Monday, September 28, 2009

Mind-Blowing Movie Moments

I had in mind writing a blog post about those unforgettable little moments in movies--looks in the eyes of the actors, inflections that changed the meanings, as when Humphrey Bogart says, "Here's looking at you, kid," in Casablanca, instead of the way the remark is usually said, before downing a shot of some strong drink, "Here's lookin' atcha,"--little unforgettable glitches in big unforgettable movies.

I posted on my "status" on Facebook for suggestions of movies that had unforgettable moments. What I got were comments of a wide range of sometimes life-altering scenes that my readers wanted recorded.

This, from Jonathan Odell: "There is a scene in Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet in 1968 when there is a nude shot of Romeo's backside. I remember thinking for the first time in my life, "Oh, my God, I'm gay!"

I'll have to counter that with the dance scene from Picnic that Bobby Slezak (and Dennis Maloney) saw ten years earlier, confirming the opposite to their adolescent hormones. Slezak has sent it to me on YouTube but I still don't get it. Love the music but the heavy-handed clap-dance, and the dance itself just doesn't move me the way the kiss on the beach in From Here To Eternity did. To Slezak the beach scene only reminded him that that damn sand gets in everything.

Back to scenes that do work. Jo Ann Breland Lord loved the moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy stepped out of the dull little sepia-toned house into the Technicolor world of Oz. Steve McCants will never forget Harry Dean Stanton singing "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" in Cool Hand Luke. Lissane Lake suggested this from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: "Can I move? I'm better when I move." (I don't recall that one at all.) Ronald Hill offered this, "My major lasting memory was seeing Fantasia when I was 5 or 6 and going home and drawing animated scenes on big sheets of kraft paper. The impact of the creative work of that movie still resounds today. So many modern artists were inspired by the concepts in Fantasia."

I originally had in mind moments like these: "I can eat 50 eggs," from Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. Or young Jack Lemmon, the hapless employee in The Apartment being persuaded by his boss (Fred MacMurray) to let him join the other executives using his apartment for daytime sexual assignations, "Four bad apples, five--"

Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate, “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?

Doris Day, Young at Heart, after a kiss on the cheek from Frank Sinatra: “Kinda weak for a week’s thought, wasn’t it?”

Marilyn Monroe, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, viewing her stateroom on an ocean liner: “It’s just like a real room, isn’t it?”

Diane Keaton, in her adorable, impeccably sloppy Ralph Lauren wardrobe in Annie Hall, “La di dah, la di dah”

James Dean, Giant: “My well come in big, Bick…I’m rich. I’m a rich ‘un.”

Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront: “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley..”

And unforgettable movie endings: Joe E. Brown, in Some Like It Hot, "Nobody's perfect." Or Brandon de Wilde, at seeing his hero ride away in the movie, Shane, "Come back, Shane!"

And Henry Fonda, in Grapes of Wrath, “I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too.”

Clark Gable, Gone With the Wind: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Bette Davis, Now Voyager: “Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”

This one also suggested to me by Steve McCants, from The Searchers: John Wayne deposits Natalie Wood on the doorstep, with no words but the music of “Ride Away” sung in the background. The picture, framed by the farmstead doorway and bookending the film with the shot from the opening of the movie, constitutes one of the best endings ever.

I'm sure you have more ideas.


Anonymous said...

The sales meeting in Glengarry Glen Ross. You hear me you, &@#$^^&&!

Jo Ann said...

In the movie "The Color Purple," after Harpo falls through the roof of his house...his little son walks in...looks at the hole in the roof, looks at Harpo and says, "It gone rain on yo haid!"

In "Steel Magnolias," Truvy says of Sammy, "He's so confused, he don't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt."

Ron said...

And, on the lighter side, almost anything Barbara said in Owl and the Pussycat.

Steve said...

The monologue given by Rutger Hauer at the end of Blade Runner.
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.

It comes at the end of the movie, where the Hauer character realises that his fixed length lifetime of four years is just about to end. He then releases a dove, which flies away; then he dies, the rain dripping from his hair.

Steve said...

..and how about the final scene of North by Northwest that transitions from inside the train compartment of Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint to the final shot of that train speeding into a tunnel?

Irene said...

It's a Wonderful Life when George and Mary are sharing the phone talking to Mary's boyfriend. They are so attracted to each other but won't admit it.

Georges conflict because he knows down deep he loves Mary and will never leave Bedford Falls.

one of my favs.

Irene Sobolov

Mary Lois said...

Love North by Northwest, especially the scene with Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant on the train--and all of It's A Wonderful Life too. I especially love the scene with the moon above the old "haunted house" and the scene in the bar where Jimmy Stewart is trying to get good and drunk. Who can forget the delightful angel Clarence?

Mary Lois said...

Just looked up It's a Wonderful Life on Google. Here's the quote: "What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary."

Jerry Andersen said...

The shower scene in Psycho traumatized me as a kid. I haven't been able to watch it since. Every time I am in a tight spot that music plays in my head.

Anonymous said...

Ftom Jackie Brown...
"AK-47, The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively have to kill every [person] in the room, accept no substitutes"

Mary Lois said...

Ron: "Barbara"?

The Travaillour said...

Babs Johnson (Divine) after binding and gagging Connie Marble (Mink Stole), in "Pink Flamingos", asks her victim if she has anything to say. After a mumble from Connie, Babs inquires, incredulously, "No! That's a strange defense."

Mary Lois said...

Travaillour, that may be the most obscure quote in all of moviedom.