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

Man of La Mancha (1972)

Filmed on location in Spain by director Arthur Hiller, this much-criticized film version of the long-running 1965 Broadway stage production (with Richard Kiley) starred Peter O'Toole (with singing voice of Simon Gilbert) as the title character Miguel de Cervantes in prison during the Spanish Inquisition - aka knight errant Don Quixote, with his faithful manservant Sancho Panza (James Coco).

The film was also noted for Sophia Loren's portrayal of abused, busty, jailed scullery maid-prostitute Aldonza (the honorable Dulcinea envisioned in Quixote's delusional and mad mind).

It was well- known for its memorable songs:

  • the title tune Man of La Mancha (pictured twice), sung earlier (with fake horses and then the duo was seen riding on real animals), and then reprised later
  • It's All the Same (pictured) - Aldonza's song in a courtyard about her cynicism toward men
  • the inspiring song Impossible Dream (pictured twice): ("To dream the impossible dream to fight the unbeatable foe to bear with unbearable sorrow to run where the brave dare not go") - sung by Don Quixote to Aldonza/Dulcinea, and then reprised by the ensemble in the film's stirring and dramatic finale as Quixote and Sancho were summoned by Inquisitioners, and ascended stairs to depart from the prison

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

# 48 "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)"

Best Original Song: Qué Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

Director Alfred Hitchcock's widescreened (VistaVision) and Technicolored suspense thriller was a 2-hour long remake of his own 1934 film. It was a story of political intrigue involving an assassination plot (of foreign Prime Minister (Alexis Bobrinskoy)), to occur in London's Royal Albert Hall - in the film's exciting finale.

In two segments in the film, Doris Day (as retired singer and tourist wife Josephine "Jo" Conway McKenna) performed the Academy Award-winning Best Original Song Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) (the film's sole Oscar win). Once, she sang the song to her young son Henry "Hank" McKenna (Christopher Olsen), and then accompanied herself on the piano in front of an audience at the foreign Embassy in London:

When I was just a little girl I asked my mother what will I be Will I be pretty will I be rich Here's what she said to me Que Sera Sera Whatever will be will be The future's not ours to see Que Sera Sera What will be will be

Other music in the film was composed by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann, including Arthur Benjamin's revised Storm Cloud Cantata (from the 1934 film) performed by the London Symphony Orchestra (and conducted by Herrmann himself in a cameo) in the film's conclusion.

Mary Poppins (1964)

# 36 "Super-califragilistic-expialidocious"

Best Original Song: Chim-Chim-Cheree

This popular Academy Award Special Effects-winning musical fantasy children's/family film from Walt Disney Studios, unique in that it had no stage origins, had an amazing blending of live action with animated cartoon characters and many imaginative numbers by magical nanny Mary Poppins (Oscar-winning Julie Andrews) in the P.L Travers-inspired 1934 tale, including:

  • A Spoonful of Sugar (pictured) - sung by Mary to an animatronic robin and to the children
  • Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag) (pictured) - sung by Mary during a view of an old Bird Woman (Jane Darwell in her final role)
  • carefree sidewalk artist/chimney-sweep Bert (Cockney-accented Dick Van Dyke) sang the Oscar-winning Best Song Chim-Chim-Cheree (pictured) (music and lyrics by the Sherman Brothers)
  • the most famous number, beginning with a jump into a chalk sketch on the pavement that took Mary, Bert and the Banks children into an animated, comical cartoon world, where Mary and Bert sang the catchy tongue-twisting classic tune about a nonsense word, in a duet: "Super-califragilistic-expialidocious" (pictured) (written by Richard and Robert Sherman)
  • the wild Step in Time (pictured twice) - a huge Irish jig dance number by Bert on rooftops with other chimney-sweeps while dodging fireworks and cannon-blasts

The fantasy musical had 13 Academy Award nominations, with five winners (two were music-related):

  • Best Actress (Andrews)
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Original Music Score (the Sherman Brothers, Richard and Robert)
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Original Song

M*A*S*H (1970)

# 66 "Suicide is Painless"

Director Robert Altman's anti-war black comedy was about military doctors and nurses at a M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) during the Korean War. It inspired the long-running TV series.

It was most famous for Private Seldman's (Ken Prymus) performance of Suicide Is Painless (pictured twice) for erectile-dysfunctioning and suicidal "Painless Pole" Walt Waldowski (John Schuck) in the "Last Supper" scene:

"Through early morning fog l see visions of the things to be, the pains that are withheld for me, l realize and l can see. That suicide is painless, it brings on many changes, and l can take or leave it if l please. The game of life is hard to play, l'm going to lose it anyway. The losing card l'll someday lay, so this is all l have to say, that suicide is painless..."

The Mask (1994)

Most memorable was the entrance scene into the Coco Bongo Club of sexy blonde night-club singer Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz in her screen debut, singing voice of Susan Boyd) seductively singing Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You (pictured twice).

Her appearance was breathtaking for The Mask/Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) in the audience - a yellow zoot-suited wolf with green skin. It caused him to drool over her (with his eyes popping, mouth/jaw dropping and tongue hanging out), and it also made his heart beat through his shirt (pictured).

He was motivated to join her on stage (after exclaiming "Let's rock this joint"). He bent her over backwards, and engaged in a frenzied, exuberant, drum-accented dance with her in a number titled Hey, Pachuco (pictured) - (accompanied by the Royal Crown Revue band) - using physically impossible moves.

Another particularly memorable dance number by the Mask was the Desi Arnaz song Cuban Pete (pictured) in front of a large group of police officers.

Maytime (1937)

This classic and very sentimental film was told in flashback and was based on the 1917 operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg. It was the third of MGM's popular and profitable Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy films - and considered the best of the series.

It was a tale of unrequited love between two tragic lovers:

  • American Paul Allison (Nelson Eddy)
  • opera star soprano Marcia Mornay/Miss Morrison (Jeanette MacDonald)

Together, they sang the film's theme song: Will You Remember? (pictured) in the May Day country fair sequence. She had just admitted to Paul that she was marrying her long-time tutor Nicolai Nazaroff (John Barrymore), although she was reluctant because it was a loveless pairing. The two were amidst flowering and blossoming apple trees as they pledged their eternal love in the beautiful duet:

"Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Though our paths may sever, To life's last faint ember, we will remember Springtime, love time, May"

In the magnificent, bittersweet and sentimental closing scene (pictured numerous times), the two unrequited lovers were reunited in death, when Marcia peacefully passed away in her home's garden, and her forever-youthful spiritual image rose from her body to meet and reunite with Paul's spirit singing to her within the garden gate with a reprise of their duet together: (Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Sweetheart) Will You Remember?

The concluding images of the spirits of both Paul and Marcia were in eternity on a path showered with flower blossoms, as they strolled hand in hand down the country lane - toward heaven - after being united in death.

(Monty Python's) The Meaning of Life (1983, UK)

The many comic songs in this Monty Python classic included:

  • the satirical and lavish production number Every Sperm is Sacred (pictured) (mocking the "no birth control" policy of the Catholic church), sung in part by a pregnant Mum (Terry Jones) with her many children: ("Hindu, Taoist, Mormon, Spill theirs just anywhere; But God loves those who treat - their semen with more care; (chorus) Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate")
  • the great Galaxy Song (pictured) sung by Mr. Pink (also Idle), stressing the place of Man in the universe: ("So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure / How amazingly unlikely is your birth / And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space / 'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth") while featuring an animated constellation of stars resembling a pregnant woman giving birth to represent the "expanding universe"
  • the controversial and outrageous Penis Song (pictured) in Part VI: The Autumn Years - performed with a piano by Noel Coward (Eric Idle) in front of restaurant diners: ("Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis? Isn't it frightfully good to have a dong? It's swell to have a stiffy. It's divine to own a dick, From the tiniest little tadger To the world's biggest prick. So, three cheers for your Willy or John Thomas. Hooray for your one-eyed trouser snake, Your piece of pork, your wife's best friend, Your Percy, or your cock. You can wrap it up in ribbons. You can slip it in your sock, But don't take it out in public, Or they will stick you in the dock, And you won't come back")
  • the bizarre Christmas in Heaven segment (pictured twice): ("It's Christmas every day in Heaven") with Santa Claus-dressed female angels wearing plastic breasts, and Tony Bennett (Graham Chapman) singing the lyrics: ("It's Christmas in Heaven. All the children sing. It's Christmas in Heaven. Hark. Hark. Those church bells ring. It's Christmas in Heaven. The snow falls from the sky, But it's nice and warm, and everyone Looks smart and wears a tie. It's Christmas in Heaven. There's great films on TV: 'The Sound of Music' twice an hour And 'Jaws' One, Two, and Three")

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

# 26 "The Trolley Song"
# 76 "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

Vincente Minnelli's gorgeous musical (his third film and his first in color) romanticized and idealized the turn of the century at the time of the 1904 World's Fair. It was the second highest-grossing film for MGM up to that time.

It included Judy Garland's (as winsome daughter Esther Smith) famous renditions of:

  • the joyful The Trolley Song ("Ding, ding, ding went the trolley!") (pictured) as she rode to the fairgrounds
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (pictured) lovingly and tenderly sung at a wintry window to her distressed sister 'Tootie' (Margaret O'Brien) who didn't want to move from St. Louis
  • the romantically expressive falling-in-love song The Boy Next Door (pictured)
  • Garland and O'Brien joined together for a delightful song and cakewalk to Under the Bamboo Tree (pictured), complete with straw hats and canes in a home-style minstrel shuffle

The title song Meet Me in St. Louis was sung by Garland, Joan Carroll, Harry Davenport, Henry H. Daniells, and Lucille Bremer.

The Merry Widow (1934)

MGM's stylish, expressive and expensive film (spearheaded by producer Irving Thalberg) was red-headed soprano Jeanette MacDonald's first assignment with the studio, co-starring with her Paramount partner Maurice Chevalier under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch on loan from Paramount. It was the stars' fourth and final film together and their sole film with MGM - Chevalier left Hollywood the following year.

New lyrics by Lorenz Hart and Gus Kahn supplemented the Franz Lehar score from the original 1905 operetta.

It told the first 'talkie' version of the story (already filmed by Erich von Stroheim in the 1925 silent version) of wealthy widow Sonia (MacDonald) in the tiny kingdom of Marchovia in 1885, and her romance with the dashing, irresistible, handsome and roguish Count/Captain Danilo (Chevalier), who was sent to woo Sonia in Paris and keep her immense fortune within the kingdom, to avoid financial ruin for the small homeland.

Included in the film were:

  • MacDonald's renditions of Vilia (pictured) (from her moonlit balcony and accompanied by a violinist below) and Paris in the Spring
  • Chevalier's joyous Girls! Girls! Girls! (pictured) as he marched along and danced within a bevy of beautiful girls: ("Though our country will never make war, We've a reason that's worth marching for, not for battle our banner unfurls, but for girls, girls, girls, girls, girls")
  • I'm Going to Maxim's

In one wonderful song-dance sequence, Chevalier and MacDonald danced cheek-to-cheek in the private dining room at Maxim's restaurant as she seduced him to the strains of the Merry Widow Waltz (pictured).

Waltzing couples in a large ballroom were the highlight of the film's celebrated and grand production number at the Embassy ball - an extended Merry Widow Waltz sequence (with Academy Award-winning set design) (pictured), in which the duo danced the waltz together to a live orchestra with scores of others - who twirled down a long mirrored hallway.

Metropolis (1927, Ger.)

Fritz Lang's dystopic view of the future included evil (and false) robot Maria's (Brigitte Helm) seductively semi-nude erotic dance (censored upon the film's initial release) at the depraved Yoshiwara nightclub.

The exotic dance drove the workers into a sexual frenzy (exhibited by a mosaic of disembodied eyes), before she called for them to violently revolt.

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

# 22 "Everybody's Talkin'"

The theme song of this John Schlesinger-directed, X-rated (now R-rated) Best Picture and multiple-Oscar winning film was sung by Harry Nilsson (as Nilsson), the Grammy winnin Everybody's Talkin'.

The song (not performed in the film itself) was heard in the background in the first part of the film (during the opening credits). Young, naive, uneducated, pretty-boy blonde Texan Joe Buck (John Voight) was introduced as a small-town, lowly dishwasher at Miller's Restaurant, but renting a room in the run-down Big Spring Motel.

He showered, dressed, and preened himself in what he imagined to be the flashy, Hollywood-defined outfit of a stud - fringed leather, a stetson hat and shiny cowboy boots. He spoke directly into the camera - practicing his quitting speech to his employer: "You know what you can do with them dishes. And if you ain't man enough to do it for yourself, I'd be happy to oblige. I really would."

Restless, he left while carrying an ugly cow-hide covered suitcase. He passed the front of the motel and proceeded by Rio movie theatre where the letters on the marquee for John Wayne's The Alamo were askew. The film's familiar, signature theme song played under the credits: Everybody's Talkin' (sung by Harry Nilsson) (pictured):

Everybody's talkin' at me
I don't hear a word they're sayin'
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stop and starin'
I can't see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes
I'm goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
Through the pourin' rain.
Goin' where the weather suits my clothes
Bankin' off of the northeast winds
Sailin' on summer breeze
And skippin' over the ocean like a stone...

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)

This MGM film has been considered the best of Esther Williams' elaborate aquacade ballets - with two major sequences directed by Busby Berkeley, with some spectacular overhead shots of kaleidoscopic patterns of synchronized swimmers.

Esther Williams portrayed 1920s Australian swimming champion Annette Kellerman ("The Australian Mermaid") in a recreation of her underwater aquatic tank performances at the NY Hippodrome Tank.

In the first part of her spectacular show, four hundred water fountain streams shot up 30 feet to form a giant circular fountain, when Esther Williams arose from the center of the geyser on a small platform wearing a shiny gold full body suit - and then performed a graceful 40-foot swan dive into the water far below.

In the next aquacade number, Esther was in the tank with a group of other swimmers (in a super-imposed image), surrounded by large flame plumes.

Then, after a short interlude, her next show continued with a delicate underwater ballet (to the tune of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite (Dance of the Reed Flutes)).

And in her final watershow at the Hippodrome, The Smoke Number, she appeared from behind a plume of red smoke, slid down a watery incline, and was dragged through the water with a large group of swimmers behind her, while backed by giant 4th of July-type fiery colored smoke streams that shot up fifty feet.

These elements were combined with other trapeze performers who appeared on giant swings from behind smoke and dove into the water. She was pulled up while holding onto a ring, then dropped into the center of a circular group of swimmers far below.

Modern Times (1936)

Actor-director Charlie Chaplin's own film was a final stand against the synchronized sound film - and his last full-length "silent film" - although it was technically a quasi-silent film.

Chaplin's actual voice was heard singing an imaginary, nonsense song of gibberish (as a singing waiter).

Monsters Inc. (2001)

Best Original Song: If I Didn't Have You

This widely-anticipated animation, Disney's fourth computer-animated comedy with Pixar, featured a one-eyed, lime-colored ball named Mike Wazowski (with voice of Billy Crystal), and his scare-factory buddy James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (voice of John Goodman).

Composer Randy Newman wrote the songs for the animation's musical score (it was his 4th feature film work for Pixar) and was the only one to win an Oscar from the film's four nominations:

  • Best Animated Film
  • Best Musical Score
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Original Song (win), If I Didn't Have You (pictured), performed by John Goodman and Billy Crystal on the soundtrack during the end credits

[Note: Newman's nomination was his 16th nomination for either Song or Score since 1981 - and his first win!]

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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