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

High Society (1956)

This entertaining Technicolored MGM musical with an original Cole Porter score (with an Academy Award nomination for Best Score) was a tuneful remake of director George Cukor's screwball comedy The Philadelphia Story (1940) set in Newport with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart. It starred miscast Bing Crosby (as ex-husband CK Dexter Haven), Frank Sinatra (as writer Mike Connor), and Grace Kelly (in her last film before marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco, as rich girl Tracy Samantha Lord). It was the first teaming of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Memorable moments included Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's singing of the title song High Society (pictured) in the back of a limousine in calypso style with his band to outline the plot like a Greek chorus, Sinatra's seductive singing of You're Sensational (pictured) to Kelly, the teaming of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby in a clever duet singing the recycled song Well, Did You Evah? (pictured), the romantic popular Oscar-nominated hit song True Love (pictured) performed by Crosby (with a squeezebox) to Grace Kelly, and Crosby's lively duet of Now You Has Jazz (pictured) accompanied by Louis Armstrong's jazz band (and in the middle of the piece featuring Armstrong's own trumpet solo) during the Newport Jazz Festival.

High, Wide and Handsome (1937)

Director Rouben Mamoulian's and Paramount's lavish but forgotten western-flavored musical again teamed soprano Irene Dunne (as Sally Watterson) with the music of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, due to their previous year's success with Showboat (1936); it was shot on location in California to tell its story of the mid-1800's struggle between farmers and railroaders (led by Walter Brennan) over western Pennsylvania oilfields; although a box-office failure, its most memorable songs integrated into the plot were Dorothy Lamour's (as saloon girl Molly) torch song The Things I Want, Lamour's duet with Dunne Allegheny Al in a saloon, and the two classic songs Can I Forget You? (reprised by Dunne in a traveling medicine show ring) and Dunne's lovely and great ballad The Folks Who Live on the Hill (pictured), sung in her wedding dress to her new husband, local farmer Peter Cortlandt (Randolph Scott).

History of the World: Part 1 (1981)

Director/writer/producer/actor Mel Brooks appeared as the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition in this episodic comedy; he was featured leading a lengthy song and dance musical number in which he sang with a chorus of monks: "The Inquisition, Let's begin, The Inquisition, Look out, sin, We have a Mission, To Convert the Jews!..."; the sequence ended with an Esther Williams/Busby Berkeley set piece production depicting water torture (for the persecution of the Jews) which was introduced by Torquemada: "We'll flatten their fingers, we've branded their buns! Nothing is working! Send in the nuns!" - a long row of nuns appeared, removed their black and white habits to reveal one piece white bathing suits and caps - and then dove into a large pool and performed a synchronized swimming routine.

Holiday Inn (1942)

This Paramount homefront musical with 14 Irving Berlin songs teamed Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in the first of their two appearances together; as song-and-dance men who competed in a love triangle for the same girl (Marjorie Reynolds), mellow-voiced Crosby delivered his first screen performance of Berlin's timeless classic and poignant Oscar-winning Best Song White Christmas (pictured) - the best-selling single in any music category for more than 50 years - the song would become the title tune for the remake White Christmas (1954), starring Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen; Astaire's best and most spectacular dance number was Say It With Firecrackers (pictured) - punctuated by exploding fireworks.

Hollywood Hotel (1937)

This lively and amusing Busby Berkeley-directed musical comedy, about small-town jazz band member Ronnie Bowers (Dick Powell) winning a Hollyw0od talent contest and being assigned as his prize to escort a starlet to a movie premiere - in a case of mistaken identity, was famous for its musical numbers, although it appeared to be the last of the cycle of lavish musicals: its numbers included the theme song Hooray for Hollywood ("Hooray for Hollywood / That screwy, bally-hooey Hollywood..."), and I'm Like a Fish Out of Water (pictured) - sung by Dick Powell and Lola Lane (as Mona Marshall) while wading in a fountain.

Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)

MGM's elaborate, Best Picture-nominated film at the dawn of the talkies was an early all-star musical Broadway revue with many star performers from Hollywood that contained some color sequences; it was hosted by Jack Benny (including a bit in drag) and Conrad Nagel, and starred Joan Crawford (singing Gotta Feeling For You), Bessie Love, comedians Laurel and Hardy (bumbling through magic tricks), Marie Dressler singing For I'm the Queen (pictured), Buster Keaton, Marion Davies performing Tommy Atkins on Parade and tap-dancing on a large drum, and Norma Shearer and John Gilbert reprising (in color) the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet; its most famous and popular song was the first rendition of Singin' In the Rain (pictured), sung by Cliff ("Ukelele Ike") Edwards playing a ukulele with a chorus of showgirls in raincoats during a downpour - and the song was also reprised at the climax of the film when the entire cast appeared in yellow raincoats.

Horsefeathers (1932)

In this fourth comedy masterpiece from the Marx Brothers, Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Groucho Marx) who was assuming the presidency of Huxley College - in the musical number "(Whatever It Is), I'm Against It," described how he would nihilistically respond to trustee suggestions, ridiculing them: " I don't know what they have to say. It makes no difference anyway. Whatever it is, I'm against it". The second verse, which was a different song, was "I Always Get My Man." The bearded faculty professors joined the contemptable Wagstaff, slavishly bowing and pointing to him, and circling around him in a soft-shoe routine. When the dance was finished, he told them: "All right scram, boys. I'll meet you in the barber shop"; in addition, throughout the film, all four of the Marx Brothers sang (or played) the song Everyone Says I Love You

How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955)

Sheree North, an attempted carbon-copy blonde replacement for Marilyn Monroe, starred in this musical comedy opposite Betty Grable (her last film) after the unwilling blonde star walked off and refused to do this picture for Fox; in one of its more talked-about sequences, North stripped off her gray graduation gown and performed a rock and roll dance to Shake, Rattle & Roll on the stage during the ceremony.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)

This musical comedy film version virtually duplicated Frank Loesser's Tony Award-winning Broadway musical from 1961 - it included two stars reprising their roles from the stage: Robert Morse (as ex-window washer and ambitious, up-and-coming corporate executive J. Pierpont Finch), and Rudy Vallee as his pompous boss J. B. Biggley - both employed in the World Wide Wicket Company; a few of the film's catchy tunes included A Secretary is Not a Toy (pictured), the irreverent The Company Way (pictured), the romantic ballad I Believe in You (pictured), the mock college fight song Grand Old Ivy, and the finale Brotherhood of Man (pictured).

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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