Greatest Song and Dance
Musical Moments and Scenes

L - 2

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

The Little Colonel (1935)

In Shirley Temple's first costume picture, she performed her first tap-dance pairing with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

It was the celebrated stairway dance scene in which young Lloyd Sherman (Shirley Temple) tapped side-by-side down and then up a staircase with Walker (Bill Robinson), her grandfather Colonel Lloyd’s butler.

[Note: Their tap dancing duet was reprised with their competitive "challenge dance" up and down wooden apartment steps in The Littlest Rebel (1935) (see below).]

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Best Original Song: Under the Sea

This popular Disney animation, a musical fantasy, was the studio's first animated fairy tale since Sleeping Beauty (1959). It told about the wishes of a 16 year-old "little mermaid" (a princess named Ariel) to become a human.

It featured Caribbean (Jamaican Rastafarian), red-colored Sebastian the Crab's (voice of Samuel E. Wright) Oscar-nominated and winning, show-stopping calypso number Under the Sea (pictured) (with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, both Broadway songwriters). Its lyrics were memorable, as Sebastian tried to convince Ariel to remain aquatic and carefree under the water: ("Under the sea Under the sea Nobody beat us Fry us and eat us In fricassee We what the land folks loves to cook Under the sea we off the hook We got no troubles Life is the bubbles Under the sea...")

Other memorable tunes included:

  • Ariel's Part of Your World (pictured) - her desires to be human: ("I wanna be where the people are, I wanna see, wanna see 'em dancin' Walkin' around on those — what do ya' call 'em? — oh, feet. Flippin' your fins you don't get too far Legs are required for jumpin', dancin'. Strollin' along down a - what's that word again? – street...")
  • villainess Ursula's (voice of Pat Carroll) Poor Unfortunate Souls (pictured), who offered to help Ariel become human ("To help unfortunate merfolk like yourself Poor souls with no one else to turn to...Poor unfortunate souls In pain, in need This one longing to be thinner That one wants to get the girl And do I help them? Yes, indeed...")
  • the Oscar-nominated Kiss the Girl (pictured) - words of encouragement to have Prince Eric (voice of Christopher Daniel Barnes) kiss Ariel (voice of Jodi Benson) with a "kiss of true love" in order to have her become permanently human

Little Miss Broadway (1938)

In this storybook musical comedy from 20th Century Fox, a slightly older Shirley Temple (as Betsy Brown) sang Be Optimistic (pictured) with the Brewster twins -- the song was a tonic for Depression-era audiences.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

This satirical musical film, based upon Roger Corman's 1960 classic B-film black comedy of the same name and the off-Broadway stage hit musical in the early 80s, told about a timid florist shop clerk named Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) who discovered a carnivorous (and singing) venus flytrap plant from outerspace named Audrey II.

The film featured a trio of doo-wop singers (a girl group "Greek Chorus" comprised of Michelle Weeks, Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell) who sang the title song Little Shop of Horrors (pictured) during the opening credits. Later, they also sang The Meek Shall Inherit.

One of the funniest numbers was Steve Martin's (as sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello) Elvis-like performance of Dentist! (pictured).

Buxom bimbo and shrill-voiced flower arranger Audrey (Ellen Greene) - the object of Seymour's infatuated crush - and Seymour sang a duet together: Suddenly Seymour (pictured twice):

"...Audrey, that's all behind you now. You got nothin' to be ashamed of. You're a very nice person. I always knew you were. Underneath the bruises and the handcuffs, you know what I saw? A girl I respected. I still do. (singing) Lift up your head. Wash off your mascara. Here, take my Kleenex. Wipe that lipstick away. Show me your face. Clean as the morning. I know things were bad. But now they're okay..."

Also included was the the show-stopping rock-bop tune Downtown (Skid Row) (pictured) sung by the cast - the entire neighborhood of bums, drunks, prostitutes, and lower class apartment dwellers, and Seymour's heart-felt plea to his new-found plant Grow for Me (pictured).

There were three great songs by the giant, carnivorous fly-trap plant Audrey II (voice of The Four Tops' Levi Stubbs) menacing Seymour:

  • Feed Me! (pictured)
  • Suppertime
  • and the concluding Oscar-nominated song specially made for the film -- the show-stopping Mean Green Mother From Outer Space (pictured): ("I'm just a mean green mother from outer space. And I'm bad - mean, green, bad. I'm just a mean green mother from outer space, and it looks like you've been had. I'm just a mean green mother from outer space, so get off my back and get out my face. 'Cause I'm mean and green and I am bad, I'm bad")

[Note: Preview audiences did not like the nihilistic, downbeat conclusion of the original version of the film (a 23-minute alternate ending) - so the ending was re-shot to include the death of Audrey II and an upbeat 'Sandra Dee' conclusion, rather than keeping Audrey II's eating of Seymour and takeover of Earth.

Three songs were eliminated by the reshoot: Audrey's tearjerking dying reprise of Somewhere That's Green, the Greek Chorus' foreboding Subsequently, and the awe-inspiring finale Don't Feed the Plants, as giant Audrey II's conquered the Earth.]

The Littlest Rebel (1935)

In The Littlest Rebel (1935):

  • black house slave Uncle Billy (vaudeville and musical stage star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson) tap-danced for the young birthday party guests in the dining room, to the harmonica-played tune of Turkey In The Straw (pictured)
  • six-year old Southern plantation-dwelling daughter Virginia "Virgie" Cary (Shirley Temple) also tap-danced with Uncle Billy in a slave cabin (with a harmonica playing Turkey in the Straw) (pictured)
  • Virgie sang Polly Wolly Doodle (pictured) (with Uncle Billy accompanying her on the banjo) outside the jail where her Confederate officer father Captain Herbert Cary (John Boles) was incarcerated (she also reprised the singing of Polly Wolly Doodle as the film concluded)
  • and their tap-dancing was reprised with their competitive "challenge dance" in the public square with Uncle Billy (pictured) to the tune of the song She and I - including their tap-dancing up and down a short set of wooden, apartment house steps (reprising the staircase scene in The Little Colonel (1935)), followed by their passing of two caps (one Confederate and one Union) in order to acquire money for "railroad fare"

Love Actually (2003, UK/US)

One of the more memorable dance scenes was recently-elected Prime Minister's (Hugh Grant) impromptu dance to the golden-oldie Jump by the Pointer Sisters (pictured often), when he cavorted from his bedroom and down the stairs in his big mansion on 10 Downing Street - and was observed from afar by one of his astonished staffers.

Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing (1955)

Best Original Song: Love is a Many-Splendored Thing

Han Suyin's 1952 autobiographical novel was turned into this Henry King-directed Cinemascopic romantic drama about a transgressive, inter-racial/cross-cultural relationship, filmed on location in Hong Kong.

Of its eight Academy Award nominations, this film won three Oscars: Best Score (Alfred Newman), Best Song (music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster), and Best Costume Design. Its other nominations were for Best Picture, Best Actress (Jennifer Jones), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound.

Often during the film, the title song would swell in the background. It told about two lovers in a clandestine relationship during China's Civil War in 1949:

  • Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones), a beautiful Eurasian doctor, the widow of a Chinese general from mainland China
  • Mark Elliott (William Holden), an American newsman/correspondent, unhappily married (in a trial separation) and unable to obtain a divorce

In a melodramatic final scene set in Hong Kong, Mark reluctantly bid her farewell from a hilltop (where they often went to share kisses) - he told her that he didn't have a present for her: "I have to go now and I don't want you to be sad...And I don't want you to come down the path with me. I want to look back and see you here." She promised that she would be there for him at their familiar meeting place ("I will be here when you come back to me. I promise") as they kissed and the theme music swelled - with the lyrics:

Once on a high and windy hill, in the morning mist, two lovers kissed, and the world stood still...

Love Me Tonight (1932)

# 73 "Isn't It Romantic?"

This innovative musical masterpiece from Paramount and director Rouben Mamoulian, with a Rodgers and Hart score, set the pattern for future seamlessly integrated musicals.

It starred Maurice Chevalier (as Parisian tailor mistaken for a baron Maurice Courtelin) and Jeanette MacDonald (as melancholy and frustrated noblewoman Princess Jeanette).

The film opened during the credits with a 'symphony of noises' sequence, capturing the rhythms and sounds of Paris awakening -- (i.e., bell-ringing, pick-axing a cobblestone street, a man's snoring, broom-sweeping, smokestack-churning, a baby's crying, filing, rug-shaking and beating, boot-making, car-horns honking, etc.) while Chevalier was introduced in his small apartment bedroom, singing That's the Song of Paree (pictured).

The Parisian tailor was also linked to the Princess in their classic rendition of Isn't it Romantic? (pictured twice) - the catchy tune was passed through time and space (from Chevalier's 'Tailleur' shop where he was tending to a customer, to people in the street, and into the countryside on a train, and then into MacDonald's country chateau where she was singing on her open balcony). The two were linked together by different characters (a shop customer, a taxi driver and his composer customer, soldiers on the train that emerged marching, and a gypsy violinist).

Of the nine staged musical numbers, other songs included:

  • the title song Love Me Tonight (pictured) with the song ending with the duo in split-screen - appearing as if they were in the same bed
  • the lilting Rodgers and Hart tune Lover (sung by MacDonald in her carriage to her horse) (pictured)
  • and Chevalier's trademark impertinent serenade song to MacDonald titled Mimi ("You know I'd like to have a little son of a Mimi by and by!") (pictured)

The Love Parade (1929)

This Paramount film with six Oscar nominations often combined director Ernst Lubitsch's sophisticated touch and sexual innuendo - while many of the songs were cleverly integrated into the storyline.

It had a number of milestones. It was:

  • director Lubitsch's first musical (adapted from the little-known Hungarian play The Prince Consort)
  • his first talkie with the studio
  • the first pairing of French cabaret star Maurice Chevalier (in his second sound feature as roguish, disgruntled military attache Count Alfred Renard) and red-headed soprano Jeanette MacDonald (in her first film as frustrated and unmarried Queen Louise of the never-never land of Sylvania)

The couple were married although unhappily due to his powerless role as spouse, although he was persuaded not to divorce and the couple eventually learned to compromise.

A wide variety of delightful and lilting numbers included:

  • Chevalier's Paris, Stay the Same (pictured)
  • the comedic duet Let's Be Common (pictured) (sung by Jacques (Lupino Lane) and love interest Lulu (Lillian Roth))
  • Dream Lover (sung by MacDonald as she drowsily awakened in a sleekly revealing negligee once more without a man)
  • their duet of the title song My Love Parade (pictured)
  • Chevalier's singing of Anything to Please the Queen (pictured)
  • and Nobody's Using It Now (pictured) (about his tribulations after being married and finding himself virtually castrated as the Prince Consort)

Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)

Best Original Song: For All We Know

Director Cy Howard's hit family comedy from ABC Pictures was the recipient of three Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actor (Richard S. Castellano) and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was based upon the 1968 Broadway hit play by Renée Taylor and her husband Joseph Bologna.

The ensemble "sleeper" hit film won a sole award: Best Original Song for the romantic ode For All We Know (music by Fred Karlin and lyrics by Robb Royer and Jimmy Griffin), beautifully sung by Karen Carpenter (of the Carpenters) in the film.

Love, look at the two of us. Strangers in many ways. We've got a lifetime to share. So much to say. And as we go From day to day I'll feel you close to me. But time alone will tell. Let's take a lifetime to say 'I knew you well.' For only time will tell us so. And love may grow For all we know...

The song was heard on the soundtrack during the wedding sequence (the central plot point) between two of the major characters:

  • Mike Vecchio (Michael Brandon), from an Italian-American family, with parents Frank (Richard Castellano, known for saying "So what's the story?") and Bea (Beatrice Arthur)
  • Susan Henderson (Bonnie Bedelia), from a WASP family, with parents Hal (Gig Young) and Bernice (Cloris Leachman)

The comedy also marked the film debut of Diane Keaton in a minor role as Joan Vecchio, the unhappy wife of the brother of the groom.

Lucky Me (1954)

This musical (the first shot in widescreen Cinemascope) about romantic misunderstandings starred Doris Day (as traveling show singer/actress Candy Williams) along with Phil Silvers (as Hap Schneider), Nancy Walker (as Flo Neely), and Eddie Foy Jr. (as Duke McGee) -- stranded troupers and theatrical entertainers who were forced to work in an expensive Miami hotel after they ordered a large meal and were unable to pay the bill. Robert Cummings also starred as philandering NY songwriter Dick Carson staying at the hotel.

In the film's opening, there were shots of the streets of Miami, followed by Candy Williams (Doris Day) strolling along the street (actually an obvious Hollywood soundstage) - with inventive tracking shots - singing Superstition (pictured).

She also performed High Hopes (pictured) - a lively song and dance number with the ensemble:

"Just what makes that little old ant, think he can move that rubber tree plant, Anyone knows an ant can't move a rubber tree plant...'Cause he had hi-i-igh hopes, he had hi-i-igh hopes, He had high apple pi-i-ie-in-the-sk-y-y hopes."

Other popular tunes included:

  • Men (pictured), sung by Doris Day and Phil Silvers on stage
  • the hit song I Speak to the Stars (pictured)
  • I Wanna Sing Like an Angel (pictured)
  • Love You, Dearly (pictured) (a piano-duet ballad between Day and Cummings)

Lullaby of Broadway (1951)

In this Technicolored Warners' musical romance drama by director Lloyd Bacon, noted for gorgeous costumes, charming blonde-haired Doris Day starred as young, unknown American singer/actress Melinda Howard. She arrived in New York from London, and was soon to discover that her mother Jessica Howard (Gladys George) was not really a big and successful Broadway star, but a has-been alcoholic. Gene Nelson co-starred as Doris Day's fellow-entertainer and love interest Tom Farnham.

The musical was a remake of Honky Tonk (1929) - that starred Sophie Tucker (the Gladys George role) and Lila Lee (the Doris Day role).

Many of the hit songs in the film were vintage Warners' tunes written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren, and others were by George Gershwin and Cole Porter.

In the opening, a tuxedoed Day with a top hat and cane -- looking like Eleanor Powell -- sang and danced Cole Porter's Just One of Those Things (pictured). Other numbers included:

  • Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (pictured) (a tour de force performed by Gene Nelson and the Cavanaugh Trio), sung to Day
  • Doris Day's and Gene Nelson's tap-dancing to Somebody Loves Me (pictured) on opposite sides of a glass door
  • the newly-written I Love the Way You Say Goodnight (pictured)
  • the song-dance duet You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me (pictured)
  • and the title song and grand production number Lullaby of Broadway (pictured) in the finale (first introduced in Busby Berkeley's Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935))

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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