Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Basic Instinct (1992)

In Paul Verhoeven's erotic thriller:

  • the opening scene - a couple making love - the unidentified female with her face obscured (the film's brutal ice-pick murder suspect) atop rock star Johnny Boz (Bill Cable), and elements of S&M revealed when she tied his arms to the bedpost with a length of sheet - before reaching back and stabbing him to death with an ice-pick
  • the infamous police interrogation scene when ice-pick murder suspect/millionaire mystery novelist and bi-sexual Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) first smoked in the no-smoking area: ("What are you going to do? Charge me with smoking?") and then openly crossed her legs - a full underwear-free view - to flirtatiously tease a panel of policemen facing her
  • her oversexed taunting line to Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) - "Have you ever f--ked on cocaine, Nick? (long pause) It's nice"
  • and other outrageous dialogue by scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas, such as: "Well, she got that magnum cum laude pussy on her that done fried up your brain"
  • Catherine's openly seductive lesbian dance with Roxy (Leilani Sarelle) in a nightclub to taunt the detective
  • Nick's controversial, brutal love-making scene with police psychiatrist Beth Gardner (Jeanne Tripplehorn)
  • the film's final scene - paralleling the opening sex-murder sequence, in which Catherine was making love to Nick, and the question of whether she was going to pick up and murder him with the ice-pick conveniently under her side of the bed

Batman (1989)

In Tim Burton's influential and dark blockbuster about the comic-book superhero:

  • Danny Elfman's memorable, brooding march score during the opening credits when a Batman logo is revealed
  • Anton Furst's revolutionary, Oscar-winning art direction/set design of a Gotham City (part Blade Runner, part comic book) with massive architecture and statuary
  • the first appearance of black-masked vigilante Batman (Michael Keaton), who held up a crook named Nic (Christopher Fairbank) over the side of a building. The mugger begged for his life - followed by Batman's request: ("I'm not going to kill you. I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me....I'm Batman")
  • the reappearance of growling mob enforcer Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) after being dropped into acid; the famous, oft-imitated "plastic surgery" scene in which Jack (seen from behind, face hidden) after having reconstructive facial plastic surgery, demanded a mirror from a flustered doctor, and upon looking at his face in the mirror moaned at first before laughing maniacally and smashing the mirror
  • Jack's first memorable entrance as the reinvented character of The Joker (with a painted red smile), when he told mob boss Carl Grissom ("Jack? Jack is dead, my friend. You can call me Joker! And as you can see, I'm a lot happier!"), before shooting him during a wild dance and then laughing and sighing non-chalantly: "Oh, what a day!"
  • the post-coital moment when blonde photographer Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) woke up to see Bruce Wayne swinging like a bat while doing his exercises
  • the many classic one-liners by the cackling, villainous Joker: ("Winged freak terrorizes? What'll they get a load of ME!", "Where does he get those wonderful toys?", and "If you gotta go, go with a SMILE!")
  • the murder of disloyal, impudent rival subordinate Antoine "Tony" Rotelli (Edwin Craig) with a lethal joy-buzzer that burned him to a crisp: ("Whoo! Whoo! Oh, I've got a live one here! Oh, there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight. Antoine got a little "hot" under the collar....Haven't you ever heard of the healing power of laughter?")
  • the flashback in which Bruce Wayne remembered his parents being murdered by Jack - and the killer's same chilling line to Bruce in Vicki's apartment as he held a gun on him: "You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?...I always ask that of all my prey! I just like the sound of it." After shooting at Bruce (who was saved by wearing body armor), the Joker added: "Never rub another man's rhubarb." He then recited a poem to Vicki: "I'm only laughing on the outside / My smile is just skin deep / If you could see inside I'm really crying / You might join me for a weep"
  • Vicki's ride through a dense forest in the Batmobile en route to the Batcave
  • the ironic silhouette of the Batplane against the moon to form the Batman logo
  • the death of the Joker - plunging from a cathedral spire with a gargoyle attached after his climactic dual with Batman, and the macabre sight, after the Joker's fall, of his still-grinning face as he laid dead, splayed on his back on the church's front steps many stories below. A toy (in proxy for the villain) laughed maniacally in his pocket
  • the final scene in which Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) read a letter from Batman promising to defend Gotham City against crime: "We've received a letter from Batman this morning. 'Please inform the citizens of Gotham that Gotham City has earned a rest from crime. But if the forces of evil should rise again, to cast a shadow on the heart of the city, call me'" - and the unveiling of a new Bat-Signal to be used to summon Batman
  • the ending closing shot of Batman standing alone in a heroic pose on the top of a building, the guardian of his city, looking up at the Bat-Signal projected onto the night sky

Batman Begins (2005)

In Christopher Nolan's tight and re-tooled prequel of the Caped Crusader series, the fifth film in the revived series:

  • an emphasis on the early roots and origins of tortured superhero Batman's (Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale) career, including his fall as a young 8 year-old boy (Gus Lewis) into a well on his parents' estate Wayne Manor and his recurring, traumatic, batphobic nightmare of fluttering black bats attacking him, and his horrific witnessing of his parents' death by a mugger named Joe Chill in a city alleyway outside an opera house
  • later, his training to face his fears with the mysterious vigilante ninja sect The League of Shadows led by mystic Ra's Al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) and enigmatic martial arts training mentor Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) - ultimately revealed as the real Ra's Al Ghul in a concluding plot twist
  • the creation of Batman's persona and accoutrements/gadgets (the armored Batsuit and cowl, the all-terrain Batmobile called The Tumbler, the cave, the cape, etc.) by Wayne Enterprises' genius high-tech scientist Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman)
  • the evil characters of Italian crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) (who was tied to a floodlight to make the first bat-symbol in the sky) and effete, shady psycho-pharmacologist Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka "The Scarecrow" (Cillian Murphy) who was the perverse proprietor of Arkham Asylum populated with lunatics, and often used a burlap bag mask when he sprayed opponents with a toxic vapor
  • the kiss between Wayne and his childhood friend, now grown-up Gotham City Assistant DA Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) who didn't know Bruce was Batman: "The man I loved - the man who vanished - he never came back at all. But maybe he's still out there, somewhere. Maybe some day, when Gotham no longer needs Batman, I'll see him again"
  • earlier, Rachel had sent him on his mission in the crime-ridden, economically-depressed city with helpful advice: "It's what you do that defines you", and "Justice is about harmony. Revenge is about you making yourself feel better... You care about justice? Look beyond your own pain, Bruce"
  • the climactic final action sequence of a race against time to prevent an elevated monorail train from reaching Wayne Towers and causing the destruction of the city by releasing a fear-inducing hallucinogen into and through Gotham's central water supply (and then vaporizing it with a stolen microwave-emitter), and the moment the speeding train plunged downward on demolished tracks - taking villainous Henry Ducard to his death

Battleship Potemkin (1925, Soviet Union) (aka Броненосец Потёмкин)

In Russian director Sergei Eisenstein's classic film with revolutionary uses of montage and editing:

  • the extremely famous Odessa Steps montage sequence of the indiscriminate execution and massacre of civilians by rows of the Czar's Cossack's troops who fired indiscriminately - during the failed, real-life 1905 revolution - including these images:
    - angry citizens
    - crowds fleeing wild gunfire by running down the stone steps
    - a young mother being cut down and her baby carriage carrying her infant bouncing and tumbling down the harbor steps in Odessa (later copied in Brazil (1985), and The Untouchables (1987))
    - a woman being shot in the face (shattering her glasses)

Beau Geste (1939)

In director William Wellman's adventure drama:

  • the memorable puzzling opening sequence in which a relief column of French Foreign Legionnaires soldiers crossed the Saharan desert dunes and arrived at a strangely silent Fort Zinderneuf
  • the brutality of sadistic Sergeant Markoff (Brian Donlevy) toward deserters
  • the scene in which John Geste (Ray Milland) presented Lady Patricia Brandon (Heather Thatcher) with a letter from brother Beau (Gary Cooper), disclosing that her prized valuable gem - "The Blue Water" sapphire, had been sold years before and that Beau had stolen a substitute gem to save her the embarrassment of selling it - she read the letter aloud at the foot of the stairs: ("I was inside the suit of armor in the hall the day you sold the Blue Water to the Maharajah's agent and received an imitation to take its place. When the wire from Sir Hector came, I thought I could repay your devotion to us by giving Brandon Abbas its first robbery. So the lights went out and so did Beau. Lovingly, Beau Geste")
  • the unraveling of the 'Blue Water' Sapphire mystery - with the final line tearfully spoken by a grateful Lady Patricia Brandon after she finished reading Beau's letter: "Beau Geste? Gallant gesture. We didn't name him wrongly, did we?"

Beautiful Girls (1996)

In director Ted Demme's coming-of-age comedy/drama:

  • the memorable scene of Paul Kirkwood's (Michael Rapaport) monologue about "supermodels" and "beautiful girls": ("Supermodels are beautiful girls, Will. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you've been drinkin' Jack and Coke all morning. She can make you feel high - full of the single greatest commodity known to man - promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow....")
  • also the scene of the bar-room singing of "Sweet Caroline"
  • and the scene of down-to-earth Gina Barrisano's (Rosie O'Donnell) smart-mouthed put-down monologue about the centerfold beauty myth and unrealistic expectations that guys have about supermodels to Tommy Rowland (Matt Dillon) and high-school grad Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) - ("Oh, guys, look what we have here. Look at this, your favorite, oh you like that?...Yeah, that's nice, right? Well, it doesn't exist, OK? Look at the hair, the hair is long, it's flowing. It's like a river. Well, it's a f--king weave, OK? And the tits? Please! I could hang my overcoat on them. Tits, by design, are intended to be suckled by babies. Yeah, they're purely functional. These are silicon city. And look, my favorite, the shaved pubis. Pubic hair being so unruly and all. Very vain. This is a mockery, this is sham, this is bulls--t...")
  • and the advice-giving scenes between Willie and precocious, well-versed 13 year-old neighbor girl Marty (Natalie Portman) - from a window (Marty: "Romeo and Juliet, the dyslexic version") and Marty's recognition of their age difference: "Alas, poor Romeo, we can't do diddly. You'd be taken to the penitentiary and I'd become the laughing stock of the Brownies," and Willie's follow-up comment about growing up: ("I can't play Pooh to your Christopher Robin") at the edge of a frozen pond while Marty ice-skated

Beauty and the Beast (1946, Fr.) (aka La Belle et La Bete)

In director Jean Cocteau's visual fantasy:

  • the fanciful scenes including the one in which Beauty's merchant father (Marcel André), and then Beauty (Josette Day) entered the Beast's (Jean Marais) enchanted and haunted castle and moved down its corridor - with human arm candelabra (that lit themselves) reaching out from the walls
  • the magnificent costuming of the Beast himself, who had steaming claws (symbolic of a recent kill of deer), and the image of Beauty's tear that transformed into a diamond

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

In Disney's landmark film - the first (and only) animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture:

  • the moving dinner and ballroom dance scene in Disney's film between Belle (voice of Paige O'Hara) and the Beast (voice of Robby Benson)
  • the singing of the memorable title ballad: "Beauty and the Beast" by an anthropomorphic, grandmotherly talking teapot - or Mrs. Potts (voice of Angela Lansbury): ("...Tale as old as time True as it can be Barely even friends Then somebody bends Unexpectedly Just a little change Small, to say the least Both a little scared Neither one prepared Beauty and the Beast")

Becky Sharp (1935)

In director Rouben Mamoulian's period drama, an adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel Vanity Fair:

  • its milestone first display in a feature film of the landmark three-color Technicolor - a new and expensive technology process
  • the stunning and clever contrast shot, set up by Mamoulian to emphasize the difference between black and white and color compositions; two red-jacketed soldiers were speaking in the foreground to Becky Sharp (Miriam Hopkins) and wealthy friend Amelia Sedley (Frances Dee) - seen only in b/w silhouette behind a curtain in the background
  • the sight of brilliant and rich colors was taken advantage of in the film's opening sequence - a grand ball scene set in Brussels on the eve of and within sight of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815; waltzing couples in colorful ball gowns were interrupted by cannon fire (thought at first to be thunder) that exploded open the tall, curtained full-length French windows and extinguished the lights, resulting in complete pandemonium; English soldiers in scarlet uniforms (with capes) and gold helmets reacted and responded by rushing out to fight against Napoleon
  • the resourceful, social-climbing, ruthless and manipulative English lady Becky Sharp, the title character, pledged her love with attractive military officer and wealthy playboy Rawdon Crawley (Alan Mowbray) (her dashing husband) who was leaving her with his gambling debts; he assured her before being ordered away to fight with Wellington: "Wellington's orders. I just dashed back for a few moments. Oh, darling, I have so many things to tell you before I go. I've been happy with you. I've gambled and I drank but always, always I've loved you....Here, take this money. I shan't need it. You sell my watch, my silver dressing case. Oh, darling, I leave you with so many debts...and sell my two horses"; she responded: "Don't think about money. I'll make out. I'll pray for you, Rawdon. I want you back. I love you, I love you and I'll never love anybody else"; he told her goodbye during an embrace and kiss: "I must go now, but remember. Never forget this. I worship you, Becky, from your little toes up"

Beetlejuice (1988)

In Tim Burton's haunted comedy-fantasy:

  • after a fatal car accident that killed the newly-wed Maitlands: Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis), the scene of their other-worldly (or netherworld) waiting room full of other recently-dead and distressed clients, especially the explorer with a shrunken head and ping pong ball eyes
  • the hosted dinner party (song and dance) scene of the recently-deceased Maitlands and their haunted 'parlor trick' in which they attempted to spook and dislodge the yuppie Deetz family, now living in their Connecticut home, by having obnoxious wife Delia Deetz (Catherine O'Hara) belt out the calypso "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" - in Harry Belafonte's voice
  • the character of goth, black-clad teenaged Deetz daughter, Lydia (Winona Ryder), a photographer, from Charles Deetz' (Jeffrey Jones) first marriage - and the object of Beetlejuice's affection, and the only living person who could see the ghostly Maitlands (whom she met when they were first wearing sheets) - she asked: "Are you gross under there? Are you Night of the Living Dead under there? Like all bloody veins and pus?"
  • the sight of Michael Keaton as the demonic, crude, yellow-haired, morbid, and over-the-top title character Betelgeuse (the "afterlife's leading bioexorcist") as a free-lance veteran scare-master, who advertised his services on television - "You Get a Free demon possession with Every Exorcism!"
  • the decaying view of Adam and Barbara - who after what they thought was a seance (conducted by the Deetz' interior designer Otho (Glenn Shadix)), were now transformed into exorcised, greenish decaying ghosts
  • the summoning of Beetlejuice by Lydia (by calling out his name three times) to help save the Maitlands in exchange for promising to marry him; with outstretched arms, he exhorted as lightning flashed: ("It's Showtime!") to get rid of Maxie Dean (Robert Goulet), Deetz's boss, and his wife, and also Otho; Beetlejuice grew inflated arms and propelled them through the ceiling (as if in a carnival's strong-man 'ring the bell' game)
  • the final scene in the waiting room with Betelgeuse's now-shrunken head (after a witch doctor sprinkled powder on him) and his hilarious, upbeat, but deadpanned statement about his messed-up hair: ("Whoa, hey! What are you doing? Hey, stop it! Hey, you're messing up my hair! C'mon! Whoa! Whoa! Stop it! Whoa! Hey, this might be a good look for me")
  • Lydia's pre-ending credits performance, suspended in mid-air, of "Jump in the Line (Shake Señora)", with singing by Harry Belafonte, after the Deetz's and the Maitlands found they could live in cooperative harmony in the house

Before Sunrise (1995)

In Richard Linklater's sweet romance:

  • the initial chance meeting between two young tourists on a train bound for Paris: American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French Celine (Julie Delpy), and their lengthy existential ruminations (that started in the dining car) on life, death, love, past lives, success, parents, relationships, religion, etc.
  • the scenes of their roaming around Vienna (and taking public transportation) throughout the night
  • the wonderfully-subtle scene of their first realization of a romantic attraction for each other in a record booth while listening to a 33 rpm recording of Kath Bloom's "Come Here", making shy eye contact and nervously shifting
  • their first kiss on the famous Viennese Ferris wheel the Riesenrad [the location of the famous "cuckoo clock" speech and scene in The Third Man (1949)] when she asked: "Are you trying to say you want to kiss me?" after which she hugged him closely and tenderly rested her head on his shoulder
  • also, their encounter with various Viennese personalities - such as a palm reader (Erni Mangold) who told them they both were composed of stardust ("You're an adventurer, a seeker...You need to resign yourself to the awkwardness of life...You're both stars, don't forget, and the stars exploded billions of years ago to form everything that is this world. Everything we know is stardust. So don't forget. You are stardust. Ha, ha!"), and a strange vagrant street poet (Dominic Castell) who rapidly wrote poems with any random word given to him ("milkshake") and presented them with the poem Delusion Angel (written for the film by the poet David Jewell): ("...See what you mean to me / Sweet-cakes and milkshakes / I'm a delusion angel / I'm a fantasy parade...")
  • the concluding heartbreaking goodbye scene in the train station when they hastily parted with a few final kisses and embraces (Celine: "OK, I guess this is it, no?...Have a great life. Have fun with everything you're gonna do!"), vowed to see each other again in exactly six months at the same location, as she boarded the train and he caught a bus to the airport (and each reflected upon their time together during the closing montage as the film returned to the locations they had visited which were now empty) - to the sound of Bach's Andante from Sonata No. 1 in G Major for Viola

Before Midnight (2013)

In Richard Linklater's final film in the "Before..." trilogy series, set 18 years after the first film, with the married couple experiencing serious personal issues on a summer vacation in Greece with their twin girls:

  • Celine's (Julie Delpy) and Jesse's (Ethan Hawke) conversation - a so-called "bimbo fantasy" - that she play-acted, about how it was important to stroke a male's ego and play the part of a bimbo to get a man: "Let me tell you right now, Anna, how to keep a man. You gotta let them win at all the silly little games they like. When I met Jesse the first night, we were playing pinball. And of course, I was winning.... And at the last minute, I let the ball go down the middle... It builds their confidence. If I didn't let him win at every game, we would never have sex. I mean, I'm sorry to say it, but he's actually a closet macho. He dreams of having a bimbo for a wife" - and her sarcastic reenactment of their first meeting together: "So you're a writer?...So you write, like, books?...Wow, I've never met a writer before...You must be really smart....Okay, well, you're very, very smart. (whispered) And I bet you have a gigantic penis" - he ended the charade with: "Why am I finding myself so attracted to this woman?!"
  • the authentic relationship between the couple, including a realistic sex sequence between the two when they became flirtatious and intimate
  • the scene of a 20-minute long, painful, heated and vicious argument between Celine and Jesse in their hotel room suite, about issues affecting their future together - the possibility of a move to Chicago, gender roles, their children and careers and the promise of her "dream job", and the current state of their complex relationship - including Jesse's assessment: "You are the f--king mayor of crazy town, do you know that?", Celine's cutting judgment on their sex life: "You like to have sex the exact same way every time....Kissy, kissy. Tittie, tittie. Pussy, (snoring sound)"; his pronouncement: "I don't wanna live a boring life where two people own each other, where two people are institutionalized in a box that others created, because that is a bunch of stifling bulls--t!" - and her reaction - a climactic bold confession before leaving the room: "You know what's going on here? It's simple. I don't think I love you anymore"
  • the ending scene in the hotel's outdoor restaurant (in the southern Peloponnese), in which Jesse (pretending to be a time-traveler) read to her a letter from her 82 year-old self, which included thoughts such as: "Celine, my advice to you is this. You're entering the best years of your life...Celine, you will be fine. Your girls will grow up to become examples and icons of feminism....P.S. By the way, the best, by the way, the best sex of my life happened one night in the southern Peloponnese. Don't miss it. My whole sexual being went to a new, ground-breaking level"; then Jesse admitted to her: "You're just like the little girls and everybody else. You wanna live inside some fairy tale. All right? I'm just trying to make things better here. All right? I tell you that I love you unconditionally, I tell you that you're beautiful. I tell you that your ass looks great when you're 80. Huh? I'm trying to make you laugh....All right, I put up with plenty of your s--t. And if you think I'm just some dog who's gonna keep coming back, then you're wrong. But if you want true love, huh, then this is it. This is real life. It's not perfect, but it's real. And if you can't see it, then you're blind, all right, and I give up"
  • eventually, Celine came around to his time-traveling story, and seemed to be reconciled to him, and he spoke again about the one night in the southern Peloponnese that she would never forget: "There's something that I've been thinking about, about your letter....You mentioned the southern Peloponnese? Yeah, yeah, and, uh, we're in the southern Peloponnese......Yeah, and do you think it could be tonight that you're still talking about in your 80's?" Her reply was the last line in the film: "Well, it must have been one hell of a night we're about to have"

Before Sunset (2004)

In Richard Linklater's sequel to Before Sunrise (1995), set nine years later:

  • the departure scene in Celine's apartment between the two lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) with only a short time before Jesse's flight, when they had tea and listened to a CD recording of Nina Simone singing Just in Time. Celine performed an impression of the singer when she stopped in the middle of the song and came to the edge of the stage, while slowly moving her hips side to side and puckering up her lips in a pout, seductively speaking: "Oh yeah, baby. Oh, yeah. Uh, hmm. I love you too. And then she'd walk back, took her time, no hurry, you know. She had that big cute ass that she would move, woooh! And then she would, uh, go back to the piano and play some more. And then she would, uh, I don't know, just start another song in the middle of another. You know, like, stop again, and be like: 'You over there, can you move that fan? Uh, huh. Ooh. You're cute. Hmm. Oh, oh yeah.'"
  • then, Celine gave a warning to Jesse: "Baby, you are gonna miss that plane." Jesse responded quietly and knowingly: "I know" as he held his left hand up and briefly twirled his wedding ring with his left thumb

Being There (1979)

In Hal Ashby's satire adapted from Jerry Kosinski's screenplay:

  • the enigmatic character of illiterate, TV-watching gardener Chance the Gardener or Chauncey Gardiner (Peter Sellers) and his fool-turned-prophet transformation
  • black maid-cook Louise's (Ruth Attaway) cynical commentary on retarded Chance/Chauncey Gardiner's (Peter Sellers) rise to power
  • Dennis Watson's (Mitch Kreindel) hitting on Chauncey at a formal party with Chauncey's naive reply: "Is there a TV upstairs? I like to watch" and Dennis' delighted response: "You like to, uh, watch?... You wait right here. I'll go get Warren!"
  • Chauncey's simpleton lecture to President Bobby (Jack Warden) about how the garden grew: ("In a garden, growth has its season . . . as long as the roots are not severed, all will be well")
  • and the protracted "seduction scene" in which dying financier's wife Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), love-starved and seductive, desperately tried to arouse an unresponsive Chauncey - he only responded, with a shocking but understandable line, that he "like(s) to watch" - and "it's very good, Eve" and then sat on the end of the bed (oblivious to her) as she masturbated herself on the floor on top of a bear-skin rug
  • and the cryptic, mystical final shot of Chauncey strolling on water as his Presidential candidacy was discussed off-screen

Belle de Jour (1967, Fr./It.) (aka Beauty of the Day)

In Luis Bunuel's first color film, a surrealistic drama:

  • the character of bored, repressed, blonde upper-class Parisian newlywed housewife Sévérine Serizy (Catherine Deneuve) who took up part-time afternoon prostitution in a chic brothel and assumed the "very simple and very cute" name "Belle de Jour" -- hired out to brothel Madame Anais (Genevieve Page), who told her: "My girls have to be polite and very cheerful. You have to enjoy your work."
  • Severine soon experienced a variety of strange clients - some of whom enjoyed role-playing. In one scene, she was tied up while mud was thrown at her and she was called "Old whore," "Maggot" and "Pig"
  • the major masochistic erotic fantasy-dream sequence of Severine Serizy who was driven in a carriage into the woods where her respectful society doctor husband Pierre Serizy (Jean Sorel) dragged her from the coach, and instructed the coachman to gag her, tie her hands/arms to a nearby tree above her where her dress (and bra) were torn and her bare back was whipped (pleasurably), before a presumed scene of rape, when he also told the coachman: "That's enough. She's yours now...Go ahead" --- the scene cut back to Severine's bedroom where she was lying in bed and her husband in the bathroom asked: "What are you thinking about?" She answered: "I'm thinking about you, about us" - and mentioned that she had the coach fantasy again - theirs was an unconsummated and frigid relationship - the reason she engaged in elaborate S&M fantasies
  • the scene of Severine with fearful but sympathetic brothel maid Pallas (Marguerite Muni) after she had serviced a strange East Asian client (Iska Khan), who had frightened her: ("That man would frighten me, too. It must be painful sometimes"); as she partially sat up on the bed, Severine replied: "How would you know, Pallas?"

La Belle Noiseuse (1991, Fr.) (aka The Beautiful Troublemaker or The Beautiful Nuisance)

In French director Jacques Rivette's lengthy (almost 4 hour) Grand Prize of the Jury winner at Cannes:

  • the creative process, exemplified by the return to work (after 10 years) on an abandoned, neglected masterpiece of ten years - a painting known as "La Belle Noiseuse," by uninspired, married, impatient and aging French artist-painter Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli)
  • the many scenes in his vast, long-neglected stone-walled studio - with minimal dialogue - engaged with his strong-willed model named Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart) who was required to be stark naked as his muse for the majority of the film
  • the captivating process by which he made many preliminary sketches of her in various naked poses, as he attempted to capture her essence, while positioning her in painful, demanding, contorted, cramping and unmoving positions. As he touched her to set her postures, he told her: "I don't care about your breasts, legs, your lips... I want more. I want everything. The blood, the fire, the ice... All that's inside your body. I'll take it all. I'll get it out of you and put it into this frame...I'll get to know what's inside under your thin surface. I want the invisible"
  • at the film's conclusion when the painting was finished after a marathon battle of wills over a 4-day period, Marianne described its stunning image: "A thing which was cold and dry -- it was me." In voice-over, Marianne narrated: "Marianne put on her old mask again or maybe she took a new one...It used to be me," but then confided in the artist's wife Elizabeth (Jane Birkin): "I'm not unaware any more."
  • in a surprise scene, Frenhofer secretly sealed the painting - unseen - behind a newly-laid brick wall, and then presented another faceless painting as the finished product, claiming: "It's my first posthumous work"

Bellissima (1951, It.)

In director Luchino Visconti's neo-realistic, satirical comic drama about the Italian film industry:

  • the star role of Anna Magnani as a working class, determined, desperate and nervous wanna-be stage mother Maddalena Cecconi, who was hoping that her only child - 7 year-old daughter Maria (Tina Apicella) would win the title of 'prettiest child in Rome' - a contest sponsored by Stella Films, at open-casting auditions at the Cinecittà studio
  • the scene of her attendance near the projectionist's booth at the disastrous screening of her child's film tests (a scene requiring Maria to blow out birthday candles, although she struggled, and the recitation of a poem, when she began crying half-way through); she overheard the cruel, sarcastic and candid comments from the stage crew and director, who felt the audition was a waste of time, film, and money: "Poor thing...She really can't do this...She's a dwarf, look...She's so funny with that fringe... She's not a kid, she's a dwarf - she went to school with me in 1925"; Maddalena shielded her child's eyes and asked: "What are they laughing at?...Why are they laughing so much? Why are they so amused?...Bastard! I can't take this. I can't take this!"
  • the confrontational scene when Maddalena burst into the group of film-makers to lambast the director Mr. Blasetti (Alessandro Blasetti as Himself) and others, asking: "Why does she make you laugh so much? She's like any other child...One of you even called her a dwarf. How rude! You have no respect for other people's feelings. You've no respect for other people's sacrifices. I made so many sacrifices to buy her this dress"
  • the classic, solitary park bench scene outside the studio that night -- where Maddalena (with Maria collapsed next to her in her arms) experienced a mental nervous breakdown and tumultuous sobbing after realizing she had failed; suddenly, she cried out: "Help!"

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)

In this silent film religious epic from director Fred Niblo:

  • the original, thrilling chariot race sequence (filmed with 42 cameramen) between Judah Ben-Hur (Ramon Novarro) and Roman centurion Messala (Francis X. Bushman)

(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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