Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes

X - Z

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

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

This well-known Warners' propagandistic musical biopic (mostly fictionalized and presented as a collection of musicals within a musical) by Hungarian-born director Michael Curtiz starred Oscar-winning James Cagney in his most famous role as bustling, jovial, and energetic song-and-dance man George M. Cohan, with his iconic, flag-waving, rousing and patriotic performances. The many numbers included his trademark strutting and wall-climbing as a 'Yankee Doodle Boy' during Yankee Doodle Boy ("I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy! / I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy / A Yankee Doodle, do or die / A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam / Born on the Fourth of July!") (pictured), his tap-dancing sequence in a spotlight in the large production number Give My Regards to Broadway (pictured), and his joining of a parade to march in step with troops and civilians down Pennsylvania Avenue to Over There (pictured) in the stirring finale along with You're a Grand Old Flag; there was also the scene of Cohan and his wife Mary (Joan Leslie) singing the duet Mary (pictured) at the piano together; one other memorable moment was his amazing, jaunty dance down the White House stairs after visiting with President Roosevelt (Jack Young) with a spontaneous, impromptu buck-wings tap dance midway.

Yellow Submarine (1968)

Director George Dunning's landmark, trippy animated film featured many colorful, inventive animations, especially the psychedelic count of numbers to demonstrate the length of a 60-second minute in When I'm 64, and the segment of the ultimate defeat of the invasive Blue Meanies by the Sgt. Pepper's Band with the song All You Need Is Love bringing the return of color to Pepperland; the live-action finale featured the actual Beatles singing the coda All Together Now.

Yolanda and the Thief (1945)

Director Vincente Minnelli disastrous box-office post-war fantasy musical (produced by Arthur Freed) was nonetheless a visionary and bold artistic experiment; it was inspired by a magazine story by Ludwig Bemelmans; it starred naive, convent-bred and sheltered heiress Yolanda Aquaviva (Lucille Bremer, Freed's unskilled protege) involved ultimately in a romance opposite scheming con man Johnny Riggs (Fred Astaire) (who first posed as her guardian angel, and then thief), with the plot set in a fictional Latin American country of Patria; the film was especially noted for juxtaposing colors and patterns within the dance sequences; the 15-minute surrealistic and colorful romantic duet Dream Ballet (pictured) combined components for its decor from both Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, and included Yolanda's song Will You Marry Me?; and in the jazzy, rhythmic dance number Coffee Time (pictured), the wavy and undulating B/W striped floor was contrasted with the brightly colored costumes.

You Were Never Lovelier (1942)

This Columbia Pictures film marked the second and last pairing of Fred Astaire (as American dancer/entertainer Robert Davis) and Rita Hayworth (as Maria Acuna, with singing voice by Nan Wynn - the cool but elegant second daughter of wealthy Argentinian nightclub owner Eduardo Acuna (Adolphe Menjou)); it was their follow-up film to You'll Never Get Rich (1941), and this time featured an Oscar-nominated Jerome Kern-Johnny Mercer score, including such standards-to-be as the Oscar-nominated Best Song Dearly Beloved (sung by both Astaire and Hayworth at different times) and I'm Old-Fashioned (sung by Hayworth and Astaire in the moonlit garden of her home before they danced), and Latin band music of Xavier Cugat; it included Astaire's song and their dance to the title song You Were Never Lovelier (pictured), their sensuous dance rendition of the romantic song I'm Old-Fashioned, and the exuberant "boogie-woogie" tune The Shorty George (pictured) with the sexy Hayworth as a bobbie-soxed swing dancer.

You'll Never Get Rich (1941)

This Columbia Pictures film was the first pairing of Fred Astaire (as New York musical theater choreographer Bob Curtis who was drafted into the Army) and "sex goddess" Rita Hayworth (as pretty showgirl Sheila Winthrop) in an entertaining war-time 'military' musical; it featured a Cole Porter score, one of which was the Oscar-nominated song Since I Kissed My Baby Goodbye (performed by Astaire in the Army's guardhouse) and the delightful and romantically-elegant So Near and Yet So Far (pictured) - danced by Astaire and Hayworth on a stage with fake palm trees; another of their dance duets was the tap-dancing Boogie Barcarolle led by Astaire as choreographer/teacher, and in the finale The Wedding Cake Walk (pictured), the two danced in their formal wedding clothes atop a white tank that was positioned above a giant wedding cake.

Young Frankenstein (1974)

In this Mel Brooks' homage to the classic Universal horror film and Fred Astaire, Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) introduced the Monster (Peter Boyle) to an audience as a "man about town" and then they performed a classic top-hat and cane, tap-dancing duet of Irving Berlin's Puttin' on the Ritz - with the Monster's slurred, squeaky, and high-pitched singing of the mis-pronounced: "Punnondariiiiiiiizz!"; and the scene of Elizabeth's (Madeline Kahn) discovery of the O, Sweet Mystery of Life during her sexual encounter with the Monster as she warbled the tune and her hair turned white.

The Ziegfeld Follies (1946)

This all-star MGM extravaganza revue by director Vincente Minnelli brought together many stars and memorable songs by George and Ira Gershwin in the Ziegfeld style (intended to be a follow-up to the Best Picture-winning The Great Ziegfeld (1937) and Ziegfeld Girl (1941)); the lavish opening number was Here's to the Girls - in which chorus girls (led by ballerina Cyd Charisse in a pink costume and Lucille Ball in her best-known film role as a caged big cat-tamer with a whip) were introduced by Fred Astaire (in his first color film); Astaire also performed two exquisite numbers with Lucille Bremer: This Heart of Mine in which he took the role of a jewel thief at a fancy dress ball with Bremer in a white gown, and later in the dazzling fantasy and fan-dance sequence titled Limehouse Blues with Astaire as an ill-fated and penniless Chinese coolie in a London slum and Bremer as a Chinese courtesan; and in their only screen duet, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire (dressed alike) performed The Babbitt and the Bromide (pictured) - matching each other step for step; and Lena Horne performed the sexy number Love (pictured) against a Virgin Islands Caribbean backdrop.

Ziegfeld Girl (1941)

This was another lavish musical attempt by MGM to use the Ziegfeld legend in a film - although filmed in black and white - its soap-opera plot told of three showgirls as they attempted to make the Ziegfeld chorus line: Lana Turner (as Sheila Regan), Judy Garland (as Susan Gallagher), and Hedy Lamarr (as Sandra Kolter); one of the two splashy musical numbers was the extravagant finale You Stepped Out of a Dream (pictured), directed by Busby Berkeley, in which chorus girls paraded by in costumes (by Adrian) as Tony Martin sang; in another major number, Judy Garland sang and danced to a calypso beat in a Caribbean setting to Minnie From Trinidad (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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