Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



G (continued)
Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Girl Can't Help It (1956)

In writer/director Frank Tashlin's and Fox's satirical, cartoon-like comedy musical:

  • in the introduction, the sequence in which one of the film's stars, a bow-tied Tom Ewell, opened the film by walking out onto a open stage to speak to the camera (and break the fourth wall) and to introduce the feature; and then, annoyed with the small sized B/W picture, astonished audiences by literally stretching the black edges of the boxy black and white picture - opening the viewable picture up into the wider, rectangular Cinemascope aspect ratio - and then he commanded that the picture change from B/W to Technicolor - "gorgeous life-like color by DeLuxe"
  • the main character - curvaceous blonde bimbo Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield), the girlfriend/fiancee of retired ex-slot machine gangster Marty "Fats" Murdock (Edmond O'Brien), who wanted her to become a rock 'n' roll star in six weeks ("What we're talkin' about is already built!"), although she had little singing or acting talent besides her voluptuous figure
  • her spectacular hip-swinging walk down the street (wearing a tight-fitting dark blue dress and broad-rimmed hat) - and the racy reactions, causing ice in an iceman's (Henry Kulky) delivery truck to melt - and her swiveling moves up an apartment stoop's steps past a milk bottle delivery man (Richard Collier) - causing the milk in the bottle to overflow frothily from the top (an ejaculatory metaphor), and a downstairs apartment neighbor's eyeglasses shattering (accompanied by the film's title theme song sung by Little Richard)
  • the scene of Jerri's climbing to the second floor for her first meeting with recently-hired, washed-up, and impoverished alcoholic press agent Tom Miller (Tom Ewell) when she held up two recently-delivered glass bottles with fresh milk to her gigantic, well-endowed chest - one in front of each breast - an obvious visual gag, and greeting him: "Good morning, Mr. Miller!"
  • the scene at breakfast when she was cooking, and she provocatively leaned forward while pouring his coffee and serving the meal to tell Tom about how she was ready for domesticity and motherhood with Murdock: "I'm domestic. I hope you like eggs souffle....It's not exactly a breakfast, but it's eggs. I figured you for strong coffee... It's one of my favorite pasttimes... cooking... keeping house, you know, keeping everything neat. How's your souffle?...I'm glad you like it, Mr. Miller... You know, sometimes I think I'm mixed up...You should see me in the morning without makeup. I'll show you sometime. 'Pretty' is just how good you apply your base...I just want to be a wife and have kids. But everyone figures me for a sexpot. No one thinks I'm equipped for motherhood!"
  • the sequence of the ethereal-ghostly appearance of torch singer Julie London (as Herself) to tipsy Tom Miller alone in his bachelor pad one evening - she was his former client and the object of his unrequited love; he placed the 33 rpm record Julie Is Her Name on his turntable, to play her signature tune "Cry Me a River"; as her song began to play, he poured himself a drink in the kitchen and imagined her slowly materializing before his eyes - haunting and tormenting him in various locations and in suggestive and provocative poses in various costumes throughout his two-story home - he was unable to escape from her; she was visible at his kitchen table, on his living room couch, again in the kitchen, lounging on his bed, standing by his fireplace mantle, and standing partway up his staircase; as she sang the last few lines at his front door hallway, she slowly vanished from sight; he sadly sank down onto his hands at the top of the stairs as the song ended
The Haunting Julie London: "Cry Me a River"
  • the musical performance of Spread the Word in front of a shimmering dark blue curtain in the Late Place Club by Abbey Lincoln (as Herself), and many other classic musical performances from rock icons, such as Gene Vincent's Be Bop A Lula, Fats Domino's Blue Monday, and Little Richard's The Girl Can't Help It
  • the film's Porky Pig-like cartoonish ending in which male star- gangster Fats Murdock stepped through the enclosing frame of the final shot, walked forward through the black, now-empty space to directly address the audience: "Don't listen to him, folks. I'll see ya outside in the lobby when you leave. I'll sing anything you want. I'm a Jim-Dandy singer."

Gladiator (2000)

In Ridley Scott's Best Picture-winning swords-and-sandals epic:

  • the scenes of the condemned, enslaved soldier turned Colosseum-gladiator named "The Spaniard" (Russell Crowe), who had been trained by slave owner Proximo (Oliver Reed), and identified himself before power-hungry Roman Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) - first with "My name is Gladiator"
  • and then when confronted, removed his face-hiding helmet and defiantly spoke about his revenge: "My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North. General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next"
  • the Emperor's twisted and incestuous relationship with his sister Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) while she romanced Maximus
  • and further the hellish action sequences of battle in the Colosseum (with chained tigers - often digitized) when Commodus exclaimed: "At my signal, unleash hell" - in which Maximus defied the Emperor's thumbs-down decision to kill his wounded opponent Tigris
  • mortally-wounded Maximus' wreaking of vengeance on Commodus by killing him during one-on-one combat
  • his own climactic death scene in the area - and his last moments - with Lucilla by his side - as he experienced visions of his dead family in the afterlife

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

In director James Foley's film adapted from scripter David Mamet's real estate stage play with many rapid-fire, cleverly convoluted, foul-mouthed lines of dialogue among desperate, hard-luck real estate agents:

  • the opening scene of consulting super-salesman Blake's (Alec Baldwin) rousing, motivational, in-your-face, foul-mouthed ultimatum speech toward Premiere Properties real estate agency salesmen in their grungy office, describing the monthly sales contest: ("We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, the first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is 'You're fired'")
  • Blake's advice about the letters (A-I-D-A) and three other letters A-B-C, that he displayed on a blackboard (signifying Always Be Closing) : ("Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you f--king faggots? (He displayed a blackboard with words) A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing. Always be closing! Always be closing! A-I-D-A. Attention, interest, decision, action. Attention: do I have your attention? Interest: are you interested? I know you are 'cause it's f--k or walk. You close or you hit the bricks!"
  • the characters of profanity-spewing, hotshot, leading salesman Ricky Roma (Oscar-nominated Al Pacino) (with his raunchy dialogue about a female customer's crumbcake), Kevin Spacey's role as John Williamson - the iron-fisted, inept office manager/boss of the salesmen, and tired, desperate old-timer Shelley 'the Machine' Levene (Jack Lemmon)
  • the scene of John Williamson refusing to give desperate co-worker Shelley any of his good sales leads: ("Let me tell you something, Shelley. I do what I'm hired to do. You might do the same...I'm hired to watch the leads, to marshal my sales force. I'm given a policy. My job is to do that...Anybody falls below a certain mark, I'm directed. I'm not permitted to give them the premium leads....Do you know what the premium leads cost?"); Williamson denied Shelley his begging request: ("I can not sell s--t!...Just give me some leads that don't come out of a phone book, huh? You give me something hotter than that and I can close it. It's just a streak. I'm gonna turn it around. Hey, I need your help")
  • the sequence of Roma's long-winded, disjointed, underhanded sales pitch about Glengarry Highlands real estate to timid, lonely, middle-aged James Lingk (Jonathan Pryce), and ultimately convincing him after discussing his philosophy of life, that he should buy real-estate: ("What I'm saying, what is our life? Our life is looking forward or it's looking back. That's it. That's our life. Where's the moment? And what is it we're so afraid of? Loss. What else? The bank closes. We get sick, my wife died on a plane, the stock market collapsed. What if these happen? None of 'em. We worry anyway. Why?...What do ya keep? I mean, you don't keep anything. Security, things, things, you know? It's just, you try to stave off insecurity. You can't do it...Stocks, bonds, objects of art, real estate. What are they? An opportunity. To what? To make money? Perhaps. To lose money? Perhaps. To 'indulge' and to 'learn' about ourselves? Perhaps. So f--king what? What isn't? They're an opportunity. That's all they are. They're an event. A guy comes to you, you make a call, you send in a card. 'I have these properties I would like for you to see.' What does it mean? What do you want it to mean. Do you see what I'm saying? Things happen to you....")
  • also Roma's scornful insulting, verbal and obscene tirade toward Williamson after a failed real-estate deal with Lingk: ("You stupid f--kin' cunt. You, Williamson, I'm talkin' to you, s--thead. You just cost me $6,000. $6,000, and one Cadillac. That's right. What are you gonna do about it? What are you gonna do about it, asshole? You're f--kin' s--t. Where did you learn your trade, you stupid f--king cunt, you idiot? Who ever told you that you could work with men?...Oh, I'm gonna have your job, s--thead. I'm going downtown. I'm gonna talk to Mitch and Murray. I'm going to Lemkin! I don't care whose nephew you are, who you know, whose dick you're suckin' on, you're goin' out. I swear to you...")
  • the concluding sequence in which there was an office burglary and leads were stolen (and sold to a rival for "five grand"), after which Williamson mercilessly scolded and berated the scheming and pitiable Shelley, who admitted his guilt, then claimed he was back as a better salesman and offered to bribe him for his silence - Williamson responded with his cruel reason for ruining him: ("I don't think I want your money. I think you f--ked up my office, and I think you're going away....I'm sorry...Because I don't like you...F--k you!")

The Glenn Miller Story (1954)

In Anthony Mann's mostly fictional, heart-warming Technicolored musical biopic (a rags-to-riches story) of the famous 'big band' bandleader, featuring many memorable tunes including Pennsylvania 6-5000, Moonlight Serenade, Chattanooga Choo Choo, In the Mood, and others:

  • James Stewart's characterization of a little-known trombone player who married his Univ. of Colorado coed sweetheart Helen Burger (June Allyson)
  • memorable cameo appearances by some of Miller's real-life jazz legend colleagues, including trumpeter Louis Armstrong (performing in a Harlem nightclub with a spinning color gel wheel providing a kaleidoscope of color - on the Miller's wedding night), singer Frances Langford, and drummer Gene Krupa
  • the scene in which Miller was practicing with his Orchestra and was forced to improvise the music when his trumpet player split his lip, forcing a clarinetist to play lead on "Moonlight Serenade" - the song was turned into a more lively, up-front and upbeat number and produced his signature sound - a new and popular 'swing' sound
  • the outdoor air raid scene when Miller and his band continued to play "In the Mood" during their BBC radio program for injured US soldiers in Britain - in the midst of a German V-2 rocket bombing, while everyone was ducking for cover in the audience and the band played on
  • the tearjerking ending scene: the news of the fate of Glenn Miller from General Henry "Hap" Arnold (Barton MacLane) to Glenn's supportive wife Helen - lost during Christmas of 1944 while on a doomed military plane flight from London to Paris, traveling to broadcast a tour concert with his Army Air Force Band to entertain troops; she was told that the performance from Paris would still be broadcast; in the poignant, tearful and moving conclusion, a very vulnerable Helen listened as a range of emotions crossed her face - she was pleasantly surprised to hear a long-awaited, swing arrangement-rendition of the folk tune "Little Brown Jug" as a Christmas present to her from Glenn --
    (radio announcer) "As some of you might know, Major Glenn Miller is not with us today. But in his absence we shall do this program exactly as he had planned it. Our first number therefore will be a new arrangement which Major Miller himself made especially for this performance. This tune should be a familiar one, especially to the members of Major Miller's family across the ocean who are listening"

Glory (1989)

In Edward Zwick's Civil War historical epic:

  • the scene when angry runaway Trip (Oscar-winning Denzel Washington), one of the black soldiers in the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (the first black fighting regiment in US history), was tied to a cart-wheel and bull-whipped on false charges of desertion and his back was scarred from the repeated lashings - with his steely defiant look (with one tear on his cheek) at white commanding officer Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick)
  • the confrontation between ex-gravedigger Sgt. Major Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) and the angry Trip: (Trip: "So the white man give you a couple ot stripes, next thing you know, you hollerin' and orderin' everybody around like you the massa himself. Nigger, you ain't nothin' but the white man's dog." Rawlins: "And what are you? So full of hate you just wanna go out and fight everybody, 'cause you've been whipped and chased by hounds. Well, that might not be livin', but it sure as hell ain't dyin'. And dying's what these white boys been doin' for goin' on three years now. Dyin' by the thousands. Dyin' for you, fool! I know, 'cause l dug the graves. And all the time I'm diggin', I'm asking myself, 'When?' When, O Lord, is it gonna be our time?' Time's comin' when we're gonna have to ante up. Ante up and kick in like men. Like men! You watch who you call a nigger. If there's any niggers around here, it's you. Smart-mouth, stupid-ass, swamp-runnin' nigger. If you ain't careful, that's all you ever gonna be")
  • the unit's pre-battle campfire spiritual scene in which Sgt. Major Rawlins led the soldiers in prayer and singing - including Trip's confession ("Y'all's the only-est family I got. I love the 54th")
  • their doomed, suicidal, bloodbath, nighttime assault against Fort Wagner in South Carolina (prefaced by the battle-cry "Give 'em hell, 54!")
  • the final shot of Shaw's burial in a mass beach grave with his soldiers (including Trip next to him)
  • the end credits shot of "The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial" relief sculpture by August Saint-Gaudens

Go (1999)

In Doug Liman's kinetic and adrenaline-rushing non-linear black comedy about an interconnected group of three stories, artfully depicted and told from three different perspectives or points of view - Pulp Fiction-style in a 24-hour period:

  • the scene of LA grocery check-out clerk Ronna Martin's (Sarah Polley) acting as a go-between (to make a few extra bucks) and picking up drugs-for-sale from menacing bare-chested ecstasy drug-dealer Todd Gaines (Timothy Olyphant) - wearing a Santa Claus hat in his apartment on Christmas Eve - where she had to remove her shirt to prove she wasn't wired, and his suspicions: ("You come here out of the blue asking for 20 hits when 20 is the magic number where 'intent to sell' becomes 'trafficking'?"); Ronna had to leave co-worker/friend Claire (Katie Holmes) there as "collateral" for an hour when she left to raise more money for the $300 price tag - and Todd's flirtatious questions of Claire: ("You wanna get laid?...Are you a virgin?")
  • after a drug-deal-gone-bad scene, Ronna's shoplifting of over-the counter drugs (allergy medicine and baby aspirin) and selling them to unsuspecting teens in a van at a Rave who believed they were getting high on Ecstasy: ("I think I feel something")
  • the shocking scene of Ronna's serious hit-and-run injury when accidentally struck by a yellow Miata sports-car in a parking lot (later revealed to be driven by Adam and Zack), thrown onto the windshield and then dropped to the pavement, while Todd was tracking her down and confronting her with a gun; and shortly later, Zack and Adam's rationalizing about the accident: ("OK, Let's think about this logically. She's either alive or she's dead. All right, if she's dead, there's nothing we can do about it. And if she's alive, that guy who had that gun who looked like he really wanted to shoot her, he probably did shoot her. So even if she's alive, she's dead. Exactly.")
  • the scene of gay couple Adam (Scott Wolf) and Zack (Jay Mohr), daytime soap opera actors, who were propositioned to sell Amway ("Confederated") Products by police detective Burke (William Fichtner) and his wife Irene (Jane Krakowski), who had an "ulterior motive" in inviting them over for Christmas dinner - to sell an Amway-like product: ("You've looked around our place. Where do you think we got most of this stuff?...It's actually from Confederated Products. Almost everything in this house is from Confederated Products from the toilet paper, to the candles, to the ham....Even that cologne you liked. You see, Confederated Products is a multilevel, direct wholesaling company which means we don't just sell the products ourselves. No sir-you-ree Bob! We recruit and manage teams that work under us. Now, Irene and I started eight months ago and already, we're pulling in $50,000 a year in revenues... Confederated Products. It's a, it's a different company. It's a different quality of product")
  • Marcus (Taye Diggs), a friend of Ronna's co-worker Simon (Desmond Askew) - upon arrival in Las Vegas and while having a buffet meal, bragging to his buddies about the benefits of prolonged Tantric sex: ("The thing is, most people - they don't really know how to make love. OK, they stick it in, move it around a little bit till they get off. But what Tantra teaches you is how to deepen, prolong the sexual experience. OK, bring it to a higher level. If one man in ten was havin' the sex that I'm havin', there'd be no war"); he explained his longest sexual intercourse was "fourteen hours" without even ejaculating, and his experience of an orgasm that could last up to an hour and a half: ("That's the thing. You redirect the orgasm inside...Honest to God and I do mean Allah...I haven't ejaculated in six months. Hey - anyone can do it. It just takes discipline")
  • the crazy and wild misadventures sequences of Simon and Marcus in Las Vegas, including Simon's meeting up with two bridesmaids in a wedding chapel reception and having 'tantra' sex with them after smoking pot together (and then accidentally setting their hotel room on fire), the Crazy Horse strip club lap dance (code named "Champagne") ordered by Simon ("I'd like to buy your most expensive bottle of champagne") in a back room, accompanied by a strict warning: ("This is a gentlemen's club. You are expected to behave as gentlemen. I'll be giving you one rule. If you break this rule, I will break your arm. Are we clear? The ladies can touch you. You cannot touch the ladies at any point, under any circumstance. Is that clear?") and then the two were thrown out for groping ("Hands!"), and their shooting and car chase sequence to the tune of Steppenwolf's 'Magic Carpet Ride'
  • the breakfast conversation between Claire and Todd, and his diatribe against the comic strip Family Circus: ("You sit down to read your paper and you're enjoying your entire two-page comic spread. Right? And there's The Family f--king Circus, bottom right corner, just waiting to suck. And that's the last thing you read, so, it spoils everything you read before it... I hate it, yet I'm uncontrollably drawn to it")

The Goddess (1934, China) (aka Shen nu)

In director Wu Yonggang's (his debut film) silent melodrama about social injustice and maternal sacrifice - a tragic tale about the hard-times of a 1930s Shanghai, China prostitute (a "fallen woman") - a single mother who was raising her son in the hellish and foul city (in the midst of a civil war). [Note: Stanley Kwan's biopic Center Stage (1991, HK) (aka The Actress, or Ruan Lingyu) was the life story of Ruan Ling-Yu, portrayed by Maggie Cheung]:

  • the heartbreaking story of the anguished, mistreated, victimized, self-sacrificing, and disadvantaged main character: The 'Goddess' (Ruan Ling-Yu), a single mother-streetwalker who was trying to make a living on the neon-lit streets of Shanghai, while loving and caring for her young son Shuiping
  • her ethereal facial image, after a long night of prostituting - a close-up of her looking upward - as if to implore God to help her survive her ordeal of nightly hookups and the struggle to provide for her child
  • the despicable, easy-to-hate character of her pimp The 'Boss' (Zhang Zhizhi), an exploitative, threatening, chubby-faced gangster-hoodlum gambler who took most of her earnings, was abusive, and forcibly made her his property: "Listen baby, you're gonna find out soon who it is you're dealin' with. A little girl like you, you'd never make it out there without me"
  • the scene of the shunnings that she received from neighbors, and from the 'respectable' parents of her son's (Li Keng) classmates - who criticized both her son and herself for her moral corruption; even her son asked: "Why do they always say I'm not from their type of family?" - as she gently rocked him in her arms
  • the camera angles of her johns - either viewed by only their feet, or in overhead shots
  • renewed with hope, she was able to pay for her boy's education (with a secret stash of money she kept behind a loose brick in the wall), but there were increasing protests and the prejudiced governing school board put pressure on the Principal to investigate; when he learned of her "shameful" lifestyle, she explained her pure motivation: "I used the money I earned selling my body to support him in school. I want him to become a good person. Why do you deny my child the opportunity to get a good education?"
  • despite her pleas and the Principal's dissent before the board ("You must understand the problem is not with her, but with our society. She is a human being and has her human rights - so does her son. Particularly her son...She's had no choice but to throw herself on the mercy of the filthy streets...And it's all for the sake of her son, for his future...We have a moral duty to save him from this toxic environment"), the boy was expelled and the Principal resigned in protest
  • the downbeat conclusion - the 'Boss' had discovered her secret stash of money in the wall (saved up for her son's education and for her own independence) and immediately gambled it away; she confronted and grabbed him, as he admitted that he had already spent the money; she responded: "Then, we'll both die together" - and when he struck her in the mouth and drew blood, in self-defense, she grabbed a nearby bottle and smashed it over his head - and he collapsed dead to the floor
  • after she fainted, there was a dissolve transition to a courtroom - she was brought before a judge and sentenced to twelve years in prison for murder; while shaking the bars of her jail cell in disbelief about her uncertain future, the Principal arrived and offered to adopt and educate her son - to give him the life she had always wanted for him: "The court ruled that your son should be sent to an orphanage. But I want you to know that I'm going to adopt him and educate him personally"
  • the final title card stated: "In the solitary and quiet life of the prison, she finds a new peace in imagining her child's bright future"; in the bittersweet ending, she envisioned her son smiling happily down upon her

The Godfather (1972)

In Francis Ford Coppola's great Best Picture-winning gangster film - the first in a trilogy:

  • the ever-present Nino Rota score
  • Marlon Brando's portrayal of the aging Mafia patriarch Don Vito Corleone (stroking a cat in his arms), especially in his opening scenes in his dark indoors study 'holding court' during his only daughter Connie's (Talia Shire) outdoor wedding celebration
  • the scene of Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitti) consulting with Don Corleone, and his first line: ("I believe in America") with his request for just punishment for his daughter's brutal rape; the scene included Corleone's chilling response to the supplicant: (" you come to me and you say - 'Don Corleone, give me justice.' But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me Godfather. Instead, you come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you, uh, ask me to do murder for money")
  • also, outsider son Michael's (Al Pacino) delivery of the famous line: "My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse," and soon after Don Corleone's similar line: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse"
  • the shocking scene of Hollywood studio producer Jack Woltz's (John Marley) waking up in his satiny silk-sheeted bed soaked in blood and ripping off the sheets to discover the bloody and severed head of Khartoum - his cherished and prized stud racehorse; it was a result of the mob's retaliation against him when he refused to listen to consiglieri Tom Hagen's (Robert Duvall) calm request to give a part in a new war movie to mob-endorsed singer Johnny Fontane (Al Martino): "Are you trying to muscle me?...Now you listen to me, you smooth-talking son-of-a-bitch! Let me lay it on the line for you and your boss, whoever he is. Johnny Fontane will never get that movie! I don't care how many dago guinea wop greaseball goombahs come out of the woodwork!" [Note: the scene was a reflection of Columbia Pictures' boss Harry Cohn's decision to cast mob-connected Frank Sinatra in a role in From Here to Eternity (1953)]
  • Michael's rescue of his father in an unguarded hospital ("I'm with you now")
  • the numerous violent scenes including the toll-booth killing of Sonny (James Caan), Michael's decision to murder two rivals - and the actual tense scene of the cold-blooded assassination of Solozzo (Al Lettieri) and corrupt cop McCluskey (Sterling Hayden) in an Italian neighborhood restaurant set-up
  • Michael's short exile in Italy when he took a new bride - a peasant girl named Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli) followed shortly by her car bombing death
  • the sequence of all the Mafia's Family heads at a summit meeting where Don Vito Corleone opposed dealing with narcotics
  • the scene of Michael's negotiation with Moe Greene (Alex Rocco) in Las Vegas to buy him out while his older weakling brother Fredo (John Cazale) chose sides - and Michael's chilling reminder: "Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you, but don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever!"
  • the garden scene between Michael and his father
  • the Godfather's fatal heart attack in a tomato garden with his grandson and his wheezing collapse to the ground
  • the scenes showing the bloody passage of power to Michael - a cross-cut, contrapuntal scene between the baptism of Michael's nephew (in the moment after Michael renounced Satan, Moe Greene was shot in the eye through his black-framed glasses) and a blood-letting massacre of his gangland rivals
  • the scene of Tessio's (Abe Vigoda) plea for a pardon after setting Michael up
  • the famous ending scene in which Michael lied to his wife Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) ("Don't ask me about my business, Kay") and the study/office door was shut to close her out as he was pronounced the new "Don Corleone"

The Godfather, Part II (1974)

In Best Director-winning Francis Ford Coppola's superior Best Picture-winning sequel:

  • the numerous flashbacks - including the early scene of young orphaned Vito Andolini (Oreste Baldini) arriving at Ellis Island and looking out at the Statue of Liberty
  • the assassination attempt in Michael Corleone's (Al Pacino) bedroom
  • Jewish mobster Hyman Roth's (Lee Strasberg) sixty-seventh birthday celebration on the open-air terrace of his Capri Hotel in Havana, Cuba as they symbolically cut up a cake of Cuba
  • an older Michael's forcible delivery of the kiss of death on New Year's Eve - Sicilian-style - to his brother Fredo (John Cazale) after he discovered that his own brother had betrayed him: "I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart, You broke my heart"
  • and later, Fredo's last meeting with Michael who asserted "I've always taken care of you, Fredo" as Fredo complained: "I'm your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over...I'm smart and I want respect!" - before Michael decided: "You're nothing to me now. You're not a brother, You're not a friend, I don't want to know you or what you do..." before Fredo's execution in a boat on the lake while he fished and recited a "Hail Mary"
  • Vito Corleone's (Robert DeNiro) run across the rooftops to pursue and eventually kill Don "The Black Hand" Fanucci (Gaston Moschin) in cold blood
  • his return to his brownstone tenement's front stoop where he calmly held his crying baby Michael in his arms
  • the scene of Kay's (Diane Keaton) "aborted child" speech (she deliberately performed a vengeful abortion against him - it wasn't a miscarriage) after losing all hope in her husband, and Michael's violent outburst toward her, when he lost control, viciously struck her, and slapped her back onto the couch while yelling "BITCH!": ("Oh! Oh, Michael, Michael, you are blind. It wasn't a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael, just like our marriage is an abortion, something that's unholy and evil! I didn't want your son, Michael. I wouldn't bring another one of your sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son, a son, and I had it killed because this must all end! I know now that it's over. I knew it then. There would be no way, Michael, no way you could ever forgive me. Not with this Sicilian thing that's been going on for 2,000 years")
  • the brooding image of Michael in the boathouse with a flashback of the Corleone family around the dining room table in happier days
  • the final devastating shot of the prematurely-old Michael sitting quietly and introspectively on a Tahoe estate lawn chair as the cold winter approached

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980, S. Africa/Botswana)

In this sleeper hit from director/actor/writer/producer Jamie Uys about the bushmen of the Kalahari:

  • the careless discarding of a glass Coke bottle from an airplane and its discovery by Xixo (N'xau), a Junt-wasi tribesman from the African Kalahari Desert - who assumed it was a gift from the gods, according to the film's voice-over narrator (Paddy O'Byrne): ("Lately, strange new things sometimes appeared in the sky. Noisy birds that flew without flapping their wings. One day, something fell from the sky. Xi had never seen anything like this in his life. It looked like water, but it was harder than anything else in the world. He wondered why the gods had sent this thing down to the earth. It was the strangest and most beautiful thing they had ever seen, and they wondered why the gods had sent it to them")
  • the aftermath - anger, jealousy, and greed among his tribe: ("It was the most useful thing the gods had ever given them. A real labor-saving device. But the gods had been careless. They had sent only one. And now, for the first time in their lives, here was a thing which could not be shared because there was only one of it. Suddenly, everybody needed it most of the time. A thing they had never needed before became a necessity. And unfamiliar emotions began to stir. A feeling of wanting to own, of not wanting to share. And other new things came: anger, jealousy, hate and violence")
  • Xi's reaction to the newfound emotions: ("Xi was angry with the gods. He shouted, 'Take back your thing! We don't want it! Look at the trouble it brought.' But the gods did not take it back. He shouted, 'You must be crazy to send us this thing! Take it back!'") - the derivation of the film's title
  • Xi's journey to return the peculiar glass object back to the gods - by finding the edge of the earth (a cliff above a cloud-covered valley) and throwing back the offensive object, in the film's ending: ("Xi was beginning to think he'd never find the end of the earth. And one day, suddenly, there it was")

Going Places (1974, Fr.) (aka Les Valseuses)

In Bertrand Blier's French-style Easy Rider road film (the title literally meant: "testicles") about two misogynistic fugitives on the run through France:

  • the offensive characters of two unloveable, small-time bohemian crooks sought by the police for car theft: Jean-Claude (Gérard Depardieu) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere) who were both obsessed with abusive sex during a wild, aimless journey in the French countryside in the company of beautician Marie-Ange (Miou-Miou) - a young kidnapped hostage that they wanted to cure of her frigidity
  • the arrival of recently-released, empowered ex-convict, 40-ish Jeanne Pirolle (Jeanne Moreau) who taught the two men - in a three-way - about love, before committing suicide in their hotel room
  • the threatening yet erotic scene in which the two paired up to intimidate a 'Woman in the Train' (Brigitte Fossey), a lactating mother in an empty coach car with a baby; Pierrot opened her blouse and bra from the front and then touched and sucked on her right breast's nipple while Jean-Claude fondled her left breast
  • the deflowering of wayward, virginal, bourgeois teenager Jacqueline (Isabelle Huppert) in a field, while Marie-Ange cradled her head in her lap

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

In this opulent, fabulous musical from director Mervyn LeRoy with large-scale Busby Berkeley production numbers at the height of his creative genius in the early 30s:

  • the sight of Fay (Ginger Rogers) wearing a skimpy, coin-covered costume and singing in pig-Latin with other coin-covered chorines dancing to We're In the Money with massive money-related sets and over-sized coins
  • the elaborate Shadow Waltz production number in which neon-lighted dancers created elaborate geometric shapes -- highlighted by a gigantic violin formed by the dancers in an overhead shot, complete with a strumming bow and violins illuminated by neon tubing
  • also the naughty pre-Code Petting in the Park number featuring straw-hatted men romancing chorines on a lawn - with the camera leering at their crossed legs and petticoats, followed by a drenching rainstorm forcing the chorines to provocatively strip in silhouette behind a transparent screen as a lascivious, leering young boy (midget Billy Barty) pulled up the screen
  • the finale of Carol King (Joan Blondell) saluting the unemployed, poverty-stricken war veterans with other affected tenement housewives in Remember My Forgotten Man - concluding with silhouettes of marching soldiers

Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)

In this Busby Berkeley choreographed-directed film (in his debut as a solo director) with two major production numbers (sequences somewhat detached from the surrounding plot) exemplifying his masterful trademark camerawork:

  • the scene of a moonlight ride in a motorboat, while the tune The Words Are in My Heart was sung by medical student/desk clerk Dick Curtis (Dick Powell) to heiress Ann Prentiss (Gloria Stuart), featuring 56 mostly-blonde, white evening-gowned chorines pretending or 'play' waltzing/dancing with white baby-grand pianos that formed geometric, kaleidoscopic arrangements and ultimately came together to form one giant piano top (the lightweight piano shells were moved around by black-clad men manuevering the pianos on their backs while following tape markings on the shiny black floor)
  • the climactic approx. 14 minute finale The Lullaby of Broadway - a self-contained film within a film - pictured as a day in the life of the Great White Way of New York, with its opening shot (in a dark frame as the camera approached) of the lit, disembodied and upturned white head or face of Wini Shaw (Herself), as she was singing 'The Lullaby of Broadway' in solo; the image was followed by her head twisting around, inverting and reclining - and a famous dissolve into an aerial shot or mapping of the island of Manhattan
  • the show-stopping, entertaining, inventive production number continued in an art-deco nightclub with rows and rows of hundreds of tap-dancing couples on gargantuan stepping stairs-platforms, highlighted by the acrobatic dancing of a trio (led by Manny King) filmed in part through the glass floor - performed to the pounding rhythms, and visualizing a sexually-charged battle of the sexes (with obvious sexual imagery) in the hedonistic, nocturnal city during the Depression years
  • Wini - a "Broadway babe" was the only patron watching the club's all-night show, accompanied by a wealthy date (Dick Powell); she would return home to her walk-up tenement apartment, exhausted from a night of partying, to sleep during the day as her proletarian neighbors were leaving for work, and then she would go out again for more dazzling nightlife the next night
  • during the dance portion, the number turned into a mordant, judgmental and cautionary tale of life in the city for party-girl Wini after another night of carousing on Broadway, when she was accidentally pushed backwards off her skyscraper balcony to her death as throngs of entertainers from the stage floor crowded through her balcony's doors (breaking the fourth wall of reality); the camera twirled around as she descended to the street; but was it only a dream (?) when she again appeared as a disembodied head to finish singing the number's title song

The Gold Rush (1925)

In Charlie Chaplin's early silent classic:

  • the Tramp's (Charlie Chaplin) trademark look: mustache, baggy pants, bowler hat, cane, but set in the Alaskan gold fields of 1898
  • the scene in which another marooned, starving cabin mate Big Jim McKay (Mack Swain) during a blizzard hallucinated that the Tramp was a giant chicken and chased him with a gun
  • the scene of the teetering cabin on the edge of a crevasse
  • the inventive pantomime scene of the Thanksgiving Day feast of the Tramp cooking and eating a "gourmet" boiled boot - treating the laces like spaghetti and the sole like a delicate piece of fish with bones (nails) that were daintily sucked
  • the dance scene with dance-hall girl Georgia Hale (the Girl) in the saloon with a dog's rope serving as a makeshift belt
  • the imaginary New Year's Eve dinner party in which he turned a pair of fork-pricked, crusty dinner rolls into dancers in the "Dance of the Rolls"
  • the scene of the lonely Tramp's hearing (in profile) of the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" and knowing that no one was going to come to his party
  • the closing accidental rendezvous with Georgia (in steerage) and the Tramp (in first class) with the tables-turned

The Golden Coach (1952, Fr./It.) (aka Le Carrosse D'or)

In director Jean Renoir's Technicolored, historical romantic costume-drama farce about the choice between art and worldly love - the first of a trilogy (followed by French Cancan (1955), and Elena And Her Men (1956)) - set in colonial Peru in the late 18th century, in a South American town:

  • the film's staging - a "play-within-a-play" - signified by an opening curtain
  • the central character: a rag-tag touring Italian theatre company star Camilla (Anna Magnani in her English-language debut) - a boisterous, earthy, vulgar, voluptuous and passionate performer
  • her difficult choice of love among three competing suitors (male archetypes), who were either willing to offer her riches or duel for her attention:
    - Ferdinand (Duncan Lamont), an arrogant, refined and powerful royal Spanish figure - a Viceroy - who extravagantly and amorously offered Camilla his own luxurious, imported and gilded "golden coach"
    - Ramon (Riccardo Rioli), the area's famous hot-headed, manly and vain Toreador (bullfighter)
    - Felipe (Paul Campbell), a handsome, humble yet brave young Spanish Castilian officer-soldier, who met her on the boat ride over from Italy
  • the competition for Camilla's love was mirrored in the troupe's commedia del’arte performance, with Camilla (as Columbina) pursued by - among others: Arlequin (Dante), Polichinelle (Alfredo Medini), and Florindo (Alfredo Kolner)
  • the scenes of Camilla's difficulty in making a commitment - between worldly real-life suitors and the illusionary world of the theatre and its audiences; and her concluding meditative musings: "Where is truth? Where does the theatre end and life begin?"
  • the concluding sequence -- Camilla was on the stage after all three suitors had departed, when she was advised by her troupe's director, Don Antonio (Odoardo Spadaro), who was standing on the side of the stage: "Don't waste your time in the so-called real life. You belong to us, the actors, acrobats, mimes, clowns, mountebanks. Your only way to find happiness is on any stage, any platform, any public place, during those two little hours when you become another person - your true self. (The curtain fell behind Camilla, and she was left alone on the solitary stage); she asked: "Felipe, Ramon, the Viceroy disappeared, gone. Don't they exist anymore?"; Don Antonio answered: "Disappeared. Now they are a part of the audience. Do you miss them?" - Camilla sentimentally admitted: "A little"; but she had made her enlightened choice to determine her own fate - to follow her life lived on the stage

The Golden Compass (2007)

In writer/director Chris Weitz's fantasy film filled with incredible Visual Effects (it was the winner of the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects), adapted from the first novel of Phillip Pullman's 1995 His Dark Materials trilogy:

  • the main character of brave, justice-seeking 12 year-old orphan Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), a student at Jordan College boarding school, compelled to journey to the North to follow her adventurous 'uncle' Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) and to learn of the fate of kidnapped children by government thugs called Gobblers (later revealed to be headed by an organization called the General Oblation Board - or G-O-B - led by Mrs. Coulter)
  • the film's concept that each person has an accompanying daemon or soul (in the form of an animal), especially Lyra's form-changing one (a bird, an ermine or ferret, a wood mouse, a moth, and a striped cat) and evil villainess Mrs. Coulter's (Nicole Kidman) orange-haired monkey
  • Lyra's possession of an alethiometer (or Golden Compass) - the dazzling, last remaining 'truth-telling device' with spinning dials and strange pictorial symbols around its edges
  • the monumental single-combat, vicious fight-to-the-death between armoured warrior ice-bear Iorek Byrnison (voice of Ian McKellen) (the rightful-heir to the throne, but exiled) and king Ragnard Sturlusson (voice of Ian McShane)
  • also the terrifying scene of Lyra being threatened with having her daemon Pan (voice of Freddie Highmore) separated from her in an intercission machine (a silver guillotine) within an authoritarian Magisterium research station in the North
  • the confession of Mrs. Coulter that Lyra was her daughter and Asriel was her father

Goldfinger (1964)

In director Guy Hamilton's first Bond action film:

  • the pre-title credits opening scene in which non-chalant 007 agent James Bond (Sean Connery) removed his dry-suit gear (after setting charges along a set of NITRO tanks) and was wearing a white dinner jacket with a red flower
  • the striking image of the naked corpse of betrayed master gold-obsessed villain Auric Goldfinger's (Gert Frobe) escort Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), painted gold and lying on Bond's hotel suite bed - she allegedly died from skin asphyxiation
  • Bond's amazing Aston-Martin vehicle with oil slick, machine guns and passenger ejection seat
  • Oriental henchman Oddjob's (Harold Sakata) razor-sharp, lethal boomeranging bowler hat demonstration at the golf club
  • the sequence of Bond's spread-eagled torture on a gold table with an industrial red laser beam inching towards his crotch as Bond quipped: "Do you expect me to talk?" and Goldfinger's famed reply: "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"
  • Bond's introduction to Goldfinger's improbably-named personal jet pilot Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), who made a memorable entrance by blurringly appearing above him:
    - Bond: "Who are you?"
    - Pussy: (purring) "My name is Pussy Galore."
    - Bond: "I must be dreaming. (pause) I thought I'd wake up dead."
  • Goldfinger's taking of Fort Knox (a life-sized replica of the real thing)
  • the shocking demise of Oddjob inside one of Fort Knox's vaults when he grabbed for his bowler hat stuck in metal bars and was electrocuted ("He blew a fuse")
  • the final sequence of Goldfinger's death when he was sucked out of a shot-out airplane window in the depressurized cabin

(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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