The air is getting pretty thin as we start to reach the end of the list. But its great to see that there are still a healthy amount of quality choices even at this stage.
#71 The Yankee Doodle Boy
from Yankee Doodle Dandy
Warner Bros. Studios
Now we're talking! Its the legendary James Cagney, reknowned for playing tough guys and gangsters, strutting across the stage in one of the best roles of his storied career and the only one for which he received an Oscar, winning Best Actor. "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is the story of the amazing composer and Vaudevillian George M. Cohan whose works were all the rage for the first half of the Twentieth Century. In this showcase film, Cagney gets to show off his tap dancing skills and his performance just solidifies his position as one of the greatest all-around entertainers of all time. The feisty little Cagney looks for all the world like a marionette as his head bobs and weaves while he dances. The story is as saccharine as you can get, but the sheer joy in the performances makes all other considerations pale. This one would have been in the top 20 on my list. And if you want to see another example of two old pros showing off - check out the scene in "The Seven Little Foys" where Bob Hope and Jimmy Cagney (again portraying George M. Cohan some 13 years later) square off in a tap dancing exhibition on top of a conference table. Just amazing! But this film memorializes the amazing talents of George M. Cohan who gave us classic songs like "Give My Regards To Broadway," "Mary," "You're A Grand Old Flag," and of course, the WWI anthem, "Over There."
#72 Good Morning
from Singin' In The Rain
Warner Bros. Studios
Whoops! Another mystery pick by the AFI. Much as I love "Singin' In The Rain," this was a forgettable little number that really doesn't belong here.
#73 Isn't it Romantic?
from Love Me Tonight
Warner Bros. Studios
I've never seen this movie, which starred Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, so I obviously can't comment on it. But I certainly know this song. "Isn't It Romantic" was a big hit in the 1930's and 40's and was performed by many artists over the years. The lilting melody was perfect to dance to and couples by the millions have made memories to it.
#74 Rainbow Connection
from The Muppet Movie
I'm a die-hard Muppet fan, so I have mixed feelings here. The Muppet Movie was a great achievement for Jim Henson, their creator. It was the first time the Muppets were filmed "on location" and seen full-figure. On the other hand, Paul Williams' preachy "Rainbow Connection" was just a little too over the top for me. I would never have put it on the list.
#75 Up Where We Belong
from An Officer and a Gentleman
I'm sorry, but here again I'm mistified. While "An Officer and a Gentleman" was a huge box office hit, and the single "Up Where We Belong" sung by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes was a top 10 hit as well, it just didn't have the gravitas for a list like this in my opinion. It was a Hollywood concoction from top to bottom, and while I like both the song and the movie - they're not in my top 500.
#76 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
from Meet Me In St. Louis
The soulful rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" turned this song into a holiday classic that we've all enjoyed for nearly fifty years now. Its a tear-jerker that's perfect for an emotional time of year. The fact that it happens to be in an excellent movie that was filled with memorable songs just makes it all that much more enjoyable.
#77 The Shadow of Your Smile
from The Sandpiper
Warner Bros. Studios
It's that Percy Faith Syndrome rearing its ugly head. "The Shadow of Your Smile" is an accessible little tune, but its hardly the stuff of legends. Covered by many instrumentalists over the decades, it has little going for it except its popularity among the Lawrence Welk set. The movie featured Hollywood's hottest couple of the time, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Their torrid relationship was the talk of the world from their first meeting during the filming of "Cleopatra" in 1964 to their appearance in "Love Letters" on Broadway in the 1990's. This movie let audiences see them in a modern romantic setting - albeit a stormy one.
#78 9 To 5
from 9 To 5
This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and the catchy theme song "9 to 5" written and performed by Country Music's star Dolly Parton was a masterpiece of crossover. It had a country rhythm with a glib, tightly-woven pop lyric. Dolly Parton is one of the most underrated and underappreciated performers of the last 30 years. She tends to get dismissed as a ditzy buxom blonde, but that lady is sharp as a whip and a real entertainer. Matched in this light comedy about the trials of women in the modern business world with two excellent actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, we follow the story of three secretaries who end up kidnapping their tyrannical boss, played by another underappreciated actor and comedian Dabney Coleman (see the 1980's TV series "Buffalo Bill" and "The Life and Times of Slap Maxwell"). This one should have ranked much higher - certainly in the top 50.
#79 Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)
This sleeper of a comedy was dismissed by critics, but loved by audiences. We see Brittish comedian Dudley Moore in his breakout role as the rich, stumbly, sot Arthur who falls for poor Liza Minnelli. Toss in Sir John Guilegud as Arthur's gentleman's gentleman and you have a formula for success. The theme song by Christopher Cross, better known to listeners as "When You Get Lost Between The Moon and New York City," was a huge hit, too! All in all, I'd have given this one an honorable mention, but several slots lower yet.
#80 Springtime For Hitler
from The Producers
This was Mel Brooks' second film, but certainly one of his best. "The Producers" tells the tale of a crooked Broadway producer Max Bialystock, (portrayed so brilliantly by Zero Mostel) who charms little old ladies into backing his plays. But unfortunately, Max has gotten himself so far into debt that he is on the verge of ruin. In desparation he's hired a total novice Leo Bloom (comic genius Gene Wilder in his premiere role), as his accountant to try to get out of the mess he's in. In desparation, the conceive a hair-brained plot to produce the world's worst play in order to swindle enough money from their backers to save themselves. The movie featured the farcical composition heralded in this pick - "Springtime For Hitler" which serves as the underpinning for a Buzby Berkeley-style production number filled with goose-stepping Nazi's. The recent Broadway incarnation featured two of today's most popular performers, the brilliant Nathan Lane and the enormously overrated Matthew Broderick. But since these two are no longer performing, do yourself a favor and get the DVD of this movie and the soundtrack from the broadway play. (See lower box on the right).