Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Mogambo (1953)

In director John Ford's Technicolored remake romance/adventure film (twenty-one years after Red Dust (1932)) shot mostly on location in Africa:

  • the love triangle of characters: African animal trapper and safari leader Victor Marswell (Clark Gable), stranded, provocative wisecracking good-time-girl Eloise "Honey Bear" Kelly (Best Actress-nominated Ava Gardner), and the cool and prim but lustful wife of a British anthropologist Donald (Donald Sinden), Mrs. Linda Nordley (Best Supporting Actress-nominated Grace Kelly)
  • the scene of an angered Marswell's first encounter with "Honey Bear" (Eloise Kelly) taking an outdoor shower at his home, after noticing her luggage and clothing strewn about, and her sassy frustration at being left stranded by an Indian Maharajah a week earlier, who didn't even leave her "a return ticket": ("Ooh, of all the rotten, subversive tricks. Flying all the way, thousands of miles to this lousy place. Arriving here hot and tired as a Sixth Avenue mink. And that water's even hotter, and that soap gives out about as much lather as blue cheese....Well, I wouldn't be so proud of it....Look buster, don't you get over-stimulated with me! I'm the little gal that flew all the way from New York to this lousy place, this Dark Continent. Only I expected to find a man with a flashlight...Can't you get me a canoe or a truck, or a pair of rollerskates, anything to get out of here?...You mean there's no way to get out?...This will be the gayest week of the season!")
  • the multiple kissing scenes between Victor and the married Linda - before a waterfall and during a dusk walk, when she admitted to him: ("You realize, don't you, that just from the way I can't stop myself looking at you, that everybody knows?"); he replied: ("Everybody but Donald...I know, I feel it myself. But he has to be told, that's all"); she worried: ("I don't know how to tell him"); he proposed a solution: ("You stay in camp tomorrow. I'm going up the hill. Do you understand?")
  • and the kissing scene between Victor and "Honey Bear" Kelly during a moonlit night, when she was conversing with him on the porch: ("The river looks awfully pretty in the moonlight, doesn't it? (Victor impulsively grabbed and kissed her.) Now wait a minute, Marswell. You're turning into the original African hotrod....You can be nice and sweet when you want to, can't you?...I'm warning you. I'm searching. I'm looking, really I am"); he vowed to cooperate: ("I'll look with you - for a little while")
  • the final scene in which Mrs. Nordley was enraged when she found Eloise in the arms of a drunken Marswell (who was purposely trying to sabotage their forbidden affair) - thereby ending their relationship when Linda wounded him with a gunshot
  • the ending when Victor proposed to "Honey Bear" Kelly as she was ready to depart, but she rebuffed him: (Honey: "You mean you're gonna make an honest woman out of me?", Victor: "It suits me, Kelly." Kelly: "It suits you!? Listen buster, you and your quick-change acts aren't gonna hang orange blossoms all over me because you feel the cold weather comin' on. No thank you. I'll go back where I can be honest without gettin' kicked around for it. I'll see ya!"); after Marswell yelled out to skipper John "Brownie" Brown-Pryce (Philip Stainton): ("Take good care of her...I said, take good care of her!"), she looked back, decided to leave her departing canoe, jumped in the water, and enjoyed a closing embrace with Marswell on the river's edge

Mommie Dearest (1981)

In Frank Perry's camp classic biopic based on daughter Christina's scandalous memoirs of parental abuse:

  • the long title sequence with the final revelation of a full-closeup view of the face of movie-star Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) after her early morning, body-scrubbing, facial-cleansing ritual of plunging her face into ice-cubes (that were doused with rubbing alcohol), dressing, being chauffeured to MGM studios, and having her make-up applied (in extreme close-up), before a knock on her door: (Joan: "Yes?" Stage-hand: "We're ready for you, Miss Crawford")
  • the over-meticulous, critical and obsessively-clean Crawford's angry scene with her new housemaid Helga (Alice Nunn) and Carol Ann (Rutanya Alda) for not moving a large tree plant vase when polishing the tile floor of her home: ("If you can't do something right, don't do it at all...Give me the soap. You see, Carol Ann, you have to stay on top of things every single minute") - and then her statement to Helga: ("Helga, I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the dirt!")
  • her over-the-top performances in various scenes in which she attacked her adopted daughter Christina (Mara Hobel as child); i.e., slapping her daughter for allegedly lying, and then saying: ("You love it, don't you? You love to make me hit you!"); or the scene of Joan's response when Christina repeatedly demanded to know why she was adopted: ("Because I wanted a child. Because I wanted someone to love...Maybe I did it for a little extra publicity")
  • the pool scene when Joan raced her young daughter Christina (with a headstart), won the contest, and then gloated: ("You lost again!"), and when Christina complained: ("It's not fair! You're bigger than I am. It's not fair to win twice!"), Joan retorted: ("Ah, but nobody ever said life was fair, Tina. I'm bigger and I'm faster. I will always beat you"); and then after a resistant Christina was ordered to her room when she vowed never to play with her enraged mother again, she was locked up in the pool house
  • the scene of Joan's over-reaction to young Christina, after seeing her play-acting by imitating her in a multi-part mirror in her bedroom - and hysterically chopping off Christina's blonde hair with scissors to humiliate her: ("What do you mean, playing? Going through my things? Making fun of me?...Look at yourself! Gimme that!...What have you done? What have you put on your hair? What have you done to this damn hair?...I know you look awful. You be quiet! You're always rummaging through my drawers, trying to find a way to make people look at you. Why are you always looking at yourself in the mirror? Why are you doing that? Tell me! You sit still now! This ought to teach you!...You're vain, spoiled...I'd rather you go bald to school than looking like a tramp!...You spoiled it just like I spoiled you")
  • the crazed rose-pruning scene when Joan - after being fired from MGM by Louis Mayer - demanded that her children join her to trim the roses in the garden - and her axe-wielding/evening-gowned hacking rampage in her prized rose garden: ("Eighteen years in the business! And we parted friends! Creative differences! Good, I want some help here. I want all of these branches cleared out of here now. Carol Ann and Christopher, start clearing away all these branches. Start gathering them up. Go and get the wheelbarrow and the rake. Tina! Bring me the axe!")
  • the celebrated, late-night scene of Joan (with her face smeared in cold cream) entering her daughter's closet and abusively screaming - a violent rant - when she saw a dress hanging there on a cheap wire hanger, and began clearing out the closet by tossing everything onto the floor: ("No - wire - hangers. What's wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you - NO WIRE HANGERS EVER! I work and work 'til I'm half-dead, and I hear people saying 'She's getting old.' And what do I get? A daughter who cares as much about the beautiful dresses I give her as she cares about me. What's wire hangers doing in this closet? ANSWER ME! I buy you beautiful dresses, and you treat them like they were some dish-rag. You do! $300 dollar dress on a wire hanger! We'll see how many you've got hidden in here. We'll see. Get out of that bed. All of this is coming out. Out! Out! Out. Out. Out. You've got any more? We're gonna see how many wire hangers you've got in your closet. Wire hangers! Why? Why? Christina, get out of that bed. Get out of that bed. You live in the most beautiful house in Brentwood (She picked up a hanger and began to beat Christina) and you don't care if your clothes are stretched back from wire hangers. And your room looks like a two-dollar-a-week priced room in some two-bit backstreet town in Oklahoma. Get up. Get up. Clean up this mess")
  • the bathroom cleaning scene, when Joan threw a can of powdered cleanser at Christina while they were both on their knees scrubbing the already-clean bathroom tile floor
  • the confrontational scene that led to Joan violently choking her daughter Christina who claimed she wasn't another one of her mother's fans: (Joan: "I don't ask much from you, girl. Why can't you give me the respect that I'm entitled to? Why can't you treat me in the way I would be treated by any stranger on the street?" Christina: "Because I am not one of your fans! Mommie! You never loved me! Mommie! Mommie!" Joan: "You've hated me! You never loved me! Never! You've always taken and taken. You never wanted to be my child! You've always hated everything! Everything! Everything! Get out!")
  • the scene of Joan's notorious face-down with the all-male Pepsi-Cola board in the boardroom, after her husband Alfred Steele (Harry Goz), Pepsi's CEO, died when she was "retired" from the Pepsi board of directors, and threatened to hurt the company's sales if they didn't retain her: ("You think you're very clever, don't you? Trying to sweep the poor little widow under the carpet. Well, think again. I'm on the board of directors of this lousy company...Al and I helped build Pepsi to what it is today. I intend to stay with it....You drove Al to his grave, and now you're trying to stab me in the back. Forget it! I fought worse monsters than you for years in Hollywood. I know how to win the hard way!...You don't know what hard feelings are until I come out publicly against your product. You'll see how much you sell.... Don't f--k with me, fellas! This ain't my first time at the rodeo. You forget the press I delivered to Pepsi was my power. I can use it any way I want. It's a sword, cuts both ways"); abruptly, the members of the board acquiesed: ("The board has failed to realize the extent of your interest in the company. We misjudged. We shall be pleased to have you stay on")
  • the scene of Joan Crawford dazedly and drunkenly replacing her ailing daughter (hospitalized for an ovarian tumor) in the cast of an NYC daytime TV soap opera
  • the final scene in which adult-aged Christina (Diana Scarwid as adult) listened as a lawyer read that she and her brother were deliberately disinherited - left out of her mother's will after her death in 1977: ("It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son, Christopher and my daughter Christina, for reasons which are well known to them"); when Christopher (Xander Berkeley as adult) commented: ("What reasons?...As usual, she has the last word"), Christina (with a tear on her left cheek) vengefully implied that she would have the "last word" by writing a tell-all memoir-expose: ("Does she?")

Monkey Business (1931)

In the Marx Brothers' third film - and their first film made in Hollywood (and their first film from an original screenplay):

  • the classic opening scene of the four stowaway brothers (as Themselves) singing "Sweet Adeline" in barrels located in the forward hatch of an Atlantic-crossing ocean liner - and labeled Kippered Herring ("This is the only way to travel, boys. The only way"), but a crew member had earlier reported: ("Sorry to have to report there are four stowaways in the forward hatch....They were singing Sweet Adeline")
  • the scene of Groucho's impersonation of the ship's Captain Corcoran (Ben Taggart), and phoning for lunch (and dinner): ("Hello. Send up the captain's lunch... Send up his dinner, too. Who am I? I'm the captain. You want to choose up sides? Oh, engineer, will you tell them to stop the boat from rocking? I'm gonna have lunch") because he hadn't eaten in three days (although they had only been on the boat for two days): ("I didn't eat yesterday. I didn't eat today, and I won't eat tomorrow. That makes three days")
  • Harpo's pretense of being a puppet and delighting an audience of children during a Punch and Judy show
  • the very funny barbershop scene when Chico and Harpo impersonated the barber and shaved off ('snoop off') the entire long handlebar mustache of one of the ocean liner's crew members, who requested: "Give me a once-over": (Chico: "We take care of you, all right. We take the tonsils last. I think we work on the mustache first. Give him a little snoop. This side's too long. Give him a little snoop this side. Now this side is too short. It's too short. The other side is too long. Snoop him up. That's better, but the side that was too short now is too long and the side that was too long is too short. I think you got to give him one more snoop. I think we better measure. It's about a foot too much. No, the measure's a foot too much. Now it looks much better. It can stand one more snoop in the middle, I think. In the middle, one snoop. That's fine. That's very good. I think it's a little bit rough right here. I fix that....One more snoop. That's beautiful, eh? That's what you call a work of art. Hey, you know, I think you give him one snoop too much")
  • the most famous scene after the ocean liner docked in New York City - of all the Marx Brothers unconvincingly impersonating (dressing with a straw-hat) and using the stolen passport (by Zeppo) of well-known French actor/singer Maurice Chevalier when leaving the luxury ship and trying to evade customs, while a Victrola played Chevalier's hit You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me
  • Groucho's tango with bootlegging gangster Alky Briggs' (Harry Woods) wife Lucille Briggs (Thelma Todd) (on board the ship in her stateroom) when he offered to polish her frame and oil her joints: ("Well, we can clean and tighten your brakes, polish your frame and oil your joints, but you'll have to stay in the garage all night") - and later, his attempted flirtatious romancing of her: ("Oh, I've dreamed of a night like this, I tell you. Now, you tell me about some of your dreams....Oh, why can't we break away from all this, just you and I, and lodge with my fleas in the hills? I mean, flee to my lodge in the hills"); when she replied: "Oh, no, I couldn't think of it," he tried to persuade her further: ("Don't be afraid. You can join this lodge for a few pennies. And you won't even have to take a physical examination - unless you insist on one"); he was encouraged when she told him that she didn't trust her husband: ("What a swell home life I've got. Why, I think I'd almost marry you to spite that double-crossing crook"); the scene was topped by Groucho's offer: ("Mrs. Briggs. I've known and respected your husband Alky for many years, and what's good enough for him is good enough for me")

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

In Charlie Chaplin's outrageous black comedy (subtitled "A Comedy of Murder" and "The Story of a Modern French Bluebeard"), there was a complete revision of the Tramp role with Chaplin portraying a bigamist serial wife killer, whose preferred modus operandi was to marry middle-aged wealthy women, murder them, and appropriate their money:

  • the film's opening voice-over when straight-laced Parisian, unemployed bank clerk-teller Henri Verdoux (Charlie Chaplin), a dapper gentleman, explained why he had to resort to marrying and murdering wealthy widows, after the depression hit in 1930: "It was then that I became occupied in liquidating members of the opposite sex. This I did as a strictly business enterprise, to support a home and family"; the camera slowly panned over his tomb marker and accompaying tombstones
  • his family to support consisted of invalid, wheelchair-bound crippled wife Mona (Mady Correll) and young son Peter (Allison Roddan); Verdoux used several aliases (e.g., Varnay, Bonheur, and Floray, etc.) in order to marry almost a dozen women simultaneously
  • the scene in which Verdoux was about to poison a young Girl (Marilyn Nash) with a glass of poisoned red wine after taking her in and feeding her a meal of toast and scrambled eggs - she spoke of her previous love of a man who died in the war: "Life is wonderful....Everything, a spring morning, a summer's night, music, art, love..There is such a thing...I was in love once...Giving, sacrificing. The same way a mother feels for her child"; she explained how she was married to a man who had been wounded in the war and became a hopeless invalid: "That's why I loved him. He needed me, depended on me. He was like a child. But he was more than a child to me. He was a religion. My very breath. I'd have killed for him. No, love is something very real and deep. I know that"; as a result, Verdoux decided to spare her life by replacing her wine glass with the poison in it before she had taken a sip
  • the comedic highlight of the film - one of the would-be victims, widowed Annabella Bonheur (Martha Raye) kept winning lotteries and also proved challenging to eliminate, including the scene of Verdoux's attempt to murder her in a rowboat while she was fishing; when her back was turned, he picked up a rope noose to strangle her - but then she turned back and caught him in the act; he sheepishly concealed his deadly intentions by crossing his legs, linking his hands over his knee, swaying back and forth, and widely grinning; and then when he tried to chloroform her with a handkerchief, she jostled the boat and dislodged him from his seat
  • Henri Verdoux's courtroom speech - a response to the Judge and Prosecutor after being convicted and found guilty in a trial - he explained how society was hypocritical; he argued that world wars, dictators, and mass genocidal killings were sanctioned by society and other countries, but his own crime of killing only a few out of necessity (in order to survive) brought about a sentence of death by guillotine: "However remiss the prosecutor has been in complimenting me, he at least admits that I have brains. Thank you, Monsieur, I have. And for thirty-five years I used them honestly. After that, nobody wanted them. So I was forced to go into business for myself. As for being a mass killer, does not the world encourage it? Is it not building weapons of destruction for the sole purpose of mass killing? Has it not blown unsuspecting women and little children to pieces? And done it very scientifically? As a mass killer, I am an amateur by comparison. However, I do not wish to lose my temper, because very shortly, I shall lose my head. Nevertheless, upon leaving this spark of earthly existence, I have this to say: I shall see you all... very soon... very soon"
  • Verdoux's final resigned words with a priest who blessed him: "May the Lord have mercy on your soul", and Verdoux's response: "Why not? After all, it belongs to him"

Monster's Ball (2001)

In Marc Forster's compelling drama (the title referred to the party held by executioners for a condemned man on the night before his death), and Oscar-winning film about an unlikely, racially-charged romantic pairing:

  • the characterization of the racist state of Georgia family of Grotowskis: widowed, hard-drinking, emotionally-drained Georgia prison (death-row) guard Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton), Hank's corrections-officer son Sonny (Heath Ledger), and Hank's emphysema-stricken father Buck (Peter Boyle) whose wife had committed suicide
  • the lunch scene in which Buck expressed his bigoted attitudes to Hank when he saw two young African-American boys walking up to the house to speak to Sonny: ("What the hell those niggers doin' out there?...Damn porch monkeys. Be movin' in here soon. Sittin' next to me. Watchin' my TV. There was a time when they knew their place. Wasn't none of this mixin' goin' on. Your mother, she hated them niggers, too"); Hank went outside and scared them off with shotgun blasts into the air
  • the devastating goodbye scene between African-American waitress Leticia Musgrove (Oscar-winning Halle Berry), her about-to-be-executed (by electric chair) husband, Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs) (who had been on death row for 11 years), and their obese-overweight son Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun); and their small talk about her broken-down car and the loss of the house due to her inability to make the payments
  • the displaced anger scene when abusive mother Leticia berated her son for being so fat: ("What the hell is this, Tyrell? What'd I tell you about eating this s--t? Didn't I tell you don't be eating that s--t? Look at this! Look at all this fat! This fat, fat ass! Look at all this nasty fat! Where they at? Look at all this candy. You ain't gonna eat all this candy! You crazy? Look at this room. It's a mess. Why is it a mess, Tyrell? 'Cause a fat little piggy lives in this room! Get your ass on this scale. Get on the scale! What does it say? What's it say?...189. You ain't lost no weight!")
  • the sequence after the death row execution of Lawrence Musgrove, when Hank viciously attacked his son Sonny in the prison's bathroom for vomiting during the prisoner's last walk, for ruining everything, and for being a "pussy": ("Are you listenin' to me? Do you know what you did? Do you know what you did? You f--ked him up! You f--ked up that man's last walk! How would you like it if somebody f--ked up your last walk? You're like a goddamn woman. You're like your f--kin' mother! You shouldn't have done that, you son of a bitch! Get up, you f--kin' pussy! Come here! You are a piece of f--kin' s--t! Do you understand me?")
  • the scene of the sudden suicide of Hank's son Sonny, who brandished a gun and asked his hateful father in the living room: ("You lousy piece of s--t. Get up....See? How do you like that, huh? Huh? Come on! Are you a tough guy now? Are you tough? Say somethin'. Say somethin'! Get up. You hate me? Answer me. You hate me, don't you?"); Hank replied: ("Yeah, I hate you. I always did"), causing Sonny to lethally shoot himself directly in the chest after telling his father: ("Well, I always loved you")
  • the image of Hank's Department of Corrections uniform burning up in a backyard fire - after Hank resigned his job, and his admission to his Pop: ("I quit the team...I can't do it anymore"), although his father was disappointed and disapproved: ("That was a mistake...You're remindin' me of your mother....Your mother wasn't s--t. That woman failed me. I got more pussy after she killed herself than I did when she was livin' as my wife. The point is, she quit on me. You're doin' the same")
  • Hank's beginning of a relationship with the emotionally-devastated widow and now single-mom Leticia, after helping her on a very rainy night to drive her injured son to the hospital following a hit-and-run accident when the two were walking down the highway - and Leticia's intense hurt and pain (and banging on the glass: "That's my baby!") upon learning that her son died due to his injuries
  • the scene of Hank and Letitcia talking about her efforts to be a good mother to her very ravenous and fat deceased son, and then her raw, intensely sexual, animalistic and volatile request when she begged to have sex with him: ("I was a good mother. I was a really good mom. I didn't want him to be fat like that. I did not want my baby to be fat like that, 'cause I know, a black man in America, you can't be like that, and I tried to... I was just trying to tell him you can't be like that. You can't be like that in America and a black man. I was just... I'm not sure... I'm not sure what you want me to do. I want... You know what I want. I want you to make me feel better....Just make me feel good. I just want you to make me feel good. Can you make me feel good?...Just make me feel good...I want- I want to feel good. I want to feel.Fill me up. Fill me up. Fill me up. Oh, my God. Fill me. Fill me"
  • the racist insult scene, when Hank's father Buck told Leticia (who had brought a gift for Hank) that the only reason Hank was interested in her was for sex: ("Damn! Hank must've done somethin' right to deserve a fine hat like this....In my prime, I had a thing for nigger juice myself. Hank just like his daddy. He ain't a man till he split dark oak")
  • although broken apart by Buck's comment, the subsequent love scene after Hank and Leticia reconnected when he offered her oral sex ("Can I touch you?") after receiving permission
  • the final reconciliation scene between Hank and Leticia sitting on the front porch eating ice cream together

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

In Pixar's-Disney's (their fourth collaboration) CGI animated comedy:

  • the intriguing plot premise for the film - the city of Monstropolis (powered by Scream Heat fueled by the collective screams of human children), where monster "scarer" employees were hired to emerge from closet doors at night and scare children - but they were themselves scared of children, thinking they were toxic
  • the delightful characters of giant, furry blue monster James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (voice of John Goodman) and his assistant, one-eyed Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) - both employed by Monsters, Inc. - a major scream refinery in the monster world
  • the restaurant named Harryhausen's (in tribute to the famed stop-motion animator of monsters)
  • the two evil characters: the company's chairman, Henry J. Waternoose (voice of James Coburn) - an arthropodic monster with a crab-like lower body, and his ally Randall Boggs, a purple chameleon-like lizard monster with eight-legs, and their plot to eliminate "scarers" by using a Scream-Extractor Machine (to suck up oxygen from children) - and the scene of Randall strapping captured 3 year-old human toddler Mary (Mary Gibbs), nicknamed "Boo" to the mechanism, although she was saved by "Sulley"
  • the amazing sequence of the wild roller-coaster chase involving hundreds of closet doors on an endless conveyor line, when Randall pursued both Mike and "Sulley" after "Boo's" rescue
  • the sad goodbye scene when Mike and Sulley had to say goodbye to Mary/"Boo when she was to be returned to the human world through her bedroom
  • after Mike's rebuilding of the door to Mary's bedroom by assembling all the pieces, the final poignant shot in which "Sulley" entered and reacted joyfully to seeing Mary again

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, UK)

In the second irreverent Monty Python feature film - from co-directors Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones that skewered religion, medieval epics, the Middle Ages and the Arthurian legend, Camelot and a host of other topics - in many favorite scenes:

  • the opening view of King Arthur (Graham Chapman) galloping over a hill - with an imaginary stallion (announced by the clopping sound of approaching hooves) - next to the King was his hunchbacked servant-lackey Patsy (Terry Gilliam) banging two coconut shells together to simulate the horses' hooves
  • the ridiculous argument with castle gatekeepers and guards about whether African or European swallows may have carried the coconuts to the more temperate Northern zone: ("It's a simple question of weight ratios. A five-ounce bird could not carry a one-pound coconut...In order to maintain air speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings 43 times every second...It could be carried by an African swallow. An African swallow, maybe, but not a European swallow...But then, of course, African swallows are non-migratory. So they couldn't bring a coconut back anyway. Wait a minute. Supposing two swallows carried it together!")
  • the outrageous scene of the collection of corpses (for ninepence apiece) by the Dead Collector (Eric Idle) on his rounds through a muddy medieval village as he cried out: "Bring Out Your Dead!" and the argument with a Large Man (John Cleese) over a half-dead candidate: ("I'm not dead!...I don't want to go on the cart")
  • King Arthur's encounter with the Black Knight (John Cleese) who persistently insisted on combat even after all of his limbs had been hacked off and he had been reduced to a head and torso: ("It's just a flesh wound!...I'm invincible!...The Black Knight always triumphs!...I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off! and "All right, we'll call it a draw")
  • the scene of the prosecution of a suspected witch: (Question: "What makes you think she's a witch?" Answer: "She turned me into a newt!...I got better!"), who was weighed by Sir Bedevere the Wise (Terry Jones), and found to be guilty because she weighed the same as a duck: ("So logically, if she weighs the same as a duck, she's made of wood. And therefore? A witch!")
  • the sentry's taunting and insulting words to King Arthur at a French-controlled castle: ("I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries")
  • the surprising scene of a modern-day documentarian/historian named Frank (John Young), commenting on the Arthurian legend, suddenly slashed to death across the neck by a horseback-riding knight
  • the dreaded tree-shaped Knights Who Say 'Ni' in the forest, led by a helmeted towering knight (Michael Palin) with deer antlers sticking up from his head - who made strong demands of Arthur to appease them by giving them shrubbery before being allowed passage: ("One that looks nice... and not too expensive")
  • the scenes about the Fierce Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog (a guardian beast living in a cave that looked like a harmless white rabbit, but viciously attacked) and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (a sacred relic) that defeated the Killer Rabbit
  • the guarded Bridge of Death crossing scene where a trollish, creepy soothsayer / bridgekeeper (Terry Gilliam) asked travelers five (or three) questions before they were allowed to pass over the Gorge of Eternal Peril
  • the plot-twisting conclusion, when a police car, a paddy wagon, and officers of the law pulled into the scene in front of King Arthur's large battle army, and Frank's wife (Rita Davies) exited the car and shouted out: "Yes, they're the ones, I'm sure" - the group of insane knights were arrested by the authorities for the murder of Frank; one of the police officers threatened the cameraman, and put his hand over the camera lens: ("All right, sonny, that's enough, just pack that in") - but after the cameraman swore: "Christ!", the film reel broke in the projector and derailed from the gate and the film abruptly ended

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979, UK)

In Terry Gilliam's controversial religious satire about a young Jewish boy named Brian mistaken for Jesus (the Messiah):

  • the scene in which Three unwise Kings, astrologers from the East, erroneously visited infant Brian Cohen's (Graham Chapman) stable manger thinking he was the future King of the Jews - bringing gifts to an ungrateful Virgin Mandy (Terry Jones): ("Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o'clock in the morning? That doesn't sound very wise to me....Is this some kind of joke?...Homage? You're all drunk. It's disgusting. Out! The lot, out!...Go and praise someone else's brat! Go on!"), and Mandy's change of heart when they mentioned their gifts; the discussion about what myrrh was: ("It is a valuable balm" - misunderstood as a 'bomb'), and after realizing their mistake, the three decided to grab their presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh back
  • the animated title sequence featuring a James Bond-like musical number
  • the famous scene in which listeners were too far away to hear the real Jesus clearly when he delivered his Sermon on the Mount, and thought they heard the words: ("Blessed are the cheesemakers" and "Blessed are the Greek...apparently he's going to inherit the Earth")
  • the hysterical "stoning" skit in which a group of women (disguised as men) anxiously awaited permission to stone a prisoner named Matthias: (Official: "You have been found guilty by the elders of the town of uttering the name of our Lord, and so, as a blasphemer, you are to be stoned to death") from an annoyed, weary Jewish Official (John Cleese) and ended up stoning the official himself when he accidentally said Jehovah: ("I'm warning you. If you say Jehovah once more...!"), even though he cautioned everyone: ("Now, look! No one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle! Do you understand?! Even, and I want to make this absolutely clear, even if they do say 'Jehovah'") - and ended up being crushed by a massive boulder
  • the "PFJ" scene: ("Are you the Judean People's Front?!...We're the People's Front of Judea!")
  • the conjugation scene, when a Centurion (John Cleese) caught Brian painting "Romanes Eunt Domus" on a wall [Romans Go Home] - and Brian received a lesson in proper Latin grammar for the graffiti, and by sunrise, had written out the corrected phrase 100 times on the palace wall: "Romani Ite Domum"
  • the "What Have the Romans Done For Us?" scene, when disgruntled Reg (Cleese) asked his commando followers: ("And what have they ever given us in return?") - and received numerous suggestions: the aqueduct, sanitation, the roads, irrigation, medicine, education, wine, public baths, public order, the fresh water system, public health - and peace!
  • the "Biggus Dickus" scene, when lisping, effeminate Pontius Pilate (Michael Palin) was upset when he mentioned his friend Biggus Dickus (Chapman) and his guards began to snigger: ("I have a vewy good fwiend in Wome named 'Biggus Dickus'" and "He has a wife, you know. You know what she's called? She's called 'Incontinentia'. 'Incontinentia Buttocks'"); then, he ordered: ("I've had enough of this wowdy webel sniggewing behavior. Silence! Call yourselves Pwaetowian guards? You're not -- Seize him! Seize him! Blow your noses and seize him!")
  • the scenes in which Brian was mistaken for a prophet, and the subsequent, insanely devoted worship of Brian as the Messiah (one group worshipped a gourd he used, while another a sandal he lost while being chased) and Brian's futile attempts to get rid of his followers - when Brian fled from a crowd of crazed Messiah followers and jumped in a pit with Simon the Holy Man (Terry Jones), the hermit accidentally broke his vow of silence for 18 years when Brian landed on his foot; Brian repeatedly denied his Messiah-hood: ("Now, f--k off!"), when one of the men shouted back: ("How shall we f--k off, oh Lord?")
  • the two full-frontal nudity scenes: Brian's nude appearance when he opened his window after a night of love-making with feisty lover Judith Iscariot (Sue Jones-Davies) - and was rudely greeted by thousands of followers demanding to follow him; and Judith's vow to Brian's mother about how she would follow Brian - the Messiah, as Brian cowered behind her: ("Your son is a born leader. Those people out there are following him because they believe in him, Mrs. Cohen. They believe he can give them hope - hope of a new life, a new world, a better future!"); Brian's mother later warned: "Leave that Welsh tart alone!"
  • Brian's mother Mandy's assertions and protests against the crowds: "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!" - and "There's no Messiah in here. There's a mess all right, but no Messiah"
  • the final crucifixion scene in which a despondent Brian was crucified next to others, and was encouraged by fellow sufferer Mr. Frisbee (Eric Idle) to be cheerful: ("Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say. Some things in life are bad. They can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle. And this'll help things turn out for the best. And..")
  • and then, Mr. Frisbee sang the upbeat song: "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life": ("Always look on the bright side of life. (whistling) Always look on the light side of life. (whistling) If life seems jolly rotten, There's something you've forgotten, And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing. When you're feeling in the dumps, Don't be silly chumps. Just purse your lips and whistle. That's the thing. And, always look on the bright side of life")

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983, UK)

In director Terry Jones' irreverent musical comedy about the stages of life from the Monty Python comedy team:

  • the various skits about the 'meaning of life - and death,' including the fantastic short film The Crimson Permanent Assurance (1983) preceding the movie
  • the sequence in a fish aquarium of human-headed fish who exchanged pleasantries, commented upon one of their own kind being served in a restaurant, and wondered about life: (- "Hey, look. Howard's being eaten" - "Is he? Makes you think, doesn't it?" - "I mean, what's it all about?" - "Beats me")
  • the hospital birth scene when the doctors were fascinated with "the machine that goes ping" ("that means your baby is still alive") and basically neglected the patient Mrs. Moore (Valerie Whittington); the obstetrician (Graham Chapman) and Dr. Spencer (John Cleese) treated the newborn roughly in the Fetus Frightening Room ("Here it comes. And frighten it!"), used "rough towels" and then ordered: "Show it to the mother. That's enough...Sedate her. Number the child. Measure it, blood type it, and isolate it!"); when the mother simply asked: "Is it a boy or girl?", the obstetrician replied: ("Now, I think it's a little early to start imposing roles on it, don't you? Now, a word of advice. You may find that you suffer for some time a totally irrational feeling of depression: 'PND', as we doctors call it. So, it's lots of happy pills for you, and you can find out all about the birth when you get home. It's available on Betamax, VHS, and Super Eight")
  • the "Every Sperm is Sacred" musical song lyrics, a lavish production number sung in part by a pregnant Mum (Terry Jones) with her many children: ("Hindu, Taoist, Mormon, Spill theirs just anywhere; But God loves those who treat - their semen with more care; (chorus) Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate")
  • the sequence of Protestant Mr. Harry Blackitt (Graham Chapman), speaking to his wife (Eric Idle) - criticizing the neighboring poverty-stricken Catholics with too many children who didn't practice birth control: ("Look at them, bloody Catholics, filling the bloody world up with bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed...every time they have sexual intercourse, they have to have a baby"); his statement that Protestants could take precautions ("by wearing a rubber sheath over my old feller, I could insure that, when I came off, you would not be impregnated....That's what being a Protestant's all about. That's why it's the church for me...and, Protestantism doesn't stop at the simple condom! Oh, no! I can wear French Ticklers if I want...French Ticklers. Black Mambos. Crocodile Ribs. Sheaths that are designed not only to protect, but also to enhance the stimulation of sexual congress.")
  • the scene of the class in which sex education and proper foreplay was taught by Prof. Humphrey Williams (John Cleese) by copulating with his wife in front of class: ("Nibbling the earlobe, uhh, kneading the buttocks, and so on and so forth. So, we have all these possibilities before we stampede towards the clitoris, Watson")
  • the battlefield scene when Blackitt (Eric Idle) and fellow soldiers offered a goodbye present to ungrateful Capt. Biggs (Terry Jones) - he received two clocks and a watch by accident, a check, and a cake: ("There's love in that cake...It's too good a cake not to eat! Get the plates and knives"), as the men around him were shot down
  • the sequence of a General (Graham Chapman) pontificating about the need for an Army before being struck down by the hand of God, and Sgt. Major's (Michael Palin) question posed to his troops: ("Now, today, we're going to do marching up and down the square! That is, unless any of you got anything better to do. Well?! Anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than marchin' up and down the square?!") - and one by one, his troop members deserted him with their requests to be home with the wife and kids, reading a book, learning the piano, and going to the "pictures"
  • the strange interlude mid-way through the film - "Find the Fish"
  • the gory "Live Organ Transplants" sequence when a group of National Health doctors contractually claimed that they could remove a healthy liver from a still-living donor
  • the controversial "Penis Song" in Part VI: The Autumn Years - performed with a piano by Noel Coward (Eric Idle) in front of restaurant diners: ("Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis? Isn't it frightfully good to have a dong? It's swell to have a stiffy. It's divine to own a dick, From the tiniest little tadger To the world's biggest prick. So, three cheers for your Willy or John Thomas. Hooray for your one-eyed trouser snake, Your piece of pork, your wife's best friend, Your Percy, or your cock. You can wrap it up in ribbons. You can slip it in your sock, But don't take it out in public, Or they will stick you in the dock, And you won't come back")
  • the oft-remembered scene in a fancy French restaurant of the gruesome, slovenly, massively overweight, constantly-vomiting (into a bucket) character of Mr. Creosote (Terry Jones), culminating in his explosion from overeating a rich, 700 course meal after he swallowed a thin mint offered by a determined waiter: ("Finally, monsieur, a wafer thin mint...It's only a tiny little thin one...Just, just one. Bon appetit"); the customer's fat-coated, still-beating heart was revealed when other diners were showered with his insides and half-digested food after his stomach spectacularly burst; the waiter then happened to notice the undigested mint inside Creosote's body cavity - he delicately plucked it out and popped it in his mouth
  • the scene in Part VII: Death, of Arthur Jarrett (Graham Chapman) as a criminal who was given the choice of "the manner of his own execution" - the governor explained Jarrett's crime - at his beachside grave: ("Arthur Charles Herbert Runcie MacAdam Jarrett, you have been convicted by twelve good persons and true of the crime of first degree making of gratuitous, sexist jokes in a moving picture"); Jarrett selected a mad dash-pursuit by a group of beautiful bare-chested women (with brightly colored crash helmets and kneepads matching their thong-bikini bottoms) who (with frequent panting) chased him off a cliff to his death; he plummeted into his own gravesite where a funeral ceremony for his death was already being held, and the priest intoned: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust"
  • the bizarre "Christmas in Heaven" segment ("It's Christmas every day in Heaven") with Santa Claus-dressed angels wearing plastic breasts, and Tony Bennett (Graham Chapman) singing the lyrics: ("It's Christmas in Heaven. All the children sing. It's Christmas in Heaven. Hark. Hark. Those church bells ring. It's Christmas in Heaven. The snow falls from the sky, But it's nice and warm, and everyone Looks smart and wears a tie. It's Christmas in Heaven. There's great films on TV: 'The Sound of Music' twice an hour And 'Jaws' One, Two, and Three")
  • and "The End of the Film" in which a Queen Elizabeth-look-alike Lady Presenter (Michael Palin) spoke to the audience: (" are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully spark some sort of controversy, which, it seems, is the only way, these days, to get the jaded, video-sated public off their f--king arses and back in the sodding cinema")
  • and the great "Galaxy Song" sung by Mr. Pink (also Idle), stressing the place of Man in the universe: ("So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure / How amazingly unlikely is your birth / And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space / 'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth") while featuring an animated constellation of stars resembling a pregnant woman giving birth to represent the "expanding universe"

Moonrise (1948)

In Frank Borzage's film-noirish crime melodrama set in the small Virginia town of Woodville:

  • the film's brilliant opening montage of wordless visual story-telling - the expressionistic march to the gallows and the public hanging of a man (Jeb Hawkins) convicted of murder (for killing an incompetent doctor who had indirectly caused his wife to die by not making a house call but offering only a bottle of pills), paired with the view of their crying baby in a crib - the man's child had the shadow of a dangling playdoll cast onto its blanket (a transposed duplicate of the hanging man); the montage conveyed the belief that "bad blood" was transmitted from one generation to the next
  • the montage continued with the sad and mistreated childhood of outcast Danny Hawkins (Johnny Calkins as 13 year old), who often fought on the school playground against his teasing, taunting and tormenting schoolmate Jerry Sykes (Michael Dill as 13 year old), who chanted with others: "Danny Hawkins' dad was hanged!"
  • the sequence of an altercation outside a dance hall, where Hawkins (Dane Clark as adult) argued with rich banker's son Jerry Sykes (Lloyd Bridges as adult), his lifelong tormentor, over their mutual love of schoolteacher Gilly Johnson (Gail Russell); she was the fiancee of the teasing, arrogant, and bullying Sykes; near a swamp called Brother's Pond during their vicious fist-fight, Hawkins repeatedly smashed Syke's skull with a rock and murdered him in self-defense; he left an important clue behind - his pocket-knife stuck in a tree; an investigation followed with a frenzied manhunt for the killer
  • the scene within a ruined Southern mansion (Blackwater Mansion) where Hawkins surreptitiously met Gilly, and in the midst of a burgeoning love affair, Gilly imagined that they were attending a Civil War era ball in the house when she adopted an exaggerated Southern accent as the plantation's owner Mrs. Blackwater - they waltzed together and spoke of their mutual love before they kissed (Danny: "I've never seen you like this before, Gilly" Gilly: "I've never been like this before") - the film faded to black
  • the ferris wheel scene when panicking Danny's sense of being caught while sharing the ride with the town's Sheriff Clem Otis (Allyn Joslyn) caused him to jump
  • the scene of harmless, mentally-handicapped mute Billy Scripture (Harry Morgan) attempting to fit his feet into footprints made years earlier in wet cement on a sidewalk - and his profound realization that he could never return to what he once was; and Danny's near strangulation of Billy who had found his pocket-knife
  • Hawkins' pivotal scene composed of reflections at the backwoods home of his wise grandmother (Ethel Barrymore) when she told him that his father's act of murder was uncharacteristic of him; Danny realized that he should control his fate and turn himself in for manslaughter - to free himself from guilt and his past; he stood at his father's grave and spoke to him: "I ain't proud of what ya done, Pa. All the same, I didn't mean what I said last night. You did the best you could to even things up. That's what I'm doin' now. Maybe we'll both have some peace"
  • the final scenes of his peaceful surrender to the Sheriff, Gilly's reunion with him: ("It’s wonderful to see your face, Daniel. To really see it"); and the Sheriff's refusal to have Danny handcuffed: "Let him walk back like a man"

The Moon is Blue (1953)

In Otto Preminger's daring, dated romantic sex comedy about seduction and chastity that was also condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency - and was the first studio-produced film from Hollywood that was released without the seal, deliberately:

  • the film's philosophical theme - the prospect of remaining a virgin, in order to remain respectable, and the efforts of two aging playboys attempting to score in a love triangle with an attractive young virgin - wholesome (or virtuous) and chatty 22 year-old heroine and struggling beer-commercial actress Patty O'Neill (Maggie McNamara in her film debut)
  • the two lotharios were: successful 30 year-old architect and wolfish bachelor Donald Gresham (William Holden), and Donald's upstairs neighbor - 41 year-old divorced, martini-drinking, charming playboy David Slater (David Niven), the father of Cynthia Slater (Dawn Addams), Donald's ex-fiancee
  • the scene of Donald meeting Patty on the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building (where he impulsively kissed her), and they shared a taxi ride to his Madison Avenue apartment for drinks before dinner; she warily asked: "Would you try to seduce me?"; when he vowed he wouldn't ("I won't make a single pass at you"), but confessed that he might kiss her, she responded: "Kissing's fine. I have no objection to that"; she then added: "Look, let's face it. Going to a man's apartment almost always ends in one of two ways. Either a girl is willing to lose her virtue or she fights for it. Well, I don't want to lose mine, and I think it's vulgar to fight for it, so I always put my cards on the table. Don't you think that's sensible?"; they shook hands when she agreed with him on how to appropriately behave: "Affection but no passion"; when they arrived at his place, she gratefully claimed: "I'm so glad you don't mind...Men are usually so bored with virgins. I'm so glad you're not"
  • Donald's noting that Patty seemed very preoccupied with sex ("you are always asking if people plan seduction or they're bored with virgins or they have a mistress"); she replied: "But don't you think it's better for a girl to be preoccupied with sex than occupied?"
  • in the meantime, Cynthia was fuming over recently being dumped by him, and she had also called Patty a "professional virgin"; competing with Don for Patty's affection, David spoke about maintaining one's virginity, stating: "Suspicion, my child, suspicion. The lurking doubt. Is she or isn't she? Does she or doesn't she? Will she or won't she? Suspicion, the most powerful aphrodisiac in the world"
  • in the conclusion, she won a $600 bet to wait 15 weeks before seeing another man; Patty held out and kept her virginity, and eventually Donald fell in love with her and proposed - again at the top of the Empire State Building

Moonstruck (1987)

In Norman Jewison's quirky romantic comedy based on John Patrick Shanley's Oscar-winning screenplay:

  • the Brooklyn-Italian Castorini family, including repressed 37 year-old Italian widow Loretta Castorini (Best Actress Oscar-winner Cher), her parents: a cheating father Cosmo (Best Supporting Actor nominee Vincent Gardenia) and philosophical mother Rose (Best Supporting Actress winner Olympia Dukakis), and her crusty Italian-speaking, dog-loving Grandfather (Fiodor Chaliapin)
  • the scene of never-married, one-handed baker Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage) having a steak dinner with recently-engaged Loretta, in which she offered unsolicited advice to him about his life (calling him a wolf), and ending with a very passionate kiss between the two of them and his carrying her to his bed for more kisses and an overnight stay
  • Ronny's proclamation and confession of love to Loretta the next morning - and her immediate reaction: two tremendous slaps across the face and the screaming of: "Snap out of it!"
  • after seeing La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera with her, Ronny's declaration of his cynical views on love: ("We're not here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect, stars are perfect. Not us! Not US! We are here to ruin ourselves and...and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and...and DIE") and his pleading to Loretta to come upstairs with him: ("Now I want you to come upstairs and...and GET in my bed...")
  • in the climactic breakfast proposal scene, Loretta's angry remark when Ronny's brother, Momma's boy Johnny (Danny Aiello), broke off their engagement and reassured her: ("In time, you will see that this is the best thing") and her retort back: ("In time, you'll drop dead and I'll come to your funeral in a red dress!")
  • then, when Ronny proposed to Loretta (who told her mother: "I love him awful"), Johnny uttered a stunned "WHAT?!"

The More The Merrier (1943)

In George Stevens' pleasant romantic comedy about the post-WWII housing shortage in the nation's capital:

  • the scene of prospective elderly tenant, retired millionaire Mr. Dingle's (Oscar-winning Charles Coburn) speaking to the throngs of other eager tenants and pretending he was the landlord that had already rented the apartment, and then convincing the real landlord, young working bachelorette Connie (Jean Arthur) to rent him half of her apartment: ("Well, look at me, I'm neat, like a pin. Aw, let me stay...I'll tell ya what. We'll try it out for a week. End of the week comes, if you're not happy, we'll flip a coin to see who moves out")
  • the hilarious minute-by-minute morning schedule scene beginning at 7 am, which she presented to new roomer Dingle: ("Here's a copy of the morning schedule....Yes, it's a matter of efficiency. You just follow this and we won't have any trouble"); she showed him the floor plan - and then went through the detailed, systematic half-hour plan: ("Now, my alarm goes off at seven o'clock, and we both get up. And at seven one, I enter the bathroom. Then you go down to get the milk, and by seven five you've started the coffee. One minute later, I leave the bathroom, and a minute after that, you enter the bathroom. Now that's when I'm starting to dress. Three minutes later, I'm having my coffee, and a minute after that at seven twelve, you leave the bathroom. At seven thirteen, I put on my eggs, and I leave to finish dressing. Then you put on your shoes, and take off my eggs at seven sixteen. At seven seventeen, you start to shave. At seven eighteen, I eat my eggs, and at seven twenty-one, I'm in the bathroom fixing my hair, and at seven twenty-four, you're in the kitchen putting on your eggs. At seven twenty-five, you make your bed. Seven twenty-six, I make my bed. And then while you're eating your eggs, I take out the papers and cans. At seven twenty-nine, you're washing the dishes, and at seven thirty, we're all finished. You see? It's really very simple"); at the end of Connie's long schedule description, Dingle simply asked: "Do we do all this railroad time or Eastern war time?"
  • Connie's double-take upon noticing another apartment roommate Sgt. Joe Carter (Joel McCrea) - who was living in half of Dingle's sub-let space for a few days before deployment
  • the scenes of Mr. Dingle's attempts to play matchmaking Cupid to bring his fellow housemates together, rather than have Connie marry rich and stuffed-shirt bureaucrat-boss Charles J. Pendergast (Richard Gaines) (aka "Mr. Smug") for security's sake
  • the sexually-exciting apartment front steps kissing scene on a summer night between Connie and Joe when she bragged about her upcoming marriage: ("I consider myself a very lucky little lady...being engaged to Mr. Pendergast"), as he amorously embraced her, caressed her, and fondly touched her hands, arms, and shoulders; she vainly attempted to ignore his advances, and held out her engagement ring for his approval; he responded by kissing her wrist, causing her to become visibly distracted; her voice cracked when he admired and then nuzzled her bare neck. ("Well you see, that's the way with those older men like Mr. Pendergast. A girl gets to appreciate their more mature..."); Joe passionately kissed her on the lips - and when he released, she finished the sentence: "...viewpoint"; she paused, looked away for a second, and then took the two sides of his face with her hands and boldly kissed him back - harder, but then, she realized that they were getting too involved - she stood and politely stated: "I've gotta go. Good night, Mr. Carter." He responded: "Good night, Miss Milligan"
  • the subsequence scene of the couple's own version of the "Walls of Jericho" bedroom scene (from It Happened One Night (1934)) as they both laid in bed in their separate adjacent bedrooms (shot from outside in a frame split by the wall between them); they both discussed how uncomfortable and restless they were, when Joe finally admitted: "I love you, Connie" and she responded likewise: "I love you more than anything in the world" - and then he abruptly sat up and proposed
  • the film's last line by Dingle -- the aging Cupid who stage-managed the young couple's pairing, and could finally celebrate with his favorite line: "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!", as he put up a new name plate on the apartment door: "Mr. and Mrs. Sgt. Carter"

Morning Glory (1933)

In director Lowell Sherman's show-business-related drama:

  • the scene of small-town theatre actress in Vermont, and aspiring Broadway performer Eva Lovelace (Oscar-winning Katharine Hepburn, her first Oscar win) waiting in the lobby of a major Broadway casting office, where she met her competition - a more experienced actress Miss Gwendolyn Hall (Geneva Mitchell) swathed in a fur wrap, who complained about the number of auditioners: ("Evidently everyone else has heard it too. When I arrived here, it looked as though the entire Actor's Equity Association had been sent for"); when Eva was asked about her thin coat, she replied snidely: ("I like to feel cold. It makes me feel strong. I shouldn't like to go about swathed in furs unless they're sables. I don't like anything cheap, particularly furs")
  • the scene of Eva Lovelace introducing herself to kindly, paternalistic veteran stage actor Robert Harley Hedges (C. Aubrey Smith), and explaining her name to him with her chatterbox style: ("I hope you're going to tell me your name. I want you for my first friend in New York. Mine's Eva Lovelace. It's partly made up and partly real. It was Ada Love. Love's my family name. I added the 'lace.' Do you like it, or would you prefer something shorter? A shorter name would be more convenient on a sign. Still, 'Eva Lovelace in Camille,' for instance, or 'Eva Lovelace in Romeo and Juliet' sounds very distinguished, doesn't it? I don't want to use my family name, because I'll probably have several scandals while I live and I don't want to cause them any trouble until I'm famous when nobody will mind. That's why I must decide on something at once while there's still time, before I'm famous. Don't you think there's something very charming, something that just suits me about Eva Lovelace?")
  • stagestruck and yearning Eva's first meeting with slimy, opportunistic, philandering Broadway manager Lewis Easton (Adolphe Menjou), to promote herself, show him a remarkable letter from George Bernard Shaw, and describe her ambitious dreams of becoming a Broadway theatrical star: ("I was in a lot of plays at the Franklin Theatre Guild - at the Little Theater...At Franklin, Vermont, where I lived until sometime ago. The Franklin papers, both of them, agreed that I had a future. I play all sorts of parts. Hedda, you know, lbsen's Hedda of course, the old woman in Riders to the Sea, the queen in The Queen's Enemies by Dunsany, and Kitty in Shaw's You Never Can Tell...Yes, the one and only...He's the greatest living dramatist...I know it. By the way, I had a charming letter from him the other day. I wrote him and sent him a photograph of a scene from the play and told him all about it - that I was coming to New York and expected to be very famous and have a theater of my own so I could play his Cleopatra until I was too old for it, when I'd do Mrs. Warren's Profession. Of course, I didn't know whether he'd ever answer my letter or not, but here's his letter. May I read it to you? It's never left me a moment since I received it. I even sleep with it under my pillow")
  • in the next sequence, earnest young playwright Joe Sheridan (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) overheard the conversation and took a look at the letter, remarking: ("Oh, this is marvelous. He says it's cheeky of them to have produced a play of his at all. He's sure it was a, uh, piratical performance. He's glad that Miss, uh, Miss Lovelace?...He's glad Miss Lovelace will see that he's properly recognized when she has her own repertoire theater and hopes she won't forget him"); the overly-dramatic Eva replied and vowed: ("Oh, I won't. I've sworn it. There will always be a Shaw play in my repertoire as long as I remain in the theater. Of course, I expect to die at my zenith. My star shall never set, I've sworn that, too. And when that moment comes, when I feel that I've done my best, my very best, I shall really die by my own hand some night at the end of the play on the stage")
  • the scene of Eva Lovelace's champagne-drunk attendance at a cocktail party held in the penthouse of Lewis Easton, where she almost sat in his lap and boasted and revealed way too much about herself: ("I shouldn't be surprised if I'm a great actress...I shouldn't be surprised. Either I'm a rotten actress or I'm a great actress. I'm not just a pretty good actress. Now, sometimes, I think I'm very, very, very bad. No good. Tonight, I think I'm wrong when I think that. Oh, I feel wonderful, Mr. Easton. Not afraid anymore....You see, I wasn't afraid, not for a long time. When I lost a part, I thought it was because I was a genius, and geniuses always have a hard time....Yes, the world never appreciates genius when it's young. Then I began to get afraid. 'Maybe I'm crazy,' I got to thinking. 'Maybe I'm not a genius.' And then I said, 'It's better not to think.' In this world where but to think is to be full of sorrow, it's better.. But tonight I'm not afraid to think though, because I'm almost thoroughly convinced that I'm a genius again")
  • after pretentiously bragging to Easton: "I'm the greatest young actress in the world. I'm gonna go on getting greater and greater and greater, you'll see...", Hedges cautioned Eva about making a fool of herself, but she decided to prove everyone wrong: ("I'm gonna prove it to you. Now keep quiet, all of you. And you. You, just wait a minute. Just watch me") - and she performed a slurred-speech rendition of Hamlet's soliloquy in front of startled party guests: ("To be or not to be - that is the question"); she then went on to perform a second show-offy excerpt from the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene, taking the part of love-struck Juliet: ("Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I'll no longer be a Capulet...") - there was subdued applause when she finished, and Hedges complimented her: "Stylishly beautiful! Impossibly beautiful!" Even Easton added: "Really charming!"
  • the scene backstage after Eva's triumphant debut performance on Broadway after taking the place of troubled and temperamental star Rita Vernon (Mary Duncan) as her understudy, when she was lectured and warned by Hedges about instant success going to her head - like a "morning glory" which bloomed beautifully, but then quickly withered and died: ("Every year, in every theater, some young person makes a hit. Sometimes it's a big hit, cometimes a little one. It's a distinct success, but how many of them keep their heads? How many of them work? Youth comes to the fore. Youth has its hour of glory. But too often it's only a morning glory - a flower that fades before the sun is very high")
  • the aspiring Broadway star's curtain-closing (last lines) defiant statement in her dressing room, as she hugged her tearful middle-aged wardrobe woman Nellie Navarre (Helen Ware) (who had been an "overnight" star years earlier and was "the toast of the town and then faded out"), vowing that she will not quickly blossom, wither and die like so many other performers, although she acknowledged that she felt lonely: ("Nellie, they've all been trying to frighten me. They've been trying to frighten me into being sensible, but they can't do it. Not now. Not yet. They've got to let me be as foolish as I want to be. I-I want to ride through the park. I want to, I want to have a white ermin coat. And I'll buy you a beautiful present. And Mr. Hedges! I'll buy Mr. Hedges a little house. And I'll have rooms full of white orchids. And they've got to tell me that I'm much more wonderful than anyone else, because Nellie, Nellie, I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid of being just a morning glory. I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid. Why should I be afraid? I'm not afraid")

Morocco (1930)

In Josef von Sternberg's melodramatic, exotic romance with a love triangle - his US debut film:

  • the introduction of sultry, independent-minded ship passenger bound for Morocco, vaudeville actress Amy Jolly (Marlene Dietrich in her American film debut), who was foreshadowed as a doomed character by the ship's deck officer as one of their frequent 'suicide passengers' - "One way tickets. They never return"
  • the bewitching, headlining seductress-singer Amy Jolly's famous gender-challenging, cigarette-smoking, tuxedo-clad androgynous cabaret act in Lo Tinto's North African cabaret, set during the Second Moroccan War in the 1920s
  • in this early scene, Amy sang "Quand L'amour Est Mort" ("When Love Dies") with smoky, world-weary eroticism, took a flower from the hair of a young lady named Anna Dolores (Juliette Compton) in the audience (asking: "May I have this?"), inhaled it suggestively, and then stole a kiss from the woman that was full on the mouth - one of the earliest (if not the first) female-to-female kisses on screen; the woman blushed behind her hand-held fan, as Amy tipped her hat
  • after wild applause, the bisexual chanteuse playfully tossed the flower to admiring French foreign Legionnaire Pvt. Tom Brown (a young Gary Cooper) applauding in the audience
  • in a slightly later scene, the reappearance of the seductive Amy, wearing a skimpy black dress and with a feathery boa draped over her shoulders, also performed: "What Am I Bid for My Apple?": ("An apple they say, keeps the doctor away, while his pretty young wife has the time of her life, with the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, oh what am I bid for my apple?") - carrying a basket of apples; the first gesture of Tom was to put the flower behind his ear; she sold one of her apples to Tom (after at first offering it for free: "You can have it for nothing, if you like" but he refused), who bit into it lustily (filmed in closeup during his third bite), and asked her to sit in his lap
  • afterwards, she discreetly gave him her room key for a later "hot" rendezvous, although they were both obviously bitter about life (he warned: "Anybody who has faith in me is a sucker"); however, she demurely told him: "You'd better go now, I'm beginning to like you" - to which he responded: "I've told women about everything a man can say. I'm going to tell you something I've never told a woman before: I wish I'd met you ten years ago"
  • the love triangle that developed between Amy, Tom, and wealthy Monsieur La Bessiere (Adolphe Menjou)
  • in the finale set in a canteen when the soldiers were about ready to depart in a column "on a thirsty march" that was leaving at dawn, heartbroken Tom's drawing of a heart with Amy's name - carved with his knife into the wooden table, as he admitted to one of the Moroccan woman that he loved her very much
  • the scene of Tom's challenge to Amy - if she wanted to be with him rather than marry La Bessiere: ("Aren't you gonna marry that rich friend of yours?...Are you sure?"); when she said she would, he added: ("Well then, I wish you all the luck in the world, Mademoiselle") - although he invited her to see him off: ("We leave at dawn. Come and see us off, will you?")
  • the concluding send-off scene, and Amy's decision to remove her high-heeled shoes and run after him (joining other ragged Moroccan women with heavily-laden donkeys) across the windblown desert sands to uncertainty and possible death

The Mortal Storm (1940)

In Frank Borzage's inspiring war-time drama, he presented an anti-Nazi political expose of the hateful, totalitarian Reich's chilling rise to power in 1933 when Hitler became Chancellor; the controversial propagandistic film was one of the first of its kind from Hollywood (released a few months before Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940)). The strong anti-fascist and anti-Semite message of the anti-Nazi film caused it to be banned by the Aryan supremacist Nazis in Germany, led by Hitler's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Although the film never mentioned the words Jew or Jewish (the term "non-Aryan" was used), the film so angered the Nazis that all of MGM's films were banned in Germany:

  • the film's opening voice-over prologue-narration - amidst gathering storm clouds of war, accentuated with thunder: "When man was new upon the Earth, he was frightened by the dangers of the elements. He cried out: 'The gods of the lightning are angry, and I must kill my fellow man to appease them!' As man grew bolder, he created shelters against the wind and the rain and made harmless the force of the lightning. But within man himself were elements strong as the wind and terrible as the lightning. And he denied the existence of these elements, because he dared not face them. The tale we are about to tell is of the mortal storm in which man finds himself today. Again he is crying: 'I must kill my fellow man!' Our story asks: 'How soon will man find wisdom in his heart and build a lasting shelter against his ignorant fears?'"
  • in 1933 Southern Germany in the Bavarian Alps, the Roth family was at the center of the drama: 60 year-old college biology Prof. Viktor Roth (Frank Morgan), his wife Emilia (Irene Rich), biological son Rudi (Gene Reynolds), daughter Freya (Margaret Sullavan), and step-sons Otto Von Rohn (Robert Stack) and Erich Von Rohn (William T. Orr) - both who soon became members of Hitler's Youth organization
  • the opening joyous birthday party dinner scene of the Roth family, with two events that immediately caused schisms already evident among everyone: (1) militant pro-Fascist party member Fritz Marberg (Robert Young), one of Roth's students, prematurely announced that he was engaged to Freya: ("Freya has promised to love, honor, and obey) to her embarrassment ("I haven't made up my mind yet") - while sitting next to her other love interest - family friend, anti-Nazi activist and vet student pacifist Martin Breitner (James Stewart), and (2) a life-altering announcement by the maid about what she had just heard on the radio - Hitler's ascension as Chancellor of Germany: ("We have just heard they have made Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany...It is official, it's coming in on all the stations"); "non-Aryan" (signifying Jewish) Viktor gave his cautious assessment of the political ramifications: "Men have given great power to Adolf Hitler. Let's hope responsibility brings wisdom"; in the political minority, Martin disagreed with others and affirmed: "I think peace is better than war. A man's right to think as he believes is as good for him as food and drink"
  • the contrast shots of the town's pub - at first lively and happy, but then after being taken over by a large group of Hitler Youth who were singing the song "Die Fahne Hoch" ("a glorious song of a new Germany") and stiffly-saluting their new leader, it became dark and uninviting; only Martin, Freya, and Jewish Professor Werner (Thomas Ross) didn't salute or sing - and they were chastised for not participating; later an irritated Fritz called Martin, who was in opposition and had defended Werner's right to not sing, an "enemy of his country" and also derided him as "pacifist vermin"
  • Viktor's courageous protest against oppressive Nazi indoctrination and beliefs of Aryan superiority, and his subsequent arrest and sentencing to hard labor in a work camp (and eventual mysterious death)
  • the attempt of Emilia, Rudi, and Freya to flee Germany with the assistance of anti-Nazi activist Martin (who had earlier fled to Innsbruck, Austria to help Prof. Werner escape - and became a fugitive himself) - prefaced by the hasty marriage of Martin to Freya; during the desperate chase when the two were escaping on skis through the snowy Karwendel mountain pass (a scene slightly reminiscent of the ending of Grand Illusion (1937)), Martin and Freya were seen in a long shot; after shots were fired by a patrol squad ironically led by Fritz, one of the two skiers fell - it was revealed to be Freya who had been lethally wounded, and then Martin was shot in the right arm; she spoke a few final words after he carried her across the border: ("But we made it, didn't we? We're free"); he assured her: "Listen, you can hear the church bells from the village. We're almost there, Darling"; when she asked him to pause: "No, no, wait. Let me rest a little. Dear Martin. I am tired now. Yes, very, very tired" - she collapsed and died in his arms as he called out in despair: "Oh, no, Freya. Oh, no. Oh..."
  • in the conclusion, just after learning of Freya's death, the sequence of Otto walking through the darkened rooms of his once-happy, empty family home; panning and stationary visual camera shots of shadowed objects in the home (the family dinner table, a chair, the overhead lamp, and a torchbearer statue) were melded together with aural clues as memories flooded his mind and he heard the distant voices of his now-deceased family members during the birthday party scene:
    - Freya: "Six candles, one for each decade of a wonderful life. Now blow them all out and make a wish"
    - Prof. Roth: "We've been a very united family. In this house, we've had the habit of gracious living. We've prided ourselves on our tolerance and our sense of humor. Good heavens, here I am making another speech. Well, I can think of no better wish than this: May our happiness last as long as we live"
    - Martin: "I think peace is better than war. And a man's right to think as he believes is as good for him as food and drink"
    - Prof. Roth: "I... I thank you for your beautiful gift. It shows me, this splendid torchbearer, that you have understood what I have desired to impart and that into your young hands will be given the torch of science when it has fallen from the hands of your masters. I sincerely pray that you will carry it worthily"
  • the dutiful Otto saw his past follies, and repentantly knew that he had made wrong choices in his life; presumably he rushed off to purge himself of his Nazi affiliations; Otto's footsteps in the heavy snow (leading from the house and down some steps to the gate) disappeared or were covered over by lightly falling snow (with a slow dissolve camera effect) - symbolic of the changes he would make
  • a voice-over narration-epilogue of a quote from the 1908 poem The Gate of the Year (aka God Knows) by Minnie Louise Haskins: "I said to a man who stood at a gate: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied: 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.'"

The Most Dangerous Game (1932) (aka The Hounds of Zaroff)

In co-directors Irving Pichel Ernest B. Schoedsack's adventure chase-thriller:

  • the opening sequence on a luxury yacht in the early 1930s, when one of the passengers, big-game hunter and author Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea), confidently stated - to be proved otherwise later on: "This world's divided into two kinds of people: the hunter and the hunted. Luckily, I'm the hunter. Nothing can change that"
  • Rainsford's arrival, after being the sole survivor of a shipwreck, at a fortress on a tiny island, where he was greeted by a strange mute servant named Ivan (Noble Johnson), and tuxedoed, mad Russian Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks): ("Welcome to my poor fortress!...Built by the Portuguese, centuries ago. I have had the ruins restored to make my home here. I am Count Zaroff")
  • that evening, Count Zaroff's conversation with fellow hunter enthusiast Rainsford and two other shipwrecked South Pacific survivors, Eve Trowbridge (Fay Wray) and her drunk brother Martin (Robert Armstrong); Zaroff described his passion for hunting: ("Let me see. How did you put it? 'Hunting is as much a game as stud poker, only the limits are higher.' You have put our case perfectly, Mr. Rainsford...We are kindred spirits. It is my one passion... "); when Rainsford asked what Zaroff obsessively hunted, he answered: ("I'll tell you. You will be amused, I know. I have done a rare thing. I have invented a new sensation...Mr. Rainsford, God made some men poets. Some He made kings, some beggars. Me, He made a hunter. My hand was made for the trigger, my father told me. He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea, and an ardent sportsman. When I was only still up high, he gave me my first gun....My life has been one glorious hunt. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many animals I have killed"); he showed off a major scar on his forehead inflicted by a cape buffalo in Africa
  • Zaroff's description of a major turning point in his life - and his ominous and mysterious description of his discovery of new 'game': ("Hunting was beginning to bore me...When I lost my love of hunting, I lost my love of life - and love...I even tried to sink myself to the level of the savage. I made myself perfect in the use of the Tartar war bow...Even to this day, I prefer to hunt with it, but alas, even that was too deadly. What I needed was not a new weapon, but a new animal...Here on my island, I hunt the most dangerous game....My one secret. I keep it as a surprise for my guests")
  • the revelation of Zaroff's 'trophy room' with mounted human heads on the wall, including two recently shipwrecked sailors, and Rainsford's evaluation of Zaroff's sanity, after learning that humans were his "most dangerous game": ("You raving maniac!...You murdering rat. I'm a hunter, not an assassin")
  • the scene of the flight of Bob and Eve into the foggy-misty, swampy jungle - who were promised freedom if they could survive until 4am's sunrise; the scene of Zaroff's circumvention of an ambush - Rainsford's 'Malay Deadfall' ("A man-killing contraption the natives use. It would stop that madman, all right") - and then Zaroff's taunting of his human prey: ("But surely you don't think that anyone who has hunted leopards would follow you into that ambush? Oh, very well. If you choose to play the leopard, I shall hunt you like a leopard")
  • the intense hunt and pursuit by a vicious, bloodthirsty pack of Great Dane hounds sent after them by Count Zaroff
  • the concluding one-on-one fight to the death between Rainsford and Ivan (whose neck was broken) and then Zaroff (who was back-stabbed with an arrow) in the fortress, ending with Eve and Rainsford's escape in a boat, looking back as the mortally-wounded Zaroff (with the film's last word: "Impossible") fell from an upper fortress window frame into a pack of his ravenous hunting dogs below (off-screen)

Mother India (1957, India) (aka Bharat Mata)

In director Mehboob Khan's melodramatic, epic account (three hours in length) of a poverty-stricken yet courageous peasant woman in India - a remake of his own earlier film Aurat (Woman) (1940, India), and a defining Indian film shot with the Gevacolor process - the first film from India to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category:

  • the opening - the inauguration of a dam allowing water to flow into village fields, presided over by an elderly woman named Radha (Nargis), "Mother India" of the village - setting up an extended flashback to her entire adult life - as she recalled her past while smelling a flower garland around her neck
  • the sequence of her expensive marriage to farmer husband Shamu (Raaj Kumar), setting up a major issue for the rest of Radha's life - the local, evil, crooked and deceptive moneylender Sukhilala (Kanhaiya Lal) swindled Radha's mother-in-law at the time of her lavish wedding with a high-interest contract that took three-fourths of her produce
  • the tragedy that struck Radha when her husband lost both his arms in a farm accident - they were crushed by a boulder that he was attempting to move
  • Radha's predicament - her self-sacrifice to care for her family of sons, arrogant, mean and spiteful Birju (Sunil Dutt) and the devoted, responsible and calm Ramu (Rajendra Kumar) - when disabled, humiliated, and shamed Shamu disappeared into the night and never returned
  • the image of Radha pulling the plow when the cow died, and digging in the mud to find food
  • the sequence of a massive storm and flood bringing starvation and devastation to the village
  • the scene of Radha's supplication - to save her children, by submitting herself to moneylender Sukhilala, but ultimately beating off his advances and refusing to offer sex (and marriage to him) in exchange for food, in order to keep both her honor and chastity
  • the tragic consequences: an enraged Birju attacked Sukhilala and his daughter Rupa (Chanchal), and was subsequently excommunicated from the village and became a roaming, anarchist bandit; Birju vengefully returned on the wedding day of Sukhilala's daughter - he stabbed Sukhilala to death in the chest and kidnapped the daughter
  • consequently, Radha confronted Birju for his undisciplined immorality, and with a shotgun, aimed and shot at him as he rode off on horseback with the captive daughter in his arms - Radha ran to him, held him as he stumbled towards her, and comforted him as he bloodily died in her arms
Sukhilala Stabbed To Death by Birju
Son Birju Shot and Then Embraced by His Mother Radha
Blood-Red Water in Canal
  • in the final image, her bloody hands embracing a dying Birju dissolved back to the film's opening - the inauguration of a newly-constructed irrigation canal - where bloody-red water was released down a sluice-way to irrigate the crops

Mouchette (1967, Fr.)

In director Robert Bresson's bleak coming-of-age story (his last black and white film) about a 14 year-old, often-abused and insulted, and demeaned girl:

  • the film's brief pre-titles prologue - an unidentified woman (Mouchette's terminally-ill mother) in a church bemoaned and prayed about her coming death from a cancerous tumor and the fate of her family: "What will become of them without me? I can feel it in my breast. It's like a stone inside" - then as the camera remained where she was sitting, she rose and departed, to the sounds of Claudio Monteverdi’s Magnificat
  • the introduction of the title character: pig-tailed Mouchette (Nadine Nortier), the neglected pubescent daughter of the mostly bedridden, dying mother (Marie Cardinal), and her mean peasant father (Paul Hebert) (a contraband liquor smuggler) who lived in a rural French village; a tearful Mouchette was left to feed, care for, and change the diapers of the family's newborn - an often-crying baby boy
  • the miserable circumstances of her life - ill-fitting clogs, her mistreatment at school by her teacher (Liliane Princet) who grabbed her by the neck and shoved her toward a piano when she refused to sing a hymn along with the others, with the apt words: "Hope! Hope is dead"; the teacher held her head down above the piano keyboard, hit a few keys, and ordered: "Sing!"
  • Mouchette's ostracism and shunning by her classmates (one called her "rat face"), and the cold regard and frequent maligning by her abusive father (her father's method of discipline was to shove her), and condemnation by the townsfolk (one shopkeeper called her a "little slut")
  • the scene of Mouchette's attempt to find friendship with a boy whom she flirted with and happily met at the amusement-park carnival during a bumper-cars ride, but shortly later when she approached the boy at the shooting gallery, her father intervened and viciously slapped her across the face, and led her away as he pushed her
  • the after-school sequence of Mouchette crouching and hiding in a roadside ditch and flinging muddy dirt clods at groups of bullying schoolgirls
  • during a rainstorm, the sequence of Mouchette's visit to the hut of alcoholic poacher Arsène (Jean-Claude Gilbert), an epileptic who lived in the woods; he told her about a drunken fight he just had with rival gameskeeper Mathieu (Jean Vimenet): "I think I killed a man...This time I got him...He pitched forward. His legs were thrashing. Furiously at first, then slower. Then they stopped. He was face-down in the water. It turned red"; Mouchette volunteered to provide Arsene with a false alibi, so he could escape possible assault charges: "If I can be of help, Mr. Arsene...I'll say I was in the woods, that I saw you both. He insulted and attacked you. Listen, please. Do I say he was drunk? You can count on me. I hate them. I'll stand up to them all!"
  • the scene after Arsene experienced an epileptic fit and fell on the floor, when he conducted a predatory rape of Mouchette (at first she resisted, but then wrapped her arms around him)
  • later, when questioned about Arsene's drunken night with her and her possible alibi, Mouchette remarkably declared: "Monsieur Arsene is my lover"
Mouchette's Off-Screen Suicide
Rolling Down Hill
(3 times)
Space Left Behind on Hillside
Splash Into Water
  • in the film's tragic and shattering conclusion after her mother's death (who cautioned Mouchette with her dying words: "Steer clear of drunks and good-for-nothings") and at a spot where hunters shot a helpless rabbit, a desperate Mouchette used her dead mother's sheet shroud, given to her by an elderly woman, to cover herself in order to roll down a hill three times - before she was able to successfully and suicidally drown herself (offscreen); there was no image of her body entering the water, only the sound and view of her entry splash, with a postlude of the Magnificat

Moulin Rouge! (2001, US/Australia)

In Baz Luhrmann's dazzlingly colorful and kinetic modern musical set in 1900 Paris - the first Best Picture-nominated musical since Beauty and the Beast (1991) and first non-animated musical since Cabaret (1972). There were many popular rock and soul songs performed by actors and singers.

  • the flashbacked scene of the star attraction of the Moulin Rouge cabaret - red-lipped Satine (Oscar-nominated Nicole Kidman) known as "The Sparkling Diamond" - who was introduced - bathed in cool blue light - swinging above an audience of top-hatted gentlemen, and singing a Marilyn-to-Madonna Sparkling Diamonds medley ("Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" and "Material Girl") while being lowered into the mass of adoring fans
  • the lovely performance of Elton John's "Your Song" by lovelorn writer/poet Christian (Ewan McGregor) for Satine - to express his love for her and confess that he wasn't wealthy Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh) but only a poor writer; she was astonished and asked: ("You're not another of Toulouse's oh-so-talented, charmingly Bohemian, impoverished protegees?")
  • the many scenes between the smitten lovers: tuberculosis-afflicted courtesan Satine and the penniless Christian in an ultimately-doomed love affair -- singing the "Elephant Love Medley" (featuring over a half-dozen love songs) on a Parisian rooftop under a heavenly blue sky, after he vowed: ("Love is like oxygen...Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love")
  • the scene of Christian reaffirming his love for Satine, even though he was threatened with being shot by the Duke's bodyguard, and the Duke himself; as the Duke stormed out after the failed attempt, during Satine and Christian's duet on stage - a reprise of "Come What May"
  • the sad ending in which beautiful courtesan was wheezing and then died of tuberculosis in the arms of her lover Christian, causing him to sob uncontrollably; she spoke final words to him: (Satine: "I'm sorry, Christian. I'm, I'm dying." Christian: "Shh. Shh. It's all right." Satine: "I'm so sorry." Christian: "No, you'll be all right. You'll be all right. l know you'll be all right. Satine: "I'm cold. I'm cold. Hold me. I love you. You've got to go on, Christian." Christian: "I can't go on without you." Satine: "You've got so much to give. Tell, tell our story, Christian. Yes. Promise me. Promise me. Yes. That way, I'll, I'll always be with you")

Mouse Wreckers (1948) (short animation)

In this Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes short cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, with voices provided by Mel Blanc (Hubie and Claude) and comedian Stan Freberg (Bertie):

  • the efforts of two devilish mice Hubie and Bertie to remove a cat from their new potential home
  • the sight of Claude the Cat's trophy for "Best Mouser 1948"
  • pranks included: pounding the cat on the head with a wooden plank, inflating the cat with air, baiting the cat with a bulldog, and tying a string to the cat's tail with the other end weighted with a dropped rock - propelling the cat throughout the house
  • Claude's responses: drinking nerve tonic, and reading Sigmund Fried's Psychology of Dreams, thinking that he was only dreaming
  • and the ultimate trickery to drive Claude insane and out of the house -- nailing all of the room's furniture to the ceiling, and painting the ceiling like the floor; the confused cat was also confounded when looking through three different windows (one with an upside-down landscape, another sideways, and a third underwater)

A Movie (1958) (short)

In Bruce Conner's underground, experimental montage short (12 minutes in length) - an avant-garde work composed of an arrangement of short clips of odd, random bits of stock "found footage" (allegedly from purchases of discarded 16mm films at flea markets or scavenged B-film footage from camera shops), organized in sections set apart by stretches of black leader, with lots of repeated titles (inaccurate, and sometimes upside down), and accompanied by Respighi's The Pines of Rome musical score:

  • many bits of film from various sources spiced together to form a collage of images: the side view of a semi-nude woman undressing, a distant view of galloping horses in a cavalry charge on a hillside, Indians on horseback and on the warpath pursuing a western wagon-train, an old-fashioned, horse-drawn fire engine, a rampaging elephant, the spinning wheels of a steam locomotive train, and various race sports cars (demolition derby cars, etc.) speeding dangerously fast around a track with various crash scenes
  • bare-breasted Balinese women carrying tall items on their heads, a phallic-shaped zeppelin (the Hindenberg) flying above a city, acrobats and tightrope walkers performing risky stunts high above a city street, a submarine's periscope viewing a seductive, black bikini-clad model, the underwater firing of a phallic-shaped torpedo, the sight of a nuclear atomic bomb blast-explosion with the resultant mushroom cloud
  • surfers riding large waves, large open catamaran boats being pummeled by breaking ocean waves, a stunt water-skiier dangling from an apparatus that collapsed behind a boat, other water-boarders and small boats performing water-ski-styled stunts and jumps, more bicyclists riding on various experimental vehicles (scooters, cycles, two-wheelers), motorcyclists racing through mud and getting stuck, a bi-plane crashing and slowly sinking on the surface of a lake
  • historic footage of President Theodore Roosevelt delivering a speech, the destructive collapse of a suspension bridge during an earthquake, war footage (fiery war plane explosions in the sky), bombs striking their targets, numerous explosions, an active volcano, the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II during her inauguration, the explosion of the Hindenberg blimp, advancing WWI tanks, more race car crashes on a circular curved track, a sky-diver parachuting from a plane, another fiery object burning up in the sky
  • a tropical beach scene with views of bullocks and other animals, an entertaining Indian flute player, another view of the rippling road of a suspension bridge during an earthquake, more footage of the Hindenberg crash, more parachutists, a sinking ship in a vertical position going down, an execution-firing squad, dead corpses hung upside down, piles of dead bodies (soldiers) in a field, another mushroom cloud, the carcass of a slaughtered dead elephant surrounded by natives, starving and trembling African children
  • an underwater view of a swimming beaver, the Hindenberg crashing into the ground, a view of a scuba diver and tropical fish underwater, the diver's exploration of a barnacle-encrusted wreck, and a view of sparkling sunshine on the water

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

In director Frank Capra's famous Capra-corn romantic comedy:

  • the character of unassuming, eccentric bumpkin Mr. Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) from the small town of Mandrake Falls, VT - 28 years old, a guileless, tuba-player, an unworldly bachelor, a poet and writer of rhymes for sentimental birthday cards, and the unexpected heir of $20 million dollars, who reacted unbelievably: ("I wonder why he left me all that money. I don't need it")
  • Deeds' scene of departure for New York, to move into his enormous, inherited mansion on Fifth Avenue, and the many annoyances he encountered upon his arrival: ("The strangest kind of people - salesmen, politicians, moochers, all want something. I haven't had a minute to myself. Haven't seen Grant's Tomb yet")
  • the scene of Deeds' meeting with the non-profit opera board, to serve in the place of his deceased uncle who was the chairman of the board, when he told off the snobbish gathering that wanted him to pay the $180,000 bills: ("If it's losing that much money, there must be something wrong. Maybe, maybe you charge too much. Maybe you're selling bad merchandise. Maybe a lot of things")
  • the scene of reporter Louise "Babe" Bennett's (Jean Arthur) masquerade as poverty-stricken "Mary Dawson " in a rainstorm, when she pretended to faint and he came to her rescue
  • the second encounter between Babe and Deeds, including a sight-seeing tour to an aquarium, a ride on the open top of a Fifth Avenue bus, and a visit to Grant's Tomb where he patriotically extolled America as a place where any boy could become President: ("Oh, I see a small Ohio farm boy becoming a great soldier. I see thousands of marching men. I see General Lee with a broken heart surrendering. And I can see the beginning of a new nation, like Abraham Lincoln said. And I can see that Ohio boy being inaugurated as President. Things like that can only happen in a country like America")
  • their visit to Central Park, where on a park bench, they sang an improvised duet of "Swanee River," with "Mary" drumming on the lid of a garbage can with two sticks, while he made tuba-like oom-pah-pah bass sounds with his mouth: ("Way down upon the Swanee River. Far, far away...")
  • the over-romantic Deeds' marriage proposal to "Mary" - with the presentation of a sentimental poem that she read outloud (barely audible) in a moving, emotionally-choking whisper: ("I've tramped the earth with hopeless beat, Searching in vain for a glimpse of you. Then heaven thrust you at my very feet, A lovely angel, too lovely to woo. My dream has been answered, but my life's just as bleak. I'm handcuffed and speechless, in your presence divine. For my heart longs to cry out, if it only could speak. I love you, my angel, be mine, be mine")
  • soon after, Deeds' disgruntled discovery that "Mary" was a deceitful, Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter, when it was revealed in a newspaper clipping: ("She's the star reporter on the Mail! Every time you opened your kisser, you gave her another story. She's the dame who slapped that moniker on ya Cinderella Man! You've been making love to a double dose of cyanide")
  • Deeds' confrontation with an unemployed, outraged, hunger-crazed farmer (John Wray): ("Did you ever think of feeding doughnuts to human beings?") - who caused Deeds to rethink things, to remain in New York, and to give away his entire fortune - the newly-acquired source of all his misfortune - to dispossessed, unemployed farmers
  • the climactic lunacy hearing when Deeds was accused of being "pixilated," and Babe urged him to testify against the charges: ("He could never fit in with our distorted viewpoint, because he's honest and sincere and good. If that man's crazy, your Honor, the rest of us belong in strait-jackets"); Deeds first debunked the two nice elderly Faulkner sisters, Jane and Amy Faulkner (Margaret Seddon and Margaret McWade), brought there from his hometown (who declared him "pixilated"); they were unmasked as self-centered and frivolous, and neutralized when under further questioning, they admitted: "Why, everybody in Mandrake Falls is pixilated - except us"
  • Deeds' debunking of all the silly quirks that people have: the Judge's 'O-filling', Dr. Haller's doodling, and his uncle's nose-twitching and his aunt's knuckle-cracking as other examples: ("So you see, everybody does silly things to help them think. Well, I play the tuba.")
  • and then Deeds' successful defense of his philanthropy with a speech about helping the 'underdog': ("From what I can see, no matter what system of government we have, there will always be leaders and always be followers. It's like the road out in front of my house. It's on a steep hill. Every day I watch the cars climbing up. Some go lickety-split up that hill on high, some have to shift into second, and some sputter and shake and slip back to the bottom again. Same cars, same gasoline, yet some make it and some don't. And I say the fellas who can make the hill on high should stop once in a while and help those who can't. That's all I'm trying to do with this money. Help the fellas who can't make the hill on high")
  • the final declaration of the Judge on Deeds' insanity: ("Mr. Deeds, there has been a great deal of damaging testimony against you. Your behavior, to say the least, has been most strange. But, in the opinion of the court, you are not only sane but you're the sanest man that's ever walked into this courtroom. Case dismissed")

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

In Frank Capra's classic political-drama with a message about honesty and maintaining one's ideals in government:

  • the film's setup, in which naive and wholesome local youth leader Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), the Head of the Boy Rangers, was appointed by Governor Hubert "Happy" Hopper (Guy Kibbee) to replace the state's recently-deceased US Senator; distinguished Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains) approved the selection in conversation with powerful media magnate Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), head of a political machine that was pushing for a pork barrel project to build an unneeded dam: ("A young patriot, recites Lincoln and Jefferson, turned loose in our nation's capital. Yeah. I think it's all right")
  • the scene of a disillusioned, newly-elected Senator Jefferson Smith, now serving in Washington DC, and his disgust at the press corps (that had humiliated him), and the dishonest corruption: ("Why don't you tell the truth for a change?..People in this country pick up their papers and what do they read?... If you thought as much about being honest as you know about being smart") - although Smith was cautioned about being too altruistic and idealistic
  • while drafting a boys' camp Senate bill to buy land in his home state, the scene of Senator Smith late at night in the Senate Office Building with his secretary Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur), thinking about how to inject patriotic ideals into the words of the bill - and pointing at the Capitol Dome out the window: ("The Capitol Dome... I want to make that come to life for every boy in this land. Yes, and all lighted up like that too! You see, you see, boys forget what their country means by just reading 'the land of the free' in history books. And they get to be men - they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: 'I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't. I can. And my children will.' Boys want to grow up remembering that")
  • in his office, Senator Paine's explanation to Senator Smith about compromising and being less of an idealist: ("This is a man's world. It's a brutal world Jeff, and you've no place in it. You'll only get hurt. Now take my advice. Forget Taylor and what he said. Forget you ever heard of the Willet Creek Dam...I know it's tough to run head-on into facts but, well as I said, this is a man's world Jeff, and you've got to check your ideals outside the door, like you do your rubbers. Thirty years ago I had your ideals. I was you. I had to make the same decision you were asked to make today. And I made it. I compromised - yes! So that all those years, I could sit in that Senate and serve the people in a thousand honest ways. You've got to face facts, Jeff")
  • the scene of betrayed Senator Smith's late-night visit to the Lincoln Memorial when he felt downtrodden and was ready to leave town: ("This is a whole new world to me. What are you gonna believe in? And a man like Paine, Senator Joseph Paine gets up and swears that I've been robbin' kids of nickels and dimes - a man I've admired and worshipped all my life. I don't know. There are a lot of fancy words around this town. Some of them are carved in stone. Some of 'em, I guess the Taylors and Paines have put 'em up there so suckers like me can read 'em. Then when you find out what men actually do - well, I'm gettin' out of this town so fast and away from all the words and the monuments and the whole rotten show") - and Saunders' encouragement for him to remain, go against the odds, and tell the truth: ("You can't quit now. Not you! They aren't all Taylors and Paines in Washington. Their kind just throw big shadows, that's all. You didn't just have faith in Paine or any other living man. You had faith in something bigger than that. You had plain, decent, every day, common rightness. And this country could use some of that. Yeah - so could the whole cock-eyed world. A lot of it. Remember the first day you got here? Remember what you said about Mr. Lincoln? You said he was sitting up there waiting for someone to come along. You were right! He was waiting for a man who could see his job and sail into it. That's what he was waiting for. A man who could tear into the Taylors and root 'em out into the open. I think he was waiting for you Jeff. He knows you can do it. So do I")
  • the classic, climactic scene of idealist Senator Smith's exhausting, desperate one-man filibuster (almost 24 hours) in the US Senate, when he at first refused to yield to Senator Paine, and then accused Paine (in cahoots with Taylor) of graft: ("I was ready to tell you that a certain man of my state, a Mr. James Taylor, wanted to put through this dam for his own profit. A man who controls a political machine! And controls everything else worth controlling in my state!")
  • the long filibuster, causing Senator Smith to become increasingly exhausted, and then hundreds of "Taylor-made" phony telegrams from constituents in his state were manufactured, and deposited in front of the Senate chamber; Smith grabbed two fist fulls of the phony documents, and in a hoarse voice toward Senator Paine, he delivered an impassioned speech about "lost causes" - accusing Paine face-to-face of betraying his ideals this time around: ("I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them once, for the only reason that any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule: 'Love thy neighbor.'"); Smith spoke one more time before collapsing onto the floor: ("You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked, and I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause even if this room gets filled with lies like these, and the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody'll listen to me. Some...")
  • the exciting and triumphant conclusion, when a remorseful Senator Paine admitted his dishonesty: ("I'm not fit to be a Senator. I'm not fit to live. Expel me! Expel me! Not him"), failed in an attempted suicide, and exonerated Smith: ("Every word that boy said is the truth! Every word about Taylor and me and graft and the rotten political corruption of our state. Every word of it is true. I'm not fit for office! I'm not fit for any place of honor or trust. Expel me!"); theSenate floor and gallery erupted with joy

Mrs. Miniver (1942)

In director William Wyler's Best Picture-winning war drama about a British family's struggles to survive the war:

  • the dramatic footage of the night-time Dunkirk evacuation
  • the tense scene of middle-class Englishwoman Mrs. Kay Miniver's (Oscar-winning Greer Garson) encounter with a downed and escaped wounded German flier (Helmut Dantine) who parachuted down into the village, held her at gunpoint in her house ("Move or make noise, I shoot") and demanded food and clothing before collapsing in her kitchen
  • the scene of husband Clem Miniver's (Oscar-nominated Walter Pidgeon) return home after the evacuation and his reunion with his wife
  • the scene of Kay and her family in a small garden bomb shelter reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to her children during a terrifying Nazi air bombing - as they both shielded the frightened and crying children
  • the final scene that included the powerful and moving, dynamic speech delivered by the town's vicar (Henry Wilcoxon): ("...It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefield, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home, and in the heart of every man, woman, and child who loves freedom! Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them. Instead, they will inspire us with an unbreakable determination to free ourselves and those who come after us from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down. This is the people's war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right!") and the singing of "Onward Christian Soldiers" in the bombed-out ruin of a church

(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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