Greatest Movie
Entrances of All-Time


1940-1945


The Greatest Movie Entrances of All-Time
Movie Title/Year and Film Character with Scene Description
Screenshots

Rebecca (1940)

Mrs. Danvers

In Manderley's great front hall, the newlywed couple were greeted by an army of over fifteen servants standing as if posed for a picture.

The young bride Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine) met the unsmiling, severe, ominous, dark-haired, and slightly hostile housekeeper Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) as she appeared from the left in front of the lineup:

How do you do? I have everything in readiness for you.

They both stooped to pick up the young woman's dropped gloves.


Ball of Fire (1941)

Katherine 'Sugarpuss' O'Shea

Gangster's moll and singer/burlesque dancer 'Sugarpuss' O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck) made a stunning entrance into a nightclub, performing "Drum Boogie" (accompanied by Gene Krupa and his jazz band) - in this Howard Hawks screwball comedy.

Her left hand grasped the curtain, as her index finger energetically tapped the beat, before she emerged from behind the curtain.

The leggy Sugarpuss was revealed to be wearing a glittering, spangled, sequined outfit with a high-slit up the side.


Citizen Kane (1941)

Charles Foster Kane

The film's famous, first murmured, echoed word was heard uttered by huge, mustached rubbery lips that filled the screen: "R-o-s-e-b-u-d!"

An old man, Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), had pronounced his last dying word as a snowstorm globe was released from his grip and rolled from his relaxed hand.

The glass ball bounced down two carpeted steps and shattered into tiny pieces on the marble floor.

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Kaspar Gutman (The Fat Man)

Private detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) met Cairo's (Peter Lorre) partner, Kaspar Gutman or the 'Fat Man' (Sydney Greenstreet in his film debut at the age of 61), wearing a black penguin-like waistcoat. Gutman put both of his hands on Spade's right arm as he led him to a chair in his hotel room.

In their first meeting together, a classic scene, Gutman was supremely interested in retrieving the Maltese Falcon/bird and outfoxing Spade, as he spoke in oratorical fashion and peppered his words with aphorisms.

Gutman's great bulk (enormous gut) was emphasized by low-angle shots in front of a curtained window, and his cultured talk with impeccable manners concealed his disregard for everything but the bird.

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Mr. Joel Cairo

John Huston's film noir had one of the more memorable entrances of a homosexual character in a film.

Detective Sam Spade's (Humphrey Bogart) secretary Effie Perine (Lee Patrick) alerted her boss to a sweet-smelling client who had just arrived in the outer office and presented her with a gardenia-perfumed business card. Spade sniffed the card, reacting with a bemused expression, before the strange, bug-eyed, shifty man - an effeminate, bow-tied Mr. Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), confronted Spade in his office.

In the original novel, Cairo was clearly described as "queer" although the film only hinted (quite obviously) at the character's sexual orientation, as he fondled his cane and touched it to his lips.

Casablanca (1942)

Rick Blaine

Cynical, disillusioned, embittered, self-centered, and an exiled loner, Richard "Rick" Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) made a delayed entrance in the film.

In a foreground closeup, only his hand was first viewed scrawling or scribbling a signature of authorization-approval across a check for an advance of 1,000 francs: "OK - Rick."

Then, the camera revealed the objects in front of him - an ashtray with a smoldering cigarette, an empty glass, a chess board, and a pen. It slowly followed his arm up to his immaculate white tuxedo to his sober face as he dragged on his cigarette.

Presiding over the gambling tables in the gaming room, Rick drank and sat by himself, playing a solitary game of chess.

Double Indemnity (1944)

Phyllis Dietrichson

In the film's opening flashback, insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) related how he became involved in a deadly relationship with Glendale, California housewife Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck), a conniving, seductive, icy blonde bombshell.

He first spotted her when he had stopped in a seemingly routine call at her family's California Spanish-style house to renew her husband's policy. The first image and appearance of Mrs. Dietrichson was bewitching as she asked:

Is there anything I can do?

She cooly emerged at the top of the stairs landing looking down, wearing only a bath towel on account of being interrupted while sunbathing - she said that she wasn't "fully covered." Taking her in sight lustfully, he slyly joked about the Dietrichsons' insurance "coverage."

After she dressed, Phyllis descended the stairs into the dark claustrophobic atmosphere (where she was figuratively and literally trapped). The camera focused on her legs (from Neff's point-of-view) where she wore an engraved, gold ankle strap on her left ankle, flashing it at him as she came down the stairs, and he watched her exhibitionism as she finished buttoning up her dress and putting on her lipstick.


Laura (1944)

Laura Hunt

This film presented the startling entrance scene of the "murdered" title character Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) - her appearance for the first time - undoubtedly not dead.

In the scene, New York detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) was uncomfortably shocked when Laura was 'reincarnated' and walked in to her own apartment, awakening him from dozing. She turned on the light and found him half-sleeping in her armchair next to her portrait.

He did a double-take and wiped his eyes, wondering if he was dreaming. She threatened to call the police: "What are you doing here?"

She was unaware of the news of her own slaying - she didn't read the newspapers and radio broadcasts were unavailable to her.

Laura was horrified to realize that she was caught in the middle of a murder case, in which she was the victim!




Greatest Movie Entrances of All-Time
(chronological, by film title)
Introduction | 1920s-1935 | 1936-1939 | 1940-1945 | 1946-1949 | 1950-1955 | 1956-1959 | 1960-1965 | 1966-1969
1970-1975 | 1976-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1989 | 1990-1995 | 1996-1999 | 2000-2005 | 2006-Present


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