Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes

F - 1

Greatest Song and Dance Musical Moments and Scenes
Film Title/Year and Brief Musical Scenes Description

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

This film included the infamously torrid scene in which high-heeled, sensuous and slinky ex-hooker Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer), wearing a high-slit red dress, sang Makin' Whoopee as she slithered atop a slippery piano top.

A Face in the Crowd (1957)

In this Elia Kazan-directed satirical drama, Andy Griffith (in his first dramatic role) starred as Larry 'Lonesome' Rhodes - an opportunistic, drunken Arkansas homeless man who strummed his bluesy guitar with the homespun song Rye Whiskey for radio producer/interviewer Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal) - and soon became an overnight media celebrity on the radio and later a mean-spirited TV demagogue.

Fame (1980)

This 'feel-good' Alan Parker-directed dance musical (with an Oscar-winning Best Score) showcased aspiring and gifted young performers, especially in the scene in which New York City's High School of the Performing Arts wanna-be students spilled out onto the street and danced atop NY taxi cabs and other cars, and the performance of the Oscar-winning title song, Fame (sung by Irene Cara) ("Baby, remember my name..."); the popular film inspired a hit TV series and stage musical, and some of the young cast members became stars.

Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

This musical fable film (adapted from the Sholom Aleichem stories) by director Norman Jewison successfully reproduced the long-running Broadway stage production on the screen with its romanticized Russian village at the turn of the century, with its character of charismatic, scheming, beleaguered, poor, Jewish Russian peasant bearded milkman Teyve (Israeli actor Topol replacing Zero Mostel) and his songs including the opening pre-credits musical number Tradition; other iconic songs included the singing of Matchmaker, Matchmaker by Teyve's five daughters, and Teyve's dreamy If I Were a Rich Man ("All day long I'd biddy biddy bum. If I were a wealthy man") - sung in his barn during an exuberant dance; the film ended with the same view as in the film's beginning - a fiddler perched precariously on his roof.

The Fifth Element (1997)

In this writer-director science-fiction feature from Luc Besson, blue-skinned alien Diva Plavalaguna (Maïwenn Le Besco) sang an impossible, techno-styled aria (the notes were rumored to be electronically aided to go above and below human octave levels), choreographed to an accompanying fight scene as the beautiful, red-haired and ethereal alien Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) balletically dispatched invaders (Mangalores) in her chamber.

Flashdance (1983)

This R-rated sleeper hit from director Adrian Lyne included energetic, glossy music-video style dance sequences - especially in the Mawby's Bar sequence when Pittsburgh welder/exotic bar dancer Alexandra "Alex" Owens (Jennifer Beals) performed supine on a chair as water splashed down on her; also the film displayed the energetic scene of her workout in a gym to the tune of I Love Rock N Roll, and her climactic audition before the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance to the music of the Oscar-winning Best Song Flashdance - What A Feeling!

Flying Down to Rio (1933)

This high-grossing RKO film marked the first pairing between Fred Astaire (as Fred Ayres) and Ginger Rogers (as Honey Hale) as supporting performers, and their brief debut dance number - during the lengthy sensual show-stopping The Carioca (as the casino owner explained: "The American foxtrot is considered tame. Too dull...Our people prefer the Carioca"); the dance required the dancers to touch foreheads while clapsing hands - and then execute a turn without losing forehead contact, as Fred commented: "I'd like to try this thing just once" and Ginger added: "We'll show 'em a thing or three"; the film was most memorable, however, for the Flying Down to Rio number, with airplane wing-dancing/walking, skimpily-attired chorus girls atop biplane wings (filmed in an airplane hangar with wind machines and a few planes hanging from the ceiling - enhanced with backdrops of Rio and Malibu Beach), while Astaire danced below and sang the title song.

Follow the Fleet (1936)

This nautical musical film marked the fifth teaming of Fred Astaire (as confident gum-chewing sailor "Bake" Baker) and Ginger Rogers (as cheap dance-hall hostess and Baker's former dance partner Sherry Martin) to the music of Irving Berlin; they played the parts of reunited dance performers after the fleet came to San Francisco, and were best known for their wistful, poignant, romantically-lyrical and elegant self-contained, staged mini-drama/dance aboard the ship titled Let's Face the Music and Dance (pictured) - with many lifts and twirls featuring Rogers' billowing, art-deco beaded white dress with billowing sleeves on a moonlit terrace - with the two defiantly facing life's struggles (bankruptcy, suicide); they also performed the zany comic slapstick dance I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket; also memorable was their delightful show-within-a-show dance contest routine in the Paradise Ballroom titled Let Yourself Go (pictured) with Rogers wearing a satiny sailor suit - in the number, Rogers also sang the tune (her one solo singing performance in the entire set of Astaire/Rogers films) while backed by a trio of Jeanne Gray, Betty Grable, and Joy Hodges.

Footlight Parade (1933)

In this third backstage musical from Warner Bros in 1933, after 42nd Street and Gold Diggers of 1933, three fantastic, spectacular and show-stopping Busby Berkeley finales were performed back-to-back at the extravagant conclusion:

(1) the suggestive Honeymoon Hotel sequence featured married (?) couples (all named Smith) in a hotel, along with honeymooners Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler and a lecherous baby (Billy Barty) who almost shared their wedding night - a segment that was heavily edited by censors

(2) the 15-minute naughty pre-Code, opulent aquacade By a Waterfall featuring an elaborate grouping of 100 bathing-suited girls/chorines (deliberately clothed to appear naked) performing amazingly intricate dances and patterns in the water while shot kaleidoscopically from overhead - and then forming a revolving 70 foot high human wedding cake/fountain formation at the climax

(3) and the stylized Shanghai Lil (providing commentary on Paramount's Shanghai Lily character (Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932) from the year before) with Ruby Keeler in Chinese makeup and a jet-black wig in a sleazy, backstreet opium den and brothel on Shanghai's waterfront and James Cagney as a tap-dancing sailor looking for his long-lost love Lil in the vice-ridden bar. It closed with jingoistic configuration shots of an imperialistic US Navy drill team, the Stars and Stripes American flag, the face of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the NRA's Blue Eagle.

Footlight Serenade (1942)

Fox's star Betty Grable appeared in this black and white musical as secretly-married dancer Pat Lambert in a Broadway show who was pursued by arrogant champion heavyweight fighter Tommy Lundy (Victor Mature) in the lead role; in one memorable number in which she wore boxing gloves, she sang and danced to I Heard the Birdies Sing (pictured) with the chorus.

Greatest Song and Dance Musical Movie Moments and Scenes
(alphabetical by film title)
Introduction | A - 1 | A - 2 | B - 1 | B - 2 | B - 3 | C - 1 | C - 2 | D - 1 | D - 2 | E | F - 1 | F - 2 | G - 1 | G - 2
H - 1 | H - 2 | I - J | K | L - 1 | L - 2 | M - 1 | M - 2 | N - O | P - 1 | P - 2 | R - 1 | R - 2 | S - 1 | S - 2 | S - 3 | T | U - V | W | X - Z

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