Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes

G - 2

Greatest Song and Dance Musical Moments and Scenes
G (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Lost Film

Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929)

One of the earliest, most successful, and most ambitious Warners' musicals using the Vitaphone process, this two-toned Technicolor film (touted as a "talking and singing natural color picture") was the first of the talkie "Gold Digger" films (although it was a remake of the silent film Gold Diggers (1923) - based on the 1919 hit play), and the second all-color talkie.

Only portions of this landmark film now exist.

Some of the existing footage consists of the music of Nick Lucas (as Himself), including the first rendition of Tip-Toe Thru' the Tulips (pictured), and In a Kitchenette. Winnie Lightner sang Mechanical Man.

The most elaborate production number was Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (pictured).

Gold Diggers in Paris (1938)

This was the fifth and last "Gold Diggers" film, after films in 1929, 1933, 1935, and 1936.

The dance productions in this Warner Brothers picture were staged by Busby Berkeley, but they were less memorable set-pieces due to slashed budgets.

The musical numbers were sung by radio star and crooner Rudy Vallee (Vallee replaced Dick Powell, who turned down reprising his role, as Club Bali nightclub owner Terry Moore) who fondly impersonated Maurice Chevalier and FDR.

Musical numbers included:

  • A Stranger in Paree (pictured) (on a Parisian bus, sung by Vallee and Rosemary Lane in the role of star ballet pupil Kay Morrow)
  • the memorable I Wanna Go Back to Bali (pictured twice) (sung by Rudy Vallee in a navy uniform and pretty garlanded showgirls in tropical outfits)
  • The Latin Quarter (pictured twice) dance number in the finale, including the sequence in which a gigantic Navy officer's cap descended and covered over the dancers on the set

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

This was the biggest and most dazzling of the "Gold Digger" films and featured more extravagant Busby Berkeley numbers - this was the second Warner Bros. backstage musical of 1933 - the briskly-told musical directed by Mervyn LeRoy included the following numbers, with song and dance choreography by Busby Berkeley:

  • in the opening number, the sight of chorine Fay Fortune (Ginger Rogers) wearing a skimpy, glittering coin-covered costume and singing in pig-Latin (just undecipherable nonsense syllables set to the music that was a fad at the time) with other coin-covered chorines dancing to We're In the Money with massive money-related sets and over-sized coins
"We're in the Money"
  • the exquisitely-choreographed, elaborate Shadow Waltz production number in which neon-lighted dancers created elaborate, glow-in-the-dark geometric shapes -- highlighted by a gigantic white violin formed by the dancers in an overhead shot, complete with a strumming bow and violins illuminated by neon tubing
"Shadow Waltz"
  • also the naughty pre-Code Petting in the Park number featuring straw-hatted men romancing chorines on a lawn - with the camera leering at their crossed legs and petticoats, followed by a drenching rainstorm forcing the chorines to provocatively strip in silhouette behind a transparent screen as a lascivious, leering young boy (midget Billy Barty) pulled up the screen
  • the most-remembered, show-stopping finale number, introducing streetwalking prostitute Carol King (Joan Blondell) under a street lampost, saluting the unemployed, poverty-stricken war veterans suffering from the Depression who demanded to be paid a $1,000 bonus promised in 1925, with other affected tenement housewives in the sobering song Remember My Forgotten Man - concluding with silhouettes of marching soldiers (on a half-wheel)

"Petting in the Park"

"Remember My Forgotten Man"

Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)

Best Original Song: Lullaby of Broadway

This Busby Berkeley choreographed-directed film (in his debut as a solo director) featured two major production numbers (sequences somewhat detached from the surrounding plot) exemplifying his masterful trademark camerawork. This film's sole Oscar nomination and win was for Best Original Song (Lullaby of Broadway).

The two major production numbers (sequences somewhat detached from the surrounding plot) in this film, from choreographer-director Busby Berkeley (in his debut as a solo director), and considered his best work, were the following:

  • the scene of a moonlight ride in a motorboat, while the tune "The Words Are in My Heart" was sung by medical student/desk clerk Dick Curtis (Dick Powell) to heiress Ann Prentiss (Gloria Stuart), featuring 56 mostly-blonde, white evening-gowned chorines pretending or 'play' waltzing/dancing with white baby-grand pianos that formed geometric, kaleidoscopic arrangements and ultimately came together to form one giant piano top (the lightweight piano shells were moved around by black-clad men manuevering the pianos on their backs while following tape markings on the shiny black floor)
  • the climactic approx. 14 minute finale "The Lullaby of Broadway" - a self-contained film within a film - pictured as a day in the life of the Great White Way of New York, with its opening shot (in a dark frame as the camera approached) of the lit, disembodied and upturned white head or face of Wini Shaw (Herself), as she was singing 'The Lullaby of Broadway' in solo; the image was followed by her head twisting around, inverting and reclining - and the shape of her silhouetted face dissolving into an aerial shot or mapping of the island of Manhattan
"The Lullaby of Broadway" - 1
  • Wini - a "Broadway babe" was returned home to her walk-up tenement apartment with her date, exhausted from a night of partying; she would sleep all during the day as her proletarian neighbors were leaving for work, and then would go out again in the early evening for more dazzling nightlife throughout the next night
  • the show-stopping, entertaining, inventive production number continued in an art-deco nightclub (Club Casino) where Wini, the following night, was the only patron watching the club's all-night show (a single dancing couple on gargantuan stepping stairs-platforms), accompanied by a wealthy date (Dick Powell); the dance couple was joined by rows and rows of hundreds of tap-dancing couples, highlighted by the acrobatic dancing of a trio (led by Manny King) filmed in part through the glass floor - performed to the pounding rhythms, and visualizing a sexually-charged battle of the sexes (with obvious sexual imagery) in the hedonistic, nocturnal city during the Depression years; Wini and her date joined in the dancing
"The Lullaby of Broadway" - 2
  • during the dance portion, the number turned into a mordant, judgmental and cautionary tale of life in the city for party-girl Wini after another night of carousing on Broadway; from the stage, Wini ran into her balcony doors (breaking the 4th wall of reality), as throngs of entertainers from the stage floor crowded behind her to rush in after her; as the group of dancers surged toward her, the camera angle reversed and she appeared to be on her skyscraper balcony, where she was accidentally pushed backwards; the camera twirled around as she descended to the street; but was it only a dream (?) when she again appeared restored as a disembodied head to finish singing the number's title song
"The Lullaby of Broadway" - 3 - Wini's Plunge From Balcony

"The Words Are In My Heart"

Wini Returning Home to Walk-Up Apartment in Early AM

Wini with Date (Dick Powell) Back the Next Night

Acrobatic Dancing of Manny King Viewed From Below the Floor

The Final Chorus

Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936)

This was another of the expensive Warner Brothers films in the Gold Diggers series of five musicals.

Busby Berkeley's closing production number All's Fair in Love and War (pictured twice), the best in the film, featured Joan Blondell leading a chorus of dozens of helmeted, drum-playing, flag-carrying females dressed in frilly white military uniforms (against a shiny black floor) as they tapped their way through a series of military formations and flag-wavings with Berkeley's trademarked geometric patterns.

Another of the production numbers, Let's Put Our Heads Together (pictured), presented chorines at a summer garden party in fifty big, white rocking chairs - each with a beau.

Goldfinger (1964)

# 53 "Goldfinger"

The third 007 film had only one winning Oscar: Best Sound Effects Editing (it was the first Bond film to be nominated (and win) an Academy Award). It was also the second Bond film to use a pop star (Shirley Bassey) to sing the theme song Goldfinger during the titles.

Following the gun-barrel opening (with stuntman Bob Simmons) in this James Bond action film, there was a long pre-title credits action sequence of Bond (Sean Connery) completing a previous mission in Latin America. He caused sexy nightclub dancer Bonita (Nadja Regin) to be knocked out in her bathtub, and then electrocuted drug-smuggling thug Capungo (Alf Joint) in Bonita's bathtub with a round electrical heater fan.

The stirring credit sequence title song Goldfinger (pictured) then followed, performed by Shirley Bassey, with memorable lyrics about Bond's newest villain, rich, greedy, gold-smuggling villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe):

Goldfinger He's the man, the man with the Midas touch. A spider's touch, such a cold finger beckons you to enter his web of sin. But don't go in. Golden words he will pour in your ear, but his lies can't disguise what you fear. For a golden girl knows when he's kissed her, it's the kiss of death from Mister Goldfinger. Pretty girl, beware of this heart of gold This heart is cold....He loves only gold Only gold He loves gold He loves only gold Only gold He loves gold.

The Graduate (1967)

# 6 "Mrs. Robinson"

Mike Nichols' classic 60's generation-gap comedy was complemented by a musical soundtrack written and sung by the pop duo group of the time, Simon & Garfunkel from their Grammy-winning The Sounds of Silence album (with songs composed earlier and previously-released except for Mrs. Robinson), with meaningful, haunting lyrics amidst koo-koo-kachoo sounds, to enhance the film's moods and themes. However, unlike most soundtracks, all of the tunes only served as background music.

[Note: Mrs. Robinson was ineligible to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, because it was not written exclusively for the film in which it appeared.]

The opening title-credits sequence was of young, recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) on a plane 'descending' into LA, returning home from college in the East. Appearing slightly shy and unprepossessing, his face had a blank, expressionless, enervated, zombie-like look. While standing mute by himself on the automated, moving walkway (with a monotonous recording: "Please hold the handrail, and stand to the right. If you wish to pass, please do so on the left") at the busy LAX airport, the credits played as The Sounds of Silence (pictured) was heard on the soundtrack, reinforcing the theme of his emptiness and alienation from his surroundings:

"...And in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening.
People writing songs that voices never shared, no one dared disturb the sound of silence..."

The scene of the retrieval of his luggage from a mechanized conveyor belt, and his disappearance into the terminal's crowd and to the outer doors dissolved into the next scene. Benjamin was in his upstairs bedroom in his upper-middle-class parents' home. He sat staring blankly ahead, positioned in his room in front of his aquarium tank (while observing its occupants) and wanting to be alone with his thoughts.

Although much of the film was involved with the affair Benjamin conducted with lecherous, close family friend Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the song Here's to You Mrs. Robinson (pictured) - with a strumming guitar - was not heard until late in the film:

"And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo) God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson Heaven holds a place for those who pray (Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)"

It was during Benjamin's frantic search to rescue girlfriend Elaine Robinson (Katharine ) from her impending marriage in Santa Barbara (he first drove in his convertible Alfa Romeo Spider red sports car to Berkeley from LA, and then turned around to drive back down the state).

Grease (1978)

# 70 "Summer Nights"

This immensely popular screen musical directed by Randal Kleiser was the longest-running Broadway show in history by 1979. The film was highly influential as a teen flick, and led to similar films, such as Fame (1980), Footloose (1983), Flashdance (1984), and Dirty Dancing (1987) in the next decade.

Many of the catchy numbers ("Grease is the word!") set in a 50s high school (with overaged students) were sung by 29 year-old John Travolta and sweet-voiced 24 year-old Australian singer Olivia-Newton John as rebellious Danny Zuko and good girl Sandy Olsson respectively, including:

  • her wistful and lamenting Hopelessly Devoted to You (pictured), sung one night when she sat on her outdoor porch in her white nightgown
  • the wild, profanity-laced ode to the muscle car of Danny's dreams -- Greased Lightning (pictured): ("Well this car is systematic, hydromatic, ultramatic - Why, it could be Greased Lightnin'!")
  • their infectiously-sing-along-to paralleled duet Summer Nights (pictured twice) in which the couple (Danny and Sandy) presented their own versions of their summer romance to friends: ("Summer lovin' had me a blast - summer lovin', happened so fast, I met a girl crazy for me - I met a boy, cute as can be, Summer days driftin' away, to uh-oh those summer nights, Tell me more, tell me more, did you get very far? Tell me more, tell me more, like, does he have a car?")

The showstopping finale was You're the One That I Want (pictured) at a graduation school carnival, with Olivia Newton-John in tight, black leather pants that literally had to be sewn onto her, followed by the ensemble cast singing We Go Together (pictured), and ending with the two flying away (!) in Greased Lightning.

Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

This musical biopic was highlighted by Dennis Quaid's virtuoso impersonation of controversial rocker Jerry Lee Lewis (Quaid did his own piano playing but lip-synched the lyrics), and the memorable singing of the title song Great Balls of Fire (pictured) on a blazing piano.

The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

This Best Picture-winning, lavish MGM episodic biopic of the showman Flo Ziegfeld (portrayed by William Powell) included elaborate, mechanical camera-work production numbers (matching Busby Berkeley's productions).

Its most famous sequence included a fabulous crane shot of a slowly-spinning, cork-screwing tower of stairs holding singers, musicians, and other artists.

Also, it featured the fictional and real-life portrayals of past Ziegfeld Follies greats, including Fanny Brice, Will Rogers, and Eddie Cantor.

Gargantuan or massive production numbers and spectacular songs included:

  • the expensive Academy Award-winning dance number just before the Intermission -- Irving Berlin's A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody (pictured often) - it was filmed in one continuous shot and featured 180 performers - including Ziegfeld chorine showgirl Audrey Dane (Virginia Bruce) perched atop the giant revolving platform or pillar
  • the closing segment You Never Looked So Beautiful (pictured) with the title song sung by Audrey Dane with tuxedoed men, followed by a fashion show, of sorts, with many poses of numerous chorines wearing extravagant costumes and headdresses, ending with a close-up of Audrey Dane
"You Never Looked So Beautiful"
Chorine with Headdress and Costume
Audrey Dane (Virginia Bruce)

"A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody"

A Guy Named Joe (1943)

In the original MGM film (before Spielberg's remake Always (1989)), civilian cargo pilot Dorinda Durston (Irene Dunne) tenderly sang to her reckless and carefree heroic pilot lover Pete Sandidge (Spencer Tracy):

  • I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You) (pictured three times)

As she crooned, he lovingly gazed into her eyes, and then she danced with him, while pal Al Yackey (Ward Bond) played a harmonica.

The tune served as the thematic leitmotif for the love between the two.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

# 42 "Luck Be a Lady"

This Samuel Goldwyn production (directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz), developed from a 1931 collection of stories by writer Damon Runyon, was released by MGM in the mid-50s - and adapted from the long-running 1950 musical play. It featured marvelous Michael Kidd-choreography.

Gene Kelly was supposed to play the main male role, but MGM refused to loan him to Goldwyn Studios. The film's plot told of slick big-city gambler Sky Masterson (a slightly miscast Marlon Brando in his musical debut - who sang with his own voice) who made a $1,000 bet that he could successfully romance/seduce "Save a Soul" missionary Sgt. Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons).

Its most well-known song-dance number was Luck Be a Lady (pictured) performed by Brando. Other well-known songs or performances included:

  • the opening number about horse-gambling titled Fugue for Tinhorns (pictured) sung by small time gangsters Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Stubby Kaye), Benny Southstreet (Johnny Silver) and Rusty Charlie (Danny Dayton): ("I got a horse right here / His name is Paul Revere...") .
  • Guys and Dolls (pictured), the title song, sung by Frank Sinatra (as NY crap game organizer Nathan Detroit), Nicely-Nicely, and Benny Southstreet (Johnny Silver) walking down the street after Nathan's fiancee Miss Adelaide (Vivian Blaine), a wacky nightclub chorus girl, had broken up with him
  • I'll Know (pictured), sung by Sky Masterson to Sgt. Sarah Brown in the mission; afterwards, he grabbed and kissed her, and after a short delay, she slapped him hard across the face; he responded: "Well, that makes it necessary for me to drop back again. Matthew 5:39. Oh, don't bother looking it up, it's the bit about the other cheek"
  • If I Were a Bell (pictured), sung by Sgt. Brown to Sky, and ending with a kiss
  • Nathan Detroit's singing of Adelaide (pictured) and Sue Me (pictured)
  • Miss Adelaide's Adelaide's Lament sung in her dressing room
  • Nicely-Nicely's Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat

Gypsy (1962)

This screen version of the 1959 Broadway musical play (starring Ethel Merman) by Warners -- with a Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim score -- was suggested by the lives of the Hovick family:

  • bullying and domineering mother, Mama Rose Hovick (Rosalind Russell, singing voice of Lisa Kirk)
  • Louise Hovick (Natalie Wood as older, Diana Pace as younger), an ecdysiast-actress later known as Gypsy Rose Lee
  • Louise's younger sister 'Baby' June Hovick (Suzanne Cupito/Morgan Brittany)
  • older 'Dainty' June (Ann Jillian)

The most memorable number was belted out by the Mama Rose character to Louise at a train station -- Everything's Coming Up Roses (pictured): ("You'll be swell, you'll be great, Gonna have the whole world on a plate").

Another was the wild and funny You Gotta Have A Gimmick (pictured) performed by a trio of Minsky's burlesque house strippers Electra (Roxanne Arlen), Tessie Tura (Betty Bruce) and Mazeppa (Faith Dane) to fresh-faced Louise Hovick - aka Gypsy Rose Lee on how to be a successful and innovative stripper and get applause: ("...If you wanna make it Twinkle while you shake it If you wanna grind it Wait till you refined it If you wanna bump it Bump it with a trumpet So get yourself a gimmick And you too can be a star!").

Another memorable moment was Louise's debut stage performance of Let Me Entertain You (pictured), after she was introduced as "Gypsy Rose Lee," and she made a nervous appearance on stage before an all-male audience in an elegant blue dress - and used Mama's vaudeville trademarks as Mama stood and coached off-stage and yelled tips. Gypsy teasingly removed a long white glove as she asked the audience: "Hello everybody, my name is Gypsy! What's YOURS?", and then teasingly offered: "We'll have a real good time."

There was also a montage of future performances, exhibiting Gypsy's significantly improved stage show with a deeply sensual subtext, more stylish peekaboo stripping and costuming, and her trademark line to the audience: ("Hello everybody, my name is Gypsy! What's YOURS?"). The montage ended with Gypsy's introduction at Minsky's - headlined by "The Queen of Striptease" who again performed: "Let Me Entertain You" - "We'll have a real good time!" - and gave a semi strip-tease behind a curtain.

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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