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

San Francisco (1936)

Besides the earth-shattering depiction of the SF Earthquake disaster in 1906, Jeanette MacDonald (as Mary Clark) reprised the singing of the title song at the annual "Chicken Ball" charity event on behalf of Barbary Coast entrepreneur Blackie Norton's (Clark Gable) Paradise gambling hall to win a $10,000 prize (rejected by Blackie); after the earthquake she was located on a hillside in a Salvation Army camp singing Nearer My God to Thee, and the Oscar-nominated film concluded with a chorus of The Battle Hymn of the Republic by the throngs of survivors as they looked down on the devastated city - and imagined its reconstruction (to the reprised tune of San Francisco) in the finale.

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

# 9 "Stayin' Alive"

Director John Badham's Seventies' disco dance classic starred Saturday night dance king Tony Manero (Oscar-nominated John Travolta) wearing a white polyester suit and strutting his stuff on a pulsating color-tiled dance floor of the 2001 Odyssey club to the songs of the Bee Gees, The Trammps and Yvonne Elliman; also the scene of the Night Fever line dance, and the contest scene with a white-suited, black-shirted Tony dancing next to partner Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) to the tune of More Than a Woman to win the $500 prize; though not a dance, the film opened during the credits with the iconic shot of Tony strutting down the street in time to the Bee Gee's Stayin' Alive ("Oh, you can tell by the way I walk / I'm a woman's man, no time to talk").

Selena (1997)

Jennifer Lopez recreated the spirit and energetic performances of Texas born tejano singer and future Latino superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in this romance-drama and musical biopic by director Gregory Nava.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

One of the best musicals of the mid-50s was this successful Stanley Donen-directed film from MGM with a Best Picture nomination and an Oscar-winning Score by Saul Chaplin and Adolph Deutsch, and featuring incredible dancing segments (although shot entirely on a sound stage); it was derived from a Stephen Vincent Benet short tale titled The Sobbin' Women, about the six brothers of Adam Pontipee - an Oregon farmer (Howard Keel) (the eldest of seven brothers) and his wife Milly (Jane Powell) in 1850 who eventually would be married to six women in the town; the great Gene de Paul/Johnny Mercer songs in the score included Keel's Bless Your Beautiful Hide and Sobbin' Women, Powell's Wonderful, Wonderful Day and Goin' Courtin' (advising her brothers-in-law), and the brothers' lovesick Lament (I'm a Lonesome Polecat) and their sweethearts' song Spring, Spring, Spring; the lively and large-scale dance numbers - choreographed by Michael Kidd - included the 8-minute "Barn-Raising" ballet sequence (pictured) that began with a competitive challenge dance of acrobatic leaps and balletic steps and led to a rowdy brawl and actual barn-raising.

Shall We Dance (1937)

This classic RKO film (with an Ira and George Gershwin score), by director Mark Sandrich, marked the seventh pairing of Fred Astaire (masquerading as Russian ballet star Peter "Petrov" Peters) and Ginger Rogers (as musical comedy headliner and tap dancer Linda Keene) - often seen as the last of their classic string of films together; this film included one of their most famous numbers: the Central Park roller-rink skating duet Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (pictured) ('You say potayto and I say potahto'), Astaire's song-and-tap dance solo Slap That Bass (pictured) performed in the boiler-engine room of a transatlantic ocean liner, the very short (I've Got) Beginner's Luck, Astaire's singing of the lovely Oscar-nominated Gershwin song They Can't Take That Away From Me (pictured) to teary-eyed Ginger (followed by a dance with ballerina Harriet Hoctor), and their best challenge number They All Laughed (pictured twice) performed together at a rooftop restaurant, and ending with them sitting atop a white piano; the film's happy ending was concluded with the title number Shall We Dance (pictured) featuring Fred dancing with dozens of chorus girls (with multiple Ginger Rogers masks - an idea copied from Dames (1934)) and solo dancing with Ginger herself.

The Show of Shows (1929)

Here was one of the first "variety" revue shows, featuring "all-talking, all singing, and all dancing" vaudeville dramatic acts and songs from dozens of Warners' stars and hosted by Master of Ceremonies emcee Frank Fay; this was originally a two-color Technicolored film, but now available as mostly black and white; comedienne Winnie Lightner sang Singin' in the Bath-Tub (pictured) (a spoof of Singin' in the Rain in MGM's Hollywood Revue of 1929) with a beefy male chorus attired (with shower caps and striped bathing suits) as bathing girls, and an all-star number titled Meet My Sister featured eight sets of starlets, each attired in costumes of various countries with Richard Barthelmess as emcee; John Barrymore delivered a brilliant rendition of Richard III's soliloquy from Shakespeare's Henry VI; a ballet number featured 75 dancing girls in black and white costumes, highlighted by Louise Fazenda; in the lavish Lady Luck finale (pictured), Betty Compson and Alexander Gray starred along with 15 individual acts, climaxed by each of the film's stars poking their heads through holes in a canvas and singing Lady Luck; earlier numbers Li-Po-Li and Floradora Girls featured little-known Myrna Loy.

Show Boat (1936)

This black and white film from Universal, the definitive version directed by horror film master James Whale, was the best adaptation of the popular, long-running 1927 Broadway hit musical (by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II) - revived in 1932, and the partly-silent, unsuccessful 1929 film version. Nine songs retained from the stage show were added to three new songs. The musical told about the showboat Cotton Blossom, taken from Edna Ferber's 1926 source novel. It included three Jerome Kern numbers in rapid succession: Irene Dunne (as charming Mississippi riverboat singer-heroine Magnolia Hawks) and Allan Jones (as her irresponsible gambling husband Gaylord Ravenal) singing Make Believe; Paul Robeson's (as roustabout stevedore Joe) (William Warfield in 1951) famous powerful, deep-voiced rendition of Ol' Man River (pictured twice); and many of the cast joining Helen Morgan (as Julie Laverne) to sing Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (pictured twice). Another theatrical version was released as a Technicolored version in 1951 (with Ava Gardner as Julie, Howard Keel as Gaylord, and Kathryn Grayson as Magnolia).

1936 version

1951 version

Shrek (2001)

This computer-generated animation PDI/DreamWorks production, with parodies of well-known fairy tales, characters, and Disney and Disneyland-related items and popular films (Snow White, the Wicked Witch, Cinderella, Robin Hood - or Monsieur Hood, The Matrix, etc.), ended with the celebratory song-and-dance number I'm a Believer (Neil Diamond's song, performed by Smash Mouth) sung by Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy) with the entire cast dancing in their own unique styles - Cinderella and Monsieur Hood's Merry Men did the Macarena, while The Three Pigs performed a breakdance, etc.; the DVD release included an additional three-minute segment of the film's I'm a Believer musical finale.

Shrek 2 (2004)

In this sequel, after green ogre Shrek (voice of Mike Myers) and Princess Fiona (voice of Cameron Diaz) were married in the original film, they returned to their shocked in-laws in Far, Far Away land, King Harold (voice of John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (voice of Julie Andrews); memorable numbers included the Fairy Godmother's (Absolutely Fabulous' Jennifer Saunders) two show-stopping numbers: The Fairy Godmother Song - a parody of the song Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast (1991) sung to newly-wed Fiona, and at the Royal Ball, she sang a cabaret-styled rendition of Holding Out For a Hero in a sequined red dress, sitting atop the piano, as in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989); the film's Oscar-nominated Best Original Song Accidentally In Love by Counting Crows played over scenes of Shrek and Fiona's honeymoon; another celebratory song-and-dance ensemble number was in the closing, Livin' La Vida Loca, sung by Donkey (voice of Eddie Murphy) and ogre-killer Puss-In-Boots (voice of Antonio Banderas); the DVD release featured an American Idol spoof called "Far Far Away Idol", with Simon Cowell (as Himself) judging the film's characters.

Silk Stockings (1957)

Director Rouben Mamoulian's screen dance-musical (his last film) was a widescreen MGM musical remake during the Cold War era of Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo, and adapted from Cole Porter's last Broadway show; it also marked 57 year-old Fred Astaire's last musical film for 10 years, and was famed Arthur Freed's first film as an independent producer at the studio. Cyd Charisse took the role of conservative Soviet spy Ninotchka Yoschenko (sent to Paris to bring back a defector) who was engaged in May-December romance with Fred Astaire (as Hollywood movie producer Steve Canfield in Paris making a film) - it was the pair's first onscreen teaming since The Band Wagon (1953). Memorable of the thirteen Cole Porter tunes was the self-reflective duet Stereophonic Sound (pictured) with Janis Paige (as Esther Williams'-like swimming film-star Peggy Dayton) singing about the new technological marvel of widescreen movies, Paige's Satin and Silk (pictured), the dreamy and beautiful Silk Stockings solo dance (pictured) by lingerie-wearing Charisse in her hotel room, Astaire's and Charisse's song-dance duet All of You and Fated to Be Mated (pictured) on a bare set, Charisse's fast-moving stylized dance (The) Red Blues (pictured) with other Russians while wearing a tight drab brown sweater-outfit, and the Siberia! song and dance number with an unskilled Peter Lorre (as defector Brankov) amidst a trio of commissars lamenting being sent to Siberia.

Singin' In the Rain (1952)

# 3 "Singin' in the Rain"

This MGM classic, co-directed by star Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, featured an original story (a spoof set in the late 1920s during the age of the coming of 'talkies') by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with a screenplay using songs from Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown; this film's title scene has been considered part of movie legend - as the most famous solo song-and-dance signature number in film history - it featured Gene Kelly singing the title song Singin' In the Rain (pictured) in a downpour, swinging his umbrella around, deliberately stomping in puddles, and leaping onto a lamp-post - also, the opening credits rendition of the title song was performed by Gene Kelly (as late 20's movie star idol Don Lockwood), Donald O'Connor (as friend and sidekick Cosmo Brown) and 19 year-old Debbie Reynolds (as ingenue dancer Kathy Selden) in yellow raincoats and umbrellas. The trio later sang the popular song Good Mornin' (pictured) in a living room; Reynolds participated in a fabulous love duet/dance You Were Meant For Me (pictured) on a deserted sound stage with Kelly, and O'Connor performed the unforgettable acrobatic, comical and slapstick song-and-dance routine Make 'Em Laugh (pictured); the film was also highlighted by the satirical song-and-dance Moses Supposes (pictured) by Kelly and O'Connor in which they rebelled against their diction coach (Bobby Watson) as well as their song-and-dance Fit As a Fiddle (pictured); Kelly and gangster's vampish moll Cyd Charisse (in her first teaming with Kelly) memorably danced in the climactic Broadway Rhythm Ballet (pictured), and the finale song was You Are My Lucky Star (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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