Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes

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Greatest Song and Dance Musical Moments and Scenes
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disney's first Cinemascope animated feature starred two anthropomorphic creatures - pampered female cocker spaniel Lady and wrong-side-of-the-tracks mutt Tramp.

All of the songs were written (with Sonny Burke) and mostly sung by Peggy Lee, including:

  • The Siamese Cat Song (pictured) by Aunt Sarah's two trouble-making Siamese cats, Si and Am, who sang: ("We are Si-a-mee-iz if you pleeiz. We are Si-a-me-se if you don't please")
  • the romantic Spaghetti for Two dinner love song Bella Notte (pictured) (aka This is the Night) (sung by George Givot as the waiter/owner Tony, and written by Sonny Burke and Peggy Lee), between refined cocker spaniel Lady and the scruffy, backstreet roguish stray mutt Tramp at the back entrance to Tony's - an Italian restaurant, sharing a meal of spaghetti and meatballs - when they were nibbling on a strand of spaghetti and met in an unexpected kiss for the first time
  • He's a Tramp (pictured), sung by Peggy Lee as Peg in the local dog pound, warning Lady about Tramp's reputation - ("He's a tramp, but they love him. Breaks a new heart every day. He's a tramp, they adore him. And I only hope he'll stay that way. He's a tramp, he's a scoundrel. He's a rounder, he's a cad. He's a tramp, but I love him. Yes, even I have got it pretty bad...")

Aunt Sarah's Two Cats: "The Siamese Cat Song"

Lady and Tramp Served and Serenaded by "Bella Notte" at Tony's Restaurant

Sultry Pekingese Peg (Singing "He's a Tramp")

Lady Be Good (1941)

Best Original Song: The Last Time I Saw Paris

The MGM Norman McLeod-directed musical was titled after the film's theme song, Lady Be Good, derived from the name of the 1924 Broadway hit musical ("Oh! Lady Be Good") with music by George and Ira Gershwin.

There were a total of nine nominees for Best Original Song this year, and ultimately, the year's Oscar-winner (the film's sole nomination) had not been specifically written for the film in which it appeared. It had been published and recorded in 1940 before the film was released. [Note: AMPAS changed the rules after 1941 - only songs that were "original and written specifically for the motion picture" were eligible to win.]

The plot of the romantic musical drama centered around two married songwriters with an on-again/off-again relationship:

  • Robert Young (as Broadway composer/songwriter Eddie Crane)
  • Ann Sothern (as Dixie Donegan, Eddie's girlfriend/wife)
  • Eleanor Powell (as Marilyn Marsh, Dixie's friend)

There were a number of memorable dances and performances:

  • Your Words and My Music (pictured), a duet by Sothern and Young while composing the tune during a song-writing session at the piano
  • the title song Oh! Lady Be Good, danced to by Powell with a trained dog named Buttons (pictured)
  • the performance of the Best Original Song-winning The Last Time I Saw Paris (pictured), music by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, sung by Sothern with a montage of super-imposed images of Paris rotated over her
  • You'll Never Know (pictured), sung and performed by the Berry Brothers in white tuxedos and top hats; it was also performed by Sothern (pictured) (with accompaniment on the piano by Young)
  • Fascinatin' Rhythm (pictured thrice), first sung by Powell, then followed by the Berry Brothers dancing with canes, and Powell's own extended tap dance routine, choreographed by Busby Berkeley, that featured dozens of pianos

The Last Waltz (1978)

Director Martin Scorsese's documentary of the final performance of The Band in 1976 (at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco) has generally been considered one of the greatest rock concert films ever made.

It featured the music of the legendary The Band (The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Up on Cripple Creek, and Old Time Religion), and performances by Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan (Baby Let Me Follow You Down), Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison (performing Caravan), Muddy Waters (singing Mannish Boy), Ronnie Wood, and Neil Young (Helpless) (pictured), and studio-set sequences with Emmy Lou Harris and The Staple Singers.

The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)

This early 50's Paramount film starred Bob Hope as the title character:

  • Sidney Milburn, a small-time racetrack hustler-bookie known as "The Lemon Drop Kid"

It was most notable for Marilyn Maxwell's (as 'Brainey' Baxter, the Lemon Drop Kid's sometime girlfriend) debut singing of the enduring Yuletide hit ballad Silver Bells (pictured), with words and music by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. Next to her, Sidney (wearing a Santa Claus outfit with a white-rimmed cap and fake beard) rang hand bells:

"Silver Bells, Silver Bells, It's Christmas time in the city, Ring-a-ling, hear them sing, Soon it will be Christmas day..."

[Note: It was first sung moments earlier in the film by Gloomy Willie (William Frawley, better known for his role in the I Love Lucy TV show), as he was trying to collect money as a bell-ringing Santa on the street.]

Let It Be (1970, UK)

This biopic documentary was originally made to show the 'live' making of the Beatles' next album Let It Be in early 1969 in the studio, but became more of a chronicling of their contentious friction and impending breakup.

It poignantly captured the final public appearance of the band in their archetypal live, mid-day rooftop concert performance at their Abbey Road studio with the crowd surrounding them, concluding with Get Back (pictured).

The film also included their studio performance of:

  • the sad The Long and Winding Road (pictured) with singer Paul McCartney's beseeching, moving look toward the camera at the conclusion: "Don't leave me standing here, lead me to your door..."

Let's Make Love (1960)

In this backstage musical comedy film from director George Cukor that featured Marilyn Monroe, the blonde star (as aspiring actress Amanda Dell) sang and danced her penultimate song My Heart Belongs to Daddy (pictured) as the opening number in the film's off-Broadway musical production, while wearing a long purple sweater and sheer black tights.

(Monty Python's) Life of Brian (1979, UK)

This Terry Jones-directed irreverent satire of religious films and religious intolerance featured the final crucifixion scene in which reluctant Messiah Brian (Graham Chapman) was crucified next to others and was encouraged by fellow sufferer Mr. Frisbee (Eric Idle):

"Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say. Some things in life are bad. They can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle. And this'll help things turn out for the best. And.."

Then he led the singing of the incongruously upbeat song: (Always Look on the) Bright Side of Life (pictured):

"Always look on the bright side of life. (whistling) Always look on the light side of life. (whistling) If life seems jolly rotten, There's something you've forgotten, And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing. When you're feeling in the dumps, Don't be silly chumps. Just purse your lips and whistle. That's the thing. And, always look on the bright side of life."

Lili (1953)

MGM's film production of Charles Waters' romantic and enchanting fantasy-musical drama was noted for becoming the first film ever to be adapted into a Broadway musical - in 1961, named Carnival.

It told about a wistful, sad, naive and lonely 16 year-old French orphan named Lili (Oscar-nominated Leslie Caron) who worked with a carnival puppet show (featuring red-haired Carrot Top and foxy and sly Reynardo) run by a sad carnival puppeteer Paul Berthalet (Mel Ferrer). She talked and sang to the puppets as if they were real people.

One of the film's few songs was in the memorable and famous Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo scene (pictured), in which the catchy title song tune was sung by Lili with Carrot Top and accompanied with an accordian:

"On every tree there sits a bird singing a song of love, on every tree there sits a bird and every one I ever heard could break my heart without a word singing a song of love -- A song of love is a sad song, Hi-li Hi-lili Hi-lo, A song of love is a song of woe, Don't ask me how I know, A song of love is a sad song, For I have loved and it's so, Hi-lili Hi-lili Hi-lo Hi-lo Hi-lili Hi-lili Hi-lo, Hi-lili Hi-lili Hi-lo Hi-lo Hi-lili Hi-lili - Hi-lo!"

In the film's conclusion, when Lili walked out of town with her suitcase, to leave the carnival for good, she imagined that she was dancing with life-sized living versions of the four puppets - and as she danced, each one turned into Paul, backed away and returned to town.

After her last dance with the fourth puppet - cowardly giant Golo, the two showered each other with kisses and embraced. Lili came to her senses and fully realized that Paul was voicing his own affection for her through the puppets, and she raced back to town and ran into Paul's arms for a passionate kiss.

The Lion King (1994)

# 99 "Hakuna Matata"

Best Original Song: Can You Feel the Love Tonight

There were many memorable songs (from Tim Rice and Elton John) and sequences in this Disney Pictures animation. Contrary to the usual pattern, The Lion King went from the screen to the stage in 1997. All of the film's four Academy Award nominations were music-related (it won two of the four), and there were three competing nominated songs (all with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice):

  • Best Original Song: Circle of Life
  • Best Original Song: Hakuna Matata
  • Best Original Song (win): Can You Feel the Love Tonight
  • Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer) (win)

The most memorable songs were:

  • the opening Oscar-nominated song Circle of Life (pictured) heralding the miracle of life - and the birth of the young lion prince Simba (voice of Jonathan Taylor Thomas), fathered by King Mufasa (voice of James Earl Jones) and presented to the animals of the Pride Lands by a mandrill named Rafiki (voice of Robert Guillaume); with lead female vocals by Carmen Twillie and Zulu vocals by Lebo M.
  • also the young lion prince's singing of the exuberant I Just Can't Wait to Be King (pictured)
  • and the song of villainous and covetous Scar (voice of Jeremy Irons), Mufasa's jealous younger brother, Be Prepared (pictured), performed with the three scheming spotted hyenas
  • the Devil-may-care Oscar-nominated song Hakuna Matata (pictured) (meaning "no cares or worries" in Swahili), sung by sly Timon the Meerkat (voice of Nathan Lane), Pumbaa the Warthog (voice of Ernie Sabella) and the now adolescent-adult lion Simba (voice of Matthew Broderick)

There was also:

  • the Oscar-winning love song Can You Feel the Love Tonight (pictured) - between Simba and Nala (voice of Moira Kelly)
  • the humorous The Lion Sleeps Tonight (pictured) (also sung by Timon and Pumbaa)

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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