About a year or so ago, I did a piece on my favorite musical numbers for any movie. It could be a drama, contemporary, anything. I mean I even put Burlesque on that bill. If you've been following my IG, you know that I have an unhealthy obsession with dance, kind of Zelda Fitzerald style, and it's freaking hard! The whole point is to make it look easy. Also, as someone obsessed with musical theater, and the recent success of Hamilton, I'd like to pay tribute to choreography on FILM rather than the stage. A little bit of history first: Choreography for film started with Busby Berkley and the addition of sound. Trained dancers like Joan Crawford got their start playing chorus girls in the line-up of circular kaleidoscopic shots or one of the girls dancing in a swimming pool around Esther Williams. This transitioned to the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rodgers era, whom I don't think made a bad film, and could dance on air. Fred Astaire's protégé was also his contemporary, the incomparable Gene Kelly who fused his own unique brand of ballet and jazz with ballroom and took the movie musical to new heights. Let's not forget the guy tapped as well. He really was the whole package. I honestly don't think anyone's better. He ruled the movie musical landscape with Astaire until like every dancer, he got a bit old, and tired and before you know it, it was the 70's, and former Broadway boy-wonder choreographer Bob Fosse was making movies. His approach totally revolutionized the genre and indirectly gave birth to all that dancing you see in music videos. Whereas back in the day, the musical numbers were shot on a singular presidium arch, where the camera followed the dancer, Fosse would shoot his numbers from about 20 angles and in a frenzy edited them to free his dancers from gravity. You can call it 'montage dance'. Also, his style was unlike anything done before. Even the most experienced dancers said that he was by far the hardest choreographer to work with and would come home from shooting covered in bruises. Ironically, his numbers look effortless, and his contribution to cinema (though he only made 4 films) cannot be overlooked. Without getting any deeper, here are my favorite musical numbers from movie musicals, in order this time.
Below, any videos I can find regarding the aforementioned numbers, now go dance your heart out!: