Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



H (continued)

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) is 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 waits hour after hour in the front drawing room - and is jilted
  • Catherine's ultimate revenge in the devastating conclusion after she comes into her inheritance (she accepts Morris' next proposal and then tells 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 listens 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 wears a slinky velvet evening dress (with beaded straps) that barely covers her breasts as she encouragingly asks 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?" as she went 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 his death before a meal
  • the whipping-punishment scene of 'forgotten man' prisoner Frank 'Duke' Ellis (Richard Dix) - whose military tattoo on his back causes the guard to pause

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 character of racist, bigoted, snooty segregationist housewife Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) who demanded a 'separate but equal' toilet for her housemaid, because of her worry about sanitary conditions and the catching of some strange disease
  • the 'white trash' bottle blonde Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain) who was taught by pie-making Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) to cook, so that she could impress her husband Johnny Foote (Mike Vogel), Hilly's ex-boyfriend
  • the "Terrible Awful" episode - the feeding of a chocolate pie, two slices, to Hilly by Minny, when it was revealed that the white woman was eating Minny's shit
  • the scene of Celia's bloody miscarriage in a bathroom
  • aspiring writer/journalist for the Jackson newspaper, liberal-minded recent college graduate/debutante Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) secretly interviewing reluctant and taking notes for her Anonymously-published book The Help, to tell the unknown stories of the black women about their experiences as servants-maids
  • 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, that Skeeter's cancer-stricken mother Charlotte (Allison Janney) had 'broken the heart' of the family's long-time frail 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 reception
  • the final scene in which Aibeleen Clark (Viola Davis) was fired from her domestic job by Elizabeth "Miss Leefolt" (Ahna O'Reilly) - urged on by Hilly, with the wailing cries of the pale, chubby, abandoned toddler Mae Mobley she cared for at the window, and Aibeleen'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 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, including 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, and especially the disturbing, videotaped killing of a helpless family of three in their suburban home
  • afterwards, the viewing of the grainy, unfocused, and poorly-photographed videotaped account of the house crime by the murderers on their sofa
  • the conclusion which documented the eventual killing of Otis 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

Henry V (1944, UK)

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

  • the opening sequence of a staged play in Shakespeare's 17th century Globe Theatre and the remarkable transition from the stage-bound theatre to the plains of Agincourt
  • the pre-battle speech of Shakespeare's Plantagenet King Henry V (Oscar-nominated Laurence Olivier) as he prepares his troops for battle against the French at the siege of Harfleur ("Once more unto the breach")
  • the staging of the St. Crispin's Day speech
  • the magnificently-created Battle of Agincourt scene - both stylized and realistic

Henry V (1989)

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

  • young King Henry V's (Kenneth Branagh) dramatic, silhouetted entrance through a towering portal
  • his inspired pre-battle address to his weary troops on St. Crispin's Day ("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!'")
  • the following extended tracking shot as he carries a dead boy's (Christian Bale) body, Falstaff's Boy, across the bloody and muddy field of Agincourt

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 has just been dumped by his live-in girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) of several years: ("What came first, the music or the misery?...Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?")
  • his offbeat, anti-social loudmouth clerk Barry (Jack Black) who despises customers who don't like his musical selections
  • Rob's reorganizing of his 500-plus record collection and his compulsive list-making of top fives: "My desert island, all-time, top-five most memorable breakups", including the discussion of the top five songs to make love to with his store employees
  • the scene of Rob's lying-in-his-empty-bed fantasy that Laura is having sex with Ian 'Ray' Raymond (Tim Robbins) upstairs
  • the funny fight-fantasy about beating up Ian in the record store

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)
  • his agonized waiting for the train that arrives 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
  • 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 pursue Earle in a doomed last stand
  • Marie's (Ida Lupino) refusal to call out to him ("He's gonna die anyway...")
  • after Earle has been shot dead - Marie's sad repetition of the word "Free" for Roy's "crash out" after the mongrel dog Pard has licked his hand
  • the final, blurry fadeout on Marie's tear-stained face as it fills the frame before a pan up to the mountains

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959)

In Alain Resnais' first feature film:

  • the opening, lengthy montage of an erotic love scene in bed during the brief love affair, occurring in Hiroshima in the aftermath of the bomb, between married, lonely French actress "Elle/She" (Emmanuelle Riva) and married Japanese architect "Lui/He" (Eiji Okada)
  • their discreetly-nude bodies held together and entwined - with both ash and then rain blowing across their skin (recollecting the horrific scenes of devastation caused by the atomic bomb at Hiroshima)

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 ex-reporter/ex-wife Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell)
  • classic one-liners such as Hildy's description of Walter's charm to her fiancee Bruce (Ralph Bellamy): "Well, he comes by it naturally. His grandfather was a snake"
  • the hilarious luncheon scene with Walter

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 lietmotif through 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

(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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