Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



B4

 





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

Bigger Than Life (1956)

In this insightful Nicholas Ray Eisenhower-Era melodrama about the family - a superb critique of the suffocating and claustrophobic conformity of 50s middle-class life (a film pre-dating American Beauty (1999) by over 40 years!), and an examination of prescription drug abuse:

  • the character of ill, underpaid and frustrated schoolteacher and middle-class family man Ed Avery (James Mason), who - after severe blackouts and other symptoms, was being treated with an experimental 'wonder drug' (cortisone) for his severe illness (periarteritis nodosa - a destructive inflammation of the arteries)
  • the sequence of his release from the hospital, when he was dropped off at school by his long-suffering, beleaguered and loving wife Lou (Barbara Rush), as he boasted exuberantly: "When I came down into the hospital lobby and saw you and Richie again, I felt ten feet tall"
  • the sequence of Ed standing in front of a cracked medicine cabinet mirror - expressing how his tormented character was about to go through increasingly-wild personality changes and fractured mood swings due to prescription drug addiction
  • the two scenes of Ed's manic, consumer spending spree - a sign of his deterioration and developing megalomania and tyrannical nature, when he took Lou shopping at an expensive ladies' clothing shop in town; first, he denigrated the female clerk: "My wife and I aren't used to places like this so it's only fair to tell you, that if we don't get a whole lot of high-class service - and in a hurry, there's likely to be a terribly embarrassing scene in this sanctum"; during the dress-buying, he sat nearby with a cigarette and imperiously directed everyone and non-chalantly purchased a very expensive item; and then he also forced his pre-teen son Richie (Christopher Olsen) to purchase an expensive bike
  • the scene of Ed's offensive and haughty criticisms of every tenent of 50s life - including his deliberate rant-filled denouncement of the school and its failed educational policies during a PTA meeting where the walls displayed children's artwork: ("Every year whole forests are cut down to supply the paper for these grotesque daubs. And we coo over them as though they were Van Goghs or Rembrandts....Childhood is a congenital disease and the purpose of education is to cure it. I see my point of view is new to many of you. But ask yourselves, how do we describe the unfortunate individual who carries his unspoiled childhood instincts into adult life? We say he's arrested. We call him a moron. (Parents gasped, one with a daughter named Louise)... My dear lady, your Louise is a charming little creature, but we must try to examine the problem without prejudice or sentiment. The hard fact remains that your daughter, at her present stage of development, is roughly on an intellectual par with the African gorilla. (More gasps).... What, after all, from the Stone Age to the present day has been the greatest invention of mankind? Has anybody got a match?...(He lit his cigarette) Fire? The wheel? Safety pin? The hydrogen bomb? No, ladies and gentlemen, the alphabet. And persons like myself are required to teach these poor, bewildered kids to read by a system of word recognition as though the mighty English language were a collection of Chinese ideograms. And then we're surprised when Junior can't even wade through the comics...."The three Rs" - that's just a catchphrase. Before it's too late, we ought to get back to the real fundamentals. And I'm not just talking of primary education now. We're breeding a race of moral midgets. (Even more gasps) All this hogwash about 'self-expression', 'permissiveness', 'development patterns', 'emotional security'. Security - with the world ready to blow up. If the republic is to survive, we've got to get back to teaching the good old virtues of hard work and self-discipline and a sense of duty! My friends, I tell you, we're committing hara-kiri every day right here in this classroom")
Dysfunctional Family Life
Football Catch
Math Homework
"Our marriage is over"
  • the sequence of Ed's frenzied outdoor game of football catch with Richie even after he became totally exhausted, and his negative criticisms: "What did you close your eyes for? You can't expect to catch a pass with your eyes closed!"
  • the scene in which the increasingly pushy, fragmented and opinionated Ed constantly belittled and tyrannized his son Richie during home-schooling - with his disciplining presence (and dark black shadow) towering over him, in a low-angle shot, during a mathematics lesson late at night
  • the dinner scene at a long table in which he told his wife Lou that their marriage was over: ("Our marriage is over. In my mind, I've divorced you. You're not my wife any longer, and I'm not your husband any longer") although he remained in the house "solely for the boy's sake"
  • the scene of Ed's worried son locking himself in the bathroom in order to call his father's doctor, Dr. Norton (Robert F. Simon) to stop his prescription: ("And I'm going to call Dr. Norton to make you stop taking those pills. I don't care if your pain does come back. I'd rather you were dead than the way you are now")
  • the dramatic scene of Ed reading from the Bible (following the text with a knife in his hand) and his determination to emulate Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac in the Old Testament: ("And Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son") - when Lou reminded him that God aborted the sacrifice and saved Isaac at the last minute ("But Ed, you didn't read it all. God stopped Abraham") - but Ed replied with an emphatic declaration to his wife: "God was wrong!"
  • after being returned to the hospital for further treatment, in the film's final sequence around his bed, Ed seemed to have been relieved of his psychosis; he described a dream he just had: "I was dreaming. I walked with Lincoln. He was as big and ugly and beautiful as he was in life. Abraham. Abraham!" - he then turned to his son with worry about what he had done to him: "Did I hurt you? I tried to. Are you all right?"; Richie responded: "I'm all right, Dad"; Ed responded: "I remember now. I remember everything that happened"; Dr. Norton reassured him: "That's the way it should be, Ed"
  • the film ended with Ed intensely hugging his family and asking for them to be "closer"; Lou joked: "Ed, you'll have us both in bed," but Ed repeated his desperate request: "That's what I mean. Closer. Closer"

"Ten Feet Tall"

Cracked Bathroom Mirror




At the Dress Shop



The PTA Meeting


Richie Calling the Doctor



Re-enacting Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac


A Happy Ending? - "Closer" and Hugging

The Birds (1963)

In one of Alfred Hitchcock's landmark horror-thriller classics - an apocalyptic tale about an onslaught of seemingly unexplained, arbitrary and chaotic attacks of ordinary birds:

  • the first bird attack in Bodega Bay -- oblivious socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) had just been discovered discreetly delivering a gold birdcage with two green, yellow-headed lovebirds inside, to the house of handsome, virile, bachelor attorney Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) - he was someone she had just met in a SF pet shop; as her skiff approached a dock where he was standing, a seagull "deliberately" and abruptly swept down from the cloudy sky and viciously pecked her in the forehead
  • the many scenes of birds hovering, gathering, and unexpectedly and randomly attacking everywhere in the California coastal town
  • the birthday party scene - held for Mitch's little sister Cathy (Veronica Cartwright) where the young guests were playing a game of blind-man's bluff - when a seagull pecked at Cathy's forehead; in the frightening sequence, other birds swooped down, causing the victimized children to scream and run for cover
  • the eerie scene of a single, out of place sparrow appearing on the Brenner's fireplace hearth during dinner - and then a stream of hundreds of sparrows and other birds infiltrated the room from the chimney to attack the family; Mitch overturned the coffee table, blocked the fireplace entrance, and beat at the birds in flight to confront the situation
Various Bird Attacks
Seagull Attack on Melanie
Cathy's Birthday Party
Brenner Fireplace
  • the scene of Mitch's widowed mother Lydia Brenner's (Jessica Tandy) drive to the farm house of neighbor Dan Fawcett, where she found chaotic damage - a row of broken teacups, bird feathers, two more dead birds, and a disordered bed; on the floor were two bloodied, bare feet sticking out from a pair of shredded pajama pants; in three jump shots that zoomed forward to his face, Dan Fawcett's lifeless body was seen propped in the corner of the room - both of his bloody, darkened eye sockets were empty - plucked out during the bird attack; she emitted an inaudible scream from her open mouth - her Ford truck backfired instead
  • the film's masterpiece - the scene of the silent amassing of birds on a jungle-gym outside a school in the adjacent playground (with children's voices heard singing a sing-song, repetitive nursery rhyme in the background, "Rissle-dy, Rossle-dy", derived from the Scottish folk tune "The Wee Cooper o' Fife"), while Melanie calmly smoked a cigarette when waiting on a bench in front of a white fence; a chilling wind blew in the scene; in a cutaway shot, a single blackbird fluttered and settled on the children's playground jungle-gym behind her; after a change of perspective and a shot of an unawares Melanie lighting her cigarette, four blackbirds were perched on the apparatus; a fifth bird landed, and she looked over her left shoulder - in the wrong direction, but saw nothing; afterwards, the birds seemed to steadily multiply like storm clouds, as Melanie looked twice more to her left without spotting them; then, her eyes noticed a single bird flying across the sky - her gaze followed it toward the jungle gym, now covered by hundreds of birds, with dozens of others perched on a fence and structure behind - before she realized the threat
  • the scene of the full-scale assault of birds upon fleeing school children heeding directions for an orderly fire-drill evacuation; the children quietly filed outside, where the semi-agitated birds were packed tightly together on the playground equipment; hearing the sound of the children's feet frantically running on the pavement down the hill, the flock of birds flew after them - filling the sky by rising up behind the school; the whooshing, flapping sound of the crows intensified the awe and terror, as they descended on the screaming, fleeing children and pecked at their heads; one red-sweatered schoolgirl (Morgan Brittany) fell, shattered her eyeglasses (shown in close-up), and desperately called out for help
  • the scene in town when Melanie and other patrons-spectators watched helplessly and passively from the window in the Tides Restaurant as a bellicose traveling salesman lit a cigar; Melanie suspensefully anticipated his horrible fate: "Look at the gas. That man's lighting a cigar"; when they slid open the window, their symphony of warning screams were misunderstood; he burned his fingers with the lighted match, dropped it in the path of flammable liquid, set off an explosion at his car, and was suddenly engulfed by flames; as everyone watched with fearful paralysis, the fire streaked back toward the service station and exploded in an inferno
  • the impressive overhead aerial view of the town with gulls swarming and looking down on the fiery disaster below
  • the frantic, trapped telephone booth scene, when amidst flames and flapping, screeching birds, Melanie sought shelter in a telephone booth where she was trapped and powerless in a mechanism of communication - like a bird in a cage; a brilliant overhead shot captured her terror-stricken position as she beat her arms around (bird-like) in the enclosure, with birds assaulting her from every direction; a man blinded by the birds (that attacked him as he drove his car) plowed into parked cars and it burst into flames; firefighters arrived bringing firehoses - one out-of-control hose spewed water toward the booth enclosing Melanie and obscured her vision; two horses pulling a wagon without a driver galloped and careened through the street; one individual with a bloodied face and birds attacking his face leaned against the outside of the booth where Melanie was entrapped; two seagulls aimed for her - they smashed into and broke the glass on two sides of the booth
  • the scene of another attack on Melanie in the upper floor (attic) of the Brenner house, when she looked up and saw a gaping hole in the roof - her own mouth widened and she gasped; she raised her flashlight and its wide beam illuminated hundreds of birds - almost blinding her and paralyzing her with fear; as she defensively shielded her eyes and face with upraised arms and hands, the birds swooped down on her and began cutting into her flesh; ineffectually, she reached for the doorknob to escape; the flashlight waved uselessly as a weapon against them; the overpowering, brutal attack, similar to the one in Hitchcock's infamous shower sequence in Psycho, intensified as, in anguish and pain, she breathed heavily and surrendered to their tearing and pecking (there was no music in the scene, only flapping bird sounds); her cool-green outfit was torn apart as she collapsed unconscious next to the door, exclaiming: "Is Cathy in the...?"; Mitch called out for her at the top of the stairs, but struggled to open the door, now blockaded by her body; both Mitch and his mother fought off the birds as Mitch clawed for Melanie's arm and pulled her to safety; Melanie was left traumatized and bloody
  • in the final haunting and ominous ending scene, hundreds of birds sat everywhere as the main characters eased out of the house and carefully drove away - without Hitchcock's typical "THE END"; the Brenner home was infested with observant birds tyrannically claiming it, to imply an unending threat; the triumphant birds appeared to chatter and applaud their conquest


Attack at Fawcett Farm House




Attack at Schoolhouse



Attack on Town



Attack in Brenner Attic


Ominous Ending

The Birth of a Nation (1915)

In this landmark blockbuster epic film from director D.W. Griffith, with incredible Civil War battle scenes resembling historic Matthew Brady photographs:

  • the scene of Benjamin "The Little Colonel" Cameron's (Henry B. Walthall) military assault and the stuffing of a Confederate flag down the barrel of a Union cannon
  • the techniques of closing down the iris of the camera and cameos
  • the touching and poignant scene of Ben's return to his ruined Southern home
Lincoln's Assassination
Flora's Death Jump
The KKK
  • the recreated, skillfully-executed Lincoln assassination scene
  • the tense sequence of 'Little Sister' Flora (Mae Marsh) being chased by 'renegade negro' Gus (Walter Long) into the woods and jumping to her death
  • the image of zealous and heroic Ku Klux Klan on horseback terrorizing blacks and riding to the rescue



Bitter Victory (1957, Fr./US) (aka Amère Victoire)

In Nicholas Ray's powerful, black and white CinemaScopic anti-war drama set during WWII:

  • the opening scene (behind the title credits) set at a British base - a long shot of hanging stuffed dummies or mannequins used by British soldiers for target practice training - book-ended in the closing scene
  • the film's conflict and rivalry between two British officers (both untried in real battle), selected by General Paterson (Anthony Bushell), who were on a risky mission to cross the N. African desert (in Libya) and search for German documents: introverted yet courageous Welsh archaeologist and recruit Captain Jimmy Leith (Richard Burton) and South African-born Major David Brand (Curd Jurgens), a self-absorbed, petty, starchy and by-the-book career soldier-commander ultimately revealed to be a coward
  • the developing love triangle between the jealous Brand, his pretty Army officer wife Jane Brand (Ruth Roman), and her ex-lover Leith - making the story both a romantic and military conflict between the two men
  • the tense sequence of the mission - the two officers were disguised as Arabs, and sent from Cairo, Egypt to break into a safe in General Rommel's Nazi headquarters in Benghazi, to steal secret documents; Leith was forced to stab a sentry to death in the back with a dagger when the cowardly and trembling Brand failed to act
  • Leith was ordered to stay behind at the Benghazi base to care for two seriously wounded men (one a German, another a British soldier in Leith's group); while a bunch of beetles scattered from beneath the dying German's writhing body, Leith shot the man who begged for his life and displayed a family photo: "We were so happy before the war, Help me!", but when the Britisher begged for his own mercy killing ("Hurry up...Don't drag things out. You do what you've got to do. Be quick about it"), the gun clicked empty; he carried the second dying man out of the desert on his back; when he met his old Arab friend and helpful bearded protector Mekrane (Raymond Pellegrin), Leith was told that the soldier he was carrying was a corpse; Leith chuckled crazily and muttered the film's absurdist conclusion: "I kill the living and I save the dead"
Death in the Desert
  • it was basically a failed mission after the acquisition of the documents and Leith's rendezvous with Brand - the return trek in the desert was on foot after their expected camel guides were murdered
  • the lengthy dialogue between Brand and the contemptuous Capt. Leith as they strode across the desert, with Leith's denunciation of Brand's cowardice: "You didn't have the courage to kill the sentry, and you don't have the courage to kill me....You're afraid to go in and kill with your bare hands. That's what makes a soldier and destroys you as a man...You have the Christian decency that forbids killing a dying man, but approves the work of a sharpshooter...So the fine line between war and murder is distance. Anybody can kill at a distance with the same sort of courage that , but when it comes to the dirty work, you have to call in the civilian ...I despise you for the professional coward that you are. You left me in the desert so there wouldn't be any witnesses left to the real Major Brand, didn't you? Therefore, my death becomes essential to you. I'm a kind of mirror of your own weakness, and it's unbearable, isn't it?"; when Brand asked if Leith was goading him to murder, Leith answered: "Perhaps...perhaps because I haven't the courage to do it myself"
  • in a concluding betrayal -- Major Brand neglected to warn Capt. Leith of a deadly scorpion crawling up his pants leg, and he was bitten with a lethal sting; at night, Mekrane vengefully attempted to attack Brand with a knife (holding him responsible for Leith's scorpion bite), but was instead killed by Brand's gunfire
  • Captain Leith (with gangrene setting in) was mercilessly left to die by Brand in the desert - with only some water and a gun; Brand coldly noted his orders: "You must not be captured by the enemy. If it endangers your mission, you're not obliged to save the wounded"; Leith made one final attempt to goad Brand into killing him: "I wonder if you have the courage to finish me off now...You're not the sort of man, Brand, who'd kill for his woman. But you'd murder to stop her from finding out that you're a coward, wouldn't you? Brand - the returning hero. A stuffed dummy with a medal on his chest, and all the witnesses dead.... You're not a man, Brand - you're an empty uniform starched by authority so that it can stand up by itself" - Brand replied: "But I'm standing"; Leith continued: "You know, Brand, for the first time, I almost have some respect for you. You'd better go now. You'll miss the column...If you haven't got the courage to kill me, don't try to save me" - shortly later, Leith perished in a deadly desert sandstorm (ghibli)
  • when Brand returned to the base, his distraught wife asked about the fate of her true love Leith - she was told: "The men think I killed him...I wanted to save him, but it was too late"; upset, she held the arm of one of the mannequin-dummies, as Brand told her Leith's final words: "Tell Jane I love her...Those would have been my last words too"
  • in the ironic conclusion, during a brief ceremony, the undeserving Brand received the Distinguished Service Order Medal - praised as "the hero of Benghazi" - although the mission was in reality a failure; when the medal was being presented, Jane walked out and decided to leave Brand for good
  • in the film's ending, the self-loathing Brand pinned his meaningless medal on the stuffed dummy that Jane had touched






Dagger Stabbing

Brand Carrying Corpse

"I kill the living and I save the dead"



Leith vs. Brand


Brand with wife Jane


Medal Pinned on Mannequin

The Black Cat (1934)

In Edgar Ulmer's dark horror film (suggested by an Edgar Allan Poe story), with surrealistic, moody cinematography and bizarre sets:

  • the most memorable and key sequence - Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Bela Lugosi) (who had suffered during the war as a POW, and was held for 15 years in Siberia by the Russians) was taken on a tour of a tomb-like mausoleum in the dark cellar of his host - the treacherous but famed architect Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff); Werdegast was shown the perfectly-embalmed body of his beloved ex-wife Karen (Lucille Lund) who had been stolen away by Poelzig after he had allegedly betrayed Werdegast to the enemy; Poelzig had kept a transparent glass-encased display of her body (among many others), positioned upright and floating or in suspended animation within the sarcophagus; he boasted that he had preserved her for all eternity: "Now you see, Vitus, I have cared for her tenderly and well. You will find her almost as beautiful as when you last saw her. She died two years after the war...Is she not beautiful? I wanted to have her beauty - always. I loved her too, Vitus"
  • completely devastated by the sight, Werdegast's intentions were to immediately kill Poelzig with a drawn revolver - for lying and for murdering his wife Karen, but the cat-phobic Werdegast was halted by the frightening appearance of a black cat
  • then, at the end of this superb long sequence, as they both started to go back towards the spiral iron staircase, the subjective camera became Poelzig and followed his slow and gliding path; Poelzig gently talked to the broken doctor in a memorable, world-weary monologue with a ponderous voice, comparing them both to living ghosts of the war: "Come, Vitus. Are we men or are we children? Of what use are all these melodramatic gestures? You say your soul was killed and that you have been dead all these years. And what of me? Did we not both die here in Marmorus fifteen years ago? Are we any the less victims of the war than those whose bodies were torn asunder? Are we not both the living dead? And now you come to me, playing at being an avenging angel - childishly thirsty for my blood. We understand each other too well. We know too much of life. We shall play a little game, Vitus. A game of death, if you like. But under any circumstances, we shall have to wait until these people have gone, until we are alone"
  • the expressionistic scene of devil-cult priest-worshipper Poelzig holding a ritualistic Black Mass in his Central European home in Hungary for fellow Satanists; Poelzig stood on a simple altar behind a sideways double cross, where he was about to perform a human sacrifice of house guest Joan Alison (Julie Bishop as Jacqueline Wells) to the Devil, but she was saved
Torture/Revenge - Skinned Alive
  • the conclusion featured the terrible torture-revenge of Werdegast skinning his victim Poelzig alive with a scalpel on an embalming torture rack (the victim's manacled hands were seen in dark silhouette on the wall): "Do you know what I am going to do to you now? No? Did you ever see an animal skinned, Hjalmar? Ha, ha, ha. That's what I'm going to do to you now - flay/tear the skin from your body...slowly...bit by bit!...How does it feel to hang on your own embalming rack, Hjalmar?"
  • at the last moment, Werdegast proposed to destroy both of them by detonating explosives left over from the war by throwing a switch: "It's the red switch, isn't it, Hjalmar? The red switch ignites the dynamite. (He activated one of the large switches) Five minutes and Marmaros, you and I, and your rotten cult will be no more...It has been a good game" - Poelzig's house was reduced to rubble and the two of them perished inside

Embalmed Wife Karen


Werdegast vs. Poelzig

Black Cat

Are we not both the living dead?


Devil Cult Worship - Black Mass

Destructive Explosion

Black God, White Devil (1964, Brazil) (Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol)

In Glauber Rocha's allegorical, stark black and white crime drama/western - a socio-political statement (about the brutalized working class) with mystical and religious Biblical elements; it emerged as one of the most influential Brazilian films of all-time (one of the revolutionary examples of Cinema Novo):

  • set in the 1940s in scorched and drought-plagued Brazil, the scene of an oppressed, illiterate peasant-cowhand Manuel (Geraldo Del Rey) who accidentally and self-defensively murdered his cheating landlord during an argument about money, and then fled as a fugitive with his patient, long-suffering wife Rosa (Yoná Magalhães)
  • their joining of the pilgrimage of self-proclaimed, mystic saint - the black preacher-prophet Sebastião (Lidio Silva) (the Black God of the film's title) who promoted social upheaval, violence, and other disturbing utopian doctrines (including human sacrifice) due to his apocalyptic visions (about the raining of gold)
  • the Sisyphus myth scene - the sight of Manuel carrying a huge rock on his head while climbing the mystical mountain of Monte Santo on his knees, next to Sebastiao
  • the infant sacrificial sequence during a solar eclipse when Rosa became possessed, and Sebastiao - during a ritual before a candle-lit altar - slaughtered her newborn baby in Manuel's arms by silently sticking a long sword into it; he then smeared blood on Rosa's forehead in the sign of the cross with the bloody implement; in retaliation, Rosa killed Sebastiao by stabbing him in the back (and then once in the stomach) with a dagger in front of the altar
The Sacrificial Murder of Manuel's and Rosa's Infant and Her Retaliation
  • Manuel's joined up with the gang of fierce, nomadic outlaw bandolero Captain Corisco (Othon Bastos) (the White Devil of the film's title) - he was recognizable wearing a Napoleonic-styled hat with dangling coins; Corisco was the sworn enemy of hired assassin Antonio das Mortes (Mauririo Do Valle) who represented the forces of the Catholic Church and landowners against the bandits
  • the film's cyclical ending after a deadly showdown - after Antonio killed Corisco at close range with his shot-gun, Manuel and Rosa took to their third flight across the barren land after another act of violence

Manuel (Geraldo Del Rey)


Sisyphus Myth Scene


Bandolero Capt. Corisco

Another Flight After A Deadly Showdown

Black Narcissus (1947, UK)

In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's dazzling, Technicolored cinematic masterpiece and religious-psychological drama:

  • the breath-taking imagery and Technicolor cinematography of the Himalayan palace with a bell tower (once a bordello) on the edge of a precipice (although the film was mostly shot on a British sound stage), where five Anglican-British nuns lived in the remote setting
  • the provocative and censor-defying dance through the palace by beautiful, alluring, orphaned, lower-caste local Indian maiden Kanchi (18 year-old Jean Simmons in her second major film role); later, she closed her eyes and sensuously smelled the perfumed essence (of black narcissus) of the Himalayan general's son Dilip Rai (Sabu), known as "the Young General"
  • the central character - devout, chaste and pious Sister Superior Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), who was repressing a failed romance she had left at home in Ireland, although reminded and tormented by it - and reliving her sexual frustrations through a series of sense-stimulated memories that jolted her memory - she admitted that she was being seduced by her environment: "I had forgotten everything until I came here": [Note: the offending four segments were edited out of the film's original release, at the behest of the Catholic Legion of Decency]
    - during prayers, a view of a brilliant blue sky through an open window triggered, through a dissolve, a memory of waves on a sparkling lake during a romantic idyll with suitor Con (Shaun Noble) while fishing
    - a dog barking brought back another sight of fox-hunting hounds leading a group of horse-riders, including Sister Clodagh and Con on horseback
    - a mention of the words: "grandmother's footstool" brought back a memory of her own grandmother's emerald necklace in a case on a footstool, which was promised to her by her granny (Margaret Scudamore): "These emeralds are for you, my darling, when you marry"
    - the singing of Christmas hymns (i.e., "Noel") during services invoked a thought of Christmas-caroling, arm-in-arm with her suitor Con on a wintry night back in Ireland
Sister Clodagh's Flashbacks to Former Life
  • the scenes with the mentally-insane character of a sexually-conflicted and starved Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron) who turned mad with lust for British government intermediary Mr. Dean (David Farrar)
  • Sister Ruth's climactic nervous breakdown and confrontational scene with Sister Clodagh - when she wore a forbidden red dress after renouncing her nunhood; Sister Clodagh begged: ("I know that you've left the order. I only want to stop you from doing something that you'll be sorry for"); as a symbolic statement of her break from the nunnery, Sister Ruth sensuously applied bright red lipstick in Sister Clodagh's presence
Insane Sister Ruth
Reaction to Sister Ruth's
Death-Fall
  • the cathartic ending scene in which intended victim Sister Clodagh was saved from death as she grabbed hold of the belltower rope after being pushed toward the precipice by jealous and vengeful Sister Ruth, who lost her balance and fell during the lethal struggle

The Himalayan Bell Tower


Kanchi


Sister Clodagh





Sister Ruth vs. Sister Clodagh

The Black Pirate (1926)

In this landmark, silent two-strip Technicolored classic swashbuckler buccaneer tale by director Albert Parker, one of the first great pirate movies:

  • the greatest rapier and dagger dueling scene ever captured between a pirate captain (Anders Randolf) and vengeful "Michel" - the Black Pirate (aka The Duke of Arnoldo) (Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.)
  • his rescue of the Princess Isobel (Billie Dove)
  • the super-spectacular stunt of the Black Pirate's ride down a ship's two canvas sails/drapes on the tip of his knife to reach the lower deck

Dueling Scene

Princess Isobel

Riding Down a Ship's Sail

The Black Stallion (1979)

In director Carol Ballard's beautifully-photographed children's-oriented adventure film, almost dialogue free:

  • young boy Alec Ramsey (Kelly Reno) and his first encounter with a wild, black Arabian stallion horse on board a ship, and his befriending of the creature by secretly feeding it sugar cubes through an open porthole
  • the scenes of the boy and horse shipwrecked on a deserted island - and Alec's freeing of the horse who was caught up and entangled in ropes
  • Alec's scary face-to-face encounter with a cobra, when he was suddenly saved by the black stallion
  • the scenes of their wariness toward each other, and then emotional bonding on the beach after Alec mounted the horse and rode him
Two Triumphant Moments
  • the climactic finale, a horsetrack race when - after working with Henry Dailey (Mickey Rooney) an elderly horse trainer, Alec rode the Black Stallion to victory - as he remembered riding on the beach with the gorgeous animal


Boy and Horse Onboard Ship


On the Island

Blade Runner (1982)

In director Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic - an imaginative, film-noirish and futuristic sci-fi melodrama, adapted from a Philip K. Dick novel, that told about a decaying and dreary Los Angeles in the year 2019:

  • the fiery apocalyptic view of Los Angeles ("Neo-Tokyo") in the dystopic 21st century with hover cars, gigantic skyscrapers, electronic holographic advertisement-billboards on floating crafts, etc. - reflected in a single human eye in the film's opening
  • the film's first glimpse in the rainy drizzle of the blade runner-hero Deckard (Harrison Ford) reading a newspaper against a store display window
  • the scene in which Deckard informed unknowing replicant Rachael (Sean Young) that she wasn't human
  • the love scene between Deckard and Rachael when he slammed her against venetian blinds; he cornered her there and finally broke her down with a kiss; he then instructed the android on how to reciprocate his love, although she protested - unsure of her romantic capability; he instructed her on love until she, on her own, told him to put his hands on her, and continue their love-making
  • the chase through the busy streets after exotic replicant snake lady Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) who was wearing a transparent raincoat - and her slow-motion death amidst shattering glass and blood, when she crashed through plate glass windows before her shard-covered death, after she was repeatedly shot by Deckard
Spectacular Deaths of Replicants
Zhora
Pris
Roy Batty
  • the exciting scene of acrobatic replicant Pris' (Daryl Hannah) hiding among dolls and then her attempt to crush Deckard's head between her thighs, before he was able to shoot her in the stomach - she died an agonizing death, screeching as her limbs flailed spastically; later after finding her corpse with her lifeless tongue protruding from her mouth, teary-eyed and grieving lead replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) - in a sensual, intimate farewell moment in the obliquely-cold film, sadly and soulfully kissed his dead lover's lips and caressed her tongue; when he pulled away from her mouth, he repositioned her tongue within her mouth so that she didn't die looking like an animal
  • the sequence of Roy's brutal killing of Tyrell (Joe Turkel) who was responsible for the creation of the replicants; Roy, the "prodigal son", reverently touched Tyrell's cheek with one hand, and placed his strong hands on both sides of Tyrell's face and kissed his replicant God - his 'father' Tyrell, passionately on the lips [Note: a reference to the Jesus/Judas betrayal in the New Testament, with a kiss.]; with his powerful bare hands and a look of utter contempt and pathos, Roy suddenly crushed and caved in his maker's skull with superhuman strength and gouged his eyes (!) out as Tyrell screamed - with blood oozing out of his eye sockets
  • the final vivid and brutal chase scene between Roy Batty and Deckard - through Sebastian's apartment and onto the rooftop, and Deckard's rescue from the edge of the building
  • Roy's climactic, mournful and poignant soliloquy: ("I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die....") as he expired in the rain and a white dove flew upward - supplemented by Deckard's musings and narration: "I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life - anybody's life. My life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where do I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die"
  • the final sequence when Deckard's fellow cop Gaff (Edward James Olmos) left a shiny, silver, tin-foil origami of a unicorn outside Deckard's apartment - one of Gaff's sculptured, calling-card creations; Gaff had spared replicant Rachael's life when he had the chance to kill her; Gaff's words about her short time to live were recalled to Deckard (as he held up the origami creation): "It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?"; Deckard joined love interest Rachael in the elevator as they left to escape the law into an uninhabited wilderness with blue skies; a final voice-over narration (in a tacked-on 1982 version) explained that Rachael was a special replicant without a pre-set or fixed termination date: ("Gaff had been there, and let her live. Four years, he figured. He was wrong. Tyrell had told me Rachael was special: no termination date. I didn't know how long we had together. Who does?")


Los Angeles Cityscape



Kissing Scene

Roy with Pris' Corpse


Death of Tyrell

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

In this made-to-look-like camcorder video/documentary film by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez:

  • the scene of the close-up, teary confessional of amateur film student Heather (Heather Donahue) in the glare of a flashlight in the Maryland woods ("I just want to apologize to Mike's mom, and Josh's mom, and my mom, and I'm sorry to everyone. I was very naive. (Scared and looking away from camera) I am so, so sorry for everything that has happened. Because in spite of what Mike says now, it is my fault because it was my project, and I insisted, I insisted on everything. I insisted that we weren't lost. I insisted that we keep going. I insisted that we walk south. Everything had to be my way, and this is where we've ended up. And it's all because of me that we're here now. Hungry, cold, and hunted. I love you mom and dad. I am so sorry. (hyperventilating and crying) What was that? I'm scared to close my eyes and I'm scared to open them. (more hyperventilating and sobbing) I'm gonna die out here")
  • the view of kiddie-handprints on the wall (the Blair Witch myth told about children killed many years earlier)
  • the final ambiguous shot in which Mike (Michael Williams) was seen standing motionless facing a wall in a corner (was he drugged, semi-conscious, or propped up dead, in order to distract the next victim?)
  • the film's final ambiguous POV shot accompanied by the sounds of "thwack", "thump", and "crash" as Heather's camcorder hit the ground (after she was attacked and killed?) - the camera was broken, but continued filming -- before the end credits appeared

Heather's Teary-eyed Goodbye

Handprints on Wall

Mike Against Wall in Corner of Basement

Blazing Saddles (1974)

In Mel Brooks' western spoof:

  • in the scene of a town meeting in Rock Ridge's church, Reverend Johnson's warning: ("Well, I don't have to tell you good folks what has been happening here in our beloved town. Sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, people stampeded and cattle raped! Now the time has come to act. And act fast! I'm leaving"); he was interrupted by a grizzly mountaineer named Gabby Johnson (Jack Starrett), who argued unintelligibly in a speech composed of "frontier gibberish" about remaining steadfastly in town: ("You get back here, you old pious, candy-ass sidewinder! There ain't no way that nobody is gonna leave this town! Hell, I was born here, and I was raised here and dadgum it, I'm gonna die here! And no sidewinder, bushwhacking, hornswoggling, cracker croaker, is gonna ruin me biscuit-cutter!")
  • the scene of near-sighted Governor Le Petomane's (Mel Brooks) nuzzling his way into bosomy secretary Miss Stein's (Robyn Hilton) cleavage while being advised by villainous Attorney General Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman)
  • the scene in which Hedley was recruiting men to assault the town - when the Waco Kid (Gene Wilder) pretended to capture and hold up Black Bart (Cleavon Little) as bait: ("Oh, boys! Lookee what I got hereuh") for two Ku Klux Klan members so that they could steal their white robes - with Bart's mock-dumb (racially-stereotyped) taunt: "Hey! Where are the white women at?"
  • the scene of the new Sheriff Black Bart's warning to the townsfolk as he reached down into the front of his pants for his acceptance speech: "Excuse me while I whip this out" - to the sound of their gaspings
  • the infamous gas-passing, bean-eating scene around the campfire by flatulent cowboys
Unique Characters
The Waco Kid (Gene Wilder) and Black Bart (Cleavon Little)
Taggart (Slim Pickens) and AG Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman)
Mongo
(Alex Karras)
  • Hedley's request of cowpoke Taggart (Slim Pickens): ("I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the west. Take this down....I want rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists") - with Taggart's dumbfounded response: "Could you repeat that, sir?"
  • the scene in which infamous thug Mongo (Alex Karras) entered Rock Ridge riding an ox, then later punched out a horse with a bare, single-fisted punch
  • saloon singer Lili Von Shtupp's (Madeline Kahn) exquisite parody of Marlene Dietrich's "Frenchy" from Destry Rides Again (1939), when on stage at the Rock Ridge Saloon, she performed an off-key version of I'm Tired, parodying Marlene Dietrich's Falling in Love Again with a world-weary Germanic, monotoned accent and a lisp; in the lyrics, she asked one of the drooling cowboys: "Hello, handsome, is that a ten-gallon hat - or are you just enjoying the show?" (a variation of one of Mae West's most infamous pronouncements)
  • after Lili's performance, her seduction scene with sheriff Black Bart when she parodied Jean Harlow in Hell's Angels (1930): ("Won't you excuse me for a moment while I slip into something a little bit more comfortable?"); after the lights were turned out, she asked Bart if black men were "gifted," and went to investigate his physical endowments in the dark - she was memorably impressed: "Tell me, schatzie [affectionate German nickname meaning sweetheart, little treasure or little dear one], is it twue what they say about the way you people are gifted? (A loud zipper noise signaled that his fly was opened.) Oh, it's twue. It's twue. It's twue. It's twue..."
  • the climactic production of a pseudo-Busby Berkeley musical number ("The French Mistake") with an all-gay cast of men in black tuxedos and top hats, directed by effeminate choreographer Buddy Bizarre (Dom DeLuise); the choreographer criticized the dancers and demanded that they watch his own flawed demonstration: "Just watch me. It's so simple, you sissy Marys! Give me the playback! And watch me, faggots" - the chorus sang as he stumbled around: "Throw out your hands Stick out your tush Hands on your hips Give 'em a push You'll be surprised You're doing the French Mistake! Voila!"


Rev. Johnson and Gabby Johnson

Gov. Le Petomane and Miss Stein

Black Bart: "Excuse me while I whip this out"

Bean-Eating Campfire Scene


Lili Von Shtupp
(Madeline Kahn)


Buddy Bizarre
(Dom DeLuise)

Blitz Wolf (1942) (animation short)

In Tex Avery's debut short film (almost ten minutes in length) at MGM, a propagandistic version of Disney's Three Little Pigs (1933) - with the character of a wolfish Adolf Hitler:

  • the modified MGM logo, with the trademark lion Tanner's roaring in four short bursts, to the tune of "Hold That Tiger"
  • the cartoon's Foreword: "The Wolf in this photoplay is NOT fictitious. Any similarity between this Wolf and that (*!!*--%) jerk Hitler is purely intentional!"; P.S. The auto tires used in this photoplay are fictitious." AND WE AIN'T KIDDIN' BROTHER!
  • the traditional story of the three pigs preparing for an invasion of Pigmania by the Wolf: one built his house of straw, one of sticks, and the third (built by Sergeant Pork, a nod to Sergeant York (1941)) resembled a bunker with cannons and armaments
  • the two naive pigs taunted their ditch-digging pal, with a 'fill-in-the-blanks' pause and freeze-frame during the song: ("You're in the Army now, You're not behind a plow, You're diggin' a ditch, ................... (a bitch!), You're in the Army now"); they had signed a worthless Non-Aggression Pact with the Wolf
  • the salivating Wolf's arrival in an armored tank limousine, labeled: DER FEWER (DER BETTER), who held up a sign to the audience, breaking the fourth wall: "GO ON AND HISS! WHO CARES" - and was pelted with tomatoes; and his sneaky, tip-toeing and goose-stepping salute and approach to the homes of the three pigs
  • the Wolf's huffing and puffing at the first pig's house, talking in garbled German (with slightly inaccurate subtitles): "Open up the door, Schnitzel!! Or I'll huff - And I'll puff - And I'll blow your house in!" - and the Wolf blew it down with a DER MECHANIZED HUFFER UND PUFFER
  • the many silly gags, such as the first house of straw blown down, with two signs: "GONE WITH THE WIND" and "Corny Gag Isn't It?", or the hot-foot incendiary bomb, and the labels on the B-bombers, or the listening device with human ears attached
  • the slightly objectionable use of labels for the enemy: NO JAPS ALLOWED, and the prophetic destruction of the island of Japan (and Tokyo) with a massive bomb, followed by a sign popping out of the water: "DOOLITTLE DOOD IT!"
  • the sexual innuendo in the joke about rejuvenating a flaccid cannon barrel with a dose of Vitamin B-1, and the repulsion and deactivation of incoming shells with a copy of ESQUIRE Magazine (with a pin-up on the cover)
  • the conclusion when a bomb drove the Wolf deep into the hot center of the Earth, and he rhetorically asked: "Where am I? Have I been blown to (Hell)?" and a group of red devils with pitchforks answered in unison: "Umm-ya, it's a possibility!" (a catchphrase of the time, attributed to comedian Jerry Colonna)
  • the end credits added two signs: "THE END of ADOLF" and "If You'll Buy a Stamp or Bond - We'll Skin That Skunk Across the Pond!"



The Three Pigs


Wolf in a Tank

At the First Pig's House

At the Third Pig's House

The Bombing of Japan

The Blob (1958)

In this low-budget, campy teen, alien invasion horror B-flick from director Irvin Shortess Yeaworth, Jr., featuring the first major starring role of a young Steve McQueen:

  • the scene of Steve (Steve McQueen) and teenaged girlfriend Judy (Aneta Corseaut) who tried to convince Pennsylvania townspeople and police officials that an amorphous, gelatinous, protoplasmic, purplish-red alien Blob was attacking: ("Well, it's kind of like - kind of like a mass. It keeps getting bigger and bigger")
  • the memorable scenes of the Blob menacing a medical facility, a car mechanic, a supermarket, and the Downingtown Diner
  • the Blob's assault on a movie projectionist's booth during a midnight movie theatre show at the Colonial featuring Daughter of Horror (1955) (aka Dementia) - causing teenaged movie-goers to scream and race out into the street

Steve and Judy


Blonde Venus (1932)

In director Josef von Sternberg's melodrama:

  • the opening sequence in which Helen Faraday (Marlene Dietrich) and her friends were frolicking and skinny-dipping, but their nudity was teasingly obscured by tree branches when spied upon by a group of nearby tourist hikers
  • the memorable entrance sequence in a jazzy German nightclub (to the beat of an African drum) in which singer Helen opened the cabaret show by first appearing in a full-body gorilla suit as a chained ape, led into the audience by chorus girls (carrying shields and spears) adorned with war paint on their faces and wearing large black afro wigs
Memorable Revealing Striptease
  • the revelation of Helen via a striptease - at first she removed one glove to show off her human hand with bracelets, and then the second glove, followed by the removal of the gorilla head-piece; she placed a blonde Afro wig on her head before singing "Hot Voodoo" in a throaty voice - as she stood with hands on her hips before the chorus line of archetypal 'native' dancers --
    the lyrics:

    "Did you ever happen to hear of voodoo? Hear it and you won't give a damn what you do Tom-tom's put me under a sort of voodoo And the whole night long I dont know the right from wrong
    Hot voodoo, black as mud Hot voodoo, in my blood That African tempo has made a slave Hot voodoo, dance of sin Hot voodoo, worse than gin I'd follow a cave man right into his cave..."

Skinny-Dipping


Gorilla and Chorus Girls

Blood Simple (1984)

In this Coen Brothers film-noir:

  • the recurring shots of putrifying fish
  • the absolutely horrifying scene in a barren and remote dirt field of small-town bartender Ray (John Getz) burying alive a mortally-wounded Texas strip-bar owner Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya), Abby's (Frances McDormand) husband
  • the sensational climax - a cat and mouse pursuit in Abby's apartment (she thought it was her husband Marty: ("I'm not afraid of you, Marty," she said matter-of-factly)), in which super-sleazy detective and hired assassin Visser (M. Emmet Walsh) had his hand impaled on a window sill with a knife and struggled to pull his hand free - and then shot bullet holes in the wall that let through beams of light
  • as Visser lay dying on the floor in the next room with a gunshot to the abdomen, he burst into laughter with the film's final line: "Well, ma'am, if I see him, I'll sure give him the message"; he died with a view of the sink's dripping plumbing above him
Visser's Painful Death



Live Burial of Julian Marty

Blow Out (1981)

In this twisty Brian De Palma thriller:

  • the participatory scene in which sound F/X recorder Jack Terri (John Travolta) listened to a recorded sound tape he had made (of a political candidate's murder involving a car's tire popping and screeching before it plunged off a deserted Philadelphia road in a fatal accidental crash)
  • the scene of Jack's discovery that there was a gunman in the bushes who had shot the left front tire to cause the crash - evidence of a conspiracy
Examining the Sound Tape for Evidence of a Cover-Up (Gunman in Bushes)
  • the climactic, violent pursuit scene during a surreal Liberty Day Jubilee 1981 celebration in Philadelphia with fireworks during which the injured Jack reached serial killer Burke ("The Liberty Bell Strangler") (John Lithgow) who had just killed wired friend Sally Bedina (Nancy Allen); he was able to stab Burke with his own weapon, and then grieved over Sally's lifeless body
The Violent Ending
  • in the ending, the ironic - haunting and sad - use of Sally's recorded 'perfect scream' for a shower-scene in an exploitation slasher film: (Producer: "Now that's a scream!")

Sound Effects Technician Jack Terri (John Travolta)

The Fatal Car Crash

Burke: The Liberty Bell Strangler

Sally's Death Scream Used on Soundtrack

Blowup (1966, UK)

In Michelangelo Antonioni's breakthrough, absorbing first English language film, set in mod-Swinging 60s London:

  • the scene in a swinging London photographer's studio where hip, disinterested, often introverted and jaded fashion photographer Thomas (David Hemmings) engaged in a frenzied camera-shoot scene with various 'birds' - including skinny, writhing model Veruschka (Herself) during a solo shoot, urging her orgasmically as he straddled her on the floor with his phallic camera: "On your back. Go on. Yes. Now really give it. Come on. Come on. Work, work, work! Great. Great. And again. Come on. Back. Back. Arms up. Arms up. Stretch yourself, little lady. Great. And again. Go on. Go. Go. That's great. That's it! Keep it up. Lovely. Yeah, make it come. Great. No, no, head up, head up. Now for me, love. For me. Now! Now! Yes! Yes! Yes!"
  • the scene of Thomas innocently following and taking photographs in a serene East London park, first of pigeons, a litter collector, wind blowing through trees, and the wide expanse of green grass, and then he came upon what he thought was a tryst between lovers (a distant view of a young woman and a middle-aged man embracing); he furtively captured the scene in his voyeuristic camera, but then the woman approached angrily and protested his intrusion on their privacy: ("Stop it. Stop it! Give me those pictures. You can't photograph people like that...This is a public place. Everyone has a right to be left in peace"); when she tried to grab his camera away, he refused: "What's the rush?"; afterwards, she ran off, and stood momentarily by a distant tree
  • the sequence of the Girl (Vanessa Redgrave) from the park desperately and seductively asking for the film; she bargained for Thomas' roll of incriminating film that he had shot of her in a public park with an unidentified, middle-aged man; she eventually offered sexual favors after going topless; Thomas gave her a roll of film, but kept the one she wanted
  • the exciting montage of the stages of the pictures' development, printing and magnified enlargement in the darkroom scene - especially when Thomas believed he saw a shadowy figure and a hand holding a gun in the bushes behind a fence, and possibly a dead body
  • the controversial sequence of Thomas' encounter with two naked, naive young wanna-be teenage models or "dolly birds" (blonde Jane Birkin and brunette Gillian Hills) in his studio (39), when they stopped by on their second visit; while trying on clothes, the skinny blonde was stripped of her clothes by Thomas, and then she wrestled her dark-haired friend and she was stripped too, claiming: "She's got a better figure than me"; eventually in a pre-threesome orgy sequence, the trio ended up frolicking and rolling around on an extended roll of purple backdrop paper
The Wrestling/Orgy Scene with Two Teens
  • during Thomas' return nighttime visit to the park, the haunting sound of the wind blowing through the trees - and his discovery of the scene of the murder and a man's prone corpse next to a tree
  • upon his return to his photographic studio, the shocking realization that someone had stolen the majority of his negatives and prints of the incident - and later his return to the park the next day to find the body missing
  • the final enigmatic scene of a group of mimes playing a mute game of tennis with an invisible, non-existent tennis ball on a tennis court (the soundtrack picked up the sound of the tennis ball however) - Thomas joined in the game (and threw the imaginary ball back to them)
  • the film ended with an aerial view of Thomas standing at a distance in the middle of a grassy field in the park near the tennis court, with his camera in his hand; he faded from view just before the words THE END zoomed forward

















100's of the GREATEST SCENES AND MOMENTS
(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
M4
| 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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