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

State Fair (1945)

This rose-colored, picture postcard Americana musical from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (their first filmed musical and their only musical written directly for the screen), directed by Jose Ferrer and Walter Lang, was a musical version of Fox Studio's 1933 hit (with Will Rogers, Janet Gaynor, and Lew Ayres); it included the show-stopping opening number Our State Fair (with each chorus sung by members of the Frake family) and also the Best Song Oscar-winning It Might As Well Be Spring sung by Jeanne Crain (as lovely, long curly-haired, teen-aged ingenue Margy Frake, with singing voice by Louanne Hogan) in a fake farm setting; other hit songs in the score included the lilting It's a Grand Night for Singing (pictured) (passed from one couple to another at the Iowa fairgrounds), All I Owe Ioway, and the bandstand-delivered That's For Me; there was also a 1962 rendition of the film with Ann-Margret & Pat Boone.

Stop Making Sense (1984)

Jonathan Demme and David Byrne's innovative and amazing Talking Heads concert film/art performance piece was shot by cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth during three nights of live shows in 1983 at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood; it began with Psycho Killer (pictured), which Byrne sang solo with an acoustic guitar on an empty stage, accompanied by a simple electronic drum percussion from a tape-deck (which memorably occasionally staggered Byrne with a "machine gun" burst) - as the stage slowly added musicians and their equipment (one new band member arrived with every song); other memorable numbers included Once in a Lifetime (pictured) (with an incredible long, unbroken chiaroscuro shot of Byrne), the famous gigantic "Big Suit" worn for Girlfriend Is Better (pictured), the show-stopping Burning Down the House, the climactic rendition and reimagining of Al Green's Take Me to the River; also Byrne and Tina Weymouth's early acoustic guitar duet Heaven ("Oh, heaven... heaven is a place where nothing ever happens"), and the high energy "aerobic exercises" during the lively Life During Wartime ("This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around!") - featuring Byrne and his chorus jogging in place, making swimming motions, etc.

Stormy Weather (1943)

This was one of the greatest and most entertaining of the all-black musicals - the 20th Century Fox film included the ravishing Lena Horne (as Selina Rogers), lent by MGM Studios to Fox, singing what would become her signature song in the lengthy sequence Stormy Weather; there were other great songs, dance and band routines from Fats Waller (Ain't Misbehavin'), Bill "Bojangles" Robinson singing I Can't Give You Anything But Love with Horne, Horne's There's No Two Ways About Love (pictured) sung with Calloway and Robinson, the elaborately-costumed Diga Diga Doo (pictured), the Nicholas Brothers dancing duo (with an athletic dance to Jumpin' Jive), and the spirited Cab Calloway and his Orchestra.

Stowaway (1936)

The adorable Fox star Shirley Temple (as Barbara "Ching-Ching" Stewart) sang this memorably happy song for Depression audiences in this film, You Gotta S-M-I-L-E To Be H-A-Double-P-Y: ("You've got to S-M-I-L-E, To be H-A-Double-P-Y, Keep it in mind when you're blue, It's easy to spell and just as easy to do, You gotta S-M-I-L-E, It's gonna help considerably...").

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Director Baz Luhrmann's feature film debut was this comedy/romance retro-chic dance/musical film that featured extensive ballroom dancing scenes, including the climactic, competitive ballroom dancing championship - the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Amateur Five Dance Latin Final.

Summer Holiday (1948)

A mostly-forgotten and unpopular 'musical play' (released 18 months after it was finished) from director Rouben Mamoulian (his third Hollywood musical) and producer Arthur Freed, this was a musical remake of Eugene O'Neill's 1933 play Ah, Wilderness!; the play first opened on Broadway in 1933, and was made into a film in 1935 by director Clarence Brown; it told about the middle-class, Yankee Miller family in 1906 Danville, Connecticut; dialogue from the play was integrated into the film as song and dance numbers; 27 year-old Mickey Rooney starred as the oldest, idealistic teenaged brother Richard Miller, opposite sweet conservative girlfriend Muriel McComber (Gloria De Haven). The film opened with newspaper editor/father Nat Miller (Walter Huston) singing Our Home Town to introduce the setting, followed by a July 4th picnic sequence, and the dazzling scene of Richard's drunken bar-room encounter with floozy chorus girl Belle (Marilyn Maxwell) after breaking up (temporarily) with his conservative girlfriend - Belle sang I Think You're the Sweetest Kid I Ever Knew while her dress changed colors from muted yellow to tempting red, reflecting his growing drunkenness.


Summer Stock (1950)

This likeable but uninspiring MGM musical was notable for Judy Garland's famous male drag performance of Get Happy ("Forget your troubles, Come on, Get Happy!") in the final number (in which she wore black tights, half a tuxedo and a tilted black hat), as well as her "nice, easy dance" duet with Gene Kelly titled You Wonderful You; the film was also noted for Kelly's brilliant solo in which he danced on the bare stage of the barn theatre and used various props of his surroundings (a sheet of newspaper, squeaking floor boards) and incorporated them as dance partners.

Sunny Side Up (1929)

Janet Gaynor's first all-talking film appearance was in Fox's popular early musical, one of the first musicals created directly for the screen - and featuring the film debut of young 7 year-old Jackie Cooper. In the familiar Cinderella tale, Gaynor took the role of poor working-girl heroine Molly Carr and sang "I'm a Dreamer (Aren't We All?)" (pictured), "If I Had a Talking Picture of You", and the radiant title song "Sunny Side Up" (pictured) at a neighborhood block party. Also, Gaynor was again teamed with her silent film romantic partner Charles Farrell (as Jack Cromwell) (they were known as "America's Favorite Lovebirds") for the first time in a talkie. The finale's bizarre, erotic and uninhibited production number "Turn on the Heat," partly tinted in Multi-color, has been considered the 'first purely cinematic' number of its kind - 36 chorines led by flapper Jane Worth (Sharon Lynne), who were dressed as Eskimos, flung off their fur parkas when their ice-bound set became a 'hot', palm-tree-dotted tropical island - and when it became too hot and the island went up in flames, they jumped into the water in their skimpy summer suits.

Sun Valley Serenade (1941)

Scandinavian ice-skating champion and Olympic Gold Medal winner Sonja Henie appeared in a number of Fox films (such as Thin Ice (1937) pictured) and this was one of the best of the lot; it was set at the famed Idaho ski resort where Norwegian refugee Karen Benson (Henie) staged an ice show; this was also Glenn Miller's first film as an actor; the film was highlighted by Dorothy Dandridge's famous song-and-dance with the Nicholas Brothers to the Oscar-nominated Best Song Chattanooga Choo Choo, with other songs by the Glenn Miller Band (this was the first of the only two films featuring the band), including the In the Mood sequence.

Thin Ice (1937)

Sun Valley Serenade (1941)

Sweet Charity (1969)

Loosely adapted from director Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria, this excessive Bob Fosse-directed (his feature debut) and choreographed film version of the Neil Simon/Cy Coleman/Dorothy Fields stage musical (originally with Gwen Verdon) by Universal Studios starred Shirley MacLaine in the title role as dance-hall 'hostess' Charity Hope Valentine; it was best known for the show-stopping song Hey Big Spender (pictured) (sung by the dance hall girls of NY's dingy dime-a-dance Fan Dango Ballroom including Chita Rivera and Paula Kelly), and MacLaine's rendition of If They Could See Me Now (pictured); in the number I'm a Brass Band, MacLaine goose-stepped through the streets of New York dressed in a brilliant red majorette's uniform in the company of a marching band.

Swing Time (1936)

This RKO film, directed by George Stevens, marked the sixth film starring Fred Astaire (as incurable gambler/dancer John "Lucky" Garnett) and Ginger Rogers (as dance-school instructor Penelope "Penny" Carrol), and was considered one of their greatest teamings because it integrated many of the Jerome Kern songs into the story; the screwball comedy/musical featured many famous musical numbers, including their poignant, ethereal, and melancholic duet in the finale titled Never Gonna Dance (pictured) on a dance floor in an Art Deco nightclub with a stunning staircase behind them; also Astaire performed the magical and imaginative blackface solo dance Bojangles of Harlem (pictured) (his first and last blackface performance - a tribute to dancer Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson) in which he danced with three back-projected shadow-silhouettes of himself, the romantic duet Waltz in SwingTime (pictured) in a spotlight and backed by a small orchestra, and Astaire sang the Oscar-winning tune The Way You Look Tonight (pictured) as Rogers shampooed her hair; in a snow-covered setting, they performed the love song duet A Fine Romance together; and the film's early light courtship dance Pick Yourself Up (pictured) was performed during a dance lesson taught to a clumsy Astaire on the bare floor of the dance practice room.

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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