Friday, 21 August 2009

Iconic Musical Scenes

I’m still patiently waiting for Nine to come out. The recent news that many of the songs have been cut has been somewhat disconcerting, but I have faith in Rob Marshall, and way more faith in Anthony Minghella, so I’m holding out. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about musicals when musicals were the thing and have such compiled a list of my nine favourite musical scenes. Don’t look for anything recent, because it won’t be here.

#9 – The Man That Got Away from A Star is Born [1954]
I absolutely love this song. Alex in Movieland was saying the other that he’s not very impressed with Judy’s acting in this role, sensing a sort of coldness from her. I’m not that harsh but it’s not my favourite Judy acting moment, but this song is still really good and this wonderfully directed scene from George Cukor is beautifully done.

#8 – I Have Confidence from The Sound of Music [1965]
It’s a tough choice for the best song from this musical and my favourite is probably the hauntingly beautiful Something Good. But I love this particular scene. Maria’s just found out that she’s leaving the convent, but wonders what time of a governess she’ll be. I know others will remember 'My Favourite Things' and 'Do-Re-Mi', but this remains as the iconic scene from The Sound of Music for me [just barely edging out 'Sixteen Going on Seventeen'].

#7 – Cool from West Side Story [1961]
Aah. This is another tune I’m biased towards. This scene, though, is just really well directed. I was always more a fan of the Jets than the Sharks [just as the preferred the Montagues to the Capulets]; and it was unfortunate that the Jets’ women couldn’t have larger roles. This number is really good though, and I like the wittiness of having Ice sing about staying Cool. I’m tempted to say that this is the best stand alone song from the movie…

# 6 – Cabaret from Cabaret [1972]
Mien Herr is the best performance number for Liza and Maybe This Time is the most poignant, but this is the most iconic. This scene is just well done. Every nuance every line, every shot… Bob Fosse really deserved this Oscar for direction. The scene just plays wonderfully.

#5 – Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins [1964]

I remember this song disconcerted me as a child. This is the best song of the film, hands down. Julie Andrews is always great when she gets emotive. And it’s more special too because of Jane Darwell’s cameo as The Bird Lady. It’s nicely envisioned with the snow globe as the template turning it into a most magical and poignant experience.

#4 – The Yellow Brick Road from The Wizard of Oz [1939]
This is definitely the song that sticks with you. As the two [then three, then four] friends travel down this famous road with that little black down, this recitative continues. From the slightly idiotic dancing, to the glint of the ruby slippers on the yellow road, the splash of Technicolor… it’s all just lovely.

#3 – Put On Your Sunday Clothes from Hello, Dolly! [1969]

Hello, Dolly! Is too often forgotten when we remember musicals of the 1960/1970 period. If you haven’t seen it, go and get it now. The colour, the movement, the dancing it all seems really busy, but it all still works. Barbra Streisand is at her best playing the loquacious Dolly Levi and you can just see the fun she’s having. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears.

#2 – Tonight [Reprise] from West Side Story [1961]
Sung just before the fateful rumble this is done by the ensemble. There is not a false moment in this number. The dark light shrouding Anita is suggestive not only of a romantic encounter but also seem to foreshadow the imminent deaths. The shades of red is mesmerising, the cutting from the Jets to the Sharks and back again. The audience is on their toes. And the song ain’t too bad either.

#1 – Willkommen from Cabaret [1972]

What’s my number one? It’s Fosse again. Joel Grey is delightful as the androgynous Emcee and I can’t help but love the covert sexual references to the guys and the girls. I dare you not to tap your feet along. This song is just really catchy tune. A perfect opening number…actually, it’s a perfect number period.

This list, like many that I do, is arbitrary somewhat though. So, tell me what I missed. What I overvalued. What you’d glorify. Which musical sequences get your feet tapping?

4 comments:

MovieMania said...

I would have included, "Money" from Cabaret - I love that song!, Somewhere over the Rainbow, "I'm Easy" from Nashville, etc.

Joseph Gomez said...

"Singin' in the Rain" and "Make 'Em Laugh" from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN.

Corinna said...

I would also include "Get Happy" from Summerstock, "The Trolley Song" from Meet Me in St. Louis, "Stepping Out With My Baby" from Easter Parade, and "I Got Rhythm" from An American in Paris.

joe burns said...

Glad to see "The Man That Got Away" included.