Top Five… moments from musicals

chicborder1‘Hey, why don’t we put on the show right here?’ Honestly, not all movie musicals have to be utterly naff, or trite, or corny, or Annie. Here – and with heartfelt apologies to the reluctantly-rejected likes of Guys And Dolls, Carousel and, er, Little Shop Of Horrors – are some of the scenes that’ll make you want to gaze to the sky, stretch your arms out wide and just sing, sing, sing…

5. ‘I Can’t Do It Alone’ – Chicago

John Leslie’s greatest mistake – yes, even more so than Wheel Of Fortune (and others) – hurtles headlong into Minnelli mode, hoofing her way to a merited Oscar in a mere three (exhausting) minutes.

4. ‘Oom-Pah-Pah’ – Oliver!

Can’t a bloke enjoy a simple pint at his local in peace? That’ll teach Bill Sykes for sharing a drink with someone so stingy even his beard appears to be shreds of hair from his crown Superglued to his chops. Just one of many thrilling, swirling ensemble scenes from the film, only even better here because Mark Lester’s sappy Oliver stays silent. Shani Wallis, the finest singing talent to emerge from Tottenham outside of Chas and D–… Actually, make that just: Shani Wallis, the finest singing talent to emerge from Tottenham.

3. ‘Well, Did You Evah?’ – High Society

The suavest (if barely ‘risqué really’) duel you can imagine – with Ol’ Blue Eyes somehow playing the punk of proceedings. ‘Don’t dig that kind of crooning, chum’ indeed. (Do please admire, though, how Sinatra’s journo character hits the free booze impeccably.)

2. ‘And When They Ask Us’ – Oh! What A Lovely War

Blackadder Goes Forth’s got nothing on this: a sing-a-long, sob-a-long ending supreme. No wonder director Dickie Attenborough’s never stopped crying. And yet, as elegiac as the ending is, it remains as corrosively sardonic as the rest of the movie.

1. ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’ – Cabaret

It’s official: the devil really does have the best tunes. And none so unsettling as this one, not just for Joel Grey’s appearance at the end. Who needs Springtime For Hitler anyway? Only one pint-draining, party-pooping old man seems to see chilling sense at what’s been, and what’s to come.


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13 Responses to “Top Five… moments from musicals”

  1. A bit obscure but you have to love the sheer joie-de-vivre of this sequence from “It’s always fair weather”. Gene Kelly on rollerskates – it’s totally delightful.

    This musical is a bit of a dud, but I adore Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine is this song – he’s so appealing and she’s so touching – I love the way she sings “I could honestly diiiiee…”

  2. Good choice, especially leaving out Grease… apart from Zeta Jones though, she dances like an uncle at a wedding. Worst Oscar ever.

    How about this one from Astaire – dancing, song and golf all in one (about 1min30 in).
    Kenny Perry couldn’t do this.

  3. What I like about Catherine Zeta-Jones (and, slightly more irritatingly, Renee Zellweger) in “Chicago”, is the fact that they are slightly flawed, but try-hard hoofers – wonderful as Liza Minnelli is in “Cabaret”, she’s pehaps a little TOO good as a singer and performer, too much of a compliment to Sally Bowles the character.
    “Sue Me” is indeed beautiful – I felt guilty leaving out anything from “Guys And Dolls”, which perhaps deserves an odd award of its own for casting Sinatra – then giving the majority of singing-time to Brando instead…

  4. Justin Michaels Says:

    great list AidanRad – that Cabaret bit gives me goosebumps. heres a favourite of mine from Guys and Dolls, but its not Sinatra or Brando –

    and then theres this, a great medley –

  5. Aidan,

    I have a blind spot when it comes to CZJ, so it’s more of a grump than a criticism.

    Get what you mean about being ‘too good’ and for that reason always liked Rex Harrison in musicals. Couldn’t hit a note but it worked.

    Didn’t think I would admit this in public but My Fair Lady has always been a favourite, esepcially this bit –

  6. Yeah good call on the ‘too good’ point Aidy
    That’s why I like Moulin Rouge so much. McGregor and Kidman are so obviously not singers, which makes their efforts so much more believable and loveable

  7. Winwoozle Says:

    Meh! Not impressed! Should be Top Five most boooooring moments from musicals!

  8. I’m afraid musicals suck! Though there are two exceptions:

    1) South Park – The movie
    2) The Producers

    and I can’t believe neither are in?

  9. AidanRad Says:

    Hm. I left out ‘The Producers’, because the original comedy only really has one song – glorious though it is – and the follow-up, fuller musical was better on stage than screen.

  10. Eh? Cannibal The Musical has all top 5 moments in it.

    In no particular order..

    the 1st 19 minutes
    the 2nd 19 minutes
    the 3rd 19 minutes
    the 4th 19 minutes
    the 5th 19 minutes

  11. Antonius Maximus Says:

    Sweet Charity…how utterly ice-cool is this scene!!? –

  12. Sorry, but when it comes to “Sweet Charity”, nothing comes remotely close in coolness to this:

  13. […] great musicals. As we pointed out on this blog almost two years ago (man, we’re old), it has one of the great songs too. But mainly it’s a movie about getting drunk. The amount of champagne downed in this film […]

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