Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

The Matrix (1999)

In Andy and Larry Wachowski's first remarkable film in a series of three futuristic sci-fi action films:

  • the zoom-shot into dripping Japanese-like characters in the film's opening
  • the scene of the questioning of obsessed computer software hacker Thomas 'Neo' Anderson (Keanu Reeves) in a white room after being seized by a sinister agent with a dark suit and sunglasses, Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), and a proposed bargain - they would "wipe the slate clean" if Neo would cooperate in bringing Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), "the most dangerous man alive" - to justice: ("As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number. You pay your taxes. And you help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers where you go by the hacker alias 'Neo' and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future. And one of them does not") - and when Neo asked to make a phone call, Agent Smith threatened: ("You're going to help us, Mr. Anderson, whether you want to or not")
Agent Smith to Thomas "Neo" Anderson:
"You're going to help us, Mr. Anderson, whether you want to or not"
  • the scene in an upper floor of a dilapidated hotel, where rebellion leader Morpheus gave a description of The Matrix (a massive AI system) to cyber-messiah Neo: ("The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. (Neo asked: "What truth?") That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back"
  • Morpheus' choice for Neo: a contrast between what was real and not real by the choice of a pill (a red one and a blue one, in his open hands and reflected in his glasses): ("You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Remember, all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more. (Neo chose the red pill and swallowed it) Follow me")
  • the sequence of Neo being disconnected or "unplugged" from the Matrix, after Morpheus asked him: ("What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?") - suddenly Neo (in a liquid-filled pod and connected to wires to suck out his life force energy) was unplugged from the main cable connected at the back of his neck, and freed; and he was brought onboard Morpheus' hovercraft the Nebuchadnezzar and freed, where he was greeted: "Welcome to the real world"
Neo In Liquid Filled Pod, Literally Plugged
Into and Harvested as an Energy-Producing Battery
  • the exciting sequence of Neo training in various combat skills and martial arts via downloads of virtual combat (Jujitsu, Kempo, Tae Kwon Do, Drunken Boxing, etc.) - and personally facing Morpheus in a kung fu competition
  • Neo's encounter with gifted young child Potentials, one of whom showed him how to bend a spoon, and then imparted wisdom: ("Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth...There is no spoon...Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends. It is only yourself")
  • the scene during Agent Smith's capture of Morpheus and his speech that human beings were a virus: ("Human beings are a disease. A cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are the cure"), and his intense brow-beating to extract the access codes to the mainframe of Zion: ("I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it. I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell. If there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink. And every time I do, I fear that I have somehow been infected by it. (He wiped sweat from Morpheus' forehead onto the tips of his fingers, and had Morpheus smell it.) It's repulsive. Isn't it? (He tightly held Morpheus' head between his hands). I must get out of here. I must get free. And in this mind is the key. My key. Once Zion is destroyed, there is no need for me to be here. Do you understand? I need the codes. I have to get inside Zion and you have to tell me how. You're going to tell me or you're going to die" (He gouged his fingers into Morpheus' flesh))
  • the spectacular action sequence inside the Matrix, set in the lobby of a high-rise - a massive gunfight between the Chosen One (Neo), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) (both wearing long trenchcoats, sunglasses, and black boots) and a group of soldiers-guards
  • the gripping sequences of a showdown on the rooftop of the high-rise that defied gravity ("bullet time") with Neo's mid-air, limbo-style freeze-frames of the dodging of CGI bullet shots and super-heroic gunfight against shape-shifting Agent Smith, before their exciting rescue by helicopter
  • the climactic underground abandoned subway station confrontation between Agent Smith and Neo when he was ambushed - the two engaged in a long kick-boxing struggle (involving some gravity-defying mid-air conflict and "bullet-time" acrobatics)
  • the exciting sequence of the rescue of Morpheus, when both Morpheus and Trinity safely exited the Matrix, but Agent Smith ambushed, shot and killed Neo before he could leave; at the same time in the real world, machines called Sentinels attacked the Nebuchadnezzar; Trinity whispered to Neo that he couldn't be dead because she loved him and that the Oracle had told her that she would fall in love with the One; she kissed Neo and he revived with the power to perceive and control the Matrix; Neo stood up, raised his arm, and the palm of his hand resisted more of the agents' bullets in mid-air; as the One, Neo finally understood that the bullets fired against him were not real - he saw the Matrix as it really was -- solely lines of downward-streaming computer code (or 'digital rain'); Neo then singlehandedly and effortlessly conquered Agent Smith's attack and destroyed him; when the remainder of the agents fled, Neo returned to the Nebuchadnezzar as the EMP (emergency self-destruct system) was deployed, producing a blast of white light to kill off the attacking Sentinels
Agent Smith Shooting and Killing Neo in the Matrix
Neo Revived From Death by Trinity's Kiss

Neo Restored and Resisting Bullets
Destruction of Agent Smith
  • the concluding voice-over of Neo in the film's short epilogue, shown as a cursor moving on a black screen, as he made a telephone call from a phone booth in a busy part of the downtown area, within the Matrix, and promised to save the people imprisoned in the Matrix: ("I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid. You're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you")
Neo's Threatening Phone Call
Neo Flying Away
  • when the call was completed, he hung up, stepped out of the booth, donned his sunglasses, and flew off straight up

Morpheus: "The Matrix is Everywhere"

Neo's Choice Between Two Pills

Neo's Training in Martial Arts

Bent Spoon

Agent Smith's Threatening Speech to Morpheus

Massive Gunfight and Bullet-Time

Smith vs. Neo

Sentinel (a Search and Destroy Gatekeeper for the Matrix)

The Matrix: Green Lines of Code

A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (1946, UK)

In Powell and Pressburger's ("The Archers") romantic fantasy:

  • the narrated, voice-over beginning: ("It's night over Europe. The night of the 2nd of May, 1945. That point of fire is a burning city. It had a thousand-bomber raid an hour ago. And here, rolling in over the Atlantic is a real English fog. I hope all our aircraft got home safely. Even the big ships sound frightened. Listen to all the noises in the air")
  • the opening sequence of a radio distress call by squadron leader pilot Peter D. Carter (David Niven) delivered within a burning British RAF bomber plane -- as he fell in love with American, Boston-born WAC radio operator June (Kim Hunter) before leaping without a parachute: ("Position nil. Repeat, nil. Age 27. 27. You get that? That's very important. Education interrupted. Violently interrupted. Religion, Church of England. Politics, Conservative by nature, Labour by experience...I can't give you my position. Instruments gone, crew gone too. All except Bob here, my sparks. He's dead. The rest all bailed out on my orders. Time 03.35. You get that?...Name's not G, George, it's P, Peter. Peter D. Carter. D's for David. Squadron Leader Peter Carter. No, I'm not gonna land - undercarriage is gone. Inner port's on fire. I'm bailing out presently, I'm bailing out... Yes June, I'm bailing out. I'm bailing out, but there's a catch. I've got no parachute....Hello, June, don't be afraid. It's quite simple. We've had it and I'd rather jump than fry. After the first thousand feet, what's the difference? I shan't know anything, anyway. I hope I haven't frightened you....I'll be a ghost and come and see you! You're not frightened of ghosts are you?...I was lucky to get you, June. Can't be helped about the parachute. I'll have wings soon anyway, big white ones... I'm signing off now, June. Goodbye. Goodbye, June")
  • his waking up - still alive - after landing back on Earth - and meeting June on an English beach as she was bicycling home: ("You're Peter! How did you get here? I'm glad you're safe. What did you do? What happened?...Are you hurt?...Oh, there's a little cut in your hair, nothing much. Oh, Peter, it was a cruel joke....I've been crying so ever since we said goodbye")
  • the discrepancy reported in heaven's celestial court: ("91,716 invoiced, 91,715 checked in") - as Conductor 71 (a guillotined French Revolution aristocrat), an Other World escort, explained the problem: ("Everything was calculated except for the accursed fog! The pilot jumped, he got lost in the fog, I missed him")
  • the view of the marvelous ascending stairway into the heavens (the heaven sequences were filmed in B/W) lined with statues of famous people (Lincoln, Plato, Richelieu, Solomon), as Peter and Conductor 71 rode up - the statues represented potential counsels for Peter for his upcoming trial, but Peter balked at all of them: ("It sounds a grand idea to have all these great men to choose from, but what do they know of our problems today?...Besides, I think it ought to be an Englishman. Nobody famous, but somebody with his head screwed on all right")
  • the startling POV shot through his huge closing eyelid when Carter was on an operating table (facing surgery for a brain injury) and hovering between life and death - and his dream that his spirit was on trial, with God (Abraham Sofaer) serving as Judge, Carter's recently-deceased best friend Dr. Frank Reeves (Roger Livesey) as his defense counsel, and Abraham Farlan (Raymond Massey) (the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War) as the prosecutor, about whether he should be claimed or survive
  • the image of one of June's single, glittering love tears caught on the petals of a pinkish rose that was to be used as "the only real bit of evidence we have"
  • the panoramic view of the three-day trial in the enormous heavenly courtroom (filled with soldiers who lost their lives in war) revealed in a long pull-back shot as a gigantic arena - and then as the center of a swirling galaxy in space (an effects shot combining miniatures and artwork)
Heavenly Courtroom (A Spiraling Galaxy) - Peter's Spirit on Trial
  • and the final scene of a tearful June taking Carter's place on the staircase to the Other World to die for him; the two stared at each other (with a close-up of the tearful June as she said 'goodbye darling'), but then with a jolt, the stairs stopped, culminating with the lovers' embrace and the approval of Carter's appeal; Reeves stated: ("Nothing is stronger than the law in the universe, but on Earth, nothing is stronger than love")
"Nothing is Stronger Than Love"
June: "Goodbye darling"
June's Self-Sacrifice -
Leading to Peter's Winning of Appeal to Live
  • in the film's ending, June ran down the stairs to embrace Carter, after having his appeal granted and he was given a long life by the court; words of Sir Walter Scott were intoned by God/the Judge: ("Members of the jury, as Sir Walter Scott is always saying, 'In peace, love tunes the shepherd's reed; in war, he mounts the warrior's steed; in halls, in gay attire is seen; in hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, and men below and saints above. For Love is heaven, and heaven is Love'")

RAF Pilot Peter Carter's Radio Distress Call

Radio Operator June

Peter Meeting June On Beach After Jumping From Plane

Heavenly Discrepancy

Stairway to Heaven

Eyelid POV shot

June's Love Tears Caught on Pink Rose Petals

Peter and June Together

Maytime (1937)

In director Robert Z. Leonard's romantic operetta - the third of MGM's popular and profitable Jeanette MacDonald-Nelson Eddy films, about a forbidden love and its fatal consequences:

  • the opening: an idyllic small-town May Day country fair sequence, introducing the character of elderly Miss Morrison (Jeanette MacDonald), who was earlier famous as international opera diva Marcia Mornay - before she related - in flashback - her passionless marriage to her voice tutor/manager, and her real love affair with a penniless American singer
  • the words of American baritone Paul Allison (Nelson Eddy) to Marcia upon first meeting her in a Parisian Latin Quarter bistro: ("Well, don't you realize how wonderful it is? You've been sent from heaven, I've been starved, starved for the sound of one good clean healthy American voice, and then suddenly, you come into my life. Not only an American voice, not only an American woman, but a beautiful, adorable, glamorous, raidant, indescribable vision of perfected loveliness! Shake!") - thrilled to meet a fellow American, he invited her to a lunch-date of Virginia ham and eggs ("I will cook your ham and eggs!") and they had a fun time together
  • the heartbreaking sequence at a Maytime festival when Marcia admitted to Paul that she was marrying her long-time tutor Nicolai Nazaroff (John Barrymore), although she was reluctant because it was a loveless pairing: ("I'm going to marry him. Oh Paul, Paul, it shouldn't have happened. I shouldn't have let it happen, but well, it was such fun, it was so exciting, and I - I kept hoping that it would end like that and not like this. Can you forgive me?...Paul, I want you to know this. I'm not just marrying him because he's good and kind and because he needs me. There are stronger ties than that. You see, everything I have, everything I am, I owe to him. Even being here today, even meeting you the other night. He's made all those things possible for me, all of them. When I first met him, I was nothing. Nobody believed in me. I even stopped believing in myself. And yet he gave up everything, his whole career, all his other pupils, just so he could guide me to success. That was four years ago. In all that time, he's, he never stopped believing in me. In all that time, he's never once broken a promise, nor failed me. It's why I can't fail him now, Paul, even, even for something I want far more"); Paul realized he was "too late" in meeting her; she encouraged them: ("Please Paul, let's, let's just remember this day") - he agreed: ("We will Marcia. One day to last us all the rest of our lives...I'll always love you, dear") - she added: ("And I'll always remember you and your song") - a segue to their beautiful duet of "Will You Remember?"
  • the Metropolitan Opera scene in New York seven years later, as the voices of the two star-crossed lovers, Paul and married operatic singer Marcia, played opposite each other on the stage during a spectacular rendition of the love duet Czaritza; it rose to a passionate crescendo as her jealous husband Nicolai looked on from the audience; as the two singers embraced and kissed during the opera's thunderous applause, she begged him: ("Oh, don't ever leave me again, ever"), and he vowed: ("You're not going back to him. I'm taking you away tonight")
  • the sequence of Marcia's confession of her love for Paul to her husband, and her request for a divorce: ("Nothing could have stopped this happening, Nicolai. I never realized what a terrible mistake I made when I left him. I, I thought then that I had to keep my promise to you after all you'd done for me. I tried to forget him. I tried to put him out of my mind, but was never able to. And now, tonight, I realize that I love you more than anything else in life, and I can't go on living without him")
  • the scene of Paul's death in his apartment, when enraged Nicolai shot him, and he died in Marcia's arms with his final dying words: ("That day did last me all of my life. Don't cry, Marcia. You won't be lonely. I'll be close always")
  • the magnificent, bittersweet and sentimental closing scene of the two unrequited lovers reunited in death, when Marcia peacefully passed away in her home's garden, and her forever-youthful spiritual image rose from her body to meet and reunite with Paul's spirit singing to her within the garden gate with a reprise of their duet together: ("Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Sweetheart") "Will You Remember?": ("Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Though our paths may sever, To life's last faint ember, we will remember, Springtime, love time, May"); and the concluding images of the spirits of both Paul and Marcia in eternity on a path showered with flower blossoms
Paul and Marcia's Spirits - Reunited in Death

Marcia Mornay with Tutor and Fiancee Nicolai Nazaroff

The Love Affair Between Paul and Marcia

Paul's Death After Being Shot by Nazaroff

Marcia Passing Away in Her Garden

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

In Robert Altman's haunting revisionist Western, set at the turn of the century:

  • the main character: small-time entrepreneur, cocky drifter/gambler John McCabe (Warren Beatty) in the muddy, Pacific Northwest frontier mining town of Presbyterian Church, who wouldn't deny that he was a legendary gunslinger named "Pudgy" McCabe
  • the sequence of the arrival of British, secretly opium-addicted, brothel madam Constance Miller (Oscar-nominated Julie Christie) accompanied by a group of whores after a six-hour steam-powered tractor ride, who first told McCabe how she was "bloody starvin'...I'm hungry enough. I could eat a bloody horse...I'll have four eggs, fried. Some stew. And I want some strong tea" - and then as she voraciously ate her meal, propositioned McCabe about how to run a better whorehouse in town: ("I'm a whore, and I know an awful lot about whorehouses. And I know that if you had a house up here, you'd stand to make yourself a lot of money. Now, this is all you gotta do: Put up the money for the house. I'll do all the rest. I'll look after the girls, the business, the expenses, the runnin', the furnishin', everything. And I'll pay ya back any money you put in the house, so's you won't lose nothin'. And we'll make it fifty-fifty...You can't call them crib cows whores. I'm talkin' about a proper sportin' house, with class girls and clean linen and proper hygiene...I'm tellin' ya, with someone up here to handle all them punters properly, you can make yourself at least double the money ya make on your own....What do you do when one girl fancies another? How do you know when a girl really has her monthly or when she's just takin' a few days off? What about when they don't get their monthlies, cause they don't? What do ya do then? I suppose you know all about seeing to that? And what about customers? Who's gonna skin 'em back and inspect 'em? You gonna do that?... 'Cause if ya don't, this town'll be clapped up inside of two weeks if it's not already. What about when, when business is slow? You just gonna let the girls sit around on their bums? 'Cause I'll tell ya something, Mr. McCabe. When a good whore gets time to sit around and think, four out of five times, she'll turn to religion, 'cause that's what they was born with. And when that happens, you'll find yourself fillin' the bloody church down there, instead of your own pockets.); and then she ended her pitch with an ultimatum: ("Now I haven't got a lot of time to sit around and talk to a man who's too dumb to see a good proposition when it's put to him. Do we make a deal, or don't we?")
  • the entrance into town of an ominous stranger, known as Cowboy (Keith Carradine) - who revealed that he was there as a potential customer for Mrs. Miller's classy whorehouse: ("Well, I heard you had the fanciest whorehouse in the whole territory up here. Gee, it's been so long since I had a piece of ass"); and then, when asked which whore he fancied, he replied: ("Aw, hell, don't make no difference. I gotta have ya all")
  • the pressures brought on a resistant, arrogant and over-reaching McCabe, to sell his business to the hard-bargaining Harrison Shaughnessy Mining Company, a capitalistic monopoly represented by Eugene Sears (Michael Murphy) and Ernest Hollander (Antony Holland)
  • the passionate love scene between McCabe and Mrs. Miller when he expressed his true feelings for her - and also tearfully apologized to her: ("You're the best lookin' woman I ever saw. And I ain't never tried to do nothin' but put a smile on your face. I ain't no good at sayin' I'm sorry. I, uh, I don't know what it is. I guess I ain't never been this close to nobody before") - she urged: ("Why don't you get under the covers, huh?...You don't need to say nothin'...Come on")
  • the beginning of the lengthy stalking pursuit of McCabe amidst a blowing snowstorm and a fire-fighting brigade battling a Presbyterian Church blaze in town; three hired bounty hunters had arrived to assassinate McCabe: the Kid (Manfred Schulz), a jittery teenaged blonde Dutch immigrant punk, half-breed Breed (Jace Van Der Veen), and giant mustached Dog Butler (Hugh Millais) with a single-shot elephant gun; McCabe cleverly outwitted and eventually killed all three, but was seriously wounded
Stalking Pursuit of McCabe by Bounty Hunters
McCabe (Playing Dead) Firing on Dog Butler
  • the image of mortally-wounded McCabe tragically bleeding to death and dying silent and alone in the swirling, deep snow after being shot by last-surviving bounty hunter - Butler, whom McCabe was able to trick by playing dead before shooting him in the forehead
  • the final close-up of the 'dead' eye of drug-deluded, withdrawn, and oblivious Constance smoking from a pipe in the Chinese section of town, while fondling a marble egg in her hand

Entrepreneur and Gambler John McCabe

Arrival of Constance Miller - Brothel Madam

Constance's Proposition: "Do we make a deal, or don't we?"

Arrival of Brothel Customer - Cowboy (Keith Carradine)

Love Scene

McCabe's Slow Death in Snow

Mrs. Miller's Drugged State

Mean Streets (1973)

In Martin Scorsese's episodic breakthrough crime drama about low-life gangsters and hustlers in New York's Little Italy, with the director's ground-breaking use of pop tunes in the narrative, such as the Ronettes' "Be My Baby":

  • the classic opening voice-over (of director Scorsese) under a black screen ("You don't make up for your sins in the church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bulls--t and you know it"), and then the view of a startled-awake small-time mob collector Charlie Cappa (Harvey Keitel), a Mafia apprentice
  • the flashback to the past - the playing of Charlie's 8 mm home movies under the title credits, to the tune of the Ronettes' 'Be My Baby'
  • the sub-titled introduction of each of the film's characters, in typed CAPITAL letters, including the stunning entrance of self-destructive trouble-maker John "Johnny Boy" Civello (Robert De Niro) blowing up a USPS mailbox
Sub-titled Introduction of Characters
Loan Shark Michael
(Richard Romanus)
Johnny Boy
(Blowing Up Mailbox)
(Offering Penance)
  • the introduction of Charlie - as he offered penance in church and felt conflicted Catholic guilt, and the memorable image of him holding his hand in the flame of a votive candle before an altar (and also with matches and other burning objects) to test himself against the fires of hell (accentuated by the reddish hues of many of the following scenes): ("Okay, I just come out of confession, right? Right. And the priest gives me the usual penance, right? Ten 'Hail Marys', ten 'Our Fathers', ten whatever. Now, you know, the next week, I'm gonna come back and he's just gonna give me another ten 'Hail Marys' and another ten 'Our Fathers' and I mean, you know how I feel about that s--t. Those things, they don't mean anything to me. They're just words. Now, that may be okay for the others, but it just doesn't work for me. I mean, if I do somethin' wrong, I just want to pay for it my way. So, I do my own penance for my own sins. Whaddya say, huh? It's all bulls--t except the pain, right? The pain of hell. The burn from a lighted match increased a million times. Infinite. No, you don't f--k around with the infinite. There's no way you do that. The pain in hell has two sides: The kind you can touch with your hand. The kind you can feel in your heart. Your soul, the spiritual side. And ya know, the worst of the two is the spiritual")
  • to the tune of the Rolling Stones' "Tell Me," Charlie gyrated through the crowded table area to the small bar stage where two strippers (topless with pasties) were slowly dancing; he stepped up and joined a beautiful black stripper Diane (Jeannie Bell), whom Charlie later complimented - with semi-racist reservations: ("She is really good looking, but she's black. You can see that real plain, right? Well, there's not much of a difference anyway, is there? Well, is there?")
  • local, vengeful loan shark Michael "Mikey" Longo asked the level-headed Charlie why he provided protection and cover for Johnny Boy: "I don't understand why you hang around with a punk kid. I mean, he's the biggest jerk off around"
  • the entrance scene - when Charlie watched jealously as pork-pie hat-wearing Johnny Boy entered (in slow-motion to the tune of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash"), with a bohemian-looking female on each arm
  • the scene in the bar's back room, where Charlie dragged Johnny Boy, to insist and demand that he pay his debt to Michael "Mikey" Longo: ("You can't bulls--t people that way. You give your word, you gotta keep it"); Johnny Boy rambled incoherently about why he didn't have the money; afterwards, Johnny Boy falsely assured Mikey that he would soon be paid the debt owed: ("I know what you're gonna say, but don't say it because, number one, I'm not payin' for these drinks. They're all on the tab. And I'm gonna see ya, Tuesday payday, I swear on my mother. Not only on my mother, but Jesus Christ and... Okay?...Don't worry, it ain't gonna get out of hand")
  • during an extended classic pool hall/bar brawl scene (shot kinetically with a hand-held camera following the action around the perimeter to the tune of The Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman"), Charlie and his buddies were attempting to collect from a pool hall owner, Joey 'Clams' Scala (George Memmoli); after Joey called Mikey a "mook" and punched him, Johnny Boy and the rest of the gang engaged in a major brawl with Joey and his cohorts around the pool hall and on the tables (with an 30 second uninterrupted fight sequence); Johnny Boy jumped up onto a pool table swinging a broken pool cue, and gesturing with wild karate kicks
  • Charlie's secret love relationship with Johnny Boy's epileptic cousin Teresa Ronchelli (Amy Robinson) who lived in an adjacent apartment; he first watched her undress through her window, then was seen naked in bed with her; he pointed his finger at her in the position of a gun (on the soundtrack, a gunshot was heard) - a subliminal statement of his ambivalence towards her; he was positioned in a crucifix pose with his arms outstretched on the bed's headboard (with a venetian blinds or jail-bars shadow over him - a meaningful juxtaposition of his life of faith and crime); he watched her through his parted fingers covering his eyes in a V-position, as she began to dress
Charlie's Secret Relationship with Johnny Boy's
Epileptic Cousin Teresa Ronchelli
  • at the beach, he discussed his dislikes and likes with Teresa: ("I hate the sun. Come on, let's go inside, will ya?...I hate the ocean, and I hate the beach, and I hate the sun. And the grass and the trees and I hate heat!...I like spaghetti and clam sauce. Mountains. Francis of Assisi. Chicken with lemon and garlic. Uh, and John Wayne"); when she reminded him: ("You know, there aren't any mountains in Manhattan"), he answered before kissing her: ("Tall buildings. Same thing. And I like you"), and his insistence that he must help her "crazy" cousin Johnny Boy before moving uptown with her and away from the neighborhood - Charlie felt he had a spiritual, selfless mission (as part of his personal penance): ("Who's gonna help him if I don't? "Who's gonna help him if I don't?...Nobody tries any more...tries to help us all, help people"); she disagreed: "You help yourself first," but he felt otherwise - that he must live a life like St. Francis of Assisi: "Bulls--t, Teresa. That's where you're all wrong! Francis of Assisi had it all down. He knew"; Teresa quipped back: "What are you talkin' about? Saint Francis didn't run numbers"
  • the sequence of a drunken Charlie, seen in a close-up of his face, staggering through a bar (to the tune of The Chips' "Rubber Biscuit"); the woozy camera shots followed him as he tipped over and fell to the floor
  • the scene of volatile Johnny Boy raging at life by shooting with a .38 Special at the lights of the Empire State Building from the nightclub rooftop and then incoherently shouting an apology to a woman who ran for cover from his wild gunfire: (""Hey, lady, I'm sorry. Lady, I didn't mean it, I swear to God! I'm very sorry...I hit that lady. I tried to get her clothesline"); after Charlie was able to persuade Johnny Boy to stop, the two went to a nearby cemetery, where Charlie stressed how important it was for Johnny Boy to show up the next Tuesday payday to clear his debt with Michael; prophetically, Johnny Boy laid prone on a gravestone
  • shortly later, Johnny Boy raised his fists against the dark night skies and heaven from a rooftop, and then suddenly appeared at the fire-escape window of Charlie (with Teresa visiting)
  • the sequence of Johnny Boy's climactic fist-fight with Charlie when he was late to his appointment to pay Mikey; tempers began to flare when Johnny Boy teased them about getting engaged, and then asked an absurdly inappropriate and insulting question in the apartment hallway: "I've always wondered about her. This is the God's honest truth. I always wondered about what happens when she comes. She get a fit? What happens when she comes, I mean"; when Charlie slapped Johnny Boy in the face, the two began yelling and striking at each other: Charlie: "I'll tear your f--kin' eyes outta your head!" Johnny Boy: "Now, I'm gonna kill you bastard!"; Teresa tried to break them up, and then began to experience an epileptic attack and fell to the floor
  • the volatile loan argument sequence in the bar when Johnny Boy offered only a $10 dollar bill as payment for his $2,000 dollar loan debt; Mikey asked: "Where's the rest?"; Johnny Boy made a series of insulting comments: ("I borrow money from you because you're the only jerk off around here that I could borrow money from without payin' back, right? Right? You know, 'cause that's what you are, that's what I think of you: a jerk-off. You're smilin'. Like you're a jerk-off. You're a f--kin' jerk-off! You're a f--kin' jerk-off. And I'll tell 'ya something else, Mikey. (Johnny Boy lit the $10 bill on fire) I f--k you right where you breathe, 'cause I don't give two s--ts about you or nobody else") - and then Johnny Boy foolishly brandished his gun at Mikey, called him "f--k-face" - and taunted him: "I'll put this up your ass"; Mikey dared him: "You don't have the guts to use that" - and then exited
  • the final retributive shooting sequence upon Charlie's car driving through Brooklyn; Charlie was accompanied by Teresa (in the middle of the front seat) and Johnny Boy at the window; suddenly, a second moving car, driven by Michael, pulled along side; he cued his henchman-hitman in the backseat, Jimmy Shorts (director Martin Scorsese), to begin firing with "Now's the time!"; six shots were fired point-blank at Charlie's adjacent car, hitting Johnny Boy in the side of the neck (causing arterial spray) and Charlie in the arm, and Teresa's fist flew through the front windshield; the drive-by attack caused the car to spin out and crash; all three survived with serious injuries, although Johnny Boy's injury would probably be fatal

Devout Catholic Charlie's Hand Held in Votive Candle Flame

Charlie With Strippers on Bar Stage

Johnny Boy With His Loan Shark Michael Longo

Pool Hall Brawl Scene

Charlie with Teresa at the Shore: "I hate the sun"

Drunken Charlie in Bar Scene

Cemetery Scene - Johnny Boy Prone on a Gravestone

Johnny Boy Raising His Fists to Heaven From Rooftop

Stand-off: Johnny Boy Foolishly Brandishing a Gun at Loan Shark Mikey

Retributive Drive-By Shooting

Medium Cool (1969)

In Haskell Wexler's debut film (controversially rated X), an independently-made documentary about the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention and its major police riots:

  • the early foreshadowing scene of a group of journalists and cameramen discussing their dangerous profession and various ethical issues: ("I've made films on all kinds of social problems, and the big bombs were the ones where we went into detail and showed why something happened. Nobody wants to take the time. They'd rather see 30 seconds of somebody getting his skull cracked. Turn off the TV set, and say, 'Wasn't that bad?'"), ("Our position is one to, to, uh, to record"), ("... the dynamics that are happening in society. We don't, we don't deal with the static things. We deal with the things that are happening. We deal with the violence. We deal with the - who wants to see somebody sitting? Who wants to see somebody lying down? Who wants to see somebody talking peace, unless they're talking loud"), ("I think the cameraman makes the choice himself and he's out there to get the blood and guts. Oh yes, I believe that"), and ("I've got a job to do and I'm interested in it, and if this is it, but the point that I resent very much is the fact that wherever I go, I'm beat up")
  • the experiences of jaded, Chicago-TV freelance cameraman John Cassellis (Robert Forster) with his sound man Gus (Peter Bonerz), who worked against the backdrop of the actual 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago
  • the realistic, documentary footage of the convention's protests and riots (demonstrators battling police) blended together with a fictional story - signaled by a crew member's shout: "This is real, Haskell"
  • in a frequently-noted frenzied scene with very brief full-frontal nudity, John romped and ran nude (as sexual foreplay) around an apartment with sultry nurse and girlfriend Ruth (Marianna Hill) - it marked the first mainstream American feature film to show full male and female nudity
Controversial Sequence
  • the last scene, in the middle of a real riot and protest (heard on the soundtrack), (mirroring the car crash at the start of the film), of John Cassellis accidentally crashing his car into a tree, killing widowed mother Eileen (Verna Bloom) from Appalachia (who lost her husband in the Vietnam War, and had a runaway son named Harold (Harold Blankenship)), his love-interest, and severely injuring himself; witnesses in a passing car snapped shots of the gruesome crash
  • the closing view of an ubiquitous camera recording events as the camera zoomed into the blackness of its lens, while protestors chanted: "The Whole World is Watching!"

Journalists in Discussion

Chicago Democratic Convention Protestors

Cameraman John's Car Crash - Witnessed by Passers-By

"The Whole World is Watching"

Meet John Doe (1941)

In Frank Capra's populist melodramatic tale about the common man:

  • the typing of a column by struggling, sassy newspaper columnist Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) who saved her job by fabricating a letter from a typical 'John Doe' character (a "disgusted American citizen") protesting unemployment, hypocrisy, greed, inhumanity and other injustices suffered by the nation's poor on account of big business tycoons, corrupt moguls and slimy politicians ("Dear Miss Mitchell: Four years ago, I was fired out of my job. Since then, I haven't been able to get another one. At first, I was sore at the state administration because it's on account of the slimy politics here. We have all this unemployment. But in looking around, it seems the whole world is goin' to pot. So in protest, I'm goin' to commit suicide by jumping off the City Hall roof") - to protest, he threatened to commit suicide on Christmas Eve by jumping from the roof of City Hall
  • the scene of the selection of plain-speaking, homeless, ex-ball player and hobo "Long John" Willoughby (Gary Cooper) to play the part of 'John Doe': (Ann: "He's perfect, a baseball player. What could be more American?...that face is wonderful. They'll believe him...That's our man, he's made-to-order")
  • the warning of Willoughby's vagrant, anti-social tramp companion, simply named "The Colonel" (Walter Brennan), that he would become corrupted by wealth and turn into a heel or "heelot": ("You're walkin' along, not a nickel in your jeans, you're free as the wind. Nobody bothers ya. Hundreds of people pass you by in every line of business. Shoes, hats, automobiles, radios, furniture, everything, and they're all nice loveable people. And they let you alone. Is that right? Then you get ahold of some dough and what happens? All those nice, sweet, lovable people become heelots. A lotta heels! They begin creepin' up on ya, tryin' to sell ya something. They get long claws and they get a stranglehold on ya and ya squirm and ya duck and ya holler and ya try to push 'em away, but you haven't got a chance. They've got ya. The first thing you know, you own things - a car, for instance. Now your whole life is messed up with a lot more stuff. You get license fees and number plates and gas and oil and taxes and insurance and identification cards and letters and bills and flat tires and dents and traffic tickets and motorcycle cops and courtrooms and lawyers and fines - and a million and one other things! And what happens? You're not the free and happy guy you used to be. You've gotta have money to pay for all those things. So you go after what the other fella's got. And there you are - you're a heelot yourself")
  • the scene of John Doe's 15-minute radio speech in which he spoke of his faith in the essential goodness of the common man and promoted brotherly love with one's neighbor: ("...There's something swell about the spirit of Christmas, to see what it does to people, all kinds of people. Now why can't that spirit, that same warm Christmas spirit last the whole year round? Gosh, if it ever did, if each and every John Doe would make that spirit last 365 days out of the year - we'd develop such a strength, we'd create such a tidal wave of good will that no human force could stand against it. Yes sir, my friends, the meek can only inherit the earth when the John Does start loving their neighbors. You'd better start right now. Don't wait till the game is called on account of darkness. Wake up, John Doe, you're the hope of the world")
  • John Doe's defense of the John Doe Movement, even after finding out about the scheming chicanery of right wing tycoon and financier-publisher D. B. Norton (Edward Arnold) to exploit it for votes: ("Why, this is the one worthwhile thing that's come along. People are finally finding out that the guy next door isn't a bad egg. That's simple, isn't it?...It may be the one thing capable of saving this cock-eyed world. Yet you sit back there on your fat hulks and tell me you'll kill it if you can't use it. Well, you go ahead and try. You couldn't do it in a million years with all your radio stations and all your power, because it's bigger than whether I'm a fake, it's bigger than your ambitions, and it's bigger than all the bracelets and fur coats in the world")
  • the scene of John Doe's public humiliation at a rainy political convention by D. B. Norton's dictatorial, anti-democratic intentions - Doe was pulled from the microphone, accused of being part of the "cheap racket...for the sole purpose of collecting dues from John Does all over the country," and revealed to be an imposter-fraud
  • the scene of John Doe's threat to jump off City Hall on a snowy and cold Christmas Eve when Ann hysterically sobbed and urgently begged him not to kill himself - and admitted her love for him: ("Well, you don't have to die to keep the John Doe idea alive. Someone already died for that once. The first John Doe. And he's kept that idea alive for nearly 2,000 years. It was He who kept it alive in them. And He'll go on keeping it alive for ever and always - for every John Doe movement these men kill, a new one will be born. That's why those bells are ringing, John. They're calling to us, not to give up but to keep on fighting, to keep on pitching. Oh, don't you see darling? This is no time to give up. You and I, John, we...Oh, no, no, John. If you die, I want to die too. Oh, oh, I love you. Oh, John..")
'John Doe' Threatening Suicide
Ann's Declaration of Love for 'John Doe'
"There you are, Norton! The People! Try and lick that!"
  • the upbeat conclusion in which John Doe walked away from the ledge toward his supporters carrying an unconscious Ann in his arms, after the John Doe club members had renewed their faith in him, and Ann's managing editor Henry Connell (James Gleason) with his fist told off the oppressive and evil Norton in the final line: ("There you are, Norton! The people! Try and lick that!") after John had decided to not commit suicide - with the finale accompanied by Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Columnist Ann Mitchell Fabricating Fictitious Character of 'John Doe'

"Long John" Willoughby (Gary Cooper) Exploited To Play the Part of 'John Doe'

Tramp Companion: "The Colonel" (Walter Brennan)

John Doe Clubs

Delivery of 'John Doe's' Radio Speech

Treacherous and Scheming Politician D. B. Norton (Edward Arnold)

'John Doe's' Public Humiliation in Rain at Convention

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)

In Vincente Minnelli's gorgeous musical, his third feature film and his first in Technicolor, about the romantic yearnings and tribulations within a single family, the Smiths, who lived in 1903 St. Louis:

  • the structure of the film: four seasonal vignettes, beginning with the summer of 1903, in turn of the century St. Louis
  • the character of the second eldest Smith family daughter, 17 year-old Esther Smith (Judy Garland), and her rendition of the romantically expressive falling-in-love song "The Boy Next Door" as she fell for the literal shy neighbor boy John Truett (Tom Drake)
  • the dinner scene of the Smith family awkwardly having to eavesdrop on a phone call between eldest Smith family sister Rose (Lucille Bremer) from her beau Warren Sheffield (Robert Sully), when she was expecting him to propose
  • the sequence of Esther with her precocious younger sister - a night-gowned 'Tootie' Smith (Margaret O'Brien) performing a spontaneous, delightful little song "Under the Bamboo Tree" and cakewalk complete with straw hats and canes in a home-style minstrel shuffle
  • the scene, after a going-away party at her house, when Esther asked the last-leaving guest, John, to accompany her throughout the house to turn off the gas lights - a beautifully-executed scene in which the camera moved non-stop from light to light; as the lights were extinguished in the parlor, the dining room and the landing, she shyly courted the boy next door in the darkness - hoping (in vain) to be offered a goodnight kiss; as she gazed at him with undisguised love, he complimented her: "You don't need any beauty sleep"; she rendered a sweet old song to him: "Over the Bannister"; at its conclusion, he shook her hand goodbye one more time, awkwardly complimenting her a second time: "You've got a mighty strong grip for a girl"
  • the scene of Esther's singing of the joyful "The Trolley Song" ("Ding, ding, ding went the trolley!") as she rode to the fairgrounds
  • Tootie's Halloween adventure, dressed up as a ghost with an oversized coat, bowler hat, and long rat's nose; she bravely volunteered to execute a trick-or-treat prank (the 'killing' of hated neighbor Mr. Braukoff by throwing flour into his face at his front door); her stealthy walk to the victim's house was filmed in one long traveling shot in front of her; with the camera at a slightly-upward angle to approximate her own view, she flung flour into his glowering face, shouted "I hate you, Mr. Braukoff," shrieked, and then scampered off; accepted and lauded as brave by other older children ("she's the bravest of them all"), she congratulated herself: "I'm the most horrible. I'm the most horrible"; but then, she returned home cut and bruised, frightened and injured
  • because Tootie falsely blamed her injury on Esther's boyfriend John Truett, Esther marched over to John's house and punched him ("What do you mean hitting a five-year-old child?") - the real truth - Tootie had stuffed an old dress to look like a body, and laid it on the trolley tracks to sabotage the trolley car; John had fought with her only to hide her from police - that was the reason for her injury; Esther was enraged at 'Tootie' for fooling her, and not confessing to her own prank gone wrong; during an apology speech given to John, Esther received her first kiss from him - and she retorted to him: "You've got a mighty strong grip for a boy"
  • the scene of Esther's heartbreaking singing of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" at a wintry window - lovingly and tenderly sung to her distressed sister 'Tootie' who didn't want to move from St. Louis
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Tootie's Destruction of Snow People in Backyard
  • the scene of Tootie's angry destruction of the snow people she had created in her backyard, to express her upset at the news of the family's impending move to New York, due to father Alonzo "Lon" Smith's (Leon Ames) promotion and business transfer
  • the final concluding scene at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair itself with Esther hand-in-hand with her boyfriend: ("I can't believe it, right here where we live! Right here in St. Louis!")

"The Boy Next Door"

Smith Family Eavesdropping on Phone Call

"Under the Bamboo Tree"

John: "You've got a mighty strong grip for a girl"

"The Trolley Song"

Tootie's Halloween Prank

Esther's First Kiss with John

Off to the Fair

Melvin and Howard (1980)

In Jonathan Demme's quirky comedy-drama of a possibly true story about the American dream - embodied in the tale of an alleged encounter between a lowly milkman and eccentric billionaire 'Howard Hughes' in the desert in the early 70's:

  • the opening title-credits sequence of an endless highway lane viewed in a moving car's headlights
  • the memorable chance meeting scene of likeable Nevada milkman Melvin Dummar (Paul LeMat) while driving in his pickup truck to Las Vegas in the Nevada desert at night, coming upon an injured, silver-haired, bearded motorcycle-accident victim (Jason Robards) after a crash
  • the shocking revelation when the passenger identified himself after Melvin briefly mentioned something about his failed attempt to get apply for a job at McDonnell Douglas, Northrup, Hughes: ("Well, I might have done somethin'...I'm Howard Hughes (thunder clapped)...I said I'm Howard Hughes"); Melvin didn't believe him: ("Well, you know, listen, I believe anybody can call themselves what they really want")
  • as they drove to Las Vegas, Melvin sang his own original Christmas song, "Santa's Souped Up Sleigh" with "dramatic narration" - and urged his passenger to sing part of it along with him - "Listen man, you sing this or you walk!": ("Santa called his elves together to soup up his old sleigh, So Rudolph and the other reindeer could rest on Christmas day, He's got a million miles to travel and he'll do it in one day, And that's why Santa Claus has a souped-up Santa sleigh"), and then the two sang a duet of the passenger's favorite song: "Bye Bye Blackbird", before dropping the wounded man off in the back parking lot of the Dunes Hotel in Vegas; Melvin's last gesture was to give Hughes a quarter and a thumbs-up
  • the scene of Melvin's ditzy go-go stripper/dancer first wife Lynda West Dummar (Oscar-winning Mary Steenburgen) walking out on him, when he found her on stage in a Reno strip club to the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" - and disrupted the proceedings by getting into a fight with customers, and causing Lynda to get fired
  • another scene of Lynda as a cocktail waitress at another classier strip club, where she brashly removed her skimpy costume, told off her boss: ("Aw, never mind, I quit!") and stormed off completely naked to her dressing room after Melvin presented her with an "interlocutory decree" of divorce that would be final in six weeks, and added that their young daughter Darcy (Elizabeth Cheshire) would be in his custody: ("What do ya think? I want her bein' around a weird place like this?")
  • the scene of Lynda's lead-footed tap-dancing on the "Easy Street" game show to the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", and her winning of the top prize of living room furniture, a piano, and $10,000 in cash
  • after spendthrift Melvin unwisely spent his family's money on a new car and 35-foot boat as an "investment," a frustrated and financially-sensible Lynda decided to leave him with their daughter and toddler son and seek their second divorce: (Lynda: "We are poor, Melvin, we are poor" Melvin: "We're not poor, broke maybe, we're not poor")
  • the courtroom scenes in which Melvin's credibility about the suspicious claim of a Last Will and Testament was questioned by skeptical lawyers and Judge Keith Hayes (Dabney Coleman) regarding his short friendship with Howard Hughes and beneficiary inheritance of $156 million in Hughes' will: ("Do you swear in the name of God that this story about how you received this will is true?")
(Dabney Coleman)
Skeptical Lawyer
"Do you think that Melvin Dummar's gonna get $156 million dollars or anything like it?"
  • although Melvin admitted that he doubted that he would ever collect the money, he fondly remembered: ("Do you think that Melvin Dummar's gonna get $156 million dollars or anything like it? Nah, I'm not gonna see that money. That's all-right. 'Cause you know what happened? Howard Hughes sang Melvin Dummar's song. That's what happened. He sang it. He was funny. Yeah, he sang it.")

'Howard Hughes' - Accident Victim (Jason Robards)

Melvin Dummar (Paul LeMat)

'Hughes' Dropped Off at Hotel in Las Vegas

Melvin's Stripper Wife Lynda (Mary Steenburgen)

Lynda's "Easy Street" Game Show Tap Dance

Lynda to Melvin: "We are poor, Melvin" - Suing for a Second Divorce

Memento (2000)

In writer/director Christopher Nolan's unique, and originally-told who-dun-it thriller:

  • the plot - beginning with a murder and the taking of a Polaroid of the bloody body (in retrospect, the protagonist had just killed undercover cop Teddy Gammell (Joe Pantoliano) - believing that he was the perpetrator of a hideous crime) - the story worked it way backwards in reverse sequence - and also forward in time (in scenes alternating between color and b/w)
  • the protagonist - ex-insurance investigator Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) who attempted to discover who allegedly brutally raped and cold-bloodedly killed his wife (Jorja Fox); she had been strangled after being wrapped in a shower curtain by a masked intruder; there were two murderous burglars involved in the violent incident - Leonard shot and killed one of them, but the second individual (before fleeing) threw him into a mirror, where he suffered a severe blow to the head; he fell unconscious to the bathroom floor next to his wife
  • Leonard began to suffer from short-term memory loss - and devised clever methods to remember things -- writing notes, taking Polaroid pictures, and tattooing messages on his body
Memory Devices
Polaroid Photos
  • the ending after a complicated exposition of facts and theories - Leonard's final voice-over while driving away: ("I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different -- Now, where was I?") - during a quick insert, he was fantasizing that his dead wife was caressing his chest, where he had just tattooed: "I'VE DONE IT"

Murder of Undercover Cop Teddy

Tormented Protagonist Leonard

The Rape-Murder of Leonard's Wife, and Leonard's Head Injury

Final Voice-Over by Leonard

Metropolis (1927, Germ.)

In Fritz Lang's science-fiction classic:

  • the inspired, expressionistic scenes of a futuristic (year 2026), mechanized city with soaring skyscrapers and landscapes (using miniature models)
  • the contrast between the leisure class above ground and the underground workers, with the giant machines, and their slum dwellings
  • the early "Eternal Gardens" Sequence in which Freder (Gustav Frohlich), the aristocrat capitalist's son, frolicked with young ladies (wearing sheer and braless blouses) in a athletic arena and in a grotto - he chased one young lady with a backless tight black top around a circular fountain, and when he caught her, he bent her backwards and pressed towards her for a kiss
  • the beautiful young Maria's (Brigitte Helm) appearance with a group of waif-like, hungry worker children, who told them: ("Look! These are your brothers!...Look- - ! These are your brothers!")
  • the scene of the march of two groups or battalions of workers (in dark worksuits) in two parallel corridors, lined up in rows of six - the sullen workers who left the subterranean machine area after their shift shuffled by and were exhausted, marching in unison only half as fast as the new shift of entering employees
  • the scene of the wistful, Christ-like, angelic, light-haired young Maria standing on an altar decorated with tall crosses and lighted candles behind her, and preaching to her raptured comrades about the tower-building in Babel and the mistreatment of slaves: ("Come, let us build us a tower whose top may reach unto the stars! And on top of the tower we will write the words: Great is the world and its Creator! And great is Man! ...but the minds that had conceived the Tower of Babel could not build it. The task was too great. So they hired hands for wages. But the hands that built the Tower of Babel knew nothing of the dream of the brain that had conceived it. BABEL One man's hymns of praise became other men's curses. People spoke the same language, but could not understand each other. HEAD and HANDS need a mediator! THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN HEAD AND HANDS MUST BE THE HEART!")
  • the scene of Freder's controlling, glacial father Master Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) ordering mad scientist Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) to create an evil, robotic Maria look-alike duplicate, in order to manipulate his workers and preach riot and rebellion: ("Rotwang, give the Machine-Man the likeness of that girl. I shall sow discord between them and her! I shall destroy their belief in this woman --!")
  • the robot-transformation sequence in which luminous, glowing rings surrounded and moved vertically atop the standing robot, as its circulatory system was energized with Maria's life force, and Maria's face dissolved onto the face of the android - the real Maria lost consciousness as the robot likeness became flesh and blood; the stunning feminine, look-alike robot appeared in Maria's image to incite unrest in the masses and to cause the destruction of the real Maria's work
Robot-Transformation Scene
  • the avante-garde sequence of Freder discovering his father being enticed by the robotic false Maria (also Helm) (with one eye closed), Freder's own love interest, when he saw them about to embrace; he cried out: "Maria!"; he broke down, signified by the background slowly going out of focus, and his image's replacement with spheres of white light, blurry counter-clockwise kaleidoscopic spinning of his vision (from his point of view), jagged starbursts (appearing like scratches on the film's negative), his unbalanced disorientation, a rotating superimposition of Maria's face, and a frightening sensation of falling
Maria's Enticing Nightclub Dance Before Lustful Men
  • and the depraved nightclub scene when a group of wealthy, tuxedoed men watched as the false Maria rose on a stage platform and began her sexy, tempting performance of an almost-nude (with pasties on her breasts), hip-swiveling Salome-style dance - the lecherous, staring eyeballs of the lustful men in the audience were seen in a montage
  • the sequence of the great flood

The Futuristic City

Eternal Gardens

Maria With Worker Children

Marching In and Out of Work

The Metropolis Machines

Maria on Altar

Look-Alike Robotic Maria

Maria Saving Children From Flood

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

In John Schlesinger's X-rated (originally) Best Picture-winning drama, accompanied by a soundtrack with Harry Nilsson's haunting tune "Everybody's Talkin'" and the soulful sounds of his harmonica:

  • the character of naive, swaggering, transplanted dishwasher/stud - displaced small-town "cowboyish" Texan Joe Buck (Jon Voight) who struggled and aspired in the sordid 42nd Street area of NY to become a successful hustler or gigolo - while posing as a "macho midnight cowboy," although he eventually resorted to homosexual street hustling to survive; in his NY hotel room, he vainly posed shirtless in front of his hotel room's mirror, and pasted up a beefcake poster of Paul Newman from Hud and a picture of a topless woman
  • the sequence of Joe's first trick - fast-talking, brassy society girl Cass (Best Supporting Actress nominee Sylvia Miles) who out-hustled Joe for a cab-ride fee; during a comedic sex scene in which they humorously activated channels with the TV remote control beneath their bodies - the metaphoric climax came with the closeup view of the winning results of a slot machine jackpot - spewed-out coins
  • the scene of Joe's first homosexual client - a religiously fanatical and homosexual Jesus-freak Christian named Mr. O'Daniel (John McGiver), that brought back disturbing flashbacks for Buck regarding his former girlfriend "Crazy" Annie (Jennifer Salt); he also took on a bespectacled, geeky young student (Bob Balaban) in a dark movie theatre who turned out penniless; Joe's first successful heterosexual score was with Shirley (Brenda Vaccaro) a paying female client (for $20); at first, though, he suffered sexual inadequacy until angered when she teasingly suggested that he was gay: ("Gay, fey. Is that your problem, baby?") - and then he performed vigorously
Joe's Many Clients (Homosexual and Heterosexual)
Mr. O'Daniel (John McGiver)
Student (Bob Balaban)
Shirley (Brenda Vaccaro)
  • the friendship that developed between limping, coughing homeless con artist Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) and Joe Buck, who both soon found themselves destitute, barely surviving and living in Ratso's condemned apartment
  • the "Hey, I'm walkin' here!" scene as the crippled Ratso crossed a busy New York City street and banged with his fist on a taxi-cab hood that almost hit him, and demanded respect
  • Ratso's fantasy dream - during Joe's propositioning of a woman - in which he was in Florida in good health and enjoying the good life there without a limp (sunning, sprinting with Joe on the beach, having his shoes shined on a terrace above a luxury hotel's swimming pool, being pampered, gambling with rich dowager women, being admired by women from balconies, and sampling a gourmet spread) - until the deal fell apart (and so did the dream)
  • after losing their home, their visit to the tombstone and gravesite of Ratso's illiterate father who couldn't sign his name
  • the sequence of Joe wiping off the sweaty head of ailing friend Ratso in a stairway before attending an underground film-making party in Greenwich Village
  • the scene of Joe caring for his ailing feverish friend Ratso, who was suffering from the end stages of tuberculosis, and admitting that he was afraid of not being able to walk anymore: ("You know what they do to you when they know you can't... When they find out that you can't wa... walk. Oh, Christ!"), and his dying wish to be taken to Florida: ("You ain't gettin' me no doctor...No doctors, no cops. Don't be so stupid...You get me to Florida...Just put me on a bus....You ain't sendin' me to Bellevue")
  • their poignant Florida-bound bus trip when Ratso complained about his pain: ("Here I am goin' to Florida, my leg hurts, my butt hurts, my chest hurts, my face hurts, and like that ain't enough, I gotta pee all over myself. (Joe chuckled) That's funny? I'm fallin' apart here")
  • Ratso's death scene next to Joe, as he talked about their better future in Florida: ("I got this damn thing all figured out. When we get to Miami, what we'll do is get some sort of job, you know. Cause hell, I ain't no kind of hustler. I mean, there must be an easier way of makin' a living than that. Some sort of outdoors work. Whaddya think? Yeah, that's what I'll do. OK Rico? Rico? Rico? Hey, Rico? Rico?")
Joe Buck's Caring for the Dying Rizzo
  • and the final sequence of Joe with tears forming in his eyes, affectionately wrapping his arm around Rico's shoulder and holding him, while palm trees were reflected on the window glass - in a view from outside the bus, as the film slowly faded to black and ended

Hustler Texan Joe Buck

With Society Girl Cass

Co-dependent Buck and Rizzo

"Hey, I'm walkin' here!"

Fantasies of Frolicking on Florida Beach

Visiting The Gravesite of Ratso's Father

Midnight Express (1978)

In Alan Parker's harrowing drama with a pulsating score by Giorgio Moroder:

  • the riveting opening scene in which a twitchy, Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) taped blocks of two kilos of hashish to his body and nervously tried to board an airliner at a Turkish airport in 1970 - accentuated by his loudly-beating heart as he approached suspicious custom guards while sweating profusely, and then frisked on the tarmac as he was boarding his airplane
  • the scene of his arrest and interrogation when he was stripped at gunpoint
  • Billy's many years of imprisonment in a brutally-hellish Turkish prison when he was subjected to brutal beatings, rapes, and torture by sadistic guards - including chief guard Hamidou (Paul L. Smith)
  • the second trial scene when Billy argued for his release after incarceration for three and a half years, but then his original sentence was overturned and he was sentenced for further imprisonment "for a term no less than 30 years": ("What is there for me to say? When I finish, you'll sentence me for my crime. So let me ask you now: What is a crime? What is punishment? It seems to vary from time to time and place to place. What's legal today is suddenly illegal tomorrow because some society says it's so, and what's illegal yesterday is suddenly legal because everybody's doing it, and you can't put everybody in jail. I'm not sayin' this is right or wrong. I'm just saying that's the way it is. But I've spent three and a half years of my life in your prison, and I think I've paid for my error, and if it's your decision today to sentence me to more years, then I...My lawyer, my lawyer, that's a good one. He says, 'Just be cool, Billy. Don't get angry. Don't get upset. Be good and I'll get you a pardon, an amnesty, an appeal, or this or that or the other thing' Well, this has been going on now for three and a half years. And I have been playing it cool. I've been good. And now I'm damn tired of being good because you people gave me the belief that I had 53 days left. You, you hung 53 days in front of my face, and then you just took those 53 days away. And you, Booth! I just wish you could be standin' where I'm standin' right now and feel what that feels like, because then you would know something that you don't know, Mr. Prosecutor. Mercy! You would know that the concept of a society is based on the quality of that mercy, its sense of fair play, its sense of justice. But I guess that's like askin' a bear to s--t in a toilet")
  • the end of Billy's speech about mercy when he shrieked at the judge: ("For a nation of pigs, it sure is funny you don't eat 'em. Jesus Christ forgave the bastards, but I can't. I hate. I hate you, I hate your nation, and I hate your people. And I f--k your sons and daughters because they're pigs! You're a pig. You're all pigs!")
  • the scene in which Billy asked his girlfriend Susan (Irene Miracle) to show him her breasts by pressing them against the glass so he could kiss them and pleasure himself at the same time
Intimacy in Prison with Girlfriend Susan
  • the shocking breakdown scene in which Billy vengefully bit off the tongue of traitorous fellow prisoner Rifki (Paolo Bonacelli) with his teeth and spit it out
  • the concluding sequence of Billy's daring escape, when he was being taken by chief guard Hamidou to the sanitarium and he became the victim of an attempted rape, when the guard unbuckled and lowered his pants and approached; Billy rushed at him head-first, propelling the guard's back into a sharp coat hook and accidentally killing him; then, Billy (wearing a stolen guard's uniform) walked out the front door into the sunlight, passed a guard jeep, and ran for freedom
  • the end titles over a freeze-frame of Billy's run: ("On the night of October 4th, 1975 Billy Hayes successfully crossed the border to Greece. He arrived home at Kennedy Airport 3 weeks later"), accompanied by a montage of still-framed B/W photographs of his reunion with his family and girlfriend

Hash Taped to Billy's Torso

Interrogation at Airport

Brutal Prison Treatment

Billy's Rant During Second Trial Scene

Billy's Breakdown

The Sequence of Billy's Escape

Midnight Lace (1960)

In director David Miller's Hitchcock-style suspenseful mystery thriller - (the trailer warned: "Please, don't reveal to your friends the shocking surprise ending!"):

  • the opening, pre-credits sequence in which vulnerable but carefree American heiress Katherine "Kit" Preston (Doris Day), newly married over three months to wealthy London businessman-financier Anthony "Tony" Preston (Rex Harrison), strolled through pea-soup thick fog in London's Grosvenor Park Square across from her home after visiting the American Embassy and Consulate General's offices (over a lost passport), and was accosted/stalked by a mysterious, high-pitched, sing-song, puppet-like voice
  • the eerie voice that made threats upon her life: ("Mrs. Preston, over here! So close, I can reach out and put my hands on your throat....Here, over here now, Mrs. Preston, by the statue of your late President"); when she called out: "Who are you? What do you want?", she was told: ("You'll know when the time comes, Mrs. Preston, just before I kill you"); after she fled and hid behind a park bench, the voice cautioned: ("Careful, Mrs. Preston, I wouldn't want you to get hurt, not yet!"); she ran for home and finally reached the safety of her residence, and took an elevator to an upper floor, while the credits began
  • after entering her residence, she received a hug and reassurances from her husband Tony after she told him about being threatened by a "horrible" voice; he theorized that it was a practical joker drawn out by the fog: ("You promise you won't hit me if I tell you something?...Someone's been pulling your leg!"); she stated that the voice uncannily knew her name and that she was an American
  • and her fears that everyone (her husband, Scotland Yard official Inspector Byrnes (John Williams), and others) doubted her sanity and believed that she was delusional: ("You don't believe me, do you? You think I made him up")
  • the series of anonymous, threatening mysterious phone calls made to Kit
  • the climax including Tony's startling explanation to Kit about how he had planned to throw her off their terrace, to make it look like an "accident" - a suicide due to her presumed insanity, so he could benefit from her inheritance, but then an "unexpected visitor" or intruder changed the plan and Tony was forced to fight him off: ("Unfortunately, in trying to defend yourself against a murderer out on the terrace, you fell to the street below. I was upstairs dressing. I ran down when I heard the commotion and tried to stop him. In the scuffle, he accidentally shot himself with his own gun. Even better than my original plan"); Tony then revealed his motive - he wished to cover up his embezzlement and the indebtedness of his own company: ("Money. I had to find a way to put a million pounds back into my company")
  • Tony's explanation of accomplices - their neighbor and his pretty mistress Peggy Thompson (Natasha Parry), who had pushed Kit in front of a bus and made the terrifying phone calls; and the intruding "murderer" was Peggy's cuckolded husband Roy Ash (Anthony Dawson) with a scarred face (who wanted to kill both Peggy and Tony for conducting an affair), but he was seriously wounded when struggling with Tony in the dark apartment and the gun went off
  • the concluding sequence of Kit's flight for her life, to the scaffolding outside her apartment building, where although fearful of heights, she was able to descend and escape to the street unharmed with the helpful rescue and urging of building contractor Brian Younger (John Gavin)
Conclusion: Revelations of Tony's Motive
Tony's Accomplice and Mistress Peggy
Kit Saved From Harm
  • the film's last line of Tony to Inspector Brynes as he was arrested and surrendered: ("We, as always, underestimate the British. How could I have made the same mistake?")

Kit's Stroll and Stalking Through Foggy Park

Kit Finding Safety in Elevator Ride

Kit's Reassuring Husband Tony (Rex Harrison)

Anonymous, Threatening Phone Calls

Intruding "Murderer" - Peggy's Cuckolded Husband Roy

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)

In this romantic/fantasy comedy adapted from Shakespeare's play of the same name, co-directed by William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt:

  • the sequence of beautiful, shimmering fairies appearing in the forest mist, running through the woods, and their ascent into the moonlit sky
  • the argument scene between two fairies: disobedient Queen of the fairies Titania (Anita Louise) and King of the fairies Oberon (Victor Jory), leading to their estrangement
  • the scene of Oberon applying a love-potion from a flower onto the eyelids of a sleeping Titania - hoping that she would fall in love with the first creature to see her upon awakening: ("Be as thou wast wont to be, See as thou wast wont to see, Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower Hath such force and blessed power, My Titania, my sweet queen, now awake") - her eyes happened to fall on Nick Bottom/Pyramus (James Cagney) who had been turned into a donkey
  • the character of Oberon's mischievous young elf Puck (Mickey Rooney), who came upon the sleeping bodies of both Lysander (Dick Powell) (mistaken for Demetrius (Ross Alexander)) and Hermia (Olivia de Havilland): ("This is he, my master said. Despised of the Athenian maid. And here's the maiden, sleeping sound. On the damp and dirty ground. Pretty soul. She dares not lie near this lack-love. Fool. Fool, upon thy eyes I throw All the power this charm doth hold When thou wak'st, let love forbid Sleep his seat on thy eyelid So awake when I am gone For I must go to Oberon") -
  • Puck was quickly reprimanded by Oberon for mistaking Lysander for Demetrius, and applying the 'love-juice' to the eyes of Lysander instead of Demetrius: ("What has't thou done? Thou has't mistaken quite. And laid the love juice on some true love's sight"); later, the sleeping Lysander was awakened by Helena (Jean Muir), and he immediately fell in love with her
  • the Pyramus and Thisbe play-within-a-play scene during a wedding, performed by Bottom and his fellow actors
Oberon's Young Elf Puck (Mickey Rooney)
  • the final line, spoken in a farewell soliloquy by Puck suggesting that everything seen before was a 'slumber'd' dream, after which he bowed and the word "Finis" appeared: ("If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended. That you have but slumber'd here while these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but to dream. Gentles, do not reprehend, if you pardon, we will mend. Else the Puck, a liar call, so good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends and Robin shall restore amends!")

The Shimmering Forest

Dancing Fairies

Oberton with Sleeping Titania

(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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