Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
Earth (1930, Soviet Union) (aka Zemlya, or Земля)

Earth (1930, Soviet Union) (aka Zemlya, or Земля, or Soil)

In Aleksandr Dovzhenko's expressionistic, pro-collectivism propaganda story (a lyrical "film poem") and rural drama about agricultural progress - it masterfully depicted the class-warfare struggle in the Ukraine between poor, tenant-farming Socialist peasants (engaged in collective farming who united together to purchase a tractor), opposed by villainous, power-seeking, threatened capitalist Kulak (authoritarian and wealthy landowners):

  • the ending scene involving the pagan funeral of Bolshevik Vasyl (Basil) (Semyon Svashenko), who had been shot in the back and slain at night by crazed Khoma (Thomas) Whitehorse (Pyotr Masokha), the eldest son of the area's dominant and hostile Kulak family; during the singing at his funeral procession, Basil was carried alongside a field of huge sunflowers, while his naked lamenting fiancee Natalya (Yelena Maksimova) reacted with frenzied grief in a bedroom
  • the dramatic scenes, in a montage, of Khoma confessing his guilt to the massive group of mourners, that he murdered Basil under a harvest moon at a crossroads as he was dancing a hopak: ("I killed him in the night!!! the night, when everything was asleep. But he was walking down the lane and dancing")
  • also, Khoma's affirmations that the land still belonged to him ("It's my earth. I won't give it up") and that he would continue to resist collectivization; but his words and pleadings was ignored ("Hey, poor people, it's me!"); to get attention from everyone, he stuck his head in the dirt as he ran in circles, and then he shouted out: "Beat me -- I'll die before I give up!"
  • the last images included a cleansing downpour of life-giving rain falling on large shimmering apples in an orchard

East of Eden (1955)

In Elia Kazan's 'Cain and Abel'-like drama adapted from John Steinbeck's novel about California lettuce growers in the early 20th century:

  • the opening scene of Cal Trask (James Dean) following a dark-shrouded figure - his mother Kate (Jo Van Fleet) in 1917 Monterey
  • his learning the truth from Sam (Burl Ives) about his "no-good" mother - a whorehouse madam
  • Cal's first entry into his mother's bordello
  • the lettuce field and Ferris wheel-carnival scenes when vulnerable and troubled Cal struggled to express his longing for his sensible twin brother Aron's (Richard Davalos) girlfriend-fiancee Abra (Julie Harris) as she confessed her conflicted-in-love feelings for him - but after a kiss pulled back: ("I love Aron, I do, really I do")
  • the spurned birthday gift scene with stern, Bible-reading, lettuce-growing father Adam (Raymond Massey) rejecting Cal's present of earnings from an investment in bean futures to help relieve his father's dour financial state - and Cal's subsequent breakdown
  • the scene under a willow tree outside the house when Abra comforted Cal but was rebuked by Aron
  • the scene of Cal bringing Aron to his mother: ("Mother, this is your other son Aron")
  • the emotional finale following Adam's stroke - including Abra's words about not loving her son Cal to Adam's bed-ridden figure: ("It's awful not to be loved")
  • Cal's ultimate reconciliation with his father

Easy Rider (1969)

In actor/director Dennis Hopper's independent classic road film:

  • the scenes of two doped-up hippies Billy (Dennis Hopper) and Wyatt/Captain America (Peter Fonda) riding high-handled motorcycles cross-country (eastward) to the sounds of 60s acid-rock 'n' roll accompanied by the Byrds' song: "I Wasn't Born to Follow"
  • the scene of the visit to the commune followed by skinny-dipping
  • their arrest for parading without a permit, their jailing, and their meeting up with civil rights lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson)
  • the priceless image of George riding on the back of a motorcycle with a football helmet (to the tune of "If You Want to Be A Bird")
  • George's frequent exclamation of "Nik-nik-nik-f-f-f-Indians!" accompanied by his elbow flapping on his side like a chicken when toasting and taking a drink
  • the scene of George's first sampling of marijuana and his 'stoned' theories at the campfire about UFO's, alien Venutians on Earth and freedom
  • the scene at the local cafe/diner where they witnessed "country witticisms" from good ol' boys
  • the hallucinatory-LSD scene in a New Orleans cemetery during Mardi Gras
  • the final campire scene when Wyatt told Billy: "We blew it"
  • the unexpected brutal ending at the hands of two rednecks in a pickup truck for both riders - instigated by Billy's rebellious middle-finger gesture toward the Southerners - with the pull-back shot of the camera rising high into the sky to view the wreckage

L'Eclisse (1962, It.) (aka Eclipse)

In Michelangelo Antonioni's profound, slow-moving (with long periods of silence), highly-regarded romantic drama about doomed relationships - the third film in an "alienation" trilogy following L'Avventura (1960) and La Notte (1961), about the difficulty of finding love in a post-war modernistic, affluent and materialistic world:

  • the awkwardly-silent and tense opening sequence set at dawn, after a long night of quarreling, with only the humming sound of a rotating electric fan, during the predictable break-up between a disconnected couple - restless, alluring blonde translator Vittoria (Monica Vitti) and her older lover - obsessive intellectual writer Ricardo (Francisco Rabal)
  • the after-the-breakup scene at girlfriend Marta's (Mirella Ricciardi) apartment, a white Kenyan native, with a second friend Anita (Rosanna Rory), when Vittoria and Anita playfully dressed up as natives (Vittoria in blackface) and danced to a phonograph record playing African drum music - until Marta turned on the lights and expressed her uncomfortable offense at their play-acting:: ("That's enough. Let's stop playing Negroes")
  • the main plot: the seductive Vittoria's next lover in Rome - ambitious, over-confident, suavely handsome, and materialistic stockbroker Piero (Alain Delon), first seen in a frenzied and frantic stock-market exchange buying and selling sequence
  • the auto-accident crash scene at a canal after Piero's convertible was stolen by a drunk and submerged - and as the car was hoisted by ropes out of the water the next day, the dead man's hand dangled over the car's door - a reminder of Vittoria and Piero's hands dangling over furniture during their courtship; Piero reacted emotionlessly and cared little for the deceased, but was only concerned about making money: "There aren't too many dents in it...I think I'll sell it. It's only got 5,000 miles. A little polish and it'll be like new"
  • the sequences of the difficult and ultimately meaningless, empty affair the couple experienced during their time together - often seen kissing each other through obstacles - a gate and a glass door: (she told him: "I wish I didn't love you, or that I loved you much more"), but never establishing real intimacy due to hidden, internal fears, indecisiveness, and anxiety
  • the haunting, sad, and despairing ending beginning when the two incompatible lovers pledged their love in Piero's apartment as she was about to leave, and agreed to meet later that evening: (Piero: "We'll see each other tomorrow and the day after tomorrow" Vittoria: "And the day after that, and the next" Piero: "And the day after that" Vittoria: "And tonight" Piero: "8:00 - the usual place"); they gave each other one last desperate hug before separating; both declined, however, to keep their rendezvous appointment at the street corner in her suburban neighborhood that evening - evidenced by the mostly vacant scenes displayed until the end of the film
  • in the closing seven-minute sequence - the camera was still present although the two main characters were absent - as city street scenes were revisited (in a dialogue-less montage), and various locales and objects that were once important to them were viewed - things that the lovers had observed or visited during the course of the plot - composed mostly of static images (the high-velocity hose in the park spraying water, a wooden slatted fence, a rusty and leaking barrel filled with rain water, a painted crosswalk and other abstract patterns created by various objects, the building construction site with metal scaffolding sticking out of the half-finished structure, a horse-drawn buggy, tree shadows on the pavement, trees blowing in the wind, a close-up of tree bark, a deserted roadway and the four-cornered intersection, water flowing down a drain, a few random bystanders staring off into space, a man exiting a bus and reading a newspaper with the headlines: "NUCLEAR ARMS RACE - A FRAGILE PEACE", a jet trail in the sky, and a blonde woman who turned to look back (a tease - wrongly presumed to be Vittoria)
  • the afternoon turned into evening, with twilight and then dark nighttime - with the camera's last, cold and tragic images of a streetlamp as darkness descended - the site of their failed date, and symbolic of the fate of their fading romance
The Final Images of a Streetlamp

Ecstasy (1933, Czech.) (aka Ekstase)

In this heavily-censored Czechoslovakian film, a landmark sex in cinema production:

  • the scandalous scenes of a naked Eva (Hedy Lamarr (real-name Hedwig Kiesler)), allegedly the first nude appearance in cinematic history
  • her prancing about in the nude - riding a horse, swimming, and running through the woods
  • closeups of Eva's convincing face during the lovemaking scenes

Ed Wood (1994)

In Tim Burton's biopic of the reportedly 'worst director' of all time during the late 1950s:

  • the perceptive look at schlock film-making through the eyes of optimistic, determined, passionate and ever-enthusiastic film director Edward D. Wood, Jr. (Johnny Depp), in the making of three Z-grade films:
    - Glen or Glenda? (about his own secret cross-dressing transvestism and his fetish for angora sweaters and lacy undergarments, as he told the Screen Classics' producer Georgie Weiss (Mike Starr) about his 'special qualifications' to direct: "I like to dress in women's clothing... I love women. Wearing their clothes makes me feel closer to them")
    - Bride of the Monster (with a recital of Lugosi's famous speech: "Home? I have no home. Hunted, despised, living like an animal! The jungle is my home. But I will show the world that I can be its master! I will perfect my own race of people. A race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world!")
    - Plan 9 From Outer Space ("This is the one I'll be remembered for")
  • the scene of Wood's revelation to his first girlfriend Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker) that he was a transvestite and her violent reaction: ("How long have you been doing this?...Jesus Christ, and you never told me?...What kind of sick mind operates like that?...This is our life! It's so embarrassing!")
  • the portrayal of morphine-addicted ("with a demoral chaser"), outcast Universal horror star Bela Lugosi (Oscar-winning Martin Landau) - his exclamation about Vampira appearing on TV ("I think she's a honey. Look at those jugs!")
  • the night scene when the aging star thrashed around in two feet of water in a pretend fight with an unmotorized, inanimate giant octopus to please his director
  • the entire assortment of misfit freaks in Wood's traveling group of eccentric actors including horror-film TV hostess Vampira (Lisa Marie), charlatan psychic Criswell (Jeffrey Jones), massive Swedish wrestler-turned-actor Tor Johnson (George "The Animal" Steele), and aspiring transsexual Bunny Breckinridge (Bill Murray)
  • the pool baptism scene in which all of them were immersed to secure film funding from a Beverly Hills Baptist church
  • the tender scene in which Wood confessed his love of wearing women's clothing to new girlfriend and future wife Kathy O'Hara (Patricia Arquette) while stuck inside a stalled carnival Spook House ride: ("I like to wear women's clothes. Panties, brassieres, sweaters, pumps. It's just something I do. And I can't believe I'm telling you this, but I really like you, and I don't want it getting in the way down the road")
  • the scene of Wood's short 'fictional' conversation at Musso & Frank Grill with his auteur-hero Orson Welles (played by Vincent D'Onofrio, with Welles' trademark voice dubbed by Maurice LaMarche) about how a director must stick to his vision ("Ed... Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else's dreams?", and his subsequent words to his backers: "We are gonna finish this picture just the way I want it because you cannot compromise an artist's vision")

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

In Tim Burton's enchanting 'Beauty and the Beast' fantasy:

  • the image of the high-on-the-hill castle/mansion (with topiary gardens) overlooking the pastel-colored suburban neighborhood
  • the dinner meal scene at the house of Bill and Avon lady Peg Boggs (Alan Arkin and Dianne Wiest), with white-faced hedge sculptor/guest Frankenstein-like Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) attempting to eat with his unique scissor-hands
  • the scene in which Edward - created by his reclusive inventor 'father' (Vincent Price in his last film role), carved beautiful ice sculptures to woo blonde teen cheerleader/daughter Kim Boggs (Winona Ryder) as she joyously danced under the wintry rain of chipped, frozen snow flakes accompanied by Danny Elfman's score
  • the heart-breaking scene in which The Inventor died before he could install real hands on Edward
  • the tearjerking farewell scene between Edward and Kim after the death of her scheming, jealous and insensitive boyfriend Jim (Anthony Michael Hall)
  • the explanation by an older Kim at the film's conclusion (the film's entire story was told in flashback) at the bedside of her grand-daughter (Gina Gallagher) about where snow came from and how she knew that Edward was still alive creating ice sculptures and causing snow showers: ("I don't know. Not for sure. But I believe he is. You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren't up there now, I don't think it would be snowing. Sometimes... you can still catch me dancing in it")
  • the film's final flashback of a younger Kim dancing in the snowflakes

8 1/2 (1963, It.) (aka Otto e Mezzo)

In Federico Fellini's sprawling, surreal fantasy drama about the breakdown and descent into madness of the protagonist - a stressed-out film-making director planning to make his next movie, a science-fiction epic:

  • the bizarre, allegorical, subjectively-viewed opening dream sequence: a massive traffic jam in a tunnel, and feeling trapped, asphyxiated and gasping for air in his own claustrophobic car, the harried film director Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) struggled in desperation and pounded on his car windows; he emerged from the roof of his car, stood with his arms outstretched and his black cape unfurled and walked forward, and found himself floating away and escaping by sailing off into the clouds; his freedom was short-lived, since his ankle was attached to a kite line held by a man on the beach far below with another man riding on horseback (his associates: the producers of the film Guido was directing); Guido was tugged down to earth ("Down, you come down") and tumbled into the water
  • the many flashbacks and retreats to the director's boyhood memories, and the numerous flights of fantasy and dream sequences, anxious nightmares, and day-dreaming wish-fulfillments
  • the flashback to Guido's impressionable youth - a beach scene when he joined with a group of boys to watch "The Saraghina" (Edra Gale) - a fat prostitute who was paid to teasingly dance a rumba, and even invited Guido to dance with her outside her beachside shack
  • the visionary, over-exposed appearance of Guido's beautiful dream girl Claudia (Claudia Cardinale) with whom he found solace, on spa grounds where he was recuperating; as Guido adjusted his sunglasses, he imagined that she glided into view from the forest (to the tune of Rossini's "Barber of Seville" overture), dressed in white; as his salvation, she offered him a glass of purifying and healing mineral water - but then she reverted to one of the spa attendants
  • the other females in Guido's life - his cheap but sexy mistress Carla (Sandra Milo), and his intellectual, estranged wife Luisa (Anouk Aimée), who knew of his promiscuity
  • the steamroom bath scene of Guido's short audience with a Cardinal (Tito Masini), when Guido spoke of his unhappiness: ("Your Eminence, I'm not happy") and the Cardinal only responded with Latin catechism quotes: ("Why should you be? That isn't your job. Who told you we come into the world to be happy? Origen says in his homilies: Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. There's no salvation outside the church. Extra Ecclesiam, nemo salvatur. No one will meet salvation, outside the church. Salus extra Ecclesiam, non est. There's no salvation outside the church. Civitas Dei. He who isn't in the City of God, belongs to the City of the Devil")
  • the dance sequence where young, dark-haired "student" Gloria Morin (Barbara Steele) danced with white-haired, elderly Mario Mezzabotta (Mario Pizu), Guido's producer friend
  • the stream-of-consciousness 'harem scene' at the spa actually began when Guido was at an outdoor cafe with his wife Luisa and her best friend and his lover Carla; to escape, he imagined all the women in his life living together in a harem; when he arrived at the door, everyone cried out: "The Emir is here!" - the females included "The Saraghina," Luisa, Carla, Gloria, his star actress Claudia, and a dancing "black girl" from 'Hawaii' and many others; after he distributed gift parcels, the attendants prepared him for a bath, undressed him, and put him in a tub of hot water; later, he was removed and wrapped in a white robe, sprinkled with talc, and pampered like a child; to the tune of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" while wearing a black cowboy hat, Guido grabbed a whip to attempt to tame and control the rebellious females when they complained about his enforcement of the rules, and his double standard about aging in regards to one rejected showgirl: ("Discard us after squeezing us dry!...You're a monster!...Down with Bluebeard! We have a right to be loved to the age of 70!...Who does he think he is, a boy? It's time he knew he's a lousy lover. Sweet nothings, that's all. Then he falls asleep") - the rule was that discarded, overaged women were forced upstairs; Luisa explained Guido's behavior: "It's a need he has, he does it most nights"; soon after Guido's punishing reprimands, the rebellious women calmed down, and the group applauded him
  • the press-conference sequence - surrounded, assailed and finding himself unable to answer hostile questions of reporters and producers, the confused and indecisive Guido thought the film project would be abandoned and the set dismantled; he crawled under a table, and took a gun out of his pocket; a gunshot was followed by a close-up of the back of Guido's head slowly hitting the ground - Was it another fantasy? Or had he killed himself?
  • the carnival finale sequence - on a field where a massive steel-girded structure or scaffolding had been built (a giant-sized spaceship for the movie production); a resigned Guido walked away from the set that was about to be taken apart, when he heard the words of cinema critic and writer Carini (Jean Rougeul), a manifestation of his own intellect, who advised and reasoned with him as they proceeded to his car; while listening, Guido was basically convinced to quit his creative profession, and walk away from the terminated project: "You've made the right choice. Believe me, today is a good day for you. These are tough decisions, I know. But we intellectuals, and I say 'we' - because I consider you such, must remain lucid to the bitter end. This life is so full of confusion already, that there's no need to add chaos to chaos. Losing money is part of a producer's job. I congratulate you. You had no choice. And he got what he deserved for having joined such a frivolous venture so lightheartedly. Believe me, no need for remorse. Destroying is better than creating when we're not creating those few, truly necessary things. But then is there anything so clear and right that it deserves to live in this world? For him, the wrong movie is only a financial matter. But for you, at this point, it could have been the end. Better to quit and strew the ground with salt, as the ancients did, to purify the battlefields. In the end, what we need is some hygiene, some cleanliness, disinfection. We're smothered by images, words and sounds that have no right to exist, coming from, and bound for, nothingness. Of any artist truly worth the name we should ask nothing except this act of faith: to learn silence. Do you remember Mallarme's homage to the white page? And Rimbaud - a poet, my friend, not a movie director. What was his finest poetry? His refusal to continue writing and his departure for Africa. If we can't have everything, true perfection is nothingness. Forgive men for quoting all the time. But we critics do what we can. Our true mission is sweeping away the thousands of miscarriages that everyday - obscenely - try to come to the light. And you would actually dare leave behind you a whole film, like a cripple who leaves behind his crooked footprint. Such a monstrous presumption to think that others could benefit from the squalid catalogue of your mistakes! And how do you benefit from stringing together the tattered pieces of your life? Your vague memories, the faces of people that you were never able to love... "
  • Guido's redemption in the conclusion - he had a revelation that he needed to accept his life for what it was; when he saw his wife Luisa, part of a procession of figures dressed in white who appeared (all the people in Guido's life?), he reconsidered and spoke: "What is this flash of joy that's giving me new life? Please forgive me sweet creatures; I didn't realize, I didn't know. How right it is to accept you, to love, you - and how simple! Luisa, I feel I've been set free. Everything looks good to me, it has a sense, it's true. How I wish I could explain, but I can't - everything's going back to what it was. Everything's confused again, but that confusion is me; how I am, not how I'd like to be. And I'm not afraid to tell the truth now, what I don't know, what I'm seeking. Only like that do I feel alive and I can look into your loyal eyes without shame. Life is a party, let's live it together. I can't say anything else, to you or others. Take me as I am, if you can. It's the only way we can try to find each other"; meanwhile, a top-hatted, white-faced character (a magician or ringmaster) with a baton had interrupted and announced: "We're ready to begin"
  • in the next segment, a rag-tag parade of circus clowns also appeared (Guido as a boy wearing white was the last one in the line, playing a flute) and marched toward the scaffolding; director Guido grabbed a megaphone-bullhorn to guide and direct the action; the entire cast of the film appeared from behind a opening curtain and descended down the steel stairs of the space-ship scaffolding; Guido waved to his mother and father, and then he took his wife Luisa's hand to join in the jumbled yet happy procession performing a circle dance; in the final moments, the movie set transformed into a circus ring where the young Guido led the clowns, and then was left alone in the ring to play a flute (illuminated in a dwindling spotlight) as he marched off

El (1953, Mex.) (aka This Strange Passion)

In Luis Bunuel's monstrous romantic melodrama:

  • the opening sequence set in a church during a Holy Thursday Lenten mass, where the moving camera took the POV of the wandering eyes of wealthy, devoutly-religious, middle-aged 45 year-old charming aristocratic bachelor Don Francisco Galvan de Montemayor (Arturo de Córdova); as he served as water-bearer, images reflected religious fetishism: Father Velasco (Carlos Martínez Baena) washed and kissed the feet of several choir boys, followed by an ankle-level panning sweep along the feet of the first row of people standing at the altar, a glimpse of a female's shoes - and briefly later, a return to the woman's pair of black pumps - and a tilting view upward at her shapely legs and face of the beautiful parishioner Gloria Milalta (Delia Garces)
  • after aggressively wooing Gloria (although engaged to his associate Raul Conde (Luis Beristain)) and marrying her, the scenes (told in flashback) of Francisco's random obsessions, jealousy, frustration, and extreme paranoia about Gloria, including his psychotic and deranged torment, battering and torture of her - (offscreen) behind her closed door, and his gathering of rope, needle/thread to bind his wife and sew up her vagina
  • the claustrophobic belltower sequence (similar to scenes in The Third Man (1949) and Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)), when the delusionary Francisco took Gloria to the belfry of a bell tower, looked down at the people on the street and compared them to "worms" during a vicious rant, and threatened to strangle her and toss her body from the tower onto the sidewalk below, although she wriggled away and fled from him
  • the conclusion - Francisco now 'institutionalized' as a monk in a monastery where he claimed to be cured, but the final zig-zag closing shot of him as a black-hooded figure walking away from the camera down a long pathway toward a darkened arched rock doorway belied that

The Elephant Man (1980)

In David Lynch's dark and affecting biopic:

  • the character of sensitive and cultivated, but hideously-deformed, child-like John Merrick (John Hurt)
  • Merrick's stirring cry to an angry mob: "I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! I...AM...A HUMAN BEING! I AM A MAN"
  • the amazing scene in which London surgeon - Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) listened to Merrick movingly recite a psalm and the camera panned slowly toward a closeup of his tear-filled eye
  • the scene of Merrick showing the doctor a picture of his pretty mother ("with the face of an angel") - and Merrick's poignant comment: "I'm sure I must have been a great disappointment to her...I've tried so hard to be good"
  • the scene in which famous stage actress Madge Kendal (Anne Bancroft) visited the disfigured Merrick and they performed a Shakespearean scene together
  • Merrick's last night of his life when he was taken to a magical, pantomime performance in the theatre
  • Merrick's demise on a bed after gazing at his mother's picture on his bedside table as a slight breeze softly billowed the lacy window curtains - he stretched out for peaceful, suicidal death in sleep (his normal position for sleeping was sitting up - lying down would suffocate him and prove fatal), followed by a montage of his spirit passing out the window into eternity while he was consoled by words from his mother, accompanied by Samuel Barber's haunting Adagio for Strings

Elmer Gantry (1960)

In director Richard Brooks' religious drama:

  • the opening speech by charmer Elmer Gantry (Oscar-winning Burt Lancaster) in a bar ("...Jesus had love in both fists! And what is love? Love is the mornin' and the evenin' star")
  • his charismatic hell-fire and brimstone performances in Bible-Belt revivalist scenes - including his dramatic slide up to the stage during a tent meeting
  • his sweaty preaching ("Sin. Sin, Sin. You're all sinners. You're all doomed to perdition. You're all goin' to the painful, stinkin', scaldin', everlastin' tortures of a fiery hell, created by God for sinners, unless, unless, unless you repent")
  • his memorable sermon against booze ("As long as I got a foot, I'll kick booze. And, as long as I got a fist, I'll punch it. And, as long as I got a tooth, I'll bite it. And, when I'm old and gray and toothless and bootless, I'll gum it till I go to heaven and booze goes to hell")
  • Sister Falconer's (Jean Simmons) naive but admirable faith
  • the scenes of Gantry's growing love and attraction for Sister Falconer
  • the vengeful scene in which one of his old girlfriends - minister's daughter-turned-prostitute Lulu Bains (Shirley Jones) set him up and framed him with photographs taken in a compromising situation to ruin his reputation
  • the climactic blazing tent fire tragedy that took the life of Sister Falconer

Elvira Madigan (1967, Sw.)

In director Bo Widerberg's romantic melodrama:

  • the lovely and sensuous scenes in the tragic, 19th century, idyllic Swedish elopement-romance between two star-crossed lovers:
    - 16 year old circus-tightrope walker Hedvig 'Elvira' Madigan (Pia Degermark)
    - Army lieutenant officer Sixten Sparre (Thommy Berggren) who deserted his post
  • the memorable soundtrack of Mozart's Piano Concerto
  • the final picnic scene in which Elvira told Sixten that they must commit suicide together, although he was unable to pull the trigger on her at point-blank range
  • the film's ending with the freeze-frame image of Elvira grasping a butterfly - with a shot heard off-screen as her lover shot her to death, and then a second shot when he committed suicide to join her

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

In director Irwin Kershner's superior entry in the six-film epic series:

  • the opening's surprise attack and battle on the ice fields of the planet Hoth between AT-ATs (giant mechanized Imperial-Walkers) and small Rebel Alliance Snow Speeders
  • the subsequent scene of the Millennium Falcon's outmaneuvering of pursuing Imperial Star Tie Fighters/Destroyers in a thrilling near-suicidal flight through a dense asteroid field
  • the scene of Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) difficult training to learn to be a Jedi knight on Dagobah at the hands of the wise and dimunitive Jedi Master Yoda (voice of Frank Oz), including his failed test in which he "battled" Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones) in a cave and his own face was revealed in Vader's severed helmet
  • the scene of the Falcon almost being ingested in the gullet of a giant space worm and snapped at as it escaped from its cavernous innards
  • the panoramic floating, gas-mining colony of Cloud City ruled by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams)
  • the exciting light-saber duel/showdown between Darth Vader and Luke when he lost his hand, followed by the equally-startling and stunning moment of revelation when Darth Vader emotionessly admitted a surprise relationship: "No, I am your father" (a much misquoted line -- with Luke's horrified reaction: "No! No! That's not true. That's impossible")
  • Vader's urging to Luke to join him: "Join me and together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son"
  • Han Solo's (Harrison Ford) test frozen encasement in carbonite preceded by his romantic goodbye to Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher): (Leia: "I love you." Han: "I know")
  • the final, evocative shot of Luke, Leia, C-3PO (voice of Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (voice of Kenny Baker) at a wide viewport on a Rebel ship watching Lando Calrissian departing with Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) in the Falcon in their quest to rescue Han

The Endless Summer (1966)

In Bruce Brown's ultimate documentary:

  • the incredible surfing footage around the world (Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii and California) while searching for "the perfect wave" (finally found at Cape St. Francis in S. Africa)
  • the scenes of surfing in Australia with sharks

The English Patient (1996)

In Anthony Minghella's Best Picture-winning WWII epic:

  • the caring ministrations of nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) to the disfigured 'English patient' after a plane crash - cartographer Count Laszlo Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) in a bombed-out Tuscan monastery
  • the Count's many fragmented flashbacks about his life and romance with adulterous married lover Katharine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas)
  • the Count's loving bath scene (in which she shampooed his hair and then joined him) and love-making sequence
  • the scene of Almasy caring for his severely-wounded love in a cave/shelter after a plane crash and his promise to her: (Katherine: "Promise me you'll come back for me" Almasy: "I promise - I'll come back for you. I promise - I'll never leave you")
  • later, his return to the cave after she had tragically died - when he carried her body out of the cave
  • the romantic scenes between Hana and Sikh British Army officer/bomb expert Kip (Naveen Andrews)

Enter the Dragon (1973, US/HK)

In Robert Clouse's kung-fu masterpiece:

  • the battle between right-hand man Oharra (Bob Wall) and undercover agent Lee (the inimitable Bruce Lee in his last film before his death) who displayed acrobatic fight skills, flip kicks and lightning fast punches
  • the climactic confrontational kung-fu fight in a hall of mirrors (some in slo-mo) between martial arts master Lee and Asian crime and drug-lord Han (Shieh Kien) who wore serrated knife blades in place of his detachable clawed iron hand, ending in the defeat of Han

The Entertainer (1960, UK)

In Tony Richardson's bittersweet family drama, adapted from John Osborne's play, set in the year 1956:

  • the stunning performance of Oscar-nominated Laurence Olivier as Archie Rice, an old-fashioned, pathetically self-deluded, third-rate music-hall 'entertainer' at a run-down, seaside resort town, with smaller and diminishing audiences, and facing bankruptcy and problems with alcoholism
  • the film's tagline: "As the applause grew fainter... As the spotlight grew dimmer... His women were younger!" - exemplified when the charming Archie emceed a Miss Great Britain beauty contest and afterwards had sex with the second place finisher, Tina Lapford (Shirley Ann Field); after sex he asked her: "Not used to the oId crocks, then?"; she responded: "Don't be so daft. I mean, I've never made Iove, not Iike this afternoon..." and admitted she must be in love with him; he had conned her into thinking that she would be starring in his new show - financed by her wealthy parents
  • the portrayal of cheating philanderer Archie's strained relationship with his alcoholic wife Phoebe (Brenda De Banzie)
  • the devastating revelation that Archie's son Sgt. Michael "Mick" Rice (Albert Finney) was not captured and released in Suez Egypt, but killed
  • the heart-attack and deadly collapse of Archie's elderly, legendary show-biz father Billy Rice (Roger Livesey) before his first appearance in a revived show
  • the conclusion in which Archie confessed his realization of his shortcomings to his loving, sympathetic daughter Jean (Joan Plowright): "You see this face? This face can spIit open with warmth and humanity. It can sing. TeII the worst, unfunniest stories in the worId to a great mob of dead, drab erks. And it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter because Iook. Look at my eyes. I'm dead behind these eyes. I'm dead. Just Iike the whoIe damn shoddy Iot out there." Then he described how one night in Canada when he slipped over the border, he heard an 'old fat Negress' singing her heart out in a bar, and he thought: "If ever I saw any hope or strength in the human race, it was in the face of that oId fat Negress getting up to sing about Jesus, or something Iike that. I never even Iiked that kind of music, but to see that oId bag singing her heart out to the whoIe worId. And you knew somehow in your heart that it didn't matter how much you kicked peopIe, how much you despised them. If they can get up and make a pure, just naturaI noise Iike that, there's nothing wrong with them. If I'd done one thing as good as that in my whoIe Iife, I'd have been aII right. I wish to God I was that oId bag. I'd stand up and shake my great bosom up and down and Iift up my head and make the most beautifuI fuss in the worId. Dear God, I wouId. But I'II never do it."
  • the scene of Archie's final musical performance before an audience at the Alhambra Theatre (singing: "Why shouId I care? Why shouId I Iet it touch me? Why shouIdn't I, sit down and try, to Iet it pass over me? Why... Why shouId I Iet it get me? What's the use of despair? If they see that you're bIue, they'II Iook down on you. So why, oh why shouId I?") as the tax man was waiting in the wings to take him away

Eraserhead (1977)

In director David Lynch's feature debut film - a surrealistic, expressionistic, nightmarish 'midnight movie' cult and comic-horror film:

  • the characters of the desirous "Beautiful Girl Across the Hall" (Judith Anna Roberts) and the pockmarked "Man in the Planet" (Jack Fisk) manipulating mechanical levers
  • the dinner scene of factory worker Henry Spencer's (Jack Nance) visit to girlfriend Mary X (Charlotte Stewart) with her unusual parents (Allen Joseph and Jeanne Bates) and grandmother (Jean Lange)
  • the stark views of the couple's deformed, bleating and whining lamb-like mutant baby in their one-room industrial-type apartment tenement
  • the dream scene of Henry's head being severed, rolling on the ground and then turning into a pencil-top eraser
  • the Lady in Henry's bedroom radiator (Laurel Near) with deformed cheeks singing on a stage: "In heaven everything is fine"
  • the final scene of Henry stabbing the hideous baby and then entering Dream-land (in bright white light) to embrace the pure and innocent puffy-cheeked Lady in the Radiator

Escape to Victory (1981) (aka Victory)

In director John Huston's jingoistic soccer film:

  • the scene of the overhead kick and goal by Corporal Luis Fernandez (real-life soccer star Pelé) for the wearied and bruised Allied POW soccer team battling against the favored and biased Germans - ending up in a draw of 4-4

E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

In Steven Spielberg's classic about an alien creature and its friendship with a boy:

  • the opening scene of extraterrestrials surprised by a crew of botanists in a California forest
  • young Elliott's (Henry Thomas) discovery of E.T. - a wise creature from outer space 3 million light years away and stranded on Earth
  • impish Gertie's (Drew Barrymore) startling first look at E.T.
  • E.T.'s amusing experiences with suburban living
  • the famous lines of dialogue: "ET phone home" and "Ouch"
  • the magical, transcendent soaring bicycle scene as the kids escaped on bicycles from ominous adults and E.T. lifted them off the street and over a police barricade to fly - photographed and silhouetted against a giant silvery moon in the night sky - with Elliott's scream of delight at the view, enhanced by John Williams' score
  • the overwrought scene of E.T.'s near-fatal death (when his heart flatlines) alongside Elliott - and his resurrection
  • E.T.'s farewell to his friends before returning home in a spaceship (his advice to young Gertie: "Be Good", followed by her good-bye kiss on E.T.'s forehead, and his glowing finger as he touched Elliott's forehead: "I'll be right here")

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

In Michel Gondry's innovative romantic comedy (based upon Charlie Kaufman's script):

  • the opening prologue of meek Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) again meeting uninhibited, multi-colored-hair ex-girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) on a Long Island RR car after boarding at the Montauk station - to start their relationship afresh after both of them had selectively erased memories of their 2-year romance
  • the reverse-order flashbacks Joel experienced when erasing his relationship's memories - as inept, memory-erasing technicians from the erasure firm Lacuna Inc., Stan Fink (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood) and office assistant Mary (Kirsten Dunst), acted irresponsibly (drinking, having sex) during the erasure process
  • the imaginative recollections of Joel that were recessed deeply in his brain that he was struggling to preserve, mostly the earliest, most pleasant memories of his relationship with Clementine (including those of his childhood when he went to hide with Clementine), and he pleaded with the erasure technicians: ("Please let me keep this memory, just this one")
  • the last remaining memory of Clementine - the day he first met her at a beach house in Montauk, and its crumbling (and flooding) as it was erased in his mind and Joel became regretful as he left Clementine forever: ("I wish I'd stayed, I do"); as he departed, Clementine loudly whispered a secret to him: "Bye, Joel...Meet me at Montauk"
  • Joel's and Clementine's last lines to each other ("Okay, okay, okay, okay"), about wanting to start their relationship all over again, and trusting and hoping that it would work out this second time around: Clementine: "I'm not a concept, Joel. I'm just a f--ked-up girl who's looking for my own peace of mind. I'm not perfect" Joel: "I can't see anything that I don't like about you." Clementine: "But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I'll get bored with you and feel trapped because that's what happens with me"

Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

In Woody Allen's first musical:

  • divorced couple Joe (Woody Allen) and Steffi's (Goldie Hawn) graceful, gravity-defying (in the air), romantic dance on a starry Parisian night next to the Seine (with homage to Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951)) after she wistfully sang I'm Thru With Love

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972)

In Woody Allen's sex comedy, the seven witty comedy segments or episodes based on Dr. Reuben's notorious, best-selling sex manual:

  • the "Do Aphrodisiacs Work?" episode, with Woody Allen as a court jester Fool seducing a Queen (Lynn Redgrave) with a love potion - he made a smug aside to the camera after tricking two guards: "You like the way I fooled these guys?" but was foiled and obstructed by her chastity belt: ("I shall with great dispatch open the latch to get to her snatch"), and his feeble excuse when caught hiding in the Queen's dress: ("You know how you always said if I was in town I should look up your wife?")
  • the love-making sketch: "What is Sodomy?", with Dr. Doug Ross (Gene Wilder) interested in a sheep named Daisy
  • the segment: "Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching an Orgasm?" - a Casanova '70 (1965) spoof in which an upper-class Italian newlywed Gina (Louise Lasser) could only orgasm with her husband Fabrizio (Woody Allen) in public places
  • the horror/monster movie spoof, the sixth segment ("Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research and Experiments Accurate?") in which a mad, unorthodox sex scientist Dr. Bernardo (John Carradine) let loose a giant killer runaway breast that had to be captured by an enormous bra: ("Be on the lookout for a large female breast...about a 4,000 with an X-cup"), and the relief at Victor Shakapopulis' (Woody Allen) rescue after corraling the breast: ("Victor, I'm so proud of you. You did it. Oh, oh, I was so worried. Were you scared?...I thought you were gonna get nursed to death"), although the Woods County Sheriff (Dort Clark) was still concerned: ("Only one thing bothers me, though. That's a single. You're sure that was a single, now?...Yeah, well, they usually travel in pairs...well, I've never seen one by itself. I mean, two, yes, but not just one. So what we're gonna do. We're gonna take a nipple print, just so we'll have identification on this one")
  • the last and final vignette ("What Happens During Ejaculation?") set in the human body (in a gigantic futuristic control center - the brain) during a man's romantic involvement leading to sexual intercourse - with the out-of-place black sperm's confused wondering: "What am I doing here? What am I doing here?!"; a white-clad, neurotic Sperm # 1 (Woody Allen) with metaphysical doubts and fears - and in a panic with fears that he was to be ejaculated or launched - actually parachuted - into enemy territory from Sidney's body during a hot petting session with a date in a parked car: ("I'm not going out there! I'm not going to get shot out of that thing! What if he's masturbating?"); the last line uttered by The Operator (Tony Randall) in the brain control-room was a warning about a new attempt: "We're going for seconds! Attention, gonads, we're going for a record!"

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987) (aka Evil Dead 2 or II)

In Sam Raimi's gruesomely funny horror film sequel:

  • the gruesomely hysterical fight between Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) and his own possessed attacking hand that broke plates over his head and then dragged him across the room towards a knife with which to kill him; in a schizophrenic fever, Ash pinned his hand to the floor with another knife and laughed spitefully: "Who's laughing now? Who's laughing now?" as he sawed off the demon, evil hand (before it infected his entire body) with a chainsaw (notice that the top-most book Ash placed on the bucket when covering up his decapitated hand was A Farewell to Arms)
  • the lobbed-off hand began flopping around and re-attacked, and even flipped him the 'middle finger,' so he blasted it with a shotgun and thought he had killed it for good: "Got ya, didn't I, ya little sucker!" - yet it sprayed him with a torrent of blood; many of the objects in the living room then began laughing at him - the mounted deer head, the books in the bookcase, the lamps, etc. and he hysterically joined in
  • Ash's spinning whirlpool delivery to the Middle Ages, where he vanquished a flying deadite with a blast from his shotgun, and was hailed as a hero, although he was horrified and repeatedly screamed: "Nooo!" as the camera pulled back and the film ended

The Executioner (1963, Sp.) (aka El Verdugo, or Not on Your Life)

In Luis García Berlanga's macabre black comedy (with gallows humor) and family drama - a subversive critique of the Spanish bureaucracy, institutional violence, and capital punishment:

  • the trio of characters brought together under unusual circumstances: José Luis Rodríguez (Nino Manfredi), an apprentice 'undertaker' (the driver for the coroner’s office), Amadeo (Jose Isbert), an elderly, about-to-retire, unassuming state prison executioner, and Carmen (Emma Penella), Amadeo's marriage-aged daughter
  • in the opening scene following a prison execution, as Jose helped the coroner carry the victim's coffin, he evaluated the appearance of the executioner he briefly glimpsed leaving and signing papers: "Actually, he looks like a normal person. If we met in a cafe, I'd never suspect"
  • the budding romance between Jose and Carmen, who both felt a kinship of rejection due to their positions in life: (Carmen: "When guys find out I'm the executioner's daughter, they take off running." Jose: "Is that all? Same here! Women run at the word 'undertaker.' We have the same disease!")
  • the bargain: if Jose agreed to take over Amadeo's 'family business' after his retirement - his executioner job, then Jose would be allowed to marry the already-pregnant Carmen; then, as a retired civil servant, Amadeo would still qualify to move into a government-provided, luxury high-rise apartment
  • Amadeo's amusing although dark comments about execution methods in Spain - arguing that garroting (strangulation) was better than the gallows, the electric chair or the guillotine: "People who say the garrotte is inhuman make me laugh. Is the guillotine better? Should we bury a man in pieces?"
  • the sequence of cowardly Jose Luis reluctantly filling out paperwork to become the executioner, as he licked a melting strawberry ice cream cone
  • Jose's reluctant take-over of Amadeo's occupation as Madrid's official executioner - reading the dreaded newspaper's crime section each day, stalling, and hoping and praying for last-minute pardons or a prisoner's sickness to avoid his official responsibilities
  • in the conclusion (a parody of a pleasant honeymoon) set in Majorca (or Mallorca - a sunny vacation destination), Jose begged with the prison warden (who offered champagne) to be relieved of his duties: ("He said if this moment arrived, I could resign...I can't be an executioner. I want to resign!"); however, Jose (with his legs buckling) was forcibly dragged through a white courtyard by prison guards behind his first victim (a condemned convict) to perform his killing duty - there was a reversal of roles (the executioner was seemingly now the one condemned); a priest counseled Jose: "It is best that you kill him now, my son; his soul is ready for heaven. If we send to Madrid for another executioner, two or three days will elapse and he may fall from grace"

The Exorcist (1973)

In William Friedkin's blockbuster horror film about demonic possession:

  • the scene at ancient temple ruins in Northern Iraq when elderly Jesuit priest Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) confronted the demonic statue of Pazuzu
  • the film's intense special effects and violent horrors of devil possession, and twelve year-old Regan MacNeill's (Linda Blair) monstrous appearance
  • her public urination on the rug during a Georgetown party
  • Regan's back-handed slapping of a doctor across the face and knocking him into a door and onto the floor, as her physically-repulsive voice warned: "Keep away! The sow is mine!" She pulled up the front of her nightgown, masturbated by rubbing herself, and in a deep, strange voice, beckoned: "F--k me! F--k me!"
  • her demonic tortured and vulgar voice (supplied by veteran character actress Mercedes McCambridge)
  • the terrifying visit to a hospital where Regan was subjected to a controversial and lengthy excruciatingly-torturous medical examination sequence (and blood-letting) with markedly sexual overtones
  • the notorious self-abusive crucifix-masturbation (or stabbing) scene of Regan's crotch with a bloody crucifix, as she bellowed obscenities in the Devil's voice: "Let Jesus f--k you, let Jesus f--k you! Let him f--k you!" - she spun her head backwards 180 degrees, threatening in a deep malevolent voice as she imitated the British accent of a dead family friend to taunt Chris about his murder: "Do you know what she did? Your c--ting daughter?"
  • the scene of pea-soup spewing, when she lurched forward on the bed and threw up bilious, pea-green soup vomit from her mouth in a single projectile stream directly into Father Damien Karras' (Jason Miller) face
  • the silhouetted image of the arrival of the elderly Jesuit priest on a dark and foggy night under a lamp-post outside the MacNeill's Georgetown house
  • the bedside exorcism ceremony, when Regan shouted insults at Father Karras: ("Your mother sucks c--ks in hell, Karras"), followed by her 360-degree spinning head as she sat up in bed
  • the demise of Father Damien Karras when he dared the devil to enter his body: ("Take me. Come into me. God damn you. Take me. Take me") - and he threw himself through Regan's bedroom window to his death in the street below

The Exterminating Angel (1962, Mex.) (aka El Angel Exterminador)

In Luis Bunuel's surrealistic fantasy-black comedy about the degeneration of human nature [Note: In Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (2011), the Owen Wilson character, screenwriter Gil Pender, sent back to the 1920s, suggested the idea for this film to Luis Bunuel]:

  • the sequence of a bourgeois hosted dinner scene - after attending a religious operatic play about a naive virgin ("Virgin Bride of Lammermoor"), twenty members of the vain, privileged class became dinner guests at the opulent Mexico City estate on the street of "Calle de la Providencia", hosted by aristocrat Senor Edmundo Nobilé (Enrique Rambal) and his wife Lucia (Lucy Gallardo); (note that the guests arrived twice in quick succession); after the meal was no longer attended by proletariat workers (another repetition: the cook and other servants had left - pictured from two different camera angles), the steward Julio (Claudio Brook) was left to serve, while Edmundo offered two toasts; afterwards, the guests retired to the music room, and appeared to settle in for the night
  • the unusual circumstance that by the next morning, the guests were still there, having given up on all decorum and lounging on chairs, couches, and on the floor ("We turned this room into a gypsy campground"); a lecherous elderly composer snuck around in the middle of the night kissing sleeping women
  • curiously, they had hesitated to leave even though the door was wide open - they were either trapped or held in for days by an inexplicable and baffling force, a psychological barrier, a lack of will, overwhelming lethargy, sheep-like behavior, or by rueful acceptance or suggestion; the same kind of barrier prevented outsiders from entering
  • the guests' degeneration into animal-like behavior (with quarreling, hysteria, and aggression); they became ravenously hungry, slaughtered lambs that had wandered into the room, broke through the brick walls to access drinking water in the pipes, and burned the furniture; the stench of the bodies of two engaged lovers Beatriz (Ofelia Montesco) and Eduardo (Xavier Massé) who had suicidally killed themselves (by slitting their wrists) came from their hidden location in a closet; eventually the desperate party guests barbarically turned against their aristocrat host for feeling self-entrapped and insulated
  • in the film's mirroring twist ending, when they finally exited the house, the guests entered a cathedral to attend a funeral mass; again, they became confined as parishioners inside a Catholic church (the clergy were trapped also) after the morning service; there was a riot in the streets, and the military was summoned to gun down the rioters
  • the film's last image - a herd of sheep wandered toward the church and entered in single file, as the church bell tolled

Eyes Wide Shut (1999, UK)

In Stanley Kubrick's final film about marriage and sexual jealousy:

  • the opening full length shot of the backside of a woman (Nicole Kidman) in high heels who slid off her black dress and revealed her slender nude body
  • the highly sensationalized love-making scene before a mirror between Dr. William Harford (Tom Cruise) and his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman)
  • the confessional-disclosure scene between the couple about Alice's recurrent imagined lustful fantasies of infidelity with a naval officer, when she revealed: "I was ready to give up everything."
  • the superbly-choreographed and directed orgy scene with male members wearing black cloaks and extravagant masks and females nothing but high heels, black thongs, and masks (with the eerie organ score "Masked Ball" by Jocelyn Pook) - although various images were digitally-edited/obscured in some versions

Eyes Without a Face (1960, Fr./It.) (aka Les Yeux Sans Visage)

In Georges Franju's dramatic horror psycho-thriller - his feature film debut - about a mad, control-obsessed surgeon engaged in facial mutilation and disfigurement; the film was highly influential on future filmmakers and their films, including John Carpenter's Halloween (1978), John Woo's Face/Off (1997), and Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In (2011, Sp.):

  • the opening scene of paranoid and anxious Louise (Alida Valli), driving on a dark nighttime road, illuminated by her car's headlights between rows of naked, denuded trees that lined the road (the film's recurring symbolic image), then parking at the edge of the Seine River, dragging a slumped female corpse from the backseat, naked under a man's heavy coat and wearing a concealing fedora, and dumping it in the water (soon after, Louise was revealed to be assisting the film's main character, and was disposing of the body of a failed or botched surgical, facial graft experiment)
  • the opening words of reputed surgeon-scientist Docteur Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) during a lecture: "Is not the greatest of man's new hopes that of physical rejuvenation? This hope comes with the heterograft. But the heterograft, in other words, the transplanting of living tissues or organs from one human being to another, has only been possible until now when both subjects in question were perfectly identical from a biological standpoint. This means biologically modifying the nature of the host organism. One method involves using heavy X-ray irradiation to destroy the antibodies that create resistance to the heterograft. Unfortunately, this irradiation requires such a high level of intensity that no human being can survive it. So we resort to exsanguination. We drain every last drop of blood from the subject exposed to radiation"
  • the strange case of Génessier's beloved daughter Christiane (Edith Scob) who had disappeared and was possibly thought to be the drowned victim (from the opening scene); her face was described as a "large open wound" - entirely disfigured due to facial burns suffered in a car accident, and then degraded by prolonged submersion in water while rats chewed at her; the drowning victim's description also fit that of another female named Simone Tessot; a police detective and an inspector from the Missing Persons Bureau asked themselves: "Why should Genessier's daughter, distraught at her disfigurement, feel the need to strip naked in mid-winter before drowning herself? And that large open wound where the face should be - it's strange - the edges are as smooth as if someone had taken a scalpel to them"; shortly later in the morgue, Dr. Genessier viewed the body and falsely told authorities that it was his daughter; a funeral was arranged for her and she was buried in a cemetery crypt
  • the many views of Christiane's gruesome and eerie featureless, white doll-like facial mask - with only her eyes visible (she claimed: "My face frightens me. My mask frightens me even more"); she floated ghostlike in her father's palatial villa awaiting a surgical operation to graft someone else's face onto her own ravaged and destroyed face [Note: he was driving recklessly and like a "lunatic" and was responsible for the car accident that disfigured her]
  • the sequence of Christiane's visit to her father's detached surgical lab, where she first caressed some of her father's caged German shepherds and other dogs in an adjoining room, and then gently touched and viewed the face of the next female victim - young Swiss student Edna Grüber (Juliette Mayniel) on the operating table, who had been lured by Louise to the residence and then drugged for the surgery
  • the striking sequence of Genessier's precise and skillful face removal - heterograft surgery filmed in its entirety; the victim's face, chin and forehead were held with attached forceps; the sedated victim's facial epidermis (marked with a pencil outline) was removed by cutting on the markings with a scalpel; blood oozed from the incision when the tissue was cut into, and the bloody flesh underneath was briefly revealed during the unmasking of the face
  • while recuperating from the surgery, a heavily face-bandaged Edna awoke in a locked room, knocked out Louise who was serving her food from a cart, and raced through the house to escape; she was pursued by Dr. Genessier to an upstairs level, where she was found lying dead after flinging herself from an upper window - the scene ended on a close-up of her immobile face on the rock walkway far below; Dr. Genessier and Louise buried her body in the cemetery crypt containing the earlier victim
  • offscreen, Christiane had the face of the Swiss girl grafted onto hers - and there was hope that the transplant would be successful, and that she would adopt a new name, face, and identity; when Louise told her she looked "angelic," she told her father and Louise: "When I look in a mirror, I feel I'm looking at someone who looks like me, but seems to come from the Beyond, from the Beyond"
  • the potential success of the surgery was soon followed by Genessier's misgivings ("I've failed") and the sequence of Christiane's skin putrification; the results of her new facial skin graft or transplant were only temporary - the fresh skin would soon start to rot - seen in a series of stark photographs that Dr. Genessier had taken and dated, with his commentary: ("A week after healing, spots of pigmentation appear. Later, palpation reveals small subcutaneous nodules. On Day 12, necrosis of the graft tissue is apparent. Day 20, the first ulcerations and signs of rejection of the graft tissue. The necrotic graft tissue must be removed")
  • Christiane began to wear the mask again, and was terribly depressed about future success; she was beginning to lose her sanity and becoming suicidal: "He'll keep experimenting on me like one of his dogs. A human guinea pig. What a godsend for him!...I want to die, please!...You have to kill me. I can't stand it anymore!"
  • the apocalyptic ending - after Christiane saved and released her father's next surgery victim, shoplifter Paulette Mérodon (Béatrice Altariba), she stabbed an astonished and disbelieving Louise in the neck with a scalpel, who spoke the film's final line of dialogue: "Christiane, put that down. Why?" before collapsing
  • in her final acts, Christiane opened the cages of her father's howling dogs to free them; the animals attacked and mauled her father; finally, Christiane opened another cage of white doves (one freed bird perched on her shoulder and then on her hand) and walked outdoors into a forest of bare trees; she took a brief glance at her father's ravaged body with a torn and bloodied, disfigured face

(alphabetical by film title)

Intro | Quiz | A1 | A2 | A3 | A4 | B1 | B2 | B3 | B4 | B5 | B6 | B7 | C1 | C2 | C3 | C4 | C5 | D1 | D2 | D3 | D4 | E
F1 | F2 | F3 | F4 | G1 | G2 | G3 | G4 | H1 | H2 | H3 | I1 | I2 | I3 | J | K | L1 | L2 | L3 | L4 | M1 | M2 | M3
| M5 | M6 | N1 | N2 | N3 | O1 | O2 | P1 | P2 | P3 | P4 | P5Q | R1 | R2 | R3 | R4
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | T1 | T2 | T3 | T4 | T5 | U | V | W1 | W2 | W3 | W4 | YZ

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