Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes

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

Hair (1979)

Czech director Milos Forman's and UA's invigorating and audacious film version of the 1968 rock musical play, with dancer Twyla Tharp's choreography, included many memorable song-and-dance tunes (and boldly stark nudity) among the Central Park hippies, such as the opening number Aquarius (Age of Aquarius) ("harmony and understanding") in the park, the title song Hair (performed in prison), the "horse ballet" of Central Park's mounted police, and the closing scene at the gravesite (with white crosses) with the moving song Let the Sunshine In.

Hairspray (2007)

This successful song-and-dance adaptation of the Tony award-winning 2002 Broadway smash hit was also based on John Waters' 1988 cult classic film. It became one of the few movie musicals that grossed over $100 million (it was the third highest grossing musical film in U.S. cinema history at the time). Set in early 1960s Baltimore, it told about how plump teenager Tracy Turnblad (newcomer Blonsky) - who had an equally corpulent laundress mother Edna (Travolta in drag) - successfully competed in a local teen dance TV show and also brought about racial integration. Although it was not nominated for a single Academy Award, it had three Golden Globe nominations (Best Motion Picture Musical, Best Actress Musical - Blonsky, and Best Supporting Actor - Travolta). The final showstopping song was You Can't Stop the Beat.

Hallelujah! (1929)

An early MGM talkie directed by Academy Award-nominated King Vidor was daring because it was the first sound feature film from a major studio with an all-black cast; filmed mostly on location in Memphis, Tennessee and Arkansas in plantation settings, this slightly overwrought, patronizing and flawed film (Vidor's only musical after it failed at the box-office), the first all-black musical, was produced as a silent film and then supplemented with a dubbed-in soundtrack during post-production in Hollywood; the memorable film - a story of murder, corruption and redemption in the Deep South, featured the story of a black sharecropper/preacher Zeke (Daniel L. Haynes) who was treacherously seduced by Chick (Nina Mae McKinney); the musical was filled with jazz numbers, spirituals, traditional folk songs, work songs and lullabies (including Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Going Home, Swanee River, and Irving Berlin's new songs Waiting At the End of the Road and The Swanee Shuffle), although criticized as having stereotypical racist overtones, a slow pace, and some embarrassing dialogue.

Happy Feet (2006)

The many song-and-dance numbers in this CGI-animated tale, including the opening courting duet songs between two Emperor Penguins in Antarctica: Elvis Presley-like Memphis (voice of Hugh Jackman) to Heartbreak Hotel and breathy Marilyn Monroe-like Norma Jean (voice of Nicole Kidman) to Prince's Kiss (pictured); the birth of their penguin chick Mambo (nicknamed "Mumble") (voice of Elijah Wood) - a young fuzzball without the gift of song but who has a unique talent as a tap dancer (noted dancer Savion Glover motion-captured to supply the dancing movements) -- and the scene of Mumble practicing alone to Patti LaBelle's I Wish because his dancing is considered forbidden and abnormal by the elders; the scene in which Mumble ruins his true love Gloria's (voice of Brittany Murphy) rendition of Queen's Somebody to Love by trying to screech the lyrics; the brilliant Spanish-lingo version of Frank Sinatra's My Way by rambunctious Latino penguin Ramon (voice of Robin Williams) -- and Mumble's successful courting of Gloria by tap dancing to Gloria's singing of a fully orchestrated rendition of Boogie Wonderland; the heart-wrenching scene when an exiled Mumble, now caught and placed in a big-city aquarium, performs a soft-shoe routine for a little girl (a biped "alien") on the other side of the glass - draws a crowd's attention and is set free - with the human scientist aliens following him back to his habitat where they witness the penguins' mass dancing - resulting in their being saved from starvation and hunting by a United Nations decree

A Hard Day's Night (1964, UK)

The many famous Beatles songs (performed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr) were interwoven into this semi-documentary comedy story of 36 years in the life of the rock group by director Richard Lester, including the opening title song as the Fab Four were chased through a train station by screaming hordes of fans; also the finale with the group singing at the London television show; the film also included the memorable moment when the group romped through an open grassy field like children to the tune of Can't Buy Me Love - filmed with creative camera angles.

Hard to Get (1938)

This Warners Brothers' romantic comedy included Dick Powell's (as unemployed and struggling Bill Davis who romanced spoiled heiress Olivia de Havilland as Margaret Richards) famous rendition of the Oscar-winning hit song You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby during a night-time rowboat ride -- with music and lyrics by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer.

The Harvey Girls (1946)

This entertaining MGM musical's title referred to the straight-laced waitresses of the pioneering restaurant chain founded by Fred Harvey, who were brought Westward to fill the eating establishments and bring domesticity to the townsmen; the film, directed by George Sidney and produced by Arthur Freed, included a score by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer, and starred Judy Garland as a mail-order bride who became a Harvey Girl instead; one of Garland's biggest hits was this film's best number - the elaborate, show-stopping Oscar-winning song On the Atchison, Topeka and the Sante Fe (pictured); the film also opened with Garland on the back of a west-bound train singing In the Valley When the Evening Sun Goes Down.

Hello, Dolly! (1969)

After her success in Funny Girl (1968), Barbra Streisand starred in this ill-considered, cumbersome Fox film directed by dancer Gene Kelly -- it was a big-budget musical version of Thornton Wilder's play The Matchmaker that had opened on Broadway in 1964; the musical was the most expensive ($20 million) produced up to its time, and starred Streisand as a miscast widowed Jewish matchmaker named Dolly Levi -- she sang the famous title song Hello, Dolly! (pictured) in the Harmonia Gardens sequence where she was joined by gravel-voiced bandleader and trumpeter Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong who sang: "Well, hello... Dolly! It's so nice to have you back where you belong"; the film also included Before the Parade Passes By (pictured) staged with a large parade down a reconstructed 14th Street in 1890s NYC.

Help! (1965)

In this Fab Four spoof of the James Bond films, the Beatles sang many classic, memorable tunes, including the title song Help!, You're Gonna Lose That Girl, Ticket to Ride, and You've Got to Hide Your Love Away.

Hercules (1997)

In this Disney animation (their 35th) - their first feature film inspired by Greek mythology, young Hercules (voice of Roger Bart) sang the triumphant Oscar-nominated original song Go the Distance (pictured) ("...I am on my way, I can go the distance..."); there were also many lively Greek Chorus gospel soul group do-wop songs including the opening credits expositionary song Long Ago... ("Long ago, in the faraway land of ancient Greece, there was a golden age of powerful gods and extraordinary heroes..." initially narrated by the voice of Charlton Heston).

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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