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

Man of La Mancha (1972)

Filmed on location in Spain by director Arthur Hiller, this much-criticized film version of the 1965 stage production (with Richard Kiley) starred Peter O'Toole (with singing voice of Simon Gilbert) as the title character Miguel de Cervantes aka knight errant Don Quixote known for its memorable songs Impossible Dream ("To dream the impossible dream to fight the unbeatable foe to bear with unbearable sorrow to run where the brave dare not go") and the title tune Man of La Mancha; the film was also noted for Sophia Loren's portrayal of abused scullery maid Aldonza (the honorable Dulcinea in Quixote's mad mind).


Mary Poppins (1964)

This popular Academy Award Special Effects-winning musical fantasy children's/family film from Walt Disney Studios, unique in that it had no stage origins, had an amazing blending of live action with animated cartoon characters and many imaginative numbers by magical nanny Mary Poppins (Oscar-winning Julie Andrews) in the P.L Travers-inspired 1934 tale, including A Spoonful of Sugar and Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag) sung by Mary and an old Bird Woman (Jane Darwell in her final role). Carefree Cockney sidewalk artist/chimney-sweep Bert (Cockney-accented Dick Van Dyke) sang the Oscar-winning Best Song Chim-Chim-Cheree and the wild Step in Time - a huge Irish jig dance number on rooftops with other chimney-sweeps while dodging fireworks and cannon-blasts; the most famous number from the film, the catchy, tongue-twisting classic tune Super-cali-fragilistic-expi-ali-docious, was set in an animated, comical setting/world.

M*A*S*H (1970)

Director Robert Altman's anti-war black comedy was about military doctors and nurses at a M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) during the Korean War. It inspired the long-running TV series, and was most famous for Private Seldman's (Ken Prymus) performance of Suicide Is Painless for erectile-dysfunctioning and suicidal "Painless Pole" Walt Waldowski (John Schuck) in the "Last Supper" scene.

The Mask (1994)

The entrance scene of Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz in her screen debut, singing voice of Susan Boyd) seductively singing Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You in the Coco Bongo Club caused the heart of The Mask (Jim Carrey) - a yellow zoot-suited wolf with green skin, to beat through his shirt - he joined her on stage, transforming the band and the number into the upbeat Cab Calloway song Hi De Ho, in which he danced with her using physically impossible moves; another particularly memorable dance number was Cuban Pete.

Maytime (1937)

In this classic and very sentimental film told in flashback, based on the 1917 operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg, the third of MGM's popular and profitable Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy films, unrequited and tragic lovers American Paul Allison (Nelson Eddy) and opera star Marcia Mornay (Jeanette MacDonald) in the court of Louis Napoleon sang in the May Day country fair sequence the film's theme song: Will You Remember? ("Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Though our paths may sever, To life's last faint ember, we will remember Springtime, love time, May") amid flowering and blossoming apple trees, to pledge their eternal love; in the last view of the lovers in the film, they strolled hand in hand down a country lane - toward heaven - after being united in death.

(Monty Python's) The Meaning of Life (1983)

The many comic songs in this Monty Python classic included the satirical Every Sperm is Sacred (mocking the "no birth control" policy of the Catholic church): ("Hindu, Taoist, Mormon, Spill theirs just anywhere; But God loves those who treat - their semen with more care; Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate") and the outrageous The Penis Song sung by Noel Coward (Eric Idle): ("Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis? / Isn't it frightfully good to have a dong?"); also the Galaxy Song sung by Mr. Pink (also Idle), stressing the place of Man in the universe: ("So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure / How amazingly unlikely is your birth / And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space / 'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth") while featuring a constellation of stars resembling a pregnant woman giving birth to represent the "expanding universe"; and the Christmas In Heaven segment -- featuring Santa Claus-outfitted female angels with exposed breasts.

Meet Me in St. Lous (1944)

Vincente Minnelli's gorgeous musical (his third film and his first in color) that romanticized and idealized the turn of the century at the time of the 1904 World's Fair, the second highest-grossing film for MGM up to that time, included Judy Garland's (as winsome daughter Esther Smith) famous renditions of the joyful The Trolley Song ("Ding, ding, ding went the trolley!") (pictured) as she rode to the fairgrounds, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (pictured) lovingly and tenderly sung at a wintry window to her distressed sister 'Tootie' (Margaret O'Brien) who didn't want to move from St. Louis, and the romantically expressive falling-in-love song The Boy Next Door (pictured), as well as the title song Meet Me in St. Louis, sung by Garland, Joan Carroll, Harry Davenport, Henry H. Daniells, and Lucille Bremer; it also featured Garland's and O'Brien's delightful song and cakewalk to Under the Bamboo Tree (pictured) complete with straw hats and canes in a home-style minstrel shuffle.

The Merry Widow (1934)

MGM's stylish, expressive and expensive film (spearheaded by producer Irving Thalberg) was red-headed soprano Jeanette MacDonald's first assignment with the studio, co-starring with her Paramount partner Maurice Chevalier under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch on loan from Paramount. It told the first 'talkie' version of the story (already filmed by Erich von Stroheim in the 1925 silent version) of wealthy widow Sonia (MacDonald) and her romance with the dashing, irresistible and roguish Count Danilo (Chevalier), who wanted her to keep her fortune in the tiny kingdom of Marshovia in 1885. It was the stars' fourth and final film together and their sole film with MGM - Chevalier left Hollywood the following year. New lyrics by Lorenz Hart and Gus Kahn supplemented the Franz Lehar score from the original 1905 operetta, including MacDonald's renditions of Vilia (pictured) (from a balcony) and Paris in the Spring, and Chevalier's joyous Girls! Girls! Girls! (pictured) as he marched along ("Though our country will never make war, We've a reason that's worth marching for, not for battle our banner unfurls, but for girls, girls, girls, girls, girls"), and I'm Going to Maxim's. In one wonderful song-dance sequence, Chevalier and MacDonald danced cheek-to-cheek in the private dining room at Maxim's restaurant as she seduced him to the strains of the Merry Widow Waltz (pictured). Waltzing couples in a large ballroom were the highlight of the film's celebrated and grand production number at the Embassy ball - an extended Merry Widow Waltz sequence (with Academy Award-winning set design) (pictured), in which the duo danced the waltz together to a live orchestra with scores of others - who twirled down a long mirrored hallway.

Metropolis (1927, Ger.)

Fritz Lang's dystopic view of the future included evil (and false) robot Maria's (Brigitte Helm) seductively semi-nude erotic dance (censored upon the film's initial release) at the depraved Yoshiwara nightclub to drive the workers into a sexual frenzy (exhibited by a mosaic of disembodied eyes), before she called for them to violently revolt.

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)

This MGM film has been considered the best of Esther Williams' aquacade ballets - with two sequences directed by Busby Berkeley; in this one, she portrayed 1920s Australian swimming champion Annette Kellerman in a recreation of her underwater aquatic tank performance at the NY Hippodrome; in the first spectacular set, four hundred water fountain streams shot up 30 feet to form a giant waterfall in which Esther Williams arose from the center of the geyser to perform a 40-foot swan dive into multi-colored water; in a second major number, The Smoke Number, giant 4th of July-type fiery sparklers, flame plumes and colored smoke streams shooting up fifty feet combined with trapeze performers who dove from giant swings above the water.

Modern Times (1936)

Actor-director Charlie Chaplin's own film was a final stand against the synchronized sound film - and his last full-length "silent film" - although it was technically a quasi-silent film, in which Chaplin's actual voice was heard singing an imaginary, nonsense song of gibberish (as a singing waiter).

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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