Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

In director Robert Mulligan's strange and satirical, rags-to-riches melodrama (and musical show-business drama) of the perils of an adolescent Hollywood star seeking recognition, fame, and fortune:

  • the character of tomboyish, rebellious, angry, expressive 15-year old ragamuffin-urchin, Angel Beach boardwalk/pier-dwelling Daisy Clover (Natalie Wood at age 26) with her eccentric and senile Solitaire card-playing mother Mrs. Clover (Ruth Gordon), aka The Dealer, where Daisy sold movie-star pictures with forged autographs in 1936
  • Daisy's rise to teenaged stardom (she declared: "I'm gonna make a noise in the world") after she was driven by limousine to an audition/screen test for manipulative, Svengali-like studio head Raymond Swan (Christopher Plummer) - with her singing the memorable song: "You're Gonna Hear From Me"
  • her debut appearance when she was heralded by Swan in 1936 Hollywood as "America's Little Valentine" - with a bow in her hair
  • the scene of Daisy left stranded at a Jawbone, Arizona motel after honeymooning, self-absorbed, narcissistic groom and fellow actor Wade Lewis (Robert Redford) deserted her
  • Swan's drunken and neglected wife Melora's (Katharine Bard) revelation to Daisy that Wade Lewis was a closeted homosexual: "Your husband never could resist a charming boy"
  • Daisy's costuming as a rag-doll - when Wade gave her all the postcards that he had sent to her after leaving her, and told her: ("I came back"), and then removed her blonde wig and wiped away white grease-paint on her face, metaphorically asking for her to forget his "sins": ("You see? Everything's wiped away")
  • Raymond Swan's tender soliloquy/speech to Daisy by his pool following her quick breakup with Wade - and the beginning of his own affair with her - signaled by a passionate kiss
  • Daisy's big pink-colored production number - the performance of "The Circus is a Wacky World"
  • Daisy's histrionic-rich, nervous breakdown/crack-up in a sound-recording booth as she was dubbing in her voice to a film track
  • the concluding scene of her aborted efforts to suicidally gas herself to death by sticking her head inside her beachhouse kitchen's oven when she was interrupted by the phone - and her triumphant strut down the shoreline drinking coffee as she blew up the beach-house behind her (and her explanation to a passer-by on the beach of what happened: "Someone declared war" - the film's last line)

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939)

In Gregory Ratoff's romantic melodrama, an English-language remake of the 1936 Swedish film of the same name (also starring Ingrid Bergman):

  • the entire doomed and forbidden love affair between married world-famous virtuoso concert violinist Holger Brandt (Leslie Howard) and his 6 year-old daughter Ann Marie's (Ann E. Todd) comely piano teacher-accompanist Miss Anita Hoffman (Ingrid Bergman in her first American-Hollywood film) - and the scene of their passionately playing a duet together
  • the sequence during a holiday in France, after Anita had served on an extended musical tour with Holger as his replacement accompanist, when she received a letter and he insisted: "If it's an invitation, you can just turn it down. I'm not going to let you out of my sight for one moment, young lady"; she was offered a coveted, career-advancing Jenny Lind musical scholarship - and later at dinner time, she fatefully decided to burn it in his presence, so that they would not become separated: ("But I don't want it now, Holger. No, I'm-I'm not taking it...This is how I feel about the letter, about anything that could come between us")
  • the scene of the loving couple on a yacht, when Anita wished to escape from reality with Holger forever: ("Oh, no, I don't want to go home. Not yet, please... I am afraid. I don't know why but I am afraid. I wish we could stay out here forever...What a wonderful day this has been!...I can't bear to see it end...Hold me close, Holg, hold me close")
  • the use of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring as a metaphorical idea and musical theme
  • the scene in which Holger begged Anita to not get on a train (she was going away to Sweden to escape their forbidden affair)
  • the scene at a tombstone on the French Riviera with its words: "Mon amour dure apres la mort (My love endures after death)" - and Anita's departure from Holger after realizing their love affair would not last: "I have been an intermezzo in his life"
  • the image of her tears after she had bid Holger good-bye (without telling him that she was leaving him forever) -- followed by her Dear John letter: ("...But we know in our hearts that love like ours is wrong -- that it drags itself down with remorse and fears, and the unhappiness of others...")
  • the startling, heart-breaking scene in which Holger's daughter Ann Marie was struck by a car and seriously-injured when rushing to greet her father
  • Holger's line to his bitter son Eric (Douglas Scott): "You see, Eric, even if you don't need me anymore, now it's I who need you"
  • the last shot in which Holger's wife Margit (Edna Best) descended stairs and sought reconciliation - she forgave Holger for his mid-life crisis/affair: ("Holger ...welcome home ...Holger, welcome home!")

Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (1972, HK) (aka Ai Nu)

In Yuen Chor's lesbian-tinged cult drama, an exploitational, semi-soft-core, not very graphic martial-arts tale of love and revenge in medieval China (one of the earliest erotic lesbian films in Chinese cinema):

  • the opening prologue (green-tinted, but replayed later in full color) - a night-time image of snowflakes falling into the open roof of a feudal-era estate, and dropping into the study, where the butler had found the corpse of an assassinated nobleman-aristocrat of the Liao family; police inspector Ji De (Yueh Hua) was investigating the murder allegedly committed by a vengeful prostitute named Ai Nu - the last person to see the wealthy dead man
  • the backstory flashback -- the forced subjugation and kidnapping of the film's heroine by brigands -- hot-tempered young teacher Ai Nu (Lily Ho), and her delivery to an exclusive and decadent brothel, the Four Seasons, managed by regal, icy lesbian Lady Chun (Betty Pei Ti); the madame predicted: "Men will definitely go crazy for this girl"
  • the scene of the defiant, uncontrollable and willful Ai Nu who refused to eat, while the other female abductees were having their virginity tested (vaginally-inspected by red candle-light by an old woman); one hapless girl was sexually tortured by the candle with spread legs to divulge who had deflowered her three days earlier; Chun's minion Chou Hai (Hao Li), who had taken the girl's virginity, was killed with one of her bare hands, using a secret kung-fu martial-arts technique known as "Ghost Hands" - she then threatened everyone watching: "I've told you people before. Don't ever mess with Lady Chun"; she was known for licking her bloody fingers after using her gruesome technique
  • Ai Nu resisted being treated with sexual brutalities: ("I know this is hell. You're all beasts!"); to subdue her, she was imprisoned and then subjected to a cane-thrashing, after which Lady Chun licked blood from her open back wounds: ("You've got silky smooth skin...Why don't you just listen to me? You know what? You're really beautiful. I think I may have fallen for you"); Ai Nu was then given unsolicited oral sex (off-screen)
  • the auction scene, when four wealthy lecherous males were given the opportunity to bid on Ai Nu: "The highest bidder will enjoy her first" - although Ai Nu's price was set higher than usual; after being bought by the bearded, elderly father of the local governor, she was deflowered, and the other three were next in line, who raped her multiple times (ineffectively seen in slow-motion, reaction shots, in-and-out zooms, and freeze frames almost exclusively); methods of murder of her assailants varied: fire, an overdose of aphrodisiacs, a hairpin, and a whipping
Ai Nu's Multiple Rapes by the Highest Bidders
  • Ali Nu was driven by retribution to seek delayed revenge against the four bidders, while pretending to be Lady Chun's protégé and lover (as the brothel's most desirable hooker), in sapphic, soft-focus love scenes; the film contained a number of instances of topless courtesans in the background
  • the final sequence of Ai Nu's bringing of carnage and revenge to the slavers and the brothel guards; Lady Chun's right arm was chopped off by her major-domo enforcer Pao Hu (Lam Tung) just as she impaled it completely into his chest with her "Ghost Hands" technique
  • as Pao Hu fell dead, Lady Chun asked about Ai Nu's reaction to her deformity: "Ai Nu, you won't stop loving me just because I'm now handicapped, would you?" - Ai Nu replied harshly: "No, I won't, because I never loved you"
  • then in a final fancy swordplay confrontation, Lady Chun and Ai Nu fought together, as they discussed Ai Nu's revenge: "Looks like this is it. Today is the day for revenge. I wanted to use hatred for revenge, but I failed. Then I came up with the most brilliant idea in the whole world. I used love to take my revenge....To bring the brothel down, I used love to come between you and Pao Hu. Never could I imagine the damage love could inflict"; Lady Chun was shocked: "I didn't expect you to be more vicious than me"; Ai Nu responded that they had both become very alike: "Stop it. We are both despicable, heartless, merciless, cruel and sick. Now, perhaps, you've had a glimpse of how repulsive you are"
  • soon after some more fighting, Lady Chun's left arm was chopped off (disarmed completely!), and she spoke her last words, making a final request for a kiss: "You don't have to do this. I am dying anyway. I suppose this is karma. Even though you have killed me, yet I-I don't hate you a bit. Ai Nu, I love you. Could you kiss me once more before I die? It's my last request. Have pity on me. (They kissed) Thank you, Ai Nu"
  • in the film's ending plot twist, Lady Chun had secretly taken a poison capsule and had also poisoned Ali Nu during their kiss: ("Thank you for dying with me. I put a poisonous pill in my mouth. I was chewing it when you kissed me. You aren't like me. You still have a conscience. And a little love"); and then she abruptly expired; Ai Nu struggled to wipe her mouth, but to no avail - she also died

Into the Wild (2007)

In director/writer Sean Penn's documentary-styled, ill-fated odyssey:

  • the concluding sequence - titled 'Final Chapter: Getting of Wisdom' - of free-spirited, idealistic, arrogant college-grad adventurer Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) (aka Alexander Supertramp) on his way to a remote portion of Alaska in 1992 after forsaking his estranged family and many friends along his wanderlust journey
  • his meeting up with Salton Sea (California) elderly widower and leather worker Ron Franz (Oscar-nominated Hal Holbrook), and their discussion on a rocky hilltop about where to find human happiness ("From the bits and pieces I've put together, you know, from what you told me about your family, your mother and your dad, and I know you've got your problems with the church too, but there's some kind of bigger thing we can all appreciate, and it sounds like you don't mind calling it God. But when you forgive, you love, and when you love, God's light shines on you")
  • their tearful parting scene when Ron proposed paternalistically to adopt 'Alex' ("When I'm gone, I'm the end of the line...I could be, say, your grandfather")
  • the final scene of Chris' prolonged death due to starvation and poisoning after eating inedible Wild Sweet Peas (mistaken for Wild Potato Alaska Carrot) and his final words scrawled in block letters into his journal: "HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED"
  • the incredible pull-back shot from his face gazing up at the light in the back of his abandoned 'magic bus' home as he expired - followed by an actual self-portrait photograph of Chris sitting next to his bus

Intolerance (1916)

In D. W. Griffith's epic silent film classic:

  • the epic-sized sets, especially in the ancient "Fall of Babylon" segments
  • the Mountain Girl's (Constance Talmadge) unsuccessful and futile efforts to avert the attack of Persian King Cyrus upon Prince Belshazzar (Alfred Paget); during a prolonged death scene, the Mountain Girl crawled toward the Prince, her hero, to be next to him, and then died at the base of a statue near the throne; an iris opened, revealing the toy chariot pulled by two white doves next to her body
  • the exciting last-minute rescue of the Boy (Robert Harron) from being hanged with the delivery of a pardon by his wife, the Dear One (Mae Marsh) in the early 20th century America segments, and his heart-warming reunion with her at the bottom of the scaffold
  • and the recurrent image of a mother (Lillian Gish) endlessly rocking a cradle, the film's final medium-close shot

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

In Don Siegel's cautionary sci-fi film, a metaphor for the Communist threat in the mid-1950s:

  • the opening prologue (and closing scene - added bookends) of Dr. Miles Bennell's (Kevin McCarthy) paranoic fear and mania about alien takeover in Santa Mira, California - as he shouted to an unbelieving group of nurses, interns, psychiatrists (including Whit Bissel as Dr. Hill), and doctors (including Richard Deacon as Dr. Harvey Bassett) in the emergency room of the city's Emergency Hospital; he warned them about seed pods taking over the planet: "Doctor, will you tell these fools I'm not crazy? Make them listen to me before it's too late"
  • the film's original opening, a flashback voice-over as Dr. Bennell returned home from a medical convention by train: "Well, it started - for me, it started - last Thursday, in response to an urgent message from my nurse. I'd hurried home from a medical convention I'd been attending. At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn't. Something evil had taken possession of the town"
  • the sequence of the town's only psychiatrist, Dr. Dan Kaufman (Larry Gates), who dismissed the cases of delusional paranoia as: "A strange neurosis, evidently contagious, an epidemic mass hysteria. In two weeks, it spread all over town...Worry about what's going on in the world probably"
  • the eerie scene in the home of Jack Belicec (King Donovan), who had discovered a strange, corpse-like cadaver lying on his pool table - with an unfinished, half-formed, mannequin-like humanoid face and no fingerprints: "It's like the first impression that's stamped on a coin. It isn't finished"
  • Dr. Bennell's fearful discovery in the home of his intelligent ex-girlfriend/ sweetheart-fiancee, now recently divorced, Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter), after he entered through a basement window, and in the darkness discovered a smooth-faced, replica "double" for Becky hidden in a bin - and obviously placed there by her father; frightened, Miles woke her from a drugged sleep state and carried her away to his house
  • also, the famous greenhouse scene during a barbecue at Miles' home with with friends Jack and his wife Theodora (Carolyn Jones), when they discovered two giant seed pods that burst and exploded open like rotten cabbages, with a milky fluid bubbling out [a mock birth scene]; in the terrifying scene, the disgorged pods revealed grotesquely duplicate similarities to their human counterparts - replicas covered with a sticky, sappy foam - Miles took a pitchfork and stabbed at the pods' hearts in a vampire-like killing
  • the scenes of Miles and Becky as exhausted fugitives, who ended up cornered in his office where they were forced to hide, fleeing from the police, as Miles pondered: "In my practice, I've seen how people have allowed their humanity to drain away. Only it happened slowly instead of all at once. They didn't seem to mind...All of us - a little bit - we harden our hearts, grow callous. Only when we have to fight to stay human do we realize how precious it is to us, how dear"
  • their window view of the invasion of 'body snatchers' - trucks arrived, loaded with freshly harvested seed pods, to be divided among friends and relatives in other towns, to spread the invasion in other communities - Miles sensed the deadly contagion spreading unchecked in the seemingly normal community, neighboring towns and cities: "It's a malignant disease spreading through the whole country"
  • the scene of Dr. Kaufman's shocking explanation of the alluring benefits and advantages to them of symbiosis with two fresh pods: "Less than a month ago, Santa Mira was like any other town. People with nothing but problems. Then, out of the sky came a solution. Seeds drifting through space for years took root in a farmer's field. From the seeds came pods which had the power to reproduce themselves in the exact likeness of any form of life...Your new bodies are growing in there. They're taking you over cell for cell, atom for atom. There is no pain. Suddenly, while you're asleep, they'll absorb your minds, your memories and you're reborn into an untroubled world...Tomorrow you'll be one of us...There's no need for love...Love. Desire. Ambition. Faith. Without them, life is so simple, believe me"
  • in the gripping and frightening finale, Miles and Becky fled from the town's space pods to try to elude the enemy and get help, while struggling to stay awake; they sought refuge in an old abandoned mine; he left the faint Becky when the aliens departed to discover the source of beautiful singing or music that they hear; when he returned, he took her in his arms to kiss her, and then drew away from her unresponsive lips - in a tight closeup shot of her face, he looked into the blank, dark, expressionless and staring eyes of his fiancée, realizing with a look of utter fright that she was now one of "them" - her body had been invaded, cloned and snatched
  • the final sequence of Miles' flight to a busy highway, filled with heavy traffic, as he attempted to flag down cars - disheveled and crazed, Miles vainly cried out: "Help! Wait! Stop. Stop and listen to me!...These people who're coming after me are not human. Listen to me! We're in danger!... They're after all of us! All of us!....Listen to me! There isn't a human being left in Santa Mira!... Stop! Pull over to the side of the road! I need your help! Something terrible's happened!..."
  • after climbing into the back of a passing truck filled with pods, and appearing as a crazed prophet of doom, he looked directly into the camera and warned (in the film's original ending): "Look, you fools. You're in danger. Can't you see? They're after you. They're after all of us. Our wives, our children, everyone. They're here already. YOU'RE NEXT!"

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

In Philip Kaufman's effective remake of the 1956 classic sci-fi/horror film about an invasion of extra-terrestrial aliens that 'snatched' bodies:

  • the cameo of Kevin McCarthy (the star of the original film) running through the San Francisco city streets, hysterically warning and accosting everyone about the alien menace: ("They're coming!..Help! Help! They're coming. They're coming. Listen to me! Listen! Help me. You're next. Please! Please! You're next. We're in danger! Please, listen to me... Something terrible! Please. You're next! Here they are. They're already here! Help! You're next! They're coming. They're coming...") - as seen through a cracked windshield - and then soon after found dead after being run over (off-screen)
  • the shocking discovery of a lifeless, half-formed (or deformed) doppelganger human being covered with plant fibers in the mud bath business owned and operated by Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum) and his wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright): ("It's a monster. It's got hair all over it"); Department of Health inspector Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) examined the body and exclaimed: ("Nose, lips, hair"); Jack added: ("Hands, everything, but it's got no detail, no character. It's unformed"); Nancy warned: ("Jack, don't touch it. You don't know where it's been"); and the chilling recognition that the body, with no respiration or fingerprints, was like a fetus that partially resembled Jack
  • and later that night, the frightening moment that the pod opened its eyes - scaring Nancy
  • the sequence during the unloading of truckloads of pods, and the scream of San Francisco's Public Health Department chemist Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) at the sight of a dog-man hybrid - forcing both she and her colleague Matthew to flee and jump onto the open back of a moving truck
  • the confrontational scene between Matthew and Elizabeth, after a long pursuit, and alien duplicates of Jack and psychiatrist Dr. Kibner (Leonard Nimoy), who wished to inject them with a sedative to sleep; Kibner lectured them: ("We don't hate you. There's no need for hate now, or love...Don't be trapped by old concepts. Matthew, you're evolving into a new life form. Come and watch. We came here from a dying world. We drift through the universe from planet to planet, pushed on by the solar winds. We adapt and we survive. The function of life is survival") - they rejected his advice and fled when they saw the two pods prepared for their future
  • the despairing, climactic ending in which a nude pod-replica of Elizabeth rose from the bushes
  • the startling scene in which Matthew screamed with a piercing, accusatory howl when he pointed his finger and confronted the still-human Nancy Bellicec (and the camera descended into the blackness of his open mouth), revealing that he had been transformed

The Invisible Man (1933)

In director James Whale's horror classic:

  • the miraculous scene of scientist Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) taunting the authorities and others who threatened to arrest him: ("All right, you fools. You've brought it on yourselves. Everything would have come right if you'd only left me alone. You've driven me near madness with your peering through the keyholes and gaping through the curtains. And now you'll suffer for it! You're crazy to know who I am, aren't you? All right! I'll show you! There's a souvenir for you. And one for you. I'll show you who I am and what I am...How do you like that, eh?") - then, he began stripping off his bandaged-wrapped facial and body coverings and giving away "souvenirs" of his disguise: (a stage nose, dark glasses hiding his eyes, fake hair on his head, and gloves concealing his hands) and his clothing (shirt, hat, underwear, shoes, and socks) to amaze everyone by revealing absolutely - nothing - thin air - emptiness
  • during his unwrapping, Jack's insane and hysterical laugh and the comments of a policeman: "Look, he's all eaten away"
  • and then at his house, when the authorities arrived to arrest him before he could disappear, Griffin declared: ("They've asked for it, the country bumpkins. This'll give them a bit of a shock. Something to write home about. A nice bedtime story for the kids, too, if they want it"); when he danced in front of them wearing only a shirt, the policeman was flabbergasted about where to place the handcuffs: ("How can I handcuff a bloomin' shirt?"), and they chased him around the room
  • Griffin description of his crazed plan for ultimate control of the world, before fleeing: ("Are you satisfied now, you fools? It's easy, really, if you're clever. A few chemicals mixed together, that's all, and flesh and blood and bone just fade away. A little of this injected under the skin of the arm every day for a month. An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. He can hear every secret. He can rob and rape and kill!")
  • the impressive technical and visual special effects, especially regarding invisibility, e.g., when Griffin stole a bicycle and rode it through the town, or his footprints revealed in the snow
  • the hospital deathbed scene of the mortally-wounded Griffin by gunshot, and his final confession: ("I failed. I meddled in things that man must leave alone")
  • as he died, his face slowly revealed and visible in stages: ("His body will become visible as life goes") - first the skull, then flesh, and then his full face

The Iron Giant (1999)

In Brad Bird's enchanting animated Cold War parable:

  • the friendship between young, isolated preteen Hogarth Hughes (voice of Eli Marienthal) and a 100-foot robot (voice of Vin Diesel) with a steam-shovel mouth from outer space, brought about in 1957 when Hogarth saved the metal-eating giant's life in the woods from electrocution by a power plant
  • the life lessons taught by Hogarth to the Iron Giant after hunters shot a deer with a gun: ("I know you feel bad about the deer, but it's not your fault. Things die. It's part of life. It's bad to kill, but it's not bad to die...You're made of metal, but you have feelings, and you think about things, and that means you have a soul. And souls don't die")
  • Hogarth's lesson about choice: ("Guns kill. And you don't have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose. Choose")
  • the educational short film - an animated "Duck and Cover" spoof
  • the sequence of Hogarth attempting to hide the Giant's disembodied or severed hand in his house
  • the Giant's cannonball dive into a lake
  • the odious and villainous federal government agent Kent Mansley's (voice of Christopher McDonald) efforts to capture and destroy the Giant
  • the crowd-pleasing moment when the Giant flew for the first time (Hogarth: "You can fly?! YOU CAN FLY!")
  • the Giant's climactic, tear-jerking sacrifice to save the small Maine town of Rockwell from a nuclear missile - it soared into the air to neutralize it by striking it head-on, as he heard the words of Hogarth: "You are who you choose to be." Just before the explosion in outer space, the Giant realized his heroism and identity: "Superman!"
  • the final shot of the smiling Giant as he self-repaired on an Icelandic glacier - signaling for all his disassembled parts to regroup

It Happened One Night (1934)

In Frank Capra's classic Best Picture-winning screwball romantic comedy, putting together a spoiled socialite heiress and an unscrupulous reporter into various uncomfortable misadventures:

  • the flight of runaway heiress socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) from her wealthy father Alexander Andrews' (Walter Connolly) yacht in Miami, Florida after a temper tantrum with him: ("I come from a long line of stubborn idiots") - jumping off the boat in her clothes to flee and take a Greyhound bus northward to New York meet up and elope with her fortune-hunting fiancee - an aviator named King Westley (Jameson Thomas)
  • the phone booth scene in a bus station of the firing of rogue newspaper reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable) (nicknamed "The King") for drunkenness on the job, who yelled at his boss Joe Gordon (Charles C. Wilson): ("In a pig's eye, you will!...Hey listen monkey face, when you fired me, you fired the best newshound your filthy scandal sheet ever had...That was free verse, you gashouse palooka!"), and then made up the remainder of the call for the benefit of onlookers: ("Oh, so you're changing your tune, eh? You're a little late with your apologies. I wouldn't go back to work for you if you begged me on your hands and knees. And I hope this will be a lesson to you!")
  • the long overnight bus ride, with Ellie and Peter sharing a cramped seat in the back, and when the bus first lurched forward, she fell into his lap, with his quip: ("Next time you drop in, bring your folks")
  • the "Walls of Jericho" sequence in a rural autocamp when Peter separated their shared twin bedroom with a clothesline and a blanket, as Ellie dryly observed: "That, I suppose, makes everything quite all right?"; he explained the arrangement: "Well, I like privacy when I retire. Yes, I'm very delicate in that respect. Prying eyes annoy me. Behold the walls of Jericho! Uh, maybe not as thick as the ones that Joshua blew down with his trumpet, but a lot safer. You see, uh, I have no trumpet"
  • as the sequence continued, he gave her a memorable lesson on the various ways men undress - he flirtatiously undressed in front of her, taking one article of clothing off at a time: ("Perhaps you're interested in how a man undresses. You know, it's a funny thing about that. Quite a study in psychology. No two men do it alike. You know, I once knew a man who kept his hat on until he was completely undressed. Now he made a picture. Years later, his secret came out. He wore a toupee. Yeah. I have a method all my own. If you notice, the coat came first, then the tie, then the shirt. Now, uh, according to Hoyle, after that, the, uh, pants should be next. There's where I'm different...")
  • when he was in the midst of undressing, she fled to her side of the bedroom, but he reassured her: " got nothin' to worry about. The walls of Jericho will protect you from the big bad wolf"
  • Peter and Ellie's discussion in separate beds with the lights turned out, when he introduced himself as Peter Warne ("I'm the whippoorwill that cries in the night. I'm the soft morning breeze that caresses your lovely face...Yeah, I got a name. Peter Warne"); when she said she didn't like his name, he responded by suggesting a new temporary last name for her - to pretend that they were married for the one night: ("Don't let it bother you. You're giving it back to me in the morning...The pleasure is all mine, Mrs. Warne")
  • and later, Peter's breakfast lesson on how to dunk donuts and how real folks eat: ("Dunking's an art. Don't let it soak so long. A dip and (he stuffed the donut in his mouth) plop, in your mouth. Let it hang there too long, it'll get soft and fall off. It's all a matter of timing. Aw, I oughta write a book about it")
  • the scene of their deception of two nosy private investigators by impersonating a make-believe, quarreling married couple - he berated her for flirting with a "big Swede" on the Elks' dance floor and then insulted her: ("You're just like your old man. Once a plumber's daughter, always a plumber's daughter. There's not an ounce of brains in your whole family"); when the flabbergasted detectives left, the auto-camp manager commented: "I told you they were a perfectly nice married couple"
  • the busload of passengers singing "The Man on the Flying Trapeze"
  • after leaving the bus for a trek cross-country, the scene of Peter serving as a male protector by carrying Ellie slung over his shoulder across a moonlit stream; as he waded through the water, he taught her yet another lesson on piggyback carrying, arguing with her about what it takes to be a "piggy-backer" - an ability he claimed that her family of rich people didn't have: ("I'll bet there isn't a good piggy-back rider in your whole family. I never knew a rich man yet who could piggy-back ride...You show me a good piggy-backer and I'll show you a real human. Now you take Abraham Lincoln for instance. A natural born piggy-backer. Where do you get all of that stuffed-shirts family of yours?")
  • the thumb vs. show-some-leg hitchhiking technique scene at the side of the road; Peter condescendingly lectured Ellie: ("It's all in that ol' thumb, see?...that ol' thumb never fails. It's all a matter of how you do it, though"); after a detailed lecture on the three proper and correct ways that common people hail passing cars while thumb hitchhiking, he failed miserably and she suggested her method: ("Oh, you're such a smart alec. Nobody knows anything but you. I'll stop a car and I won't use my thumb...It's a system all my own") - she provocatively raised her skirt above the knee, exposing a shapely, stockinged leg and garter - an immediately effective technique - the next car screeched to a halt; she joked: ("Well, I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb"); he quipped back: ("Why didn't you take off all your clothes? You could have stopped forty cars")
  • the night-time scene of Peter's idealistic speech to Ellie, as they both were outstretched on adjacent beds, when he described a dream of a Pacific island paradise where social pressures and restrictions would disappear, and he could live with a woman isolated from the world's worries: ("I saw an island in the Pacific once. I've never been able to forget it. That's where I'd like to take her. She'd have to be the sort of a girl who'd jump in the surf with me and love it as much as I did. Nights when you and the moon and the water all become one. You feel you're part of something big and marvelous. That's the only place to live...Boy, if I could ever find a girl who was hungry for those things..."); Ellie responded with wet eyes and love for him ("Take me with you, Peter. Take me to your island. I want to do all those things you talked about"), but he was taken aback by her love for him and told her twice: "You'd better go back to your bed," where she cried herself to sleep
  • the aborted wedding scene with Ellie fleeing her wedding as a runaway bride with her long veil trailing behind
  • the last scene, set in another autocamp, this time in Michigan, with Peter and Ellie in possession of a marriage license; the auto-camp manager and his wife discussed the couple: ("Funny couple, ain't they?...They made me get them a rope and a blanket on a night like this. What do you reckon that's for?"); when the manager mentioned they had requested a trumpet, the wife was puzzled: ("But what in the world do they want a trumpet for?"); suddenly, they heard the sound of a tinny trumpet blast - a signal that the blanket had 'fallen' (off-screen) and the "walls of Jericho" had toppled

The Italian Job (2003)

In F. Gary Gray's remake of the original 1969 British heist film (with Michael Caine):

  • the opening sequence - a daring Venice heist of gold bullion by a group of high-class thieves, and an exciting boat-chase
  • the advice offered in dialogue by retiring life-long professional criminal John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) to mastermind thief Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) about two kinds of thieves in the world: ("You know, Charlie, there are two kinds of thieves in this world: the ones who steal to enrich their lives, and the ones who steal to define their lives. Don't be the latter. Makes you miss out on what's really important in this life"); then Bridger questioned his own fatherhood: ("Sitting in prisons doesn't make you a good father. I spent half my kid's life in prison. Don't get to be my age with nothin' but this, Charlie. Find somebody you want to spend the rest of your life with and hold onto her forever")
  • and a year later in Los Angeles, the confrontational scene in a restaurant when Charlie alerted the calculating, devious and paranoid Steve Frazelli (Edward Norton) to the fact that his gang were going to vengefully re-steal the gold bullion, after being double-crossed and betrayed in Europe; Steve claimed that he had already laundered most of the gold bricks in LA, and that Charlie had blown any element of surprise: ("That gold is already gone....No, really, it's over Charlie. I'm trying to move the last two bricks. You want to come after me over a couple of lousy bricks? I mean, really, be my guest. But you're off to a bad start, you know? 'Cause you just blew the best thing you had going for ya. You just blew the element of surprise"); Charlie abruptly punched out Steve, asked: "Surprised?", and then added: "It's over when I say it's over"
  • the amazing action sequences in downtown Los Angeles began with the overhead view of a trio of Mini Coopers (red, white, and blue) driving down the sidewalk of Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and careening down stairs to enter an LA Metro subway station and rail tunnel; in a race to get to the tracks, they had to speed past a Metro train with only seconds to spare; afterwards, the group of vehicles retreated from gunmen on motorcycles, and navigated through the narrow storm drain tunnels or tubes into a Los Angeles River bed, where they also had to evade Steve piloting a helicopter in the air and race through a pre-planned Los Angeles traffic jam
  • the concluding celebratory montage of Croker's team enjoying the fruits of their newfound wealth: getaway driver Handsome Rob's (Jason Stratham) Aston Martin car ("Handsome Rob got his Aston Martin"), demolitions expert "Left Ear"'s (Mos Def) dream house ("Left Ear got his dream house in the south of Spain with a room just for his shoes"), computer hacker Lyle's (Seth Green) fame and powerful audio speakers ("Lyle finally made the cover of Wired Magazine...And he got that kick-ass stereo he wanted...with speakers so loud they'd blow a woman's clothes off"), and Croker's love and respect from fellow expert safecracker Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron), John Bridger's estranged daughter ("And me? I took John Bridger's advice. I found somebody I want to spend the rest of my life with and I'm gonna hold on to her forever")

It's A Gift (1934)

In director Norman Z. McLeod's very funny comedy:

  • the hilarious grocery store sequences (with a number of slapstick segments and sight gags) involving bumbling New Jersey store owner Harold Bissonette (W. C. Fields) and his incompetent store clerk Everett Ricks (Tammany Young)
  • Bissonette's eccentric patrons included a disruptive and grumpy Mr. Jasper Fitchmueller (Morgan Wallace) who kept requesting "ten pounds of kumquats - and I'm in a hurry", a cantankerous, blind/deaf and destructive Mr. Muckle (Charles Sellon) - a house-detective wearing sunglasses and wielding a cane, and Baby Ellwood Dunk (Baby LeRoy) spreading molasses all over the floor; all the while, Harold rushed around responding to an increasingly-exasperated Mr. Fitchmueller, promising: "Coming, coming..."
  • as Muckle approached the store, Bissonette screamed out to Everett: "Open the door for Mr. Muckle" - knowing that full-scale destruction of the store was about to happen; unable to get to the closed front door in time to open it, the irrascible old Muckle smashed its plate glass window with his wildly waving cane, shouting out: "You got that door closed again!"
  • with an ear trumpet, the hard-of hearing Muckle only purchased a stick of chewing gum after a prolonged, difficult conversation with Harold - and then proceeded to destroy a display of light bulbs that exploded as they dropped to the floor; when leaving the store after demanding the delivery of the gum, Muckle successfully smashed the other front door's window on his way out, cheerfully adding: "Well, you got that door closed again!"
  • a later tour-de-force episode: the funny sequence of the bedeviled Harold's continued attempts to peacefully sleep on his faulty back porch swing while bothered by a milkman and his rattling glass milk bottles (Harold requested: "Please stop playing with those sleigh bells, will ya?"), a coconut noisily bouncing down the steps, an insurance salesman (T. Roy Barnes) looking for Carl LaFong, by Baby Dunk dropping grapes on him ("Right on the proboscis!" and his exclamation: "Shades of Bacchus!"), a chattering, sing-song repartee-conversation between young Miss Abby Dunk (Diana Lewis) and her mother about whether she should buy ipecac or syrup of squill for Baby Dunk, a squeaky clothesline, and a noisy vegetable/fruit vendor (Jerry Mandy)
  • Harold's conversation with the salesman was priceless:
    - Salesman: Carl LaFong, Capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g. LaFong. Carl LaFong.
    - Harold: No. I don't know Carl LaFong - Capital L, small a, Capital F, small o, small n, small g. And if I did know Carl LaFong, I wouldn't admit it!
  • the entire California trip sequence - Bissonette's dreamland where he imagined owning an orange grove - including their family picnic scene (not at a camp or picnic grounds, but on the private lawn of an exclusive mansion) where they littered everything with garbage and pillow feathers
  • their arrival at Harold's property - located in a disaster area - a dessicated section of sunbaked desert land with a "Tobacco Road" ramshackle shack on it - although due to good fortune, the worthless land was immediately purchased by a developer for a race-track and grandstand for a windfall amount of $44,000!- in the final scene, a triumphant, vindicated and relaxed Harold was on the porch of his new prosperous property: "Bissonette's Blue Bird Oranges" where he was mixing screwdriver cocktails and lazily reaching out and effortlessly plucking an orange from a nearby lush tree

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

In Frank Capra's dark and ultimately uplifting Christmas classic about a small-town lender-banker in Bedford Falls, originally a box-office failure and once-forgotten, but then revived after repeated TV showings in the 1970s and 80s:

  • the simple opening scene of stars blinking and celestial angels talking about small-town Bedford Falls resident and banker George Bailey (James Stewart) and his suicidal fate on Christmas Eve
  • the flashback scenes of young George's (Bobbie Anderson) rescue of his younger brother Harry (Georgie Nokes) from a fall through the ice and potential drowning
  • young Mary Hatch's (Jean Gale) whispered secret to young George in the local drugstore (that he didn't hear), when she leaned over the counter, asked: ("Is this the ear you can't hear on?"), and then vowed: ("George Bailey - I'll love you till the day I die")
  • the sequence of George's saving of the drunk and grieving druggist Mr. Gower (H.B. Warner) from mistakenly mixing up a prescription of poisonous cyanide to an ailing child: ("You put something wrong in those capsules. It wasn't your fault, Mr. Gower")
  • the comedic scene of the high school dance with the gymnasium dance floor opening over a swimming pool as George and grown-up childhood sweetheart Mary (Donna Reed) obliviously danced the Charleston and fell into the pool
  • George Bailey's walk home after the dance with Mary while singing Buffalo Gals, and their throwing of stones at the deserted old Granville house (with Mary's prophetic wish: "I love that old house...It's full of romance, that old place. I'd like to live in it"), and George's statement of dreams for the future: ("I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Coliseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long...")
  • George's idealistic offer to Mary - a poetic, imaginative fantasy about lasso-ing the moon and bringing it down to Earth to her: ("What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You-you want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey, that's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon...Well, then you could swallow it. And it'll all dissolve, see. And the moon beams that shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair...Am I talking too much?"), ending with the bald, overweight neighbor (Dick Elliott) nearby challenging George to do less talking and try more romantic action: "Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death?"
  • afterwards, the humorous scene of the loss of Mary's bathrobe and George's teasing of her, and talking to the shrubbery where she was hiding
  • after the death of George's father, his inspired address in defense of his father's character, fighting selfishness and deceitfulness with honesty and decency against the town's vengeful Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), and his speaking up for the common folk: ("Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about. They do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well, in my book, he died a much richer man than you'll ever be")
  • the marvelous scene of an extended angry and intimate shared phone conversation with George and Mary on the same end of the phone, when Mary encouraged George: ("He says it's the chance of a lifetime"), and George's outburst at her: ("Now, you listen to me! I don't want any plastics, and I don't want any ground floors, and I don't want to get married - ever - to anyone! You understand that? I want to do what I want to do. And you're...and you're...") but then immediately embracing and kissing her passionately - and their wedding in the next scene
  • Mary's question to George: "Why must you torture the children?", and George's complaints about his life: ("This drafty old barn! Might as well be living in a refrigerator! Why did we have to live here in the first place and stay around this measly, crummy old town?...Everything's wrong. You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?")
  • small-town father and husband George's rescue by guardian angel Second Class Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers) on a bridge when he considered suicide on Christmas Eve; and then, the despondent George's wish: ("I suppose it'd been better if I'd never been born at all") - and Clarence's granting of the wish: ("You've got your wish: you've never been born") -- and soon after, Clarence's explanation: ("Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?")
  • the nightmarish, 'alternate reality' sequence of Bedford Falls (now named Pottersville after the town's despotic tycoon) without George as he staggered through the town - with the visit to his brother Harry's (Todd Karns) gravesite who would have died in the childhood sledding accident ("at the age of nine" according to Clarence) because George wasn't there to save him - and Harry would have never grown up to be a war hero, saving all the lives of the men on the naval transport: ("Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn't there to save them because you weren't there to save Harry"); Clarence reminded George: ("You see, George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?")
  • George's encounter with Mary, now an unhappy old-maid librarian with spectacles, who didn't recognize him and screamed for him to get away
  • George's breakdown and heartfelt plea to Clarence to live again: ("Get me back!...I want to live again") - his life-affirming and joyful discovery that his wish was granted and that he was alive (because his mouth was bleeding, he had a deaf ear, and he felt daughter Zuzu's petals in his pocket), the sequence of his resounding ecstasy as he ran down the wintry Bedford Falls street yelling "Merry Christmas" at everything in sight (the movie house, the Building and Loan, etc.)
  • the heartwarming reunion in his home with friends and other depositors who had paid his rent, the toast by his war-hero brother Harry: ("A my big brother, George. The richest man in town"), the singing of Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Auld Lang Syne - and the ornament bell ringing on the Christmas tree (signifying Clarence's promotion to an angel with wings): (Zuzu: "Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings")

Ivan (1932, Soviet Union) (aka Иван)

In Ukrainian director/writer Aleksandr Dovzhenko's propagandistic Stalinist drama, his first sound film and one of his greatest works of cinema, a treatise about collective work during the Soviet Union's era of industrialization:

  • the opening - a poetic, lush and visual sequence of a river reflecting trees and the sky, placid and beautiful - but capped with views of cascading and churning water (to be harnessed by a power-generating, ecologically-unfriendly dam)
  • the film's main plot: the construction of a huge hydro-electric dam on the Dnieper River
  • the main characters - a Ukrainian peasant family composed of stubbornly-proud, bearded illiterate father Stepan Iosovich Guba, the Idler (Stepan Shkurat), and his unschooled teenaged farm boy son Ivan (Konstantin Bondarevsky) - a personification of optimistic country youth, who were both forced to leave their rural agricultural village to work on the construction project; however, contemptuous slacker Stepan refused to join in the construction work - he preferred fishing from a scaffolding platform-plank at the site
  • meanwhile, Ivan was transformed into a physically-strong, hard-working and dutiful socialist worker, although he was reprimanded for his shoddy work; he eventually realized that his physical might was limited - and that he needed to be trained and educated
  • the sequence of the death of another young Communist League construction worker (coincidentally also named Ivan), whose grieving mother (Elena Golik) helped to cover over the corpse
  • in the film's most audacious sequence, the distressed mother resolutely fled through the site (filmed at a low angle and viewed as a gauntlet), among ominous cranes, transport trains and other threatening forms of machinery to the office of the construction manager - where she was seen flinging open ten sets of double doors in a series of startling jump-cuts; in his inner office, she overheard the angry manager on the phone speaking to a subordinate about the lethal accident caused by negligence and careless inspections; when finished with his call, he asked the mother what she was there for, and she responded: "Nothing"
  • the dramatic scene of Stepan's lecturing of everyone in a public Communist Party meeting - and his repudiation of his role as the father of a conforming working-class son: "Am I the father or am I not? I am a unique individual! I do not want such a son, and declare that I repudiate him"; when his words fell on deaf ears, he was laughed out of the auditorium and his son denounced his shirking father (even declaring that he was ashamed to have been born in the same village); the bereaved mother of the dead worker also spoke to the assembled workers
  • in the film's conclusion, Ivan took his seat among his comrades in a university classroom, as the film faded to black on a close-up of him ready to learn from his professors

Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1945, Soviet Union) (aka Ivan Groznyy, or Иван Грозный)

In writer/director Sergei Eisenstein's film (his last film directed and completed) was released in the mid-1940s and hailed as a success, followed by Part II (Ivan Groznyy. Skaz vtoroy: Boyarskiy zagovor (1958)) completed by 1946, but suppressed and delayed until 1958 due to a ban by Stalin himself (who objected to the depiction of the ruler):

  • an historical, costume-rich, operatic pageantry film about the idealistic and stern 16th century Ivan Vasilyevich, or Ivan IV, Duke of Moscow who ruled Russia from 1533 to 1547 as the anointed Tsar; his nickname Groznyy was usually translated as Terrible - and served as a parody of Russian ruler Josef Stalin; the entire film was mostly about court intrigue and his struggle against the plotting of the Boyars and his efforts to make them submit to his powerful will as Tsar; Ivan eventually consolidated power in himself through personal guards, secret police or "iron men" known as Oprichniki
  • an epic, stagey film (harkening back to highly-stylized silent film techniques) characterized by expressionistic sets, facial closeups, heavy costuming, angled camera shots for contrast, stark light and shadows, huge sets, religious imagery and a score by Prokofiev
  • the opening sequence - the coronation of young Grand Prince of Muscovy Ivan (Nikolai Cherkasov), by the approval of a land-owning nobility/bourgeoisie class (affluent and hereditary) known as the Boyars
  • Ivan's marriage to Anastasia Romanovna (Lyudmila Tselikovskaya), the Czarina, bearing a child - infant son Dmitri
  • his campaign against the Tartars in Kazan, Ivan's serious illness on his deathbed, and battles and campaigns to reclaim lost Russian territory
  • the scenes of major conflict with his own witchy and scheming boyarina Aunt Efrosinia Staritskaya (Serafima Birman) who plotted to assassinate him with the help of other traditionalists; she wanted to appoint her own dim-witted simpleton son Vladimir Andreyevich Staritsky (Pavel Kadochnikov) as the new Tsar; she also encouraged one of Ivan's friends, Prince Andrei Kurbsky (Mikhail Nazvanov), who lusted after Anastasia, to betray him; another friend Fyodor Kolychev (Andrei Abrikosov), became Archbishop Philip and then became part of a religious group that opposed Ivan along with the Boyars
  • Staritskaya's plotting and murder of Ivan's wife by having her drink from a large poisoned goblet of wine
  • Ivan's abdication of the throne in Moscow and self-imposed exile at the Alexandrov monastery before a populist movement (and an endless and massive procession of supporters streaming to him) demanded his return to save the country

(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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