Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes


Greatest Song and Dance Musical Moments and Scenes
Film Title/Year and Brief Musical Scenes Description

MGM's That's Entertainment films (1974, 1976, 1994, 1995)

This documentary style trilogy of That's Entertainment movies featured clips of the best known dance routines from musicals in MGM's vaunted files; the first segment featured the stars themselves (Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Bing Crosby, etc.) introducing and discussing their own clips from such films as Singin' in the Rain (1952), An American in Paris (1951), Showboat (1951), Easter Parade (1948), and many more; the second segment was produced, written and hosted by Gene Kelly while the third segment showed scenes that were cut and never-before-seen, such as a censored, sexy scene with Lena Horne singing in a bathtub from Cabin in the Sky (1943), a deleted song-and-dance between Kelly and Cyd Charisse from Brigadoon (1954), Fred Astaire's song-and-dance number I Wanna Be a Dancin' Man for The Belle of New York (1952) in sports clothes (before they re-shot it with him wearing formal attire), the cut song Mr. Monotony from Easter Parade (1948), and the songs sung by Garland from Annie Get Your Gun before she was fired from the project, etc. A fourth direct-to-video film, That's More Entertainment, featured mostly obscure MGM musical song-and-dance scenes, with one notable exception - the Prehistoric Man song-and-dance number from On the Town (1949).

That Night in Rio (1941)

In this Fox musical reworking of Folies Bergere, Alice Faye and Don Ameche starred opposite Carmen Miranda, who performed two of her best-known and signature numbers: Chica, Chica, Boom, Chic (pictured) and I'yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much).

That Thing You Do! (1996)

Actor Tom Hanks' feature-film directorial debut film featured an early-'60s pop group named The Wonders - they performed many renditions of their debut song - the catchy Oscar-nominated tune That Thing You Do, in a talent show, in a disastrous Pittsburgh showcase, during a PlayTone Records Midwest tour, and finally culminating in their debut appearance on an Ed Sullivan-style show "Hollywood Television Showcase."

There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)

One of Fox studio's biggest draws in the 50s was shapely blonde Marilyn Monroe, who appeared in a tacked-on role in this large-scale Irving Berlin song-filled musical with co-stars Dan Dailey, Mitzi Gaynor, Donald O'Connor and headliner Ethel Merman; Monroe performed the memorable and sensual but garish number Heat Wave (pictured) and the stunning After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It.

This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Director Rob Reiner's debut film was a marvelous satire-spoof on the subgenre of rockumentaries, with its many heavy metal songs written and performed by Spinal Tap (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer), often with distacting problems occuring during each one, including Stonehenge when an 18" Stonehenge monolith comically destroyed the atmosphere of the number; other musical segments included the comic lyrics of Big Bottom ("Big bottom, big bottom / Talk about mudflaps / My baby's got 'em"), and the embarrassing performance of Sex Farm at an uptight military base gig, among others.

This is the Army (1943)

There were almost two dozen patriotic Irving Berlin songs in this Michael Curtiz-directed morale-boosting Warners' film musical adapted from Berlin's 1942 stage tribute to the Army during the two World Wars, including Kate Smith's famous, rousing rendition of God Bless America (pictured); there was also a rare screen appearance by Irving Berlin (who sang Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning); other tunes included I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen, I'm Getting Tired So I Can Sleep, and the title song.

Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)

Producer Ross Hunter's and director George Roy Hill's overlong musical comedy spoof featured Julie Andrews as the title character - farm girl Millie Dillmount who was transformed into a NY 'Roaring 20's' "modern" flapper while unwittingly residing in a Home for Young Women (a white slavery establishment) - the film won the Academy Award for Original Music Score (composed by Elmer Bernstein), and starred John Gavin (singing voice by Bill Lee) as her handsome boss Trevor "Swell" Greydon, James Fox as her irresponsible boyfriend and paper-clip salesman Jimmy Smith, Mary Tyler Moore (singing voice by Jackie Allen) as dumb rich-girl friend and aspiring actress Dorothy "Just Perfect" Brown, and Oscar-nominated Carol Channing as wealthy, madcap and outlandish widow Muzzy "Raspberries!" Van Hossmere and her show-stopping number Jazz Baby (pictured) that included a dance atop a xylophone and her playing of various instruments and First Date (Do It Again!) - with her performing acrobatics after being fired from a cannon; the many enjoyable musical numbers with Jimmy Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn's 20's-like popular songs included the Oscar-nominated, pre-credits title song Thoroughly Modern Millie sung by Julie Andrews, the dance number Tapioca (pictured), the song Sing, L'Chaim at a Jewish wedding, Millie's internally-sung adoration of her handsome boss Baby Face ("Baby face, you've got the cutest little baby face"), and the romantic duet between Trevor and Dorothy of Victor Herbert's Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life.

Three Little Words (1950)

This MGM musical biography of composers/songwriters Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, with Andre Previn's first score (with an Oscar nomination) for a major film, contained 15 hit songs; it starred Fred Astaire (as Bert Kalmar), Vera-Ellen (as Jessie Brown Kalmar with singing voice by Anita Ellis), Arlene Dahl (as Eileen Percy Ruby), and comedian Red Skelton (as Harry Ruby); Debbie Reynolds (in her screen debut as Helen Kane with singing voice of Helen Kane) briefly performed I Wanna Be Loved by You (pictured) with a cutsey Betty Boop-like voice; Astaire sang Who's Sorry Now (pictured) and joined in a duet with Skelton for So Long, Oo-Long (pictured); Astaire and Vera-Ellen danced to Thinking of You and Mr. and Mrs. Hoofer at Home.

The 3 Penny Opera (1931, Germ.) (Die 3 groschenoper)

G.W. Pabst's early 1930s black and white German musical, with music by composer Kurt Weill, was loosely based upon the 1928 Bertoldt Brecht theatrical production of The Threepenny Opera (itself a legendary adaptation and transformation of John Gay's 1728 British operetta The Beggar's Opera); the main anti-hero character was Mackie Messer (aka MacHeath or "Mack the Knife") (Rudolf Forster), a ruthless, authoritarian, and unperturbed dapper captain of underworld thieves in Soho of Victorian London; the film's most popular number Mack the Knife was performed by a Street Singer (Ernst Busch) on a stage to an audience - the character regularly interjected himself into the movie as a master of ceremonies or Greek chorus while recounting Mack's murderous deeds - he even addressed the audience directly.

(Michael Jackson's) Thriller (1983)

This 13-minute mini-film (music video) of the pop music song was released theatrically for Oscar eligibility and directed by John Landis; besides being the most expensive video and world's longest music video at the time, it was one of the most famous screen group dances ever performed - by an undead Michael Jackson and zombies in a graveyard, and it also featured horror film star Vincent Price as narrator; the home video VHS release titled "The Making Of Michael Jackson's Thriller" became the world's top- selling VHS musical.

To Have and Have Not (1944)

In Howard Hawks' wartime adventure masterpiece set in an exotic locale in the Caribbean (WWII Martinique), in a scene toward its conclusion, local cafe pianist Cricket (writer/singer Hoagy Carmichael) was at the piano playing Hong Kong Blues (pictured), a bluesy song about "a poor unfortunate colored man who got arrested down in old Hong Kong." The lyrics described a man in a foreign land far away from home ("the land of the free" in Frisco) who wished to return home to find happiness once again:

Well, they say his home's in Frisco where they send the rice
But it's really in Tennessee, That's why he say: 'I need someone to love me
Need somebody to carry me home to San Francisco and bury my body there.
Oh, I need someone to lend me a fifty dollar bill and then I'll leave Hong Kong far behind me for happiness once again
Won't someone believe I've a yen to see that Bay again
But when I tried to leave, sweet local man won't let me fly away.'

Earlier in the film, he sang Am I Blue? (pictured), while accompanied by stranded American Marie Browning (Lauren Bacall) dressed in a grey checkered suit.

Tommy (1975)

The rock group The Who's landmark psychedelic "rock opera", composed by guitarist Peter Townshend, and directed by Ken Russell for the surrealistic feature film version, quickly became a cult film, with its stars Roger Daltry (as Tommy, the deaf, dumb and blind kid pinball wizard), Oscar-nominated Ann-Margret (as Tommy's mother), Oliver Reed (as the boyfriend), and appearances by Elton John (for the song Pinball Wizard), and Tina Turner (performing Acid Queen); memorable numbers included Eric Clapton's Eyesight to the Blind, and Roger Daltrey's Listening to You.

Top Hat (1935)

This profitable RKO and Best Picture-nominated film marked the fourth pairing of Fred Astaire (as amorous dancer Jerry Travers) and Ginger Rogers (as fashion model Dale Tremont) - it was the one that catapulted them to legendary status; it was set within the backdrop of an art-deco Venice with its plot about mistaken identity accompanied by a number of Irving Berlin tunes (it was Berlin's first screen musical). Astaire's early performance of a hotel room sand tap dance was titled No Strings (pictured) in which he slapped the walls - his noisy tap dancing upset sleeping Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers) in a hotel room below - but he put both Dale and Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton) back to sleep with the song's lullaby ending; also the delightfully dreamy challenge song/dance Isn't This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)? (pictured) in a sheltering and deserted band shell during a rain shower; and Jerry's firing of his cane as a gun (with machine-gun-like rat-a-tats) to creatively shoot down his chorus of dapper dancers during his signature stage number Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (pictured) - Astaire had previously performed this routine in the 1930 stage musical Smiles; and the most memorable and dreamlike Astaire-Rogers romantic duet ever was of Irving Berlin's enchanting Oscar-winning Cheek to Cheek (pictured) (with the famous opening lyric "Heaven, I'm in Heaven...") with Rogers dancing languorously and silkily in a gown made of ostrich feathers in an Art Deco setting; the final dance number was the fast-moving spectacular The Piccolino.

Toy Story 2 (1999)

The touching, climactic moment in this sequel (the third Disney/Pixar feature film) came when Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) saw his black-and-white television puppet counterpart on the 1960s "Woody's Roundup" show singing You've Got a Friend in Me (nominated for an Oscar in the original Toy Story (1995)), making Woody realize his significance as a toy to a child; the film also featured the melancholy Oscar-nominated Best Song When She Loved Me (sung by Sarah McLachlan) with a flashback of Jessie (voice of Joan Cusack) experiencing being loved, forgotten, and ultimately abandoned by her owner, Emily; and the finale in which the penguin squeeze toy Wheezy (voice of Joe Ranft) belted out, Vegas-style (with Robert Goulet's voice): "You've Got a Friend In Me", accompanied by a trio of Barbie backup singers

(Toy Story (1995))

The Triplets of Belleville (2003, Fr.) (aka Belleville Rendez-vous)

This Belgian-French-Canadian animated feature film contained black-and-white archival footage of the Triplets' (Violette, Blanche, and Rose - representing the tri-colored French flag) song-and-dance of the Oscar-nominated Best Original Song Belleville Rendez-Vous - it was a 30s style cartoon parody which featured caricatures of dancer/singer Josephine Baker (doing her banana dance) and hoofer Fred Astaire, guitarist Django Reinhardt and pianist Glenn Gould; in their old age, the dancing Triplets entertained with a cabaret/skiffle act using household items (newspaper, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, and a hatbox) as mad instruments.

Tropic Thunder (2008)

During the film's ending credits, the hip-hop dance scene of balding, foul-mouthed, bearded, glasses-wearing, disagreeable film executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise in a fat suit in an uncredited cameo) to Ludacris' gangsta rap song Get Back with obscene lyrics; he performed the bump-and-grind dance, including air-spanking himself while dirty-dancing; earlier, he had briefly danced to Flo Rida's Low; both songs brought back memories of Cruise's underwear dance in Risky Business (1983) twenty-six years earlier.

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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