Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments



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

Tootsie (1982)

In director Sydney Pollack's popular, cross-dressing comedy:

  • the scene of obnoxious and unemployed actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) with agent George Fields (Sydney Pollack) who insisted no one would hire him: ("Nobody in Hollywood wants to work with you either. I can't even set you up for a commercial. You played a tomato for 30 seconds - they went a half a day over schedule because you wouldn't sit down..YOU WERE A TOMATO. A tomato doesn't have logic. A tomato can't move")
  • the first entrance or appearance of Michael dressed in drag as 'Dorothy Michaels' on a crowded street (seen in extreme telephoto) before auditioning and being cast on the daytime soap opera Southwest General
  • the scene of 'Dorothy's' screen test when producer Rita (Doris Belack) asked: "I'd like to make her look a little more attractive, how far can you pull back?" and the cameraman responded: "How do you feel about Cleveland?"
  • the dining scene of 'Dorothy' coming onto his unsuspecting, confounded and dismayed agent George Fields at the Russian Tea Room and then revealing himself as Michael: "It's Michael Dorsey"
  • the scene of Michael when caught by insecure casual girlfriend Sandy Lester (Teri Garr) dressed in nothing but his skimpy black briefs when he attempted to try on her clothes, and then pretended he wanted to have sex with her ("Sandy... I want you"), although she might have thought he was a transvestite
  • Dorothy's yelling with a man's voice at a cab: "TAXI!"
  • the scene of soap actress April Page (Geena Davis in her film debut) startling Dorothy by wearing nothing but skimpy underwear
  • also 'Dorothy's' many ad-libbed edits to the soap opera script, like hitting leading man co-star John Van Horn (George Gaynes), dubbed "the tongue", over the head with folders to prevent him from landing a kiss
  • later, in a classic moment, Dorothy made a funny Freudian slip and told April: "What kind of mother would I be if I didn't give my girls tits... tips?"
  • Michael's continuing marvelous impersonation of the no-nonsense, alter-ego female hospital administrator Dorothy Michaels on the soap opera, when she retorted to the show's amoral and sexist director Ron Carlysle (Dabney Coleman): "Ron? I have a name it's Dorothy. It's not Tootsie or Toots or Sweetie or Honey or Doll....No, just Dorothy. Alan's always Alan, Tom's always Tom and John's always John. I have a name too. It's Dorothy, capital D-O-R-O-T-H-Y"
  • and the character of Les (Charles Durning in an against-type role) - the lonely widower father of beautiful co-worker and soap star Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange), who fell in love with Dorothy, and spoke about his view of the sexes: "You know, I can remember years ago there was none of this talk about what a woman was, what a man was. You just were what you were. And now they have all this stuff about how much you should be like the other sex, so you can all be more the same. Well, I'm sorry, but we're just not, you know?...Not on a farm, anyway. Bulls are bulls, and roosters don't try to lay eggs....You know, my wife and I, we were married a lot of years. People got it all wrong, you know. They say your health is the most important thing. But I can lift this house off the ground. What good is it? Being with someone. Sharing. That's what it's all about."
  • the near-'lesbian' kiss between Julie and Dorothy
  • and his droll playwright roommate Jeff's (Bill Murray) many one-liners: (ie. "You slut!")
  • Sandy's outburst to Michael when he revealed he loved someone else: "I never said I love you, I don't care about I love you! I read The Second Sex, I read The Cinderella Complex, I'm responsible for my own orgasm, I don't care! I just don't like to be lied to!"
  • the final, live-taped TV episode performance when Michael revealed his true identity by tearing off his wig and eyelashes to prove it - to the stunned shock of almost everyone; in his revealing speech in the stunning scene, Michael began by admitting that he wasn't the daughter named Emily Kimberly on the 'soap opera' - but her brother Edward Kimberly: "...It was this brother who, on the day of her death, swore to the good Lord above that he would follow in her footsteps, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just owe it all up to her. But on her terms. As a woman. And just as proud to be a woman as she ever was. For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I'm not. (in a deep voice) I'm Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I'm not mentally ill, but proud and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself" - (including Jeff's comment at the end: "That's one nutty hospital")
  • his final confession to Julie on the streets of NYC: ("I was a better man with you, as a woman, than I ever was with a woman as a man")

Top Gun (1986)

In director Tony Scott's jingoistic action film:

  • the dogfights of fliers with enemy MIG planes over the Indian Ocean, and arrogant, hot-shot fighter pilot Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell's (Tom Cruise) boasting about flying upside down in order to give the enemy pilot the finger: "I was inverted"
  • the many sensational aerobatic flying sequences as part of the training of the US Navy's elite (Top Gun) Fighter Weapon School, Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego
  • Maverick's famous catchphrase: "I feel the need, the need for speed"
  • the scene of Maverick's buzzing the tower
  • his competition with Lt. Tom 'Iceman' Kazanski (Val Kilmer), who assured 'Maverick': "You can be my wingman anytime"
  • Maverick's love affair with pretty civilian consultant-instructor Charlotte 'Charlie' Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), highlighted by the Best Original Song recorded by Berlin: "Take My Breath Away", while the entire film was basically about male bonding and machismo (high-fives, shower scenes)
  • the emotional scene of the death of Lt. Nick 'Goose' Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) in Maverick's arms following a tailspin and botched ejection

Top Hat (1935)

In director Mark Sandrich's Depression-Era musical/dance classic (with an Irving Berlin score) - a tale of mistaken identity:

  • the early scene of Jerry Travers' (Fred Astaire) disturbing hotel room tap-dance "No Strings" - in which he slapped the walls - that upset sleeping Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers) in a room below
  • his ability to put both Dale and Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton) back to sleep
  • the delightfully dreamy song-dance: "Isn't This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)?" in a sheltering band shell during a rain shower
  • the backdrop of an art-deco Venice with fabulous sets
  • Jerry's firing of his cane as a gun to creatively shoot down his chorus during "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" (Astaire's signature number)
  • the most memorable Astaire-Rogers duet ever -- Gershwin's "Cheek to Cheek" (with the famous opening lyric "Heaven, I'm in Heaven...") with Rogers dancing in a gown made of shedding ostrich feathers

Topaz (1969)

In Alfred Hitchcock's political/spy thriller:

  • the thought-provoking epilogue sequence - the headlines of a newspaper proclaiming the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, then a superimposed montage of characters followed by the final image of the newspaper discarded on a park bench near the Arc de Triomphe

Torn Curtain (1966)

In Alfred Hitchcock's mid-60s political/spy thriller:

  • the lengthy murder sequence in a farmhouse kitchen involving the difficult killing of a Soviet agent - German "bodyguard" policeman Hermann Gromek (Wolfgang Keiling) by American physicist and secret double agent Prof. Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman) - involving a thrown soup kettle, strangulation, a butcher knife, and finally a cast-iron gas oven to asphyxiate him to death

Total Recall (1990)

In Paul Verhoeven's big-budget, violent science-fiction action thriller based on Philip K. Dick's story We Can Remember it For You Wholesale:

  • the amazing special effects, production and art design
  • the scene of construction worker Doug Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) taking a vacation through a strange travel agency named Rekall, Inc. - a 'virtual' trip to the planet of Mars - with the sales pitch from Bob McClane (Ray Baker) that actually revealed the film's plot ("By the time the trip is over, you get the girl, kill the bad guys and save the entire planet")
  • the early scene in which he defended himself from his treacherous, attacking agent wife Lori (Sharon Stone)
  • the scene of the subway shoot-out in which widescreen scans showed skeletal shapes and weapons
  • the segment in which Doug extracted a large bugging device from his brain via his nostril
  • the scene on Mars in a sleazy red-light district bar when confronted by mutants and a three-breasted hooker named Mary (Lycia Naff)
  • the later scene in which Doug mercilessly shot his conniving wife in the head - with the one-liner: "Consider that a divorce!"
  • the scene in which Quaid appeared to be killed by gunfire from evil mercenary Vilos Cohaagen's (Ronny Cox) thugs - but he laughed and was revealed to be only a deceptive hologram as he shot them from behind
  • the film's ending when Cohaagen, Quaid, and beautiful brunette love interest Melina (Rachel Ticotin) were spewed out into the airless atmosphere of the reddish planet of Mars - and their eyes bulged and faces swelled due to the lack of oxygen
  • the film's ambiguous ending in which the scene faded to a brilliant white as Melina and Quaid kissed -- was everything part of the VR dream vacation implant, or was what he experienced real? Did he get lobotomized, to bring him back to reality?

Toto in Color (1952, It.) (aka Totò a Colori)

In director Steno's comedy masterpiece starring Italy's greatest comedy actor Toto, a master of body language, in the first Italian feature film in color:

  • Toto in the role of failed musician Antonio Scannagatti, pursuing his career in Naples, Italy
  • the classic 'Pinocchio' puppet show sequence in which Antonio was pursued by a knife-wielding man, and he disguised himself as a clownish, full-sized wooden marionette puppet on stage (in front of a live audience), wearing a dark green and white polka-dot outfit; at the end of his entertaining performance, he let his entire body collapse against the stage wall, as if his strings had been released and he was 'dead'


Touch Of Evil (1958)

In Orson Welles' masterpiece (considered the last classic film noir):

  • the continuous-action, spectacular 3-minute and 30 second tracking and panning crane shot - an audacious, incredible, breathtaking, uninterrupted shot following a convertible (after a timed explosive dynamite device had been placed in its trunk as it was parked), as it crossed the US/Mexico border at Los Robles (Texas) in the film's credits/opening (appearing only in the 1958 version, not in the restored version); the convertible was drven by wealthy local American businessman - Rudy Linnekar (Jeffrey Green) and his blonde mistress-girlfriend Zita (Joi Lansing), a striptease dancer
  • the car's route was intertwined with views of a newly-married couple: Mexico City narcotics investigator Ramon Miguel "Mike" Vargas (Charlton Heston) and his blonde American bride Susan (Janet Leigh) walking to the border crossing; as the inter-racial newlyweds kissed, the sound of the sudden and violent explosion of the detonated car overlapped on the soundtrack, and they turned their faces toward the blast
  • the first appearance (a low-angled shot) of a grotesque, cigar-smoking, candy-chewing bloated local detective Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) as he rolled out of his car at the scene of the car bombing
  • the image of acid splashed on a peeling poster on a crumbling wall of stripper performer Zita (an echo of her death in the burning car explosion)
  • the appearance of cigar-smoking Mexican gypsy and brothel manager Tanya (Marlene Dietrich in a memorable cameo), the femme fatale, who engaged in verbal foreplay with Quinlan: (To Quinlan: "I didn't recognize you. You should lay off those candy bars....You're a mess, honey")
  • Susan's scenes of sexual terror - first in a dark motel room in town by a peeping tom with a flashlight that shone on her as she removed her cashmere sweater, and then in a deserted and remote motel room on the outskirts of town where she was attacked by thugs (members of the Grandi gang)
  • the character of the weirdo, nervous and twitchy motel manager/night watchman (Dennis Weaver)
  • the scene of planted evidence in a bathroom (in the film's second, long unedited scene)
  • Quinlan's chilling strangulation-killing of Uncle Joe Grandi (Akim Tamiroff) in a hotel room next to a semi-unconscious Susan
  • the gripping climax when Quinlan heard the echo of his own voice as it was recorded on a transmitter held by Mike under a bridge, and realized he had been taped and everything about the frame-up had been revealed by his partner Sgt. Pete Menzes (Joseph Calleia)
  • the sequence of the death of Quinlan (shot by a dying Menzes to protect Mike Vargas)
  • the final image of Quinlan lying dead and floating whale-like in dark and stagnant gutter-canal water and garbage
  • Tanya's epitaph for Quinlan in the film's final line: "He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?...Adios!"

The Towering Inferno (1974)

In John Guillermin's and Irwin Allen's Best Picture-nominated disaster film classic, an epic film about the world's tallest 138 story Glass Tower - a San Francisco skyscraper - on fire:

  • the all-star cast - with the prescient words of SFFD Fire Chief Michael "Mike" O'Hallorhan (Steve McQueen): "You know we got lucky tonight, body count's less than 200. Someday you're gonna kill 10,000 in one of these firetraps"
  • the exciting scene of the rescue of the trapped occupants of the stalled exterior glass-walled scenic elevator

Toy Story (1995)

In the landmark CGI Pixar-Disney film from director John Lasseter - the first feature film made entirely by computer-generation:

  • the bedroom setting of a boy named Andy Davis (voice of John Morris) where toys came to life when humans weren't there, including all the old favorites: Mr. Potato Head (voice of Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (voice of Jim Varney), Hamm the Piggy Bank (voice of John Ratzenberger), the cowardly Rex the Dinosaur (voice of Wallace Shawn), and Shepherdess Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts)
  • Mr. Potato Head's joke after rearranging his face: "Hey, Hamm, look, I'm Picasso...You uncultured swine. What're you lookin' at, ya hockey puck?"
  • the instant jealousy and dislike that once-favored, pull-string cowboy toy Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) had for a neophyte toy - the egotistical space-suited action figure Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen), introduced on Andy's birthday: ("The word I am searching for, I can't say because there's pre-school toys present")
  • Buzz's catchphrase as he jumped into the air: "To infinity, and beyond!"
  • non-flying Woody's continued insistence that Buzz couldn't fly while Buzz took an amazing flight around the room (without actually flying) and remarked: "Can!" -- with Woody's muttered jealous retort: "That wasn't flying! That was falling, with style!"
  • Woody's realization that Buzz was only a toy: "You Are A Toy! You aren't the real Buzz Lightyear! You're - you're an action figure! You are a child's plaything"; Buzz responded: "You are a sad, strange little man"
  • the scene of Woody and Buzz getting trapped inside the house of the neighboring character of mean-spirited, braces-wearing toy abuser and torturer Sid Phillips (voice of Erik von Detten): ("He tortures toys -- just for FUN!"), where they encountered Sid's vicious dog and "mutant" toys in his room (Buzz: "They're cannibals!") - Woody feared: "We are gonna die!"
  • Sid's come-uppance when the toys were animated and came to life to surround him and scare him: ("We toys can see everything" Woody: "So play NICE!")
  • Woody and Buzz's use of a firecracker to catch up to the moving van, when Woody again commented on Buzz' flying skill: Woody: "Hey, Buzz! You're flying!" Buzz: "This isn't flying, this is falling - with style!" Woody: "To Infinity and Beyond!"

Toy Story 2 (1999)

In director John Lasseter's superior sequel to the CGI classic:

  • the amazing opening sequence in which Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen) flew through an alien world, defeated thousands of robots at once but then was blasted by his Darth Vader-like arch-nemesis, Emperor Zurg (voice of Andrew Stanton) -- all revealed to be in a video game that dinosaur Rex (voice of Wallace Shawn) was playing
  • Woody's (voice of Tom Hanks) nightmare of being discarded and thrown into the garbage after having his arm torn
  • the scene of Woody's theft by greedy Toy Barn owner and toy collector Al McWhiggin (voice of Wayne Knight) during a garage sale
  • the scene of Woody's fellow toys watching the theft and attempting to safely cross a busy street to rescue him
  • Woody's finding that he was a collector's item - part of a set of toys called the Roundup Gang, that included a cowgirl named Jessie (voice of Joan Cusack), a horse named Bullseye, and a prospector named Stinky Pete (voice of Kelsey Grammer), and the fact that he was an historic TV star - he had appeared in a black-and-white TV puppet show in the '50s called Woody's Roundup
  • the enchanting sequence in which toy repairman, Geri The Cleaner - who was hired by Al - restored Woody to pristine condition ("Just like new") - he told Al: "You can't rush art"
  • the appearance of dozens of Barbies partying, when Tour Guide Barbie (voice of Jodi Benson) introduced herself: "I'm Tour Guide Barbie! Please keep your hands, arms, and accessories inside the car, and no flash photography. Thank you" - and Mr. Potato Head muttered to himself: "I'm a married spud, I'm a married spud..."
  • the scene of Buzz's visit to the "Buzz Lightyear" aisle in Roy's Toy Barn, where hundred of Buzz Lightyears were packaged for sale
  • Jessie's heartbreaking story - told in flashback - of being abandoned under a bed by former owner Emily (with the Oscar-nominated ballad "When She Loved Me" sung by Sarah McLachlan)
  • Woody's difficult choice - to live forever as an exhibit in a Tokyo toy museum or to face inevitable death as a child's toy -- with his decision made when his television counterpart sang: "You've Got a Friend In Me"
  • the resolution to Stinky Pete's villainy when he was stuffed into a little girl's Barbie backpack (retrieved at an airport baggage carousel) by Andy's toys to teach him a lesson
  • the scene of Woody's rescue of Jessie from an airplane bound for Tokyo, by riding on Woody's horse Bullseye in pursuit of the baggage truck
  • the finale in which the penguin squeeze toy Wheezy (voice of Joe Ranft) belted out, Vegas and Sinatra-styled (with Robert Goulet's voice): "You've Got a Friend In Me", accompanied by a trio of Barbie backup singers

Track of the Cat (1954)

In William A. Wellman's unusual, strange and existential dark western based on Walter Van Tilburg Clark's novel - set in the 1880s in a remote mountainous region of N. California - and a film that was noted for being shot in Cinemascopic color with mostly stark black, white, and gray images:

  • the dysfunctional and tense wilderness Bridges family with poisonous relationships between everyone, led by defeated, patriarchal drunk Pa Bridges (Philip Tonge), and bitter, cold-hearted, domineering, Puritanical Bible-quoting, rigid matriarch Ma Bridges (Beulah Bondi) - the children included eldest sensitive, poetry and nature-loving son Arthur (William Hoppe), rough-hewn, bullying yet favored 37 year-old son Curt (Robert Mitchum), shy and cowed, intellectual, indecisive youngest son Harold or "Hal" (Tab Hunter), and lonely unmarried daughter Grace (Teresa Wright) - in addition, there was the family's superstitious hired hand - Joe Sam (the Little Rascals' Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer), an ancient and mysterious native American who foresaw the annual appearance of the cat
  • Harold's relationship with his fiancee - pretty neighbor farm-girl Gwen (Diana Lynn), who was semi-despised by the family
  • the legendary "cat" who appeared at the time of the first snow - a feared, livestock-killing mountain lion/cougar (or black "painter"-panther unseen in the film but often heard) reknowned in Indian lore as a vengeful evil spirit
  • the metaphoric stalking and hunting of the animal by Curt (in a bright red coat), when Arthur was killed by the "black painter" and Curt (after switching coats with Arthur), returned his brother's corpse on the back of a horse that knew its way home
  • the burial scene of Arthur at the ranch - and the POV low-angle shot from inside the rectangular grave as the coffin was lowered into the ground, and mourning Ma's regretful words about him: "Amen. Can't preach no proper sermon. Don't see much use if I could. He was a hard one to know. Even if I could make out clear every last thing about him, body and soul, and had words to tell. Don't know as it would help. If the Lord won't judge him, surely ain't my place to judge. He was a good man, like he was a good boy. Not a mean streak in him. All the things I could say, it seems to me I could have said 'em when he was alive" - at the climax of her words, Harold drove a small cross into place under the grey sky
  • the last few moments of Curt's life (now wearing Arthur's black and white coat) when he found Arthur's poetry book in the pocket - with a quote from one of John Keats' poems - causing him panic: "When I had fears that I may cease to be..." - his own epitaph; shortly later, he attempted (with his last match) to burn the pages of the poetry book, using it as fuel to avoid freezing to death - he spitefully thanked his brother: "The only time any good ever came from your moanin', boy"; after a failed attempt and in a disoriented and fearful state, Curt ran down a lengthy snowy slope and over a cliffside to his death
  • in the film's conclusion, Joe Sam and Harold located Curt's body, and the cat was shot and killed by an emboldened Harold; with cryptic words, Joe Sam declared an end to the family's troubles if Harold would get married: "Curt not kill, you kill. Him devil...No, not black, black painter, whole world...You get married, huh?...She marry, no more trouble. You boss man now!"; the two returned home - guided by the sight of the family's bonfire built collaboratively, and Harold was the new, more mature head of the more-unified family

Trainspotting (1996, UK)

In Danny Boyle's independent film - an urban drama about slum-dwelling Edinburgh, Scotland junkies with thick accents, adapted from Irvine Welsh's 1993 cult novel:

  • in the film's opening, nihilistic heroin addict Mark 'Rent-Boy' Renton's (Ewan McGregor) "choose life" voice-over diatribe as he raced away from pursuing security guards: "Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f--kin' big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchased in a range of f--kin' fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f--k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sittin' on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f--kin' junk food into your mouth. Choose rottin' away at the end of it all, pissin' your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarassment to the selfish, f--ked-up brats that you've spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life...But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?"
  • the disgusting scene of Renton's toilet-diving scene (and voice-over) in a grungy and grimy public bathroom, when he had to dive head-first into the toilet bowl searching for his precious opium suppositories just deposited there after his heroin-induced constipation had worn off - and swimming through the sewage water to find the opium: "Heroin makes you constipated. The heroin from my last hit is fading away, and the suppositories have yet to melt. I'm no longer constipated. (He ran into a pub's dirty bathroom) I fantasize about a massive, pristine convenience, brilliant gold taps, virginal white marble, a seat carved from ebony, a cistern full of Chanel No. 5, and a flunky handing me pieces of raw silk toilet roll. But under the circumstances, I'll settle for anywhere" (He pooped, then realized he'd have to retrieve what he had just excreted); after finding what he was looking for, he exclaimed underwater (garbled): "F--k! Yes, a f--king godsend"

Trapeze (1956)

In British director Carol Reed's Cinemascopic, extravagant romantic melodrama (with a buried homosexual theme) - a smash hit at the time:

  • the opening pre-credits sequence: circus trapeze performer Mike Ribble (Burt Lancaster) fell performing a death-defying triple somersault on the flying trapeze high bar, resulting in a career-changing, crippling leg injury and forcing him to become a net rigger instead - he was a semi-retired, cynical loner limping around with a cane and possessing a heavy drinking habit; he later commiserated about how he was the last one, the sixth "legend in the world" to attempt a triple: "There'll never be a seventh. When circus was real, flying was a religion. Now whaddya got? Pink lights, and ballet girls, blue sawdust. A lot of hoopla"
  • the circus environment in Paris at Cirque Bouglione run by conniving, greedy circus owner Bouglione (Thomas Gomez), who was only interested in crowd-pleasing acts
  • the entrance of brash Brooklynite American Tino Orsini (Tony Curtis), a talented aspiring flier who arrived to entice Mike to return to the trapeze act as his trainer and catcher; Tino attempted to impress Mike with an impromptu acrobatic display on the Parisian streets (swinging on bars, performing cartwheels and a flip); afterwards, both walked away 'on their hands'
  • the amazing, fluid and uninterrupted takes during the choreography of dangerous trapeze stunts (performed fairly seamlessly by stunt doubles) - Mike and Tino's elusive goal was to perform the very difficult triple somersault and become a headlining duo: "Ribble and Orsini"
  • the scheming of overly-ambitious and driven, curvaceous Italian trampolinist acrobat Lola (Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida in her American film debut) to abandon and desert her male circus tumbling team and join Mike and Tino as a high-wire trio; she auditioned with a new, low-cut, body-hugging black and white costume, but Mike (although he tried to seduce her with brandy) ended up unconvinced to allow her to join them: "But I am afraid. That's why I'm stickin' to a two act"
  • the scenes of Mike's adamant demands that a female would only destroy the connection between the catcher and flier, and ruin their "pure trapeze act" - he yelled at Tino for promoting Lola: ("What's she doing up there?...Get her down...There's no room for more than two of us up there. Now get her down"); he also tried to convince Bouglione to not change the two-person act just for money's sake: ("She'll ruin the act, that's all...Improved? Improved by a dame? I'm tryin' to give you a pure trapeze act...I'm offering you something unique in circus history - the greatest act since Leotard invented trapeze here in this circus 100 years ago. And you talk to me about box office and spangles...We hardly got the time. We take her on, we lose the triple opening night...You think they'll pay more to see her in spangles than they want to see a triple. Well, you're wrong!")
  • Mike's developing anger toward Tino when he realized how manipulative Lola had become: "Now we've lost the triple opening night...Listen, you idiot. She gave me the treatment before she ever got around to you. Why do you think I always wanted a two act? Because one flies and one catches, and no one comes between"
  • the further maneuverings of the sexy and flirtatious Lola, who was forced to seduce Tino to get her way into the spotlight within their act: (Lola: "Oh, Tino. He saw it from the start. Right from the start, he saw he might lose the only life he has. The life you give him. It frightens me to think what he could do to us, Tino. You are the flier. You make the act. You must make the decisions")
  • the growth of tensions between Lola and Mike: "As soon as this engagement finishes, Lola, you're out. Do you understand? Tino and me work alone, just as we planned...No more tricks, Lola, you're out!...For your own sake, Lola, get out, or one night, these hands won't be there to catch you"
  • the resulting very complex love triangle between Lola, Tino, and Mike, culminating in serious fall-out between Tino and Mike: "She's not interested in you, me or the act. Just Lola, that's all. The more you give her, the more she'll want. She's ruined good acts before that way and she'll...I can see you forgetting to check the rigging, missing parades. Next thing you know, you'll be ducking practice. In the end, you'll think about her in the middle of a triple and lose it....Tino, Tino, listen to me. You're the only man living who can get the triple. But her, Tino. Anybody can get her. Can't you understand? Anybody can get her!"; Tino shot back, affirming his love for Lola: "Shut up! I'll work with ya, Mike. I'll work for the triple until my hands burn off. But you force me to choose and I'll leave you. I want Lola most of all, because I love her. And she loves me"
  • the striking image of Mike, who had also fallen in love with Lola, delivering a slow-motion kiss to her while both were swinging high above the ground - and upside-down
  • the trio's climactic return to the circus show where Mike dared and challenged Tino to perform the triple (to impress famed circus entrepreneur from NY John Ringling North (Minor Watson) in the audience) - in the thrilling scene, Tino performed the stunt without a net
  • in the downbeat closing, Tino was urged to take North's offered contract in NY (with new partner Otto (Jean-Pierre Kerien), Mike's ex-catcher), while Lola ran after Mike and joined him as he limped away from the circus

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

In Best Director-winning John Huston's tale of avarice among gold prospectors in 1920s Mexico (based upon B. Traven's novel):

  • in Tampico, drifter Fred C. Dobbs' (Humphrey Bogart) thrice-asked request to a white-suited American (an early cameo by director John Huston): "Hey mister, could you stake a fellow American to a meal?"
  • scruffy, experienced, eccentric, toothless old gold prospector Howard's (Walter Huston, the director's father) recounting of tales of gold-seeking to greedy gold seeker Dobbs at a flophouse: "Yeah, I know what gold does to men's souls...That's gold, that's what it makes us. Never knew a prospector yet that died rich. Make one fortune, he's sure to blow it in tryin' to find another. I'm no exception to the rule. Aw sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone. I'm all set to shoulder a pickax and a shovel anytime anybody's willin' to share expenses. I'd rather go by myself. Going it alone's the best way. But you got to have a stomach for loneliness. Some guys go nutty with it. On the other hand, goin' with a partner or two is dangerous. Murderers always lurkin' about. Partners accusin' each other of all sorts of crimes. Aw, as long as there's no find, the noble brotherhood will last. But when the piles of gold begin to grow, that's when the trouble starts"
  • the scene of gleeful Howard's dancing of a jig upon the discovery of gold and his exclamation: "Up there!"
  • the scene of Mexican bandits confronting the gold-seekers when Dobbs asked where their Federales badges were - and Gold Hat's (Alfonso Bedoya) answer: "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"
  • the appearance of another unwanted American gold prospector from Texas, Cody (Bruce Bennett), who after one night with the group told them bluntly what their options with him were: "As I see it, you guys have got to do one of three things: kill me, run me off, or take me in with you as a partner. Let's consider the first. Another guy may come along tomorrow. Maybe a dozen other guys. If you start bumping people off, just how far are you prepared to go with it? Ask yourselves that. Also, don't forget, the one actually to do the bumping off would forever be in the power of the other two. The only safe way would be for all three of you to drag out your cannons and bang away at the same instant like a firing squad...As for choice number two, if you run me off, I might very well inform on you...Twenty-five percent of the value of your find is the reward I'd get paid and that would be tempting, mighty tempting...Let's see what number three has to offer. If you take me in with you as a partner, you don't stand to lose anything. I will not ask to share in what you've made so far, only in the profits to come. Well, what do you say?"
  • the demise of the crazed, deranged and paranoid Dobbs - his confrontation with Curtin leading to his partner's wounding, and his demented and insane babbling the next morning about whether to bury the guilty evidence or not when he found that Curtin's body was missing: "Curtin! Curtin! Curtin! Where are you? Curtin! I gotta get ahold of myself! Mustn't lose my head. There's one thing certain, he ain't here. I got it. The tiger. Yeah, yeah that's it. The tiger must have dragged him off to his lair, that's what. Yeah, pretty soon, not even the bones will be left to tell the story. (He let go a delighted, but deranged laugh) Done as if by order"
  • the sequence leading up to the death of the gaunt-faced Dobbs when surrounded by bandits as he stumbled and staggered along half-conscious in the sweltering desert, seeing ahead of him before his burro train some sanctuary ruins; when he knelt next to drink from a pool of muddy, fetid water, a reflection of another face was shown in the pool - it was the image of death itself - the smiling bandit Gold Hat with his tattered, ragged sombrero; joined by two other predatory bandits, Gold Hat asked for a cigarette and matches; Dobbs cleverly attempted to answer Gold Hat's questions, appearing unworried and unafraid, although he knew he was defenseless without his partners; as they prepared for the kill, Dobbs was surrounded and looked up and down - one of the bandits lifted Dobbs' pants leg to examine his boots; Gold Hat wasn't convinced that Dobbs' partners were near: "That's funny. A man all by himself in bandit country with a string of burros and his friends behind him on horseback"; Dobbs' revolver clicked empty three or four times; the Mexicans laughed at Dobbs for his impotence and then one of the bandits hit him in the head with a stone, and Gold Hat savagely finished him off with a few strokes of a machete blade; the impoverished bandits stripped Dobbs for his boots and clothing, animal skins, and burros
  • in the conclusion, crazy Howard's ironic, last bitter but boisterous laugh with youthful Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) as he recognized the cosmic humor and irony in how the gold dust from Dobbs' saddle bags had been blown back into the desert sand; while roaring with triumphant, mocking, restorative laughter, he exclaimed: "Oh laugh, Curtin, old boy. It's a great joke played on us by the Lord, or fate, or nature, whatever you prefer. But whoever or whatever played it certainly had a sense of humor! Ha! The gold has gone back to where we found it!... This is worth ten months of suffering and labor - this joke is!"
  • the last image in the film - the camera panned to the ground and showed a closeup of a small, forked cactus - the film's epilogue; caught on one of its forks was one of the torn, empty gold bags - recalling the tragic fate of Dobbs in his mad quest

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

In director Elia Kazan's coming of age drama (his first feature film):

  • the scene in a tenement window in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn in which improvident Irish singing waiter Johnny Nolan (Oscar-winning James Dunn) told his young 13 year-old daughter Francie (Special Oscar-winning Peggy Ann Garner) that she needn't worry that the neighbors had killed a tree nearby, with an optimistic tone: ("They didn't kill it, why they could cut that old tree right down to the ground and a root would push up someplace else in the cement. You wait until springtime, my darlin', you'll see")
  • the Christmas-time, bedtime scene when Johnny - a loser due to his drinking and irresponsibility - encouraged Francie's aspirations to grow up and be a writer, then watched her fall asleep, faced the truth and decided to go find a real job - and never came home again

The Trial (1962, Fr/W.Germ/It.) (aka Le Procès)

In Orson Welles' psychological drama - an adaptation of Franz Kafka's novel:

  • the stunningly directed, visually-rich, imaginative and surreal nightmare surrounding a persecuted clerk named Joseph K (Anthony Perkins) - confronted by police and told he had been placed on trial for an undefined, never-explained crime

Tristana (1970, Fr./It./Sp.)

In Luis Bunuel's coming-of-age drama about obsession, hypocrisy, religion (Catholicism) and sex, described in its tagline as: "Somewhere between the innocent girl and the not-so-innocent mistress is the bizarre, sensuous story of Tristana" - similar in theme to Bunuel's own Viridiana (1961), and his final film That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), as well as Kubrick's Lolita (1960):

  • the title character in 1920s-1930s Toledo, Spain: young teenaged and orphaned Tristana (Catherine Deneuve), and placed under the guardianship of elderly, respectable, but decadent, atheistic and sexually-perverted aristocrat-nobleman Don Lope Garrido (Fernando Rey), a free-thinking Socialist and philanderer [Note: it was entirely possible that Tristana was his own child - her deceased mother was one of Don Lope's lovers]
  • the surrealistic dreamy nightmare of Tristina in a bell tower, where she experienced the "horrific" sight of Don Lope's amputated head seen as a bell clapper swinging back and forth - sounding the bell; awakening in a fright, Don Lope came to her bedside to console her
  • the development of an over-protective, sexually-abusive, over-possessive, father/lover-daughter relationship between the two; the sex scenes between them (off-screen) were hidden behind closed doors
  • the sequences of mistress Tristana's feeling of entrapment and her search for freedom, found in love for studly young painter Horatio (Franco Nero); she told him: "Do you think I don't loathe my life as a slave? I want to be free, to work" - subsequently, she departed from Don Lope for two years to Madrid
  • the sequence of Tristana's forced return to a wealthier Don Lope, after suffering a painful, malignant terminal tumor on her right leg, forcing expensive surgery and amputation
  • the erotic scene of Tristana's preparation to exhibit herself from her second-floor balcony to Saturno (Jesus Fernandez) - her third lover in the film - the mute teenage son of Don Lope's maid Saturna (Lola Gaos); she laid her prosthetic leg on her bed covered with articles of lingerie and undergarments that she had removed, before she emerged on the outdoor terrace; after Saturno signaled for her to open her clothing, she exposed herself by opening her dress and flashing her breasts (off-screen) - with a smile
  • the sequence of Don Lope's and Tristana's church marriage - after Don Lope had asked for and received the embittered and vengeful Tristana's permission to marry; before marriage, she had admitted to local priest Don Ambrosio (Vicente Soler): "How can I marry him, if I can't stand the sight of him?"; Ambrosio urged: "You have to overcome that unhealthy passion. When he was really doing you harm, you accepted it without a word. And now, when he's behaving so well with you... What more can you ask for?"; she replied: "The better he is, the less I love him"
  • the dramatic reversal of personalities in their tragic relationship, now that they were legally tied together: the mellowing, increased religiosity, kindness, and respectfulness of Don Lope, and the cold, God-less, unforgiving bitterness, hard-heartedness and self-destructiveness of Tristana
  • other examples of foot fetishism in Bunuel's film: early in the film, the instances when young Tristana would put on Don Lope's shoes for him; and much later, a view of her exposed right leg nub beneath her skirt as she played the piano and worked the foot pedal with her left leg
Emotionally-Crippled, Vengeful and Deformed
  • the concluding scene on a snowy winter night: the cruel death of Don Lope ultimately from pneumonia, deliberately caused by Tristana, who pretended to call a doctor for him from the adjoining room, and then opened his balcony doors to expose him to the cold air
  • the ending: a quick succession or series of replays of key moments from the film, unreeling the story backwards in a kind of narrative zoom to the first view of Tristana in the opening scene

Triumph of the Will (1935, Germ.) (aka Triumph Des Willens)

In Leni Riefenstahl's influential yet infamous propagandistic documentary film that glorified Hitler and his regime over a four day period in Nuremberg, Germany in 1934:

  • the remarkable ethereal and visual imagery of the god-like descent of Hitler's plane from the clouds as he arrived over the city of Nuremberg (with the sight of the plane's dark shadow moving over buildings and the landscape, and the long lines of marching men below appearing ant-like) - and then his Messiah-like, savior-figure emergence from the airplane with a demure smile
  • Hitler's triumphant motorcade review of the cheering, adoring and worshipping throngs of celebrity-followers, many of whom (almost in mass hysteria) raised their arms with the 'Heil Fuhrer' Hitler salute to honor their idolized, omnipotent leader
  • the next morning's emphasis on German youth activities in a camp where the boys were shaving, washing, wrestling, etc.
  • Hitler's stirring and inspiring address during a daytime Youth Rally concentrating on Germany's youth, regarding them as the country's future (as the camera circled around him), and in militaristic terms describing how they must sacrifice themselves: "My German youth. After a year, I can greet you here again. You are here today in this place a cross section of what is around us in the whole of Germany. And we know that you German boys and girls are taking on everything we hope for from Germany. We want to be one people. And you, my youth, are to be this people. We want to see no more class divisions. You must not let this grow up amongst you. We want to see one Reich one day. And you must train for it. We want our people to be obedient. And you must practice obedience. We want our people to love peace, but also to be brave. And you must be peace-loving...And so you must be peace-loving and courageous at the same time. We want our people to remain strong. It will be hard and you must steel yourselves for it in your youth. You must learn to suffer privation without crumbling once. And whatever we create today, whatever we do, we will die, but Germany will live on in you. And when there is nothing left of us, then you must hold in your fists the flags that we hoisted out of nothing. And I know this cannot be otherwise. Because you are the flesh of our flesh, and the blood of our blood. And in your young heads burns the same spirit that rules us. You cannot be other than united with us. And when the great columns of our movement march triumphantly through Germany today, I know you will join the columns. And we know - before us Germany lies, in us Germany burns, and behind us Germany follows."
  • the impressive sequence of Hitler flanked by Heinrich Himmler and Viktor Lutze as they walked through military throngs of thousands of at-attention Storm Troopers and SS troops, on their way to lay a wreath at a WWI memorial site
  • the spectacular and massive night rally of low-ranking political party officials, where Hitler delivered another long and climactic outdoors speech in which he declared that the Party and State were one, rousing the crowd to cheer, applaud, and show enthusiasm: "...We cannot be disloyal to what has given us sense and purpose. Nothing will come from nothing if it is not grounded on a greater order. This order was not given to us by an earthly superior. It was given to us by God who created our people. This is our vow tonight. Every hour, every day, think only of Germany, the people, the Reich, the German nation and the German people. Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!"
  • the closing indoor ceremony and Hitler's spirited speech at a podium to the 1934 Nazi Party Congress' rally/convention held for his political party, with his final rousing words, expressing how the Nationalist Socialist party (and his leadership) would dominate: "...the idea and the movement are the expression of our people and a symbol of the eternal. Long live the National Socialist movement! Long live Germany!"; Hess followed with a few final exclamations: "The Party is Hitler! But Hitler is Germany as Germany is Hitler! Hitler, Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" and the assembly sang Horst Wesel Lied as the film was about to end
  • the final image of a swastika banner fluttering - super-imposed on a silhouetted column of marching soldiers moving forward

TRON (1982)

In Walt Disney Production's visually-astonishing, state of the art (at its time) landmark film with Wendy Carlos' unique score, the first true CGI-animated film:

  • computer programmer/hacker Kevin Flynn/Clu (Jeff Bridges) literally transported ('digitalized'), by malevolent Master Control Program or "MCP" (voice of David Warner), into the grid-lined, neon-glowing, 3-D pixelized world inside an evil corporation's mainframe ENCOM computer where programs lived and worked
  • such astounding scenes as the breathtaking, gladiatorial competitive race in the arena - the light cycle sequence between curved racing pods
  • the startling, brain-spewing death of evil overlord Sark (David Warner) killed by gladiator/hero Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) in a duel
  • the dramatic kiss between Flynn and feminine computer programmer Yori (Cindy Morgan) before Flynn sacrificed himself by jumping into the MCP beam
  • the final liberation of the system (causing landscapes to burst out in full luminous intensity and color)

Le Trou (1960, Fr.) (aka The Hole, or The Night Watch)

In Jacques Becker's suspenseful, well-crafted, realistic (mostly shot in real-time) and dramatic crime thriller (his last film) about a prison escape, based upon a true-life event in 1947 when five prison inmates escaped from France's La Santé Prison:

  • the story (three days in duration) was told in flashback - the intricate procedural plan of four long-term, hardened cellmates in La Sante Prison to escape, one of whom was Roland Darban (stage-named Jean Keraudy, the narrator, and one of the original prison escapees)
  • the ingenious improvisation of tools (a periscope made of a toothbrush, twine and mirror, or a makeshift hammer) and the prisoners' single-mindedness to construct an escape tunnel (or hole - trou) through a thick concrete floor in their cell (covered over with cardboard boxes) and another wall
  • the film's dominant sounds - the very loud smashing of the iron bed-leg into stone and concrete as the men hammered through a corner of the cell floor and then through a cement wall en route to the sewer escape route; also the heavy breathing of the prisoners exerting themselves, and only very little sparse dialogue
  • the cautious and fearful tensions and suspicions developed when a fifth, fresh-faced cellmate Claude Gaspard (Marc Michel), charged with first degree attempted murder (manslaughter) of his wife, was transferred into their cell just before the planned jail-break, and the concurrent issues of trust and loyalty
  • the nighttime escape sequence - with a completely silent soundtrack (without music), except for diegetic sound effects
  • in the film's final few minutes, the plan went awry; the periscope revealed that the prisoners' cell was surrounded by prison guards - obviously, Claude had betrayed his compatriots to the warden, and he screamed for his life when the others realized what he had done; the guards burst into the cell to apprehend the four prisoners, as one of them attacked and tried to strangle squealer Gaspard; each of the four men was dragged from the cell after the escape plot was discovered, and strip-searched in the corridor outside the cell; Gaspard was directed to a new cell - # 7 down the corridor, and as he passed the others lined up, Roland turned and spoke only a few words to him: "Poor Gaspard"
The Ending

Trouble in Paradise (1932)

In the exquisitely-directed Ernst Lubitsch production - a sophisticated, pre-Code romantic comedy about a pair of sophisticated Parisian thieves: European gentleman crook and con-artist Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) and his female soul-mate accomplice-pickpocket Lily Vautier (Miriam Hopkins) who engaged in sex without marriage, and crime without consequences:

  • in the opening scene set in Venice, the pair shared a romantic and erotic dinner, in which sexual conquest and success in robbery were equated - the pair's polite and quick-witted, but seductive game/duel of dinner-table pickpocketing and mutual theft stretched on further, as they declared their love for each other while returning precious purloined objects
  • their obviously-unmarried association was fueled by illicitly-acquired possessions that served as an aphrodisiac during foreplay; the erotic attraction between the two criminal soul-mates heated up considerably - and led them to recline on the couch where he professed his love: "I love you. I loved you the moment I saw you. I'm mad about you - my little shoplifter. My sweet little pickpocket, my darling"
  • the scene ended when the couple's images slowly dissolved, and magically vanished and disappeared, leaving an empty sofa in the twilight - the room's light was switched off, and a sign was hung on the door: "Do Not Disturb"
  • later, the film's memorable quote from astonished theft victim and rival suitor François Filiba (Edward Everett Horton) - an associative memory that enlightened Filiba to realize the truth about Gaston (who was using the alias name of Monsieur La Valle, and was employed as Mme. Mariette Colet's (Kay Francis) personal secretary, in order to rob her); Filiba made the cryptic comment to Mme. Colet: "Tonsils! Positively tonsils!", inferring that Gaston had robbed him in Venice when posing as a doctor
  • after many romantic entanglements, the concluding scene of Gaston delivering a genuinely-honest confession to his widowed, wealthy employer (the heiress-owner of a perfume company) that he had fallen in love with his newest target of thievery; she was completely dismayed and heartbroken: "You wanted a hundred thousand francs, and I thought you wanted me"; he sheepishly confessed: "I came here to rob you, but unfortunately I fell in love with you, Mariette"; when she asked: "Why did you take the money?" he didn't answer as a bell tower chimed in the distance, and she retreated to her bedroom; Lily suddenly appeared and interjected that she was the actual robber (revealing the wad of stolen banknotes in her purse): "Madame, the only thing that seems to stand between you and romance is a hundred thousand francs. Well, he didn't take it. I took it - all by myself. Now you can have your romance"; then she offered some realistic advice: "When you embrace him, be sure to put on gloves. It would be too bad if your fingerprints were found..."
  • in the epilogue, after both Gaston and Lily had admitted their guilt to Mme. Colet, Gaston pursued after the departing Lily, realizing that he was only truly in love with her; Mme. Colet willingly let him leave her as a romantic partner and surrendered her pearl necklace as a gift to Lily; the high class, amoral thieves Gaston and Lily escaped in the back of a taxi-cab, happily reunited and in possession of the pearl necklace, Mariette's purloined 125,000 franc handbag, and the wad of 100,000 franc banknotes

True Grit (1969)

In Henry Hathaway's classic modern-day western:

  • the image of fat, US Marshal "Rooster" Cogburn (Oscar-winning John Wayne) with a patch over one eye
  • the memorable scene of his encounter with 'Lucky' Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall) - challenging him with his reins in his teeth: "Fill your hand, you son of a bitch" after being called a "one-eyed fat man"

(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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