel would be just right for Tony The three team up with Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan), a self-styled "genius" director, who gets the idea to turn the play into a revised version of Faust. Tony isn't too happy with his leggy co-star, Gaby Gerard (Cyd Charisse), whom he's convinced is too tall.
The Band Wagon featured a rare American appearance for British musical star Jack Buchanan, who does a fine soft-shoe with Fred Astaire on "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan." Astaire also shines in the numbers "Shine on Your Shoes" and "The Girl Hunt," a witty Mickey Spillane parody p "A Shine on Your Shoes," Astaire and Charisse's romantic duet "Dancing in the Dark," the faux-German drinking song "I Love Louisa," the manic trio "Triplets" (with Astaire, Fabray, and Buchanan in matching baby outfits), the Mickey Spillane-esque "Girl Hunt Ballet," and the classic show-biz anthem "That's Entertainment.