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 Scene Description
Screenshots

Born to Dance (1936)

In this MGM film about a low-key romance, Eleanor Powell (as aspiring Broadway dancer Nora Paige in her first starring role) was again directed by Roy Del Ruth. The film featured many musical compositions by Cole Porter (his first score written directly for the screen).

Sailor-on-leave Ted Barker (James Stewart in his sole musical film) met Nora and sang the delightful Easy to Love (pictured) to her as they strolled in a Central Park setting. After they kissed, she responded with a song and then (after another kiss) a lyrical dance, while Ted conducted an imaginary orchestra. A Central Park policeman (Reginald Gardiner) took over, launching into a wild impression of a wild-haired symphony maestro (a spoof of conductor Leopold Stokowski) as he directed the imaginary orchestra in a combination of Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" and "Easy to Love." By the end of the number, the policeman/conductor keeled over in a dead faint.

And later on an Art Deco rooftop, Broadway star Lucy James (Virginia Bruce) (dubbed) sang the classic melodic standard, I've Got You Under My Skin to an embarrassed Ted.

The final grand production number, with a nautical motif on board the deck of an Art Deco battleship with three giant cannons, was Swingin' the Jinx Away (pictured) - it featured a tap-dancing Eleanor Powell with a military band.




A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)

This was the first (and best of four) animated theatrical feature film that starred Charles M. Schultz's famed Peanuts comic-strip characters, from director Bill Melendez. It was Academy Award-nominated for Best Original Song Score (by Rod McKuen and others), including these numbers among others:

  • the catchy spelling rules song I Before E (Except After C) sung by Charlie Brown, Linus and Snoopy (on a jaw harp)
  • the celebratory Champion Charlie Brown after he won the school's spelling bee for entry into the national contest
  • the title song (sung by McKuen) -- A Boy Named Charlie Brown ("He's just a boy next door, perhaps a little more / A boy named Charlie Brown') - a heavily-orchestrated poignant ode to the perennial loser

The film was also noted for its Fantasia (1940)-like expressionistic musical interludes (a series of religious images and haunting portraits) during pianist Schroeder's (Andy Pforsich) playing of Beethoven's beautiful Pathetique Sonata.

Also exceptional were the brilliant visual interpretation of the The Star-Spangled Banner before one of the kids' baseball games, and Snoopy's fantasy in Rockefeller Center's ice rink - first performing a graceful ice dance/ballet, then imagining himself as a hard-nosed, gap-toothed hockey player (pictured).



Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

The one major musical highlight of this film was socialite Holly Golightly's (Audrey Hepburn) fire-escape rendition of Johnny Mercer's classic Oscar-winning tune Moon River.

Brigadoon (1954)

Director Vincente Minnelli's somewhat disappointing MGM musical (filmed on elaborate studio sets rather than on location) included many Lerner and Loewe hit songs, including:

  • the enchanting fantasy opening Come Ye to the Fair
  • Tommy Albright's (Gene Kelly) song-and-dance solo number Almost Like Being In Love
  • the graceful and lyrical dancing duet between Tommy and Scottish village lass Fiona Campbell (Cyd Charisse) in The Heather on the Hill (pictured)
  • Come to Me Bend to Me

Bright Eyes (1934)

Curly-haired child actress Shirley Temple's (as orphaned Shirley Blake) star-making role for Fox Studios came with her first rendition of her classic and trademark signature song On the Good Ship Lollipop.

It was performed to pilot/airmen buddies of her late father while she was dancing down the aisle of a prop plane that was taking off into the air:

"On the good ship lollipop It's a sweet trip to a candy shop Where bon-bons play On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay"

The Broadway Melody (1929) (aka The Broadway Melody of 1929)

An original score by the team of lyricist Arthur Freed and composer Nacio Herb Brown supported the Irving Thalberg and MGM-produced B/W musical 'backstage' story by director Harry Beaumont. It starred Oscar-nominated Bessie Love (as aspiring performer Hank Mahoney), Anita Page as her sister Queenie Mahoney, and Charles King as successful song/dance man Eddie Kearns who won Hank's affections.

This box-office success, MGM's first musical, was the first truly original all-talking movie musical (and the first to win Best Picture). It was the first in which the cast lip-synched to an already-produced soundtrack.

It included the color sequence of The Wedding of the Painted Doll, the title number Broadway Melody, the musical standard You Were Meant for Me, and George M. Cohan's Give My Regards to Broadway.

Its success led to further examples of 'Broadway' musicals, 'backstage' stories, and other imitators.



The Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935)

This was the second (and the best of four) of the "Broadway Melody" films that attempted to recall the Academy Award-winning Best Picture The Broadway Melody (1929) - MGM's first all-talking film.

It included Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown songs that would be repeated in Singin' in the Rain (1952):

  • I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'
  • Broadway Rhythm
  • You Are My Lucky Star

This musical directed by Roy Del Ruth starred Eleanor Powell (in her first MGM film) with leading man Robert Taylor (as a Broadway producer), Jack Benny (as a columnist), and the dance team of Buddy Ebsen and his sister Vilma (in their first film musical).

Numbers included Robert Taylor (in his own voice) singing to June Knight in the production number I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin' (an Academy Award winner for Dance Direction) (pictured), the title number Broadway Rhythm, Frances Langford's singing of You Are My Lucky Star (pictured) and reprised during the song and dance dream ballet of the same name, and Powell's song and dance performance of (You've Gotta) Sing Before Breakfast (pictured) with the Ebsens on a New York rooftop.



The Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937)

A young 15 year-old Judy Garland (her original name was Frances Gumm, in her first feature film appearance for MGM) sang and danced with Buddy Ebsen in this film.

Her best-remembered, show-stopping song was You Made Me Love You (pictured) - poignantly directed to a photograph of Clark Gable ("Dear Mr. Gable..."). Her number overshadowed the rest of the film, including Eleanor Powell's heavily featured tap dance numbers, such as Follow in My Footsteps (pictured).


The Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)

One of the most electrifying song-and-dance routines ever performed in film was in this musical (this one was filled with Cole Porter songs).

It was the famous and sublime six-minute finale Begin the Beguine between dancer Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell, MGM's top musical star.

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)

Woody Allen's Roaring Twenties-era show-business comedy included virtuoso chorus girl renditions of hit standards, such as:

  • You've Got To See Mamma Ev'ry Night Or You Can't See Mamma At All
  • That Certain Feeling
  • Nagasaki
 

Bus Stop (1956)

Would-be saloon singer Cherie (pronounced Cherry) (Marilyn Monroe) performed an off-key, inept, but innocently sensual rendition of That Old Black Magic (pictured twice) in the Blue Dragon - a run-down honky-tonk night-club in Phoenix.

At the end of the number, she turned a red spotlight on herself to look "aflame."


Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

The Broadway hit show of 1960 was adapted for the screen by director George Sidney. It was the first Broadway musical to include rock songs.

In its lampooning of rock-and-roll idol Elvis "The King" Presley, it told about an Elvis Presley-styled pop star named Conrad Birdie (Dick Gautier).

Dick Van Dyke reprised his role in the film as the superstar's press agent Albert Peterson (and sang the memorable Put on a Happy Face to teenaged Rosie (Janet Leigh)), and Ann-Margret appeared in her film debut as the lucky one who was chosen to receive a farewell kiss from the rock idol (before he was drafted into the military) on The Ed Sullivan Show.

She sang the title song (pictured) at the film's opening in front of a blue-screen (and in a wind tunnel).

Also memorable was the split-screen, gossipy musical telephone sequence (with live action and animation) titled The Telephone Hour.




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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