Saturday, February 12, 2011

... Which Suggests Another Poll

The latest Oscar trivia question from Turner Classic Movies (read it here) inspired me to start another poll. Of the top five songs in movie history, as chosen in 2004 by the American Film Institute, which is your favorite?

The AFI's Top Five, in reverse order:

5. "White Christmas"—Holiday Inn (1942)

4. "Moon River"—Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

3. "Singin' In The Rain"—Singin' In The Rain (1952)

2. "As Time Goes By"—Casablanca (1942)

1. "Over The Rainbow"—The Wizard of Oz (1939)

I often tell you that there are no wrong answers, but in this case there really are no wrong answers.


Maggie said...

Oh, this is too hard to choose from. Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River. Lovely.

Gene Kelly dancing in rain. Fabulous.

All of them. : )

VP81955 said...

First, I disqualify "As Time Goes By" and "Singin' In The Rain" because they weren't expressly written for the movies that made them famous. Of the remaining three, I go with "Over The Rainbow" because it's a great pop song (Frank Sinatra did an excellent version of it for Columbia in the mid-1940s) and I love its message of hope.

Mythical Monkey said...

First, I disqualify "As Time Goes By" and "Singin' In The Rain" because they weren't expressly written for the movies that made them famous.

The AFI clearly must have been using different standards than the Academy for choosing its best movie songs, because as you rightly point out neither "As Time Goes By" nor "Singin' In The Rain" were eligible for Oscars. I distinctly remember seeing "Singin' In The Rain" in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (which, by the way, despite its 7.4 rating on IMDB, is my pick as the worst movie ever nominated for a best picture Oscar.) And "As Time Goes By" first showed up in the Broadway musical Everybody's Welcome.

Mythical Monkey said...

All of them. : )

All of them are wonderful. All of them is a good choice.

Dr. Heckle said...

I would probably have to pick "White Christmas." It always reminds me of childhood Christmases and family.

Erik Beck said...

Of course, having the videos makes the poll different. Because the poll asks which is your favorite. But the video implies, which is your favorite in context.

Over the Rainbow still wins for me either way, but I'm much more fond of the scene in Singin in the Rain than I am of the song itself.

Likewise, my favorite use of a song all-time in a film is "Lust for Life" at the opening of Trainspotting, but I'm not a big fan of the song - it just works so incredibly well in the scene.

It's like when polls ask "What is the best Humphrey Bogart movie?" Well, I would say the best is Casablanca. But his best performance, I would argue, is in Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

It's always tricky with polls. But that's what comment fields are for.

Anonymous said...

they are all great. defiantly had a tough decision choosing between moonriver and over the rainbow but Over the rainbow got my vote just because!

Mythical Monkey said...

"Just because" ultimately is the only reason that matters.

I myself haven't voted yet. "Favorite" is a tricky word, as Erik Beck pointed out. Of these songs, "White Christmas" is the one I've heard most outside the context of the movie. "Singin' In The Rain" is the best staged performance. "Over The Rainbow" does more to move the plot along, establish character and the movie's theme than any of the others (not to mention it's very moving). Within the context of Casablanca, "As Time Goes By" actually means different things to different people -- for Ingrid Bergman, it's a bittersweet reminder of happier times, for Bogart it's a cruel reminder of something lost that he uses to flagellate himself and others when he's in a bad mood. And for Dooley Wilson, it's a heavy-sigh, oh geez, don't-want-to-get-caught-in-the-middle trap.

And "Moon River" is a very good song.