Thursday, March 18, 2010

Musical Scenes: Dance and Sing the Night Away

Anyone who knows me, knows, that I am a big fan of musicals. Stage musicals, movie musicals, even musical numbers in movies that have no business being there (Clerks 2, Not Another Teen Movie, 500 Days of Summer). So in part two of the "Scenes to Remember Series" we will shout about Musicals.

Now, since this is movies I have to knock some things out, for instance "Those Canaan Days" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, "Brotherhood of Man" from How to Succeed in Business without really trying, and anything from Jersey Boys. Also, this is more for the scene in the movie, so song doesn't really cut it. We can all belt out all the words to "Hey Big Spender", or "On My Own" (My favorite musical song ever) but those don't translate on to the screen as well. So this is the challenge to not only find the song, but the way in which that song was done on screen. So two quick notes, one I am sticking to movie musicals, not just musical numbers within movies (sorry Enchanted will not be on this list) also, Disney is going to a post all it's own so while films like "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Princess and the Frog" are all musicals, I think we all know Disney deserves a special post.

"Make Em Laugh", Singing In the Rain
Donald O'Conner dancing through the movie production sets trying to cheer up Gene Kelly is still the quintessential way to shoot a musical scene. Singing in the Rain is one of the first musicals to use pans, cuts, and sweeps with the camera in order to enhance the song that is being sung. This is one of the greatest uses of all that, as O'Conner a genius when it comes to using comedy in dance and song routines. Some people say Gene Kelly dancing in the rain is the scene, I say this scene in the movie shows the true genius of Donald O' Conner a very unappreciated actor.

"We Both Reached for the Gun", Chicago
Ok this one was REALLY REALLY hard for me. Only because Chicago is like probably in the top 5 movie musicals ever made. It was a tie between this one and the scene for "All That Jazz". Honestly I could fill up 5 spots on this list with scenes from Chicago, unfortunately that wouldn't be fair. I gave it to this one over "All That Jazz" because this one had the better scene, by combining the real press conference with the motions and the words of the song, also by showing Richard Gere's ability to manipulate the press by pulling the strings was a work of genius on Rob Marshall's part. Great scene and it sticks out all by itself in this movie.

"Little Girls", Annie
Ooo Carol Burnett you light up my life. Her singing "Little Girls" is honestly the best thing about this movie. "Easy Street" was Ok, and the overdone "Let's Go to the Movies" was also well done with this movie, but Carol Burnett belting out, "Little little lit lit little" stole the show.

Drunk Dancing, Holiday Inn
Fred Astaire Drunk Dancing with Majorie Reynolds was one of the highlights of this movie. Fred Astaire was always a good dancer, in fact his firework Fourth of July dance at the end of this movie wasn't bad either, but this scene is where he definitely shows how to dance in a comedic well times manner.

"I Wanna Hold Your Hand", Across the Universe

Awesome sequence when she walks through the ballet of the football players on the field in slow motion all around her. However, the best part of this scene is the reveal that she is singing to the girl not to the guy. Best character reveal of lesbian I have ever seen, so subtle, so well times, so perfect.

"I Should Tell You", Rent
Ok knowing my friends, I am going to get bashed for this one. Rent is awesome, but this scene with Roger and Mimi in the snow really is the best scene in the movie, not because of the song, but because of camera work, the snow, the ambiance of the scene and Roger and Mimi confess everything that's keeping them apart, so that they can finally be together. Yes there are better songs than this one in the movie, but this is scene that really captures my attention.

"Springtime for Hitler", The Producers
As shocking and comical as it is offensive, this song routine from The Producers was fantastic. Everything about made me laugh and it will always be in my head whenever I think about it. The Producers remake as a musical is totally under appreciated in my book, it is time to go back and take another look people, this movie is awesome. However, even through the highlights from Mathew Broderick dancing to "I Want to be a Producer" to Nathan Lane's fantastic performance in "Betrayed" This sequence was the highlight of the movie.

"The Sound of Music", The Sound of Music
The opening scene to the sound of music is still one of favorites. From the shots from the hills of Austria, to the pan and swoop of Julie Andrews as she belts out the first few notes to the main title song, this clip is still used today in clip scenes all over the place.

"America", West Side Story
This anthem to both sides of the American dream is a great dance and singing sequence in the movie. Using both the new modern dance combined with salsa the guys and girls both challenge each other in the song. Great Scene

"Born to Hand Jive", Grease
So why choose this over "Grease Lightning", quite simply, the dance contest. This scene still goes through my mind all the time as one of the most memorable scenes from a musical, maybe its because when younger my sister and I used to mirror the dance Sandy and Danny did, hmm I don't know?

So there it is, the list of top musical scenes that memorable. Yes I did miss a lot, Cabaret for instance or the stair dance with Shirley Temple in "The Little Colonel" but this is the list I choose because A all of these movies are awesome, but these really are the scenes that take anyone's breathe away, gives them goosebumps, and plays through their heads whenever they hear the song.

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