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

Nashville (1975)

Director Robert Altman's country-western character study interweaved and crisscrossed the lives and destinies of 24 different characters in a free-flowing tapestry or kaleidoscope, at the time of the Bicentennial. A remarkable aspect of the film was that the cast composed their own original songs with the assistance of the film's music supervisor Richard Baskin. One of the musical highlights included the scene in which folk singer Tommy Brown (Keith Carradine) strummed his guitar and sang It Don't Worry Me and also delivered the seductive I'm Easy (pictured) to a crowd - with the camera slowly showing the face of aroused audience member Linnea (Lily Tomlin) in the back; also memorable was Barbara Jean's (Oscar-nominated Ronee Blakely) duet titled One, I Love You (pictured) with Haven Hamilton (Henry Gibson) and her last moving performance of My Idaho Home (pictured) at a political rally at the Nashville Parthenon when she was suddenly assassinated - and quickly replaced with unknown performer Albuquerque (Barbara Harris) who calmed the crowd with It Don't Worry Me.

Naughty Marietta (1935)

This box-office success, the first of the profitable MGM musicals starring MacDonald and Eddy, was a new version (directed by W.S. Van Dyke) of the 1910 operetta by Victor Herbert and Rida Johnson Young; it starred Jeanette MacDonald (as disguised 18th century French Princess Marie) and newcomer Nelson Eddy (as Captain Dick Warrington, head of a troop of mercenary scouts) in a pre-Revolutionary America setting; the best of their performed songs was Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life (pictured) - one of MacDonald's signature tunes, as well as I'm Falling in Love With Someone.

New York, New York (1977)

Liza Minnelli's tremendous belted-out, show-stopping finale of John Kander and Fred Ebb's iconic NYC anthem Theme from New York, New York ("Start spreadin' the news, I'm leaving today, I want to be a part of it: New York, New York", and concluding with: "If I can make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere, It's up to you, New York, New York!") in Martin Scorsese's notable musical flop co-starring Robert DeNiro, with other performances, including original Kander and Ebb songs such as But the World Goes 'Round alongside classic standards from the 20's and 30's such as Greer and Klages' Just You, Just Me, Rodgers and Hart's Blue Moon (performed by Mary Kay Place), Fats Wallers' Honeysuckle Rose (performed by Diahnne Abbott), Brown and Freed's You Are My Lucky Star, the Gershwins' The Man I Love and Edwards and Green's Once in a While. [Two years later, Frank Sinatra made Theme from New York, New York a smash hit, and virtually the city's representative theme song.]

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tim Burton's magnificent gothic film was a combination of stop-motion animation and originally-composed spooky yet inventive musical numbers and songs (by Danny Elfman), including the opening number This is Halloween by the denizens of Halloween Town and the amazing Making Christmas sequence; the major character -- the "Pumpkin King" Jack Skellington (voice of Chris Sarandon, singing voice by Elfman) also sang the existential torch song Jack's Lament ("...Oh, somewhere deep inside of these bones / An emptiness began to grow..."), the show-stopping song-and-dance What's This? ("There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads, they're busy building toys and absolutely no one's dead!") in reaction to Christmas Town, and the fantastic Poor Jack song when Jack realized his mistake and lamented in an angel headstone's arms: ("What have I done? / What have I done? / How could I be so blind?"); in the triumphant finale, Jack finally realized his love for patchwork girl Sally ("...for it is plain as anyone can see: we're simply meant to be") with a closing kiss on a snowy curlicue hill.

Oklahoma! (1955)

There were many memorable Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II standards in this widely-acclaimed Best Score-winning film (adapting the 1943 Broadway show musical that was based upon Lynn Riggs' 1931 folk play, Green Grow the Lilacs) with Agnes De Mille's choreography; notably, it was the first of nine Broadway shows that were created by the successful musical duo; the film's director was Fred Zinnemann - making his first musical (with a somber tone), and its budget of seven million dollars made it the most expensive film ever made to that time. The setting was the Oklahoma Territory in the early 20th century shortly before Oklahoma statehood; it was shot on location in the new 65-mm. wide-screen (CinemaScope) technicolor process called Todd-AO and with stereo sound - and heralded in its publicity as: "A motion picture as big as all outdoors"; its opening number was of a cowboy (Gordon MacRae as cowboy Curly McLain) on horseback in the outdoors singing Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'; his romantic love interest was Shirley Jones (as farm girl sweetheart Laurey Williams); other songs were the rousing title song Oklahoma!, the well-known and spritely The Surrey With The Fringe On Top (pictured) ("Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry / When I take you out in my surrey / When I take you out in my surrey with the fringe on top!"), the expressionistic, red-hued dialogueless Dream Ballet ("Laurey Makes Up Her Mind") dance fantasy, and Gene Nelson's (as cowboy Will Parker) versatile performance of Kansas City; the main romantic love ballad was People Will Say We're in Love; other performers included Gloria Grahame (as Laurey's best friend Ado Annie), and Rod Steiger (as the brutish farm-hand Jud Fry).

Oliver! (1968)

Lionel Bart's musical version of the Charles Dickens novel "Oliver Twist" about a poorhouse orphan's (Mark Lester) travails that were set in early 19th century London - both a British production and a Broadway hit - as well as a Best Picture-winning film (from first-time musical director Carol Reed who won Best Director), provided many memorable songs, including the show-stopping Food Glorious Food by the entire Mr. Bumble's Home for Paupers and Orphans after Oliver innocently asked for more food; other hit songs included wily and thieving Fagin's (Ron Moody) professional advice to Oliver You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two and Reviewing the Situation; also the film featured the large production number - the welcoming Consider Yourself ("Consider yourself... at home! / Consider yourself... one of the family!"), Oliver's wistful Where Is Love?, and Nancy's (Shani Wallis) As Long As He Needs Me.

On the Town (1949)

This fresh, kinetic and innovative landmark MGM musical was co-directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and Leonard Bernstein's music from the Broadway stage musical of 1944; this musical masterpiece won the Oscar for Best Musical Score; it opened with the show-stopping, two and a half-minute song-and-dance number New York, New York (It's a Hell of a Town) - it was performed by sailors-on-leave Gabey (Gene Kelly), Chip (Frank Sinatra) and Ozzie (Jules Munshin) during a 24-hour furlough after docking in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and featured all the prominent sights of New York City; this was the first time that actual locations were used for musical numbers; they also experienced all the sights of the city with their new girlfriends: lust-crazed woman cab driver Hildy Esterhazy (Betty Garrett) (who advanced on Chip in Come Up to My Place), anthropologist student Claire Huddesten (Ann Miller) (whom Ozzie met in the fictional Museum of Anthropological History where they performed the song/dance Prehistoric Man), and dancer "Miss Turnstiles" Ivy Smith (Vera-Ellen) - who performed a duet with Gabey in Main Street, and then appeared in a stylized and innovative dream sequence titled A Day in New York; the film ended with the climactic title number On the Town performed by the three couples.

Once (2006, Ire.)

Tucked into writer/director John Carney's wistful romantic musical was a charming duet at the piano between a nameless street musician - or Guy (Glen Hansard) and a married, nameless 19-year old Czech immigrant - or Girl (Markéta Irglová), singing the Oscar-winning Original Song tune Falling Slowly while in a nearly-empty music store -- among the film's many songs.

Orchestra Wives (1942)

In this non-Technicolored Fox musical, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra - recalling the Big Band era of music and swing jazz (following the previous year's Sun Valley Serenade) - performed I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo in the film's finale, as well as other renditions of Harry Warren's music including At Least and Serenade in Blue; the film also featured one of the famed Nicholas Brothers' best dance numbers; Glenn Miller starred as Gene Morrison - the leader of the film's fictional band.

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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