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MattKarl

Musical numbers in nonmusicals

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Here?s a topic I haven?t seen addressed.

 

You?re watching a movie that can be clearly categorize in a genre other than musical (drama, comedy, action, mystery, ?) when, out of the blue, a song is presented that makes you think ?This seems like a musical.? I don?t mean where a character merely sings a song (such as the sublime ?As Time Goes By? from Casablanca or the ridiculous ?Rolly Polly? from Pillow Talk). I?m talking about a non-musical that presents a song in a manner that screams ?Musical!?

 

Three good examples I can think of right off the bat are:

?Springtime for Hitler? in the original version of The Producers, with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.

Kate Capshaw singing ?Anything Goes? in the opening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Ewan McGregor and Rene Zellweger singing ?Down with Love? during the closing credits of the movie with the same name.

 

Can you think of more?

 

(BTW, I posted a similar question on the musical message board at www.imdb.com.)

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" Frankenstein meets the Wolfman" (1943) there is a big gypsy production number with the immortal Farala Faralee song about " Life is short but death is long"

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Another is the "Shine On Harvest Moon" song by Oliver Hardy and dance by Ollie and Stan in the 1939 Laurel & Hardy movie "The Flying Deuces".

 

And in the same movie, Stan's "harp" solo, playing "The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise".

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Another favorite song number that comes out of nowhere in a non-musical is Basil Rathbone's performance of the 1907 British music-hall novelty "I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside" (written by John A. Glover-Kind) in the 1939 Twentieth Century-Fox picture "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes".

 

A similar performance of the song can be seen in the 1933 Fox picture "Cavalcade" but it's not quite as unexpected or as much fun as Rathbone's rendition.

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Speaking as a tremendous fan of Laurel and Hardy, there are a number of their films where they will break into song, and sometimes it has nothing to do with the plot. One that comes to mind is the charming song and dance that occurs in "Way Out West." I never get tired of seeing that number. Also, "Lazy Moon" from "Pardon Us."

 

Terrence.

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The Man Who Knew Too Much is a good example of music in a non musical movie. In it Doris Day sings "Que Sera' Sera'". The song is carefully woven into the plot of the movie, even though it is a mystery-suspense movie. The song is used, effectively, to help locate their kidnapped son.

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And here's another one:

 

This one is in the 1952 British horror / comedy "Mother Riley Meets the Vampire" (which is also known, among various other titles, as "Vampire Over London" and "My Son the Vampire"). In one scene star Arthur Lucan for no reason breaks into a lively performance of the 1929 Leslie Sarony novelty hit song "I Lift Up My Finger and I Say Tweet Tweet". A funny highlight in a funny movie.

 

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I just watched Random Harvest during the 31 Days of Oscar and I'd forgotten that Greer Garson does an entire music hall number in it near the beginning. She leaves that career to help amnesiac Ronald Colman who has wandered into her life, so we never see her in that mode again, but she was surprisingly (mostly because so unexpected) good as a musical performer. She usually had "big" facial expressions and reactions as a performer, so that probably helped her put the number across since bigger is better onstage, if not always on film.

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Another that I just thought of is Jane Russell singing "The Gilded Lily" from "Montana Belle".  

The movie is not that great, but this musical number is definitely worth watching.

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On ‎2‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 1:40 PM, Terrence1 said:

Another that I just thought of is Jane Russell singing "The Gilded Lily" from "Montana Belle".  

The movie is not that great, but this musical number is definitely worth watching.

You're right; Jane had proven herself as a musical performer so they sometimes worked a number into her films. In The Revolt of Mamie Stover she did a hula-themed number in the dance hall. ("Keep Your Eye on the Hands" or something). I'm relying on memory but I think she had a musical number in Fate is the Hunter too. It's been so long since I've seen Nicholas Ray's Hot Blood, but it's hard to imagine Jane in a gypsy movie without cutting loose with a number at some point. The Jane/Marilyn connection reminded me that Marilyn did a couple of scaled-back musical numbers in River of No Return and, of course, famously mishandled "That Old Black Magic" in Bus Stop. Some Like It Hot would probably be considered a non-musical and she had a couple of very effective numbers in that as well.

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The fantastic Julie Wilson had an acting role in This Could Be the Night (1957) but was featured in at least three nightclub numbers, sometimes overlapped by dialogue. She also sang the title song under the credits. Otherwise the movie wasn't a musical at all but a comedy/drama set in a nightclub. A great chance to catch Julie in her prime. TCM has shown it least a couple of times in the last few years. 

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Channing Tatum and his dancing sailor buddies stop the show in "Hail Caesar" (2016)

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