Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

All That Jazz (1979)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

All That Jazz (1979)

In director/co-writer Bob Fosse's kinetic, semi-autobiographical musical :

  • the cleverly-edited opening sequence of New York choreographer-director Joe Gideon's (Roy Scheider) waking in the morning (with dosages of dexedrine, alka-seltzer, eyedrops, etc.) and the repetition of his rousing stock phrase in front of the mirror: "It's showtime, folks!"
  • the full-stage 'cattle-call' audition dance number set to George Benson's "On Broadway"
  • the erotic, sweaty and sensual Air-Rotica rehearsal scene with the bizarre number "Take Off With Us" featuring sexy and half-naked Sandahl Bergman ("Going all the way, Won't you climb aboard?")
  • the impromptu top hat song-and-dance act "Everything Old Is New Again" performed in Joe's apartment by his girlfriend/lover Kate Jagger (Ann Reinking, Fosse's real-life lover essentially playing herself) and pre-teen daughter Michelle Gideon (Erzsebet Foldi)
  • the heart attack scene (with an angel of Death appearance by flirtatious Angelique (Jessica Lange) while NY choreographer Gideon was overworking himself) - he had tempted fate with mental and physical abuse: overwork, cigarettes, womanizing, lack of sleep and amphetamines, while he was preparing by day for a 1975 Broadway theatre production of Chicago (the centerpiece was the hypersexualized “Air Erotica” number). At night, he was editing a film (possibly Lenny (1974))
Angel of Death - and Gideon's Fatal Heart Attack
Operating Table
Death Angelique
(Jessica Lange)
Gideon in Body Bag
  • after workaholic Gideon's heart-attack in a hospital, he was set to undergo open-heart cardiac surgery; Angelique tempted him to leave the world of the living, although he would first look back at his life
  • musical sequences in the film illustrated the five stages of grief, as he approached death; Gideon feverishly fantasized a dreamy nightmare as he laid on a hospital bed
  • the spectacular and extravagant 9-minute long finale included wild, imaginatively-surreal hallucinations that were experienced by drug-addicted Gideon as he was on life support and underwent open-heart cardiac surgery with gyrating chorus girls in tights with feather fans (some costumed as diagrams of the human circulatory system) danced around his surgical bed, while he (in a glittering black sequined outfit) and television host O'Connor Flood (Ben Vereen) took center stage to sing "Bye Bye Life" (originally Bye Bye Love) to a heavenly live-studio audience in a dance-musical number; in fact, Gideon choreographed and attended his own hallucinated funeral
  • this dark finale ended with Gideon in a body bag being zipped up, as Ethel Merman belted out, in caustic bitter contrast: "There's No Business Like Show Business"; the film then faded to black for the credits.

Drug-Addicted Workaholic Joe Gideon: "It's Showtime, Folks!"

Audition Dance Number


Song-and-Dance Act

"Bye Bye Life"


Zipped-Up Body Bag


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