Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

The Heiress (1949)

In director William Wyler's great romantic drama based on Henry James' 1880 novella Washington Square:

  • the scene in which the plain and gawky heiress Catherine (Olivia de Havilland) was awakened to love at an engagement party and later in her house (with his piano-playing) by the seductive charm of young fortune hunter Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift)
  • the agonizing scene on the night of their elopement as she waited hour after hour in the front drawing room - and finally realized that she was jilted
  • Catherine's ultimate revenge in the devastating conclusion after she came into her inheritance (she accepted Morris' next proposal and then told her Aunt Lavinia (Miriam Hopkins) her real intentions): ("He came back with the same lies, the same silly phrases...He has grown greedier with the years. The first time, he only wanted my money. Now he wants my love, too. Well, he came to the wrong house, and he came twice. I shall see that he never comes a third time....Yes, I can be very cruel. I have been taught by masters")
  • the image of a revenge-purged Catherine carrying a gas lamp upstairs as she listened to returning suitor Morris frantically banging on the outside of the bolted door and futilely calling her name: "Catherine, Catherine, Catherine!"

Hell's Angels (1930)

In director Howard Hughes' war adventure/drama:

  • the realistic aerial dogfights and German zeppelin raids on London
  • the early scenes of a sexy platinum blonde Helen (Jean Harlow in her first role) - the two-timing, slutty fiancé of unsuspecting Roy (James Hall)), who wore a slinky velvet evening dress (with beaded straps) that barely covered her breasts as she encouragingly asked brother Monte Rutledge (Ben Lyon) to take her home during a dance
  • her delivery of a famous line to him in her apartment: ("...Come see my room. I've only had a place of my own for a week...(After serving him a drink) Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?") and then she retreated into her bedroom

Hell's Highway (1932)

In director Rowland Brown's hard-hitting indictment of the sadistic prison chain-gang system (the first of its kind in the film industry, by RKO's David Selznick):

  • the early scene of the suicide of hapless prisoner Joe Carter (John Arledge) in a sweatbox by self-strangulation
  • the resultant angry protest by fellow prisoners about Carter's death before a meal
  • the whipping-punishment scene of 'forgotten man' prisoner Frank 'Duke' Ellis (Richard Dix) - whose military tattoo on his back caused the guard to pause

Hellzapoppin' (1941)

In Henry C. Potter's referential, inventive, mind-bending, zany and anarchistic comedy - a haphazard film adaptation of the 1938 Broadway musical revue - mocking traditional narratives and plot conventions:

  • the mind-boggling opening sequence - a film within a film: limousines arrived at the Universal Theatre, and projectionist Louie (Shemp Howard) was loading film reels in the projection booth - a group of chorus girls were singing on stage and walking forward on a staircase during a song-and-dance number when they suddenly slid downwards as the stage tilted and collapsed - and they appeared to be descending into the flames of hell behind the title card
  • the title card's warning: "...any similarity between HELLZAPOPPIN' and a motion picture is purely coincidental"
  • the scene switched to a view of Dante's Inferno, where devilish, tormenting figures were heating up and sharpening their pitchforks in preparation to roast pretty girls on rotating BBQ spits; they were also 'canning' both males and females into metal drum barrels labeled "Canned Guy" and "Canned Gal"; during the crazed mayhem and chaos, a taxi-cab arrived carrying the show's producers - vaudevillians Chic Johnson (Himself) and Ole Olsen (Himself) ("That's the first taxi driver that ever went straight where I told him to!")
  • the two often "broke the fourth wall" as they addressed the projectionist: "Hey Louie, rewind this film, will ya?"; Louie objected: "What's the matter with you guys? Don't you know you can't talk to me and the audience?"; Ole and Chic disagreed: "Well, we're doin' it, aren't we? (giggling) Yes, folks. This is Hellzapoppin'!"; Louie added: "This is screwy, the actors talkin' to me up here" - and he began to rewind the film
  • eventually, it was revealed as the camera pulled back that the two were on a Hollywood sound stage during the filming of the screen adaptation of the musical, by Miracle Pictures
  • in a completely natural and fluid sequence, Ole and Chic walked through a series of movie sets, as their costumes changed in each one; in an icy Eskimo set, they came upon the "Rosebud" sled from Citizen Kane (1941) and remarked: "I thought they burned that"
  • there were many visual gags such as the careless projectionist's manipulation of the picture -- splitting the film frame, breaking up the frame horizontally, dislocating the film frame in its sprockets, freezing the frame, and the upside down projection of the frame; or his inappropriate changing of the scenery -- Ole and Chic found themselves in a shoot-'em-up cowboys and Indians western (they yelled at the projectionist: "Louie, Louie, look. You put on the wrong picture...Louie, will you take those phony Hollywood Indians off the screen?...Now put on our picture, come on, come on")
  • the film's inserted, predictable plot: a love triangle between musician and play manager Jeff Hunter (Robert Paige), his wealthy love interest - the lead actress Kitty Rand (Jane Frazee), and her dull fiancee Woody Taylor (Lewis Howard)
  • the five-minute, gravity-defying, high-energy dance performance by Whitey's Lindy Hoppers (billed as the Harlem Congaroo Dancers)
  • the Busby Berkeley-inspired choreographed swimming sequences
  • the many absurdist examples of non-sensical humor (some with special effects), including half-invisible men (one from the waist down, and one from the waist up), a fireworks gun that shot out a man with a parachute ("Wrong gun!"), a bear on a scooter and a pogo stick, a mysteries-magazine reader who used car headlights and the footlights and spotlights of the "Broadway Bound" stage show as a light source, sticky flypaper on the feet of a male dancer, and fake ducks laying eggs
  • the film's ending dialogue, when the frustrated director (Richard Lane) became disgusted by the script and shouted at screenwriter Harry Selby (Elisha Cook, Jr.), who was drinking a glass of water:
    - "Talking bears! Talking dogs! People who disappear! Slapstick comedy! What kind of a script is that?"
    - "Well, I didn't tell you, but I saw Hellzapoppin' in New York and I thought it was very funny."
    - "Well, here's what I think of it." (gunshots)
    - "Well, you can't hurt me that way. I always wear a bullet-proof vest around the studios." (water poured from bullet holes in his chest)

The Help (2011)

In director Tate Taylor's poignant, early 1960s-era drama about racism faced by two black maids ('the help') in Jackson, Mississippi, based upon Kathryn Stockett's novel:

  • the strong relationship between the film's two main characters - black maids: Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) - who worked for Elizabeth "Miss Leefolt" (Ahna O'Reilly), and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), who at first worked for Hilly Holbrook's mother, Mrs. Walters (Sissy Spacek)
  • the character of racist, bigoted, snooty segregationist housewife Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) who demanded a 'separate but equal' toilet for her housemaid Minny, because of her worry about sanitary conditions and the catching of some strange disease
  • the 'white trash' bottle blonde and socially-inept Celia Rae Foote (Jessica Chastain) who was taught by her pie-making black maid Minny Jackson to cook, so that she could impress her wealthy socialite husband Johnny Foote (Mike Vogel), Hilly's ex-boyfriend
  • aspiring, liberal-minded writer/journalist and recent Univ. of Mississippi graduate-debutante Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) writing for the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper, and secretly interviewing the two reluctant black housemaids - and taking notes for her anonymously-published book The Help, to tell the unknown stories of their experiences as servants-maids, and to expose rampant racism
  • the scene of Celia's bloody miscarriage in a bathroom
  • the "Terrible Awful" episode related by Minny to 'Skeeter' - the spiteful feeding of two slices of baked chocolate pie (Minny's shit) to Hilly, who complimented her: ("What do you put in here that makes it taste so good?!") - Minny replied: ("That good vanilla from Mexico and somethin' else real special") - and then admitted: "Eat my shit!"
  • the shooting of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in June 1963, announced by the city bus stopping and forcing the disembarkment of the black passengers
  • the revelation, the last story for the book, told to 'Skeeter' by her cancer-stricken mother Charlotte Phelan (Allison Janney), about why she had 'broken the heart' of the family's long-time, elderly and ill maid Constantine (Cicely Tyson) (the servant/nanny who had raised 'Skeeter', seen in flashback) by unnecessarily firing her in order to save face among other white ladies during a DAR luncheon; she recalled how Constantine had become frail and incompetent during the serving of the lunch: ("She didn't give me a choice. The Daughters of America had just appointed me state regent. Grace Higginbotham, our esteemed president, came all the way down from Washington, D.C., to our house for the ceremony...She'd gotten so old and slow, Skeeter") - and then Constantine's daughter Rachel (LaChanze) arrived - awkwardly - at the front door and embarrassed Charlotte by barging into the dining room to see her mother; at the strong urging of Grace Higginbotham, Charlotte fired her maid: ("Get out of this house, Rachel...Both of you. Leave. Now!") - after walking out the front door, Constantine appeared stunned; Charlotte explained with a lame excuse to 'Skeeter': ("She was our president. What was I supposed to do?")
  • the final scene in which black maid Aibileen Clark was framed for theft by a vindictive Hilly: ("Maybe I can't send you to jail for what you wrote, but I can send you for being a thief") - who Aibileen then chastised to her face: ("I know something about you. Don't you forget that. From what Yule Mae says, there's a lot of time to write letters in jail. Plenty of time to write the truth about you. And the paper is free...All you do is scare and lie to try to get what you want...You a godless woman. Ain't you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain't you tired?")
  • the firing and departure of Aibileen from her domestic job by Elizabeth, after being urged on by Hilly, with the wailing cries of the pale, chubby, abandoned toddler Mae Mobley (Eleanor/Emma Henry) she cared for at the window (calling out: "A-a-a-aibee!"); Aibileen recalled the moment - in voice-over, and then expressed hope to become a writer: ("Mae Mobley was my last baby. In just ten minutes, the only life I knew was done....God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by tellin' the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinkin' about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it's gonna be me")
  • after her firing, Aibileen's long walk down the suburban street as the credits rolled

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) (released in 1990)

In John McNaughton's disturbing "fictional dramatization," based upon the account of real-life convicted serial killer Henry Lee Lucas:

  • the realistic, detached cinema-verite documentary style filming that enhanced each brutal, gory and violent killing by serial killer Henry (Michael Rooker) and his dim-witted, paroled, roommate-prison buddy Otis (Tom Towles)
  • the numerous sickening, brutally-violent, off-screen and on-screen murders by the pair of psychotic killers - seen as still shots of Henry's trail of carnage in Illinois - they were the death poses of many of the murder victims (killed off-screen), sometimes with accompanying sounds of their screams or death struggle: the death of a young woman left in a grassy field, shots-to-the-heads of a storeowner couple (Elizabeth and Ted Kaden), a prostitute (Mary Demas) killed in a bathroom with a broken soda bottle in her face
  • the disturbing killings of a helpless family (a couple and their son) (Lisa Temple, Brian Graham, and Sean Ores) in their suburban home, poorly-videotaped for repeated viewings by both Henry and partner-in-crime Otis on their sofa
  • the repeated stabbing of smart-alec TV salesman/fence (Ray Atherton) with a soldering iron (first in the hand) and smashing of a cheap $50 B/W TV over his head, after which Otis plugged in the set to end his life by electrocution
  • the conclusion which documented the eventual killing of Otis (and his beheading in a bathtub) when Henry found him strangling and raping his sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) - Henry's 'girlfriend' - and then fled with her, only to dump her body the very next day in her heavy blood-stained suitcase by the roadside

(King) Henry V (1944, UK) (aka The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France)

In Laurence Olivier's adaptation of Shakespeare's staged play - a winner of Honorary Awards in 1946:

  • the opening sequence - a panorama of the city of London in 1600, and a view into Shakespeare's 17th century Globe Theatre (Playhouse), where a stage-bound play, Henry the Fift, was to be presented - with the remarkable transition from the theatre to the plains of Agincourt before the famous battle in 1415 A.D.
  • narrator Chorus' (Leslie Banks) prologue delivered on the stage to the Globe Playhouse's audience, urging them to use their imaginations: ("O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention, a kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene! Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all, the flat unraised spirits that have dared on this unworthy scaffold to bring forth so great an object: Can this cockpit hold the vasty fields of France? Or may we cram within this wooden O the very casques that did affright the air at Agincourt?..On your imaginary forces work. Suppose within the girdle of these walls are now confined two mighty monarchies, whose high upreared and abutting fronts the perilous narrow ocean parts asunder: Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts. Think when we talk of horses, that you see them printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth; for 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings, carry them here and there, jumping o'er times, turning the accomplishment of many years into an hour-glass: for the which supply, admit me Chorus to this history; who prologue-like your humble patience pray, gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play")
  • the characterization of Shakespeare's Plantagenet King Henry V (Oscar-nominated Laurence Olivier)
  • the scene of King Henry V's first rousing battle speech as he exhorted his troops for battle against the French at the siege of Harfleur, astride his horse, garbed in armor and swinging his sword: ("Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility. But when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger. Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage. Then lend the eye a terrible aspect. Let pry through the portage of the head like the brass cannon. Let the brow o'erwhelm it as fearfully as doth a galled rock o'erhang and jutty his confounded base, swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean. Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit to his full height. On, on, you noblest English whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!...")
  • King Henry's St. Crispin's Day address-speech to his weary troops before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415: ("This story shall the good man teach his son and Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remember'd; we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, be he ne'er so base. And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day")
  • the magnificently-created Battle of Agincourt war scene - both stylized and realistic (with archers letting forth a volley of arrows), with Britain's victory over the French in 1415
  • Henry's courting of Princess Katherine (Renee Asherson)

Henry V (1989, UK)

In writer/director/producer/actor Branagh's superb film version of Shakespeare's play:

  • King Henry V's (Kenneth Branagh) dramatic, silhouetted entrance through a towering portal
  • the King's inspired pre-battle address to his weary troops on St. Crispin's Day before the Battle of Agincourt: ("We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother... The games afoot. Follow you spirit, and upon this charge. Cry 'God for Harry, England and St. George!'")
  • after the Battle of Agincourt, the extended tracking shot as King Henry carried the body of Falstaff's Boy (Christian Bale), slung over his shoulder, across the bloody and muddy field of Agincourt, to the somber singing of the Agincourt Hymn: 'Non nobis, Domine'

High Anxiety (1977)

In Mel Brooks' hilarious comedy - a satirical parody of famous moments and scenes from various Hitchcock films - and his fourth spoof film after Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), and Silent Movie (1976):

  • the lead starring role of Richard H. Thorndyke (Brooks himself) as a Hitchcock prototype (a wrongly-accused innocent man on the run) - a psychiatrist with acrophobia, and the newly-appointed head of the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous
  • the scene of Thorndyke's airport arrival, when an overly aggressive, screaming woman (Pearl Shear) rushed at him, but she was only greeting her husband Harry, and Thorndyke's assessment of everything highlighted by strident orchestral music: "What a dramatic airport!"
  • Thorndyke's photography-obsessed chauffeur Brophy (Ron Carey) ("I love to take pictures. I'm very photogenic"), who during their drive on an LA freeway, revealed the reason for the death of Thorndyke's predecessor: "I think Dr. Ashley was the victim of - foul play" - with a swelling of dramatic music on the soundtrack, accompanied by the anachronistic view of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra playing on a bus next to them (the gag revealed the difference between a non-diegetic scoring cue and a diegetic one - one heard by the characters)
  • the devious character of Nurse Charlotte Diesel (Cloris Leachman) and her pointy-breasted white uniform and manly mustache (introduced by Dr. Charles Montague (Harvey Korman) as "my right-hand man, woman"), who had strict rules: "Those who are tardy (to dinner) do not get fruit cup" - she doubled as a sadistic, Neo-Nazi dominatrix, with whom Montague later had a closet spanking session: (Montague: "I know you better than you know yourself. You live for bondage and discipline. Too much bondage, not enough discipline")
  • Thorndyke's own tooth-brushing tutorial delivered to his own mirror image as he brushed his teeth: ("Up and down. Up and down. Side, side, side, side, side. In and out. In and out. Side, side, side, side, side (repeated)")
  • the psychiatrist's explanation for Thorndyke's high anxiety over acrophobia - with a flashback to his infancy and his abusive parents, and his insight in an epiphany: "It's not height I'm afraid of. It's parents!"
  • the classic spoof scenes: an attack in a shower (stabbed by an angry bellhop (Barry Levinson) with a rolled-up newspaper and newspaper ink - not blood - running down the drain, and Thorndyke's quip: "That boy gets no tip"), a scatalogical scene involving a massive horde of pigeons on a park's jungle-jim that chased (and pooped) on Thorndyke
  • Thorndyke's awkward speech to a psychiatric convention in San Francisco, when asked about his use of the term "Penis envy"; with two young children in the audience, he had to modify his terms, using "pee-pee envy", "balloons" (for breasts), "number one or cocky-doody" (terms related to toilet training), and the "woo-woo" (for the "female erogenous zone" or womb): "As I was saying, in a world of predominantly male-oriented psychology, it was only natural to arrive at the term, pee - Pee, 'Peepee envy'"
  • the copy-catting of Hitchcock's filming style or camera angles - a through-the-door tracking shot into a dining room that crashed through the windowed doors, a low-angle shot looking up through a glass coffee table, but obstructed by a carafe, saucers, etc., an overhead shot in a padded cell (with all the actors suddenly looking up at the camera), and another backwards-moving traveling shot in the final honeymoon scene that literally broke through the wall
  • the obscene phone call scene, when Thorndyke was placing a phone booth call to his love interest Victoria Brisbane (Madeline Kahn), a patient's wealthy daughter, and he was attacked from behind by assassin "Braces" (Rudy DeLuca) (a take-off on Bond's "Jaws"); with the cord wrapped around his throat to strangle him, all he could utter was "Ahhh," "Oooh," and "Uuhh" - after resisting a little, Victoria interpreted his words as kinky sex talk from an anonymous caller and responded: "How did you, uhm, get my room number...What are you wearing?...You're wearing jeans? I'll bet they're tight...Oh my God. You are an animal"; after he killed the attacker, he was able to speak to her, when she backtracked: "I knew it was you all the time. I just went along with it"
  • the climactic tower scene (a replicated and parodied amalgam of Vertigo and Spellbound) with Thorndyke and Victoria caught on a crumbling staircase

High Fidelity (2000)

In Stephen Frears' romantic comedy:

  • the character of 30-something, commitment-phobic Chicago LP music store (Championship Vinyl) operator Rob Gordon (John Cusack) - often speaking directly at the camera - who had just been dumped by his live-in girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) of several years: ("What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?")
  • Rob's reorganizing of his 500-plus record collection and his compulsive list-making of top fives, including his romantic breakups: "My desert island, all-time, top-five most memorable breakups" (seen with flashbacks during his junior high, high school and college days), including the discussion of the top five songs to make love to with his store employees, and Laura's own listing of his five top dream jobs, ending with: "record store owner"
  • his offbeat, anti-social loudmouth clerk Barry (Jack Black), one of two "musical moron twins," who despised customers who didn't like his musical selections; when an older customer wished to purchase: "I Just Called to Say I Love You," Barry refused to sell it to him: ("Well, it's sentimental, tacky crap, that's why not. Do we look like the kind of store that sells 'I Just Called to Say I Love You'? Go to the mall....Do you even know your daughter? There's no way she likes that song. Oh- uh, oh, is she in a coma?"); the incensed customer replied before storming out: ("Oh, okay, buddy. I didn't know it was Pick On The Middle-Aged Square Guy Day. My apologies. I'll be on my way....F--k you!")
  • the scene of Rob's lying-in-his-empty-bed nightmarish fantasy that Laura was having sex with Ian 'Ray' Raymond (Tim Robbins) upstairs: ("You are as abandoned and noisy as any character in a porn film, Laura. You are Ian's plaything, responding to his touch with shrieks of orgasmic delight. No woman in the history of the world is having better sex than the sex you are having with Ian in my head")
  • Rob's discussion of the "top five things I miss about Laura" - ("One - a sense of humor. Very dry, but it can also be warm and forgiving. And she's got one of the best all-time laughs in the history of all time laughs, she laughs with her entire body. Two - she's got character. Or at least she had character before the Ian nightmare. She's loyal and honest, and she doesn't even take it out on people when she's having a bad day. That's character....")
  • the funny replays of Rob's fight-fantasy of reacting to a smug Ian in the record store, after Ian stated: ("So shall we leave it at that then?") - one of the alternative fantasies was Rob swearing at him and insulting him to his face: (" pathetic rebound f--k! Now, get your patchouli stink out of my store! Move it, lard-ass! Dumb motherf--ker"); another was viciously beating him up, with the help of his friends; in the final scenario, after Ian said: "Well, think about it, Rob" - Rob didn't react at all

High Noon (1952)

In Fred Zinnemann's tense black and white Western:

  • a masterful portrayal of a deserted and retiring Marshal Will Kane (Oscar-winning Gary Cooper) left alone in Hadleyville against vengeful gunslingers led by Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) after his marriage to Quaker bride (Grace Kelly)
  • Kane's agonized wait for the train that arrived at noon - with numerous, repetitive, large closeup views of clocks ticking in 'real time'
  • Kane's fist-fight in the livery stable with Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges)
  • Kane's plea in the church to enlist deputies: ("It looks like Frank Miller's comin' back on the noon train. I need all the special deputies I can get"); and Mayor Jonas Henderson's (Thomas Mitchell) fears that a violent shoot-out would create a bad image for Hadleyville up North, especially for financial growth and investment support from Northern business interests. But then he concluded by advising Kane ("a mighty brave man, a good man") to flee town for the good of the local economy
  • the cynical opinion of aging, discarded, arthritic, and embittered ex-marshal Matt Howe (Lon Chaney, Jr.) to Kane about his past profession as a life-long 'tin-star' lawman: ("It's a great life. You risk your skin catchin' killers and the juries turn 'em loose so they can come back and shoot at ya again. If you're honest, you're poor your whole life, and in the end you wind up dyin' all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothin'. For a tin star")
  • Kane's writing of a last will and testament
  • the exciting final shootout (with his wife's aid) against four desperadoes at noon
  • his concluding disavowal of the town by throwing his badge into the dirt

High Sierra (1941)

In Raoul Walsh's crime/gangster film:

  • the heartbreaking scene of aging gangster Roy "Mad Dog" Earle's (Humphrey Bogart) visit to see a post-surgical club-footed Velma (Joan Leslie): ("We can still be friends...")
  • the film's suspenseful manhunt high up in the Sierra Mountains as police pursued Earle in a doomed last stand
  • Marie's (Ida Lupino) refusal to the authorities to call out to Earle: ("No, I won't....I won't, I tell you...He's gonna die anyway, he'd rather it was this way. Go on, kill him! All of you. Kill him, kill him, do you hear?")
  • the sequence of a sniper shooting Earle, when the fugitive heard barking from his mongrel dog Pard who was running up the steep cliff to him; he stood up and called out "Marie!" - and was shot by a sniper's bullet from behind. Marie screamed from down below. After Earle's body rolled down the steep rocky cliff, Pard licked his hand.
  • Marie's sad repetition of the word "Free" for Roy's "crash out", questioning his unnecessary death
  • the final, blurry fadeout on Marie's tear-stained face as it filled the frame before a pan up to the mountains

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959, Fr.)

In Alain Resnais' first feature film, one of the essential New Wave films:

  • the opening, lengthy montage set in Hiroshima (in the aftermath of the bombing, in August of 1957) of an erotic love scene in a hotel bed during a brief love affair (their first sexual encounter) between two adulterous married individuals - seen first as anonymous people
  • their discreetly-nude bodies were held together and entwined in an embrace - with both radioactive sparkling ash and then rain blowing across their sweaty skin (recollecting the horrific scenes of devastation caused by the atomic bomb at Hiroshima)
  • the visually horrific documentary images of the massive destruction in the blast city seen in reconstructions in the Hiroshima Peace museum, including the photographs of burn victims and mutilated survivors ("...the scorched metal, the twisted metal, metal made as vulnerable as flesh. I saw the bouquet of bottle caps. Who would have thought? Human flesh, suspended, as if still alive, its agony still fresh. Stones, charred stones, shattered stones. Anonymous masses of hair that the women of Hiroshima, upon waking in the morning, would find had fallen out") - although the man denied her assertions that she had seen everything in the museum: "You saw nothing in Hiroshima. Nothing" although she insisted: "I saw everything"
  • the two lovers: lonely French film actress "Elle/She" (Emmanuelle Riva) who lived in Paris, and Japanese architect "Lui/He" (Eiji Okada) (he had fought in WWII)
  • the sequence of her victimization, shaming and suffering (when it was revealed in France that she had loved a German soldier and her hair was shorn) likened to the victims of the atomic bomb blast
  • after a night of sex and talking, Elle/She stood on the hotel balcony-terrace the next morning wearing a kimono as she drank from a cup, and watching bicyclists on the street far below - she returned to the sight of her still-sleeping lover Lui/He in bed
  • in the so-called "finger-twitch" sequence (the complete sequence was composed of 13 shots and lasted almost two minutes), she looked down at Lui/He's outstretched arm and right hand on the bed that was slightly twitching - suddenly, she had a traumatic, haunting, and terrible subliminal memory returning to 14 years earlier (an intrusion of the past into the present) - to the similar sight of her dying, bloody-faced German lover's twitching hand in Nevers, France (during the liberation of France)
  • when the Japanese man stirred and awoke, she asked: "What were you dreaming about?"; he replied: "I don't know - why?" - she replied: "I watched your hands. They move when you sleep" - in response, he opened and closed his left hand, and said: "Maybe it's when you dream without knowing it" (or "Sometimes a person dreams without knowing it")
  • in the film's ending, they both decided to depart and admitted distance between them - they gave each other names: "Hiroshima is my name" - "And your name is Nevers - in France"

His Girl Friday (1940)

In this classic Howard Hawks screwball comedy of Hollywood's Golden Age - from Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's stage play 'The Front Page':

  • the frantic, overlapping whirlwind nature of the fast-talking dialogue in the opening scene (and throughout the entire film) between big-city newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) and his ace ex-reporter/ex-wife Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell)
  • classic one-liners such as Hildy's description of Walter's charm to her fiancee Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy): "Well, he comes by it naturally. His grandfather was a snake"
  • the hilarious restaurant-luncheon scene with Walter and Hildy's fiancee - the staid, dull, but devoted insurance salesman Bruce, with Walter's unending conniving to find a way to dislodge Hildy from her imminent marriage and stop the couple's impending move to Albany to live in Bruce's mother's house: Walter (sarcastically): "Oh, you're gonna live with your mother?...Oh, that will be nice! Yes, yes, a home with mother - in Albany too!"
  • the scene in the newspaper's press room, when there were reports that convicted murderer and death-row prisoner Earl Williams (John Qualen), nicknamed "mock-turtle" by Burns, had escaped from the county jail with a gun; on the phone, Hildy reported the exclusive 'scoop' news-story of the escape to Burns (costing her $450 for which she demanded reimbursement): "All right, now here's your story. The jailbreak of your dreams. It seems that expert Dr. Egelhoffer, the profound thinker from New York, was giving Williams a final sanity test in the Sheriff's office - you know, sticking a lot of pins in him so that he could get his reflexes. Well, he decided to re-enact the crime exactly as it had taken place, in order to study Williams' powers of co-ordination...Of course, he had to have a gun to re-enact the crime with. And who do you suppose supplied it? Peter B. Hartwell, 'B' for brains...Well, the Sheriff gave his gun to the Professor and the Professor gave it to Earl, and Earl shot the Professor right in the classified ads...No 'ads.' Ain't it perfect? If the Sheriff had unrolled a red carpet and loaned Williams an umbrella, it couldn't have been more ideal...Egelhoffer wasn't badly hurt. They took him to the County Hospital..."; to complicate matters, escaped convict Williams entered the press room, and confronted Hildy at gunpoint
  • the sequence when she found herself on two phone calls, bragging to both Bruce and Walter on the phone: (to Walter on the right): "Walter, get this. I've got Earl Williams. Here, yeah, right in the press room. Honest, on the level. Hurry, I need you. Right." (to Bruce on the left): "Bruce, the best thing in the world has happened. I've captured Earl Williams. You know, the murderer."
  • frantic about the situation, she hid Earl Williams in the room's roll-top desk; during the tumultuous scene, as newsmen, the police and Burns all gathered in the press room, Walter attempted to convince Hildy to stay rather than meet her fiancee Bruce and leave for Albany: "How many times you got a murderer locked up in a desk? Once-in-a-lifetime. Hildy, you got the whole city by the seat of the pants...This isn't just a story you're covering. It's a revolution. This is the greatest yarn in journalism since Livingston discovered Stanley...This isn't just a newspaper story, Hildy. It's a career. And you standin' there bellyache-ing about whether you're catchin' an eight o'clock train or a nine o'clock train"; at the same time, Bruce badgered and pleaded with Hildy to leave with him while she was frantically typing the story she called "the biggest thing in my life"
  • the signaling system between Burns and Williams ("Three taps is me. Don't forget") backfired, when Burns was denouncing the accusation of Bruce's indignant mother Mrs. Baldwin (Alma Kruger), that "They had some kind of a murderer in here, and they were hiding him" - Walter righteously pounded three times on the top of the roll-top desk to accentuate his denial of her accusation: "Madam. You're a Cock-Eyed Liar, and you know it"; there were three answering knocks from the inside of the desk; with guns drawn, the authorities counted to three, then opened the desk - Williams emerged and pleaded: "Go ahead, shoot me"; as Williams was taken away, many of the insensitive reporters began to phone in the sensationalized news of Williams' capture as the camera tracked past them: "Williams was unconscious when they opened the desk...Williams put up a desperate struggle, but the police overpowered him...He offered no resistance...He might shoot out with the cops but his gun wasn't workin...He broke through a whole cordon of police...The Morning Post just turned Williams over to the Sheriff"
  • in the film's conclusion, Earl Williams was reprieved, and Bruce was thought to be on his way home on the train with his mother to Albany; Walter and Hildy had successfully teamed together and reunited as reporters; she would write the story of Earl Williams' reprieve, and the two would get married - but they would have to spend their planned honeymoon in Albany, not in Niagara Falls as Hildy wished - covering a news story about a strike: (Walter: "We're going to Albany. I wonder if Bruce can put us up?")
  • the film's improvised closing line was a suggestion delivered by Walter to Hildy about her suitcase (held in her arms) as they exited the Press Room and spoke to each other under the door frame's arch; as always, he strode in front of her, and observed: "Say, why don't you carry that in your hand?"

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)

In this very primitive all-star musical from MGM Studios and director Charles "Chuck" Riesner:

  • the debut presentation of "Singin' in the Rain" by ukelele-playing Cliff (Ukelele Ike) Edwards (the future voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney's Pinocchio) - a leitmotif throughout the entire picture

Home Alone (1990)

In director Chris Columbus' family comedy:

  • the scene of 8 year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) slapping too much after-shave to his cheeks - and screaming

Home From the Hill (1960)

In Vincente Minnelli's highly-stylized, widescreen CinemaScopic, romantic, coming-of-age melodrama set in the late 1950s in small-town Texas, about a dysfunctional western family:

  • the main characters: strident, arrogant, callous and authoritative town patriarch Captain Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) - a philandering macho man with hunting guns and dogs and booze -- lovelessly married to aloof, angry, bitter, frigid, scornful and estranged, blue-eyed wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker)
  • the early duck hunting scene when Wade was nearly killed (wounded) by irate, recently-married cuckolded husband John Ellis (Tom Gilson); Wade was saved by his loyal hired ranch-hand Raphael "Rafe" Copley (George Peppard) who defensively pushed him away - revealed later to be Wade's unacknowledged illegitimate son (from a much earlier liaison with Ann Copley before marrying Hannah) - establishing the fact that Wade had a well-known reputation for possessively womanizing most of the town's females
  • Wade's acknowledged, gullible and soft 17-year-old son Theron Hunnicutt (George Hamilton) - who didn't know that Rafe was his half-brother, and was being raised by Hannah
  • as Theron was about to turn 18, Wade (in his study with red leather sofas and dogs running about, and a shotgun in Theron's hands) worried about his son's lack of manliness; Wade's decision was to indoctrinate Theron into a macho lifestyle (hunting, drinking, etc) with the help of Rafe; he delivered a memorable speech to Theron: "I'm not sendin' you out for game. I'm not askin' you to go out and bring meat home for the table. What I'm talkin' about is comin' face to face with your own courage, your own cunning, your own endurance, because what every man hunts out there is himself...I had something from my father that his father gave to him. I'm gonna give it to you. It's late but it's not too late. You know one of these days, I'm gonna die, Theron. You're gonna come into 40,000 acres of land: cotton, beef, goats, timber. Takes a special kind of man to handle that. Kind of man that walks around with nothing in his pockets. No identification because everyone knows who you are. No cash because anyone in town would be happy to lend you anything you need. No keys 'cause you don't keep a lock on a single thing you own. And no watch because time waits on you. What I'm saying is, you're gonna have to stand up and be counted. You're gonna be known in these parts as a man or as a momma's boy"
  • Wade also expressed his worry about excessive coddling to Hannah and told her about Theron's reputation as a Momma's boy: ("You've had him for seventeen years. Now I want him. I'm gonna take him out in the company of men. Whether you like it or not, Hannah, that's boy's gonna come of age...You can't stop me")
  • Rafe's words of advice to Theron: "You gotta learn to make out on your own. These tears and cryin' and carryin' on is a waste of time. Colored folks know that, and little white orphan boys gotta learn it too, so hitch up your pants and be a man. I never cried again where anyone could see me"
  • the exciting two-day pig-hunting chase sequence when Theron plunged into the swampy woods and finally killed a huge tusked wild boar on his own - proving his strength, masculinity, identity, and receiving his father's acceptance
  • the scene of Theron's growing friendship and eventual scheduled date (arranged by Rafe!) with tomboyish Elizabeth "Libby" Halstead (Luana Patten), the daughter of Albert Halstead (Everett Sloane), a local merchant-businessman - when Theron went to the door to pick up Libby to take her to a celebratory, coming-out pig-killing BBQ party, he was denied even entering by her raging and judgmental father, without an explanation (but obviously due to the reputation and history of infidelity of Wade)
  • Hannah's first cemetery encounter with Rafe at a pauper's burial ground where he was tending the gravesite of his own mother, Ann Copley; afterwards, Rafe walked along the riverside with a hoe over his shoulders (looking like a prisoner in stocks), and came upon Theron enjoying an amorous picnic scene with Libby at a secluded spot; afterwards they would engage in love-making
  • Theron's confusion and outrage upon learning from Hannah about his family's dysfunctionality and his father's past history of cheating: ("Everyone knows about your father...Oh, he's not the kind of a man you think he is. Why, there's hardly a woman in town whose name hasn't been linked with his at one time or another"), and the suggestion of his own cursed, passed-down tendency to continue his father's unfaithfulness; due to his emotionally-scarred upbringing, Theron retaliated by breaking up with Libby and swearing off marriage
  • the conflict between father and son -- after being told by Hannah that he was Rafe's half-brother, Theron challenged and confronted his father regarding Rafe: "I don't want any part of you....He's the best there is, and if you were any kind - if you were any kind of a man, you'd be proud of him and love him!" Wade countered: "His mother was a tramp, a sandhill tacky havin' her child by the edge of a ditch" - Theron renounced his father and moved away to take a job in a cotton mill
  • in a supermarket diner, the scene of Libby telling Rafe that he ought to be eating more healthy foods, followed by her tearful and despairing confession to him about feeling disgraced that she was pregnant with Theron's child; a compassionate Rafe was persuaded to marry Libby to legitimize her situation, and they became husband and wife
  • the scene of Wade shot to death in his home by a volatile, unseen intruder (revealed as Albert), who wrongly thought through town rumors that Libby's baby was actually Wade's; to seek revenge, Theron pursued Albert and gunned him down (in the same place that he shot the boar) - the killing was ruled self-defense; Theron then told Rafe that he could never face Libby again (after shooting her father) and departed from the town forever
  • in the final cemetery scene when Hannah was visiting Wade's gravesite, she met up with Rafe and showed him the headstone inscription that clearly acknowledged that Wade was the "beloved father" of two sons: Raphael and Theron; she accepted him as one of her own, and agreed to visit his son (actually Theron's) - her grand-son

Horror of Dracula (1958, UK) (aka Dracula)

In talented director Terence Fisher's classic Technicolored Dracula horror film - the first of the UK's Hammer Studios' horror films about Dracula for the next two decades - a superb, Gothic, blood-drenched tale of the cat-and-mouse game between Count Dracula and his arch nemesis Dr. Van Helsing:

  • after the title credits, the camera descended into a castle's cellar where it located a vault-crypt bearing the label: "DRACULA"; after a forward tracking shot, the label was covered with dripping blood from above
  • the opening voice-over narration as a red book was opened: "The Diary of Jonathan Harker. Third of May, 1885. At last, my long journey is drawing to its close. What the eventual end will be, I cannot foresee. But whatever may happen, I can rest secure that I will have done all in my power to achieve success. The last lap of my journey from the village of Klausenberg proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated due to the reluctance on the part of the coach driver to take me all the way. As there was no other transport available, I was forced to travel the last few kilometers on foot before arriving at Castle Dracula. The castle appeared innocuous enough in the warm sun, and all seemed normal but for one thing: There were no birds singing. As I crossed the wooden bridge, and entered the gateway, it suddenly seemed to become much colder, due, no doubt, to the icy waters of the mountain torrent I had just crossed. However, I deemed myself lucky to have secured this post and did not intend to falter in my purpose"
  • the sequence of Harker's arrival at Castle Dracula, where he was posing as a librarian (but intended to destroy Dracula), and was greeted by a buxom female (Valerie Gaunt, credited as Vampire Woman) begging him to take her away from her imprisonment by the evil Dracula
  • the entrance of the dashing yet reclusive, blood-sucking and predatory Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) at the top of the stairs with his greeting to Harker once he descended and was pictured in a full-closeup: ("I am Dracula. And I welcome you to my house")
  • the continuation of Harker's diary: "At last, I have met Count Dracula. He accepts me as a man who has agreed to work among his books, as I intended. It only remains for me now to await the daylight hours when, with God's help, I will forever end this man's reign of terror"
  • the scene of the Vampire Woman unexpectedly biting at Harker's neck, and Dracula's sudden entrance into the room, with blood dripping from his fangs and blood-shot eyes; he ran across the top of a table, tossed her away onto the floor, fought off Harker by squeezing his neck, and then carried the vampirish female away
  • later, Harker used a mirror to inspect his neck - and found two prominent bite marks; Harker mused: "I have become a victim of Dracula and the woman in his power. It may be that I am doomed to be one of them. If that is so, I can only pray that whoever finds my body will possess the knowledge to do what is necessary to release my soul"
  • the sequence of Harker finding the coffin of the Vampire Woman, and pounding a wooden stake into her heart (seen in dark silhouette on the wall) - the release of her soul as she screamed awakened Dracula from his sleep; he appeared at the door of the crypt, and as he shut the door behind him and stood above Harker, the scene ended in darkness
  • after Harker's demise, Count Dracula took an inordinate interest in Harker's widowed fiancee Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh), the sister of Arthur Holmwood (Michael Gough) who was married to Mina Holmwood (Melissa Stribling); in Karlstadt, the helpless Lucy was suffering from anemia - she had become Dracula's next victim (she both anticipated and feared his arrival into her bedroom to take her blood, by opening her window)
  • the drinking blood scene of Dracula approaching toward Mina and his seductive, blood-sucking of her neck
  • the scene of Dracula's arch nemesis - obsessed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) who suddenly understood and realized where Dracula had been hiding; after Arthur asked maid Gerda (Olga Dickie) to retrieve wine from the cellar ("Gerta, will you fetch another bottle?"), she expressed extreme fear: "Oh, sir, I don't like to. You know what happened last time when I disobeyed Mrs. Holmwood's orders...Madam told me the other day that, I must on no account, go down to the cellar" - after a pregnant pause, Van Helsing rushed to the cellar where he discovered Dracula's empty, earth-filled coffin where he had been sleeping during the day; Van Helsing placed a crucifix in the coffin, then chased after Dracula, who was in the process of kidnapping Mina from her bed; Dracula took her to his castle as the maid exclaimed: "He looked like the devil!...He came in here and picked Madam up like she was a baby!"
  • the gripping and memorable finale - a battle between the forces of Darkness and Light - between Van Helsing and Dracula who fought throughout the castle; Van Helsing was able to weaken Dracula by running across two table-tops, leaping into the air and ripping down full-length curtains to let in sunlight - and then crossing two candlesticks into the shape of a crucifix to force Dracula backwards, causing him to disintegrate in the rays of the sun (mostly off-camera) - his ashes were then blown away in the wind
Dracula's Disintegration in the Rays of the Sun

(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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