slaytonf

Great moments in cinema.

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If achievements in art are comparable to those in other human endeavors, such as science and philosophy.  And if achievements in cinema are equal to those in other arts, such as painting and sculpture.  Then great moments of cinema are among the greatest accomplishments of the human race.  I have no problem equating great moviemaking with the works of Monet, Pasteur, or Aristotle.

Baby Face 1933:

Barbara Stanwyck as Lily surveys the scene of destruction after her former lover kills her current one, then himself.  The scene is a masterful example of understatement.  Her impassive study of the scene, acting more as a guide through it than an interpreter, allows the audience to absorb the shock without any filter.  Thankfully someone had the insight to have no music.  This concentrates the attention on the visuals and heightens the sense of the enormity of what happened.  

There is a technique in pottery called burnishing.  Before firing, a dried pot is rubbed with a smooth pebble, compacting and hardening the surface clay and giving it a sheen.  Whenever I see Ms. Stanwyck standing in profile in front of the shut door, hair permed, immaculately made up, she always appears to me as highly burnished.  The ultimate attainment of her relentless program of self-transformation.  Exquisitely hard surfaced--hollow inside.  Completely detached from the scene, unconcerned about what has happened.  The perfect Nietzschean hero.

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So, what you mean is "Great moments in cinematography".  Don'tcha?   Like for me....

@ the 2:20 mark....

Sepiatone

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15 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

what you mean is "Great moments in cinematography"

Doesn't have to be purely visual.  It's just the first example I chose.  You chose an excellent one.  One of many in the movie, which are what make it a masterpiece.  Fred Derry walking through the serried ranks of planes, until recently so vital and celebrated, now discarded and forgotten, makes you see him the same.  Perhaps that's how he views himself--or realizes then.  Just one piece of human wreckage, built for an emergency, useless and inconvenient.  William Wyler uses this as the setting for him to literally (and figuratively) sweat out his preoccupation with the war.

But there's more to it than that.  The landscape he's in is similar to broad level planes many surrealists choose to populate with their spectral and fantastic images.  It's the modern landscape filled with with different fears from the previous eras.  It represents, vulnerability, insecurity, and exposure.  People used to fear God and satan.  Modern fear, or nowadays it's more accurate to call it angst, derives from dread of the great nothingness, the great meaninlessness.  Derry gets drawn into it.  In a trance, he is in danger of slipping forever into a diseased infatuation with the past, when he is figuratively (and literally) jolted awake.  He's finally able to see his situation clearly and start rebuilding his life.

But sometimes directors have the sense to stand back and let actors do their stuff.

From Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948):

Huston as Howard resembles a chthonian spirit, sprung up to amaze, torment and tantalize the two hapless would-be prospectors.  His unrestrained, and un-selfconscious exuberance mark how he also is consumed by gold fever.  Despite their apparent disaffection with mainstream proprieties, Dobbs and Curtin have both internalized them to the extent they are uneasy at the display.  Outbursts of glee like that are appropriate for children, but for a man of Howard's age--well, it's an indication of second childhood.  Even bums have standards of conduct.  

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Concerning TBYOOL, I too often saw Derry's walking through and among the discarded and soon to be junked aircraft remnants symbolic of how many veterans( even many I knew who were in Viet Nam) felt once they returned.  One of them, years after his return(and in discussing it one night) sardonically said, "We now even have a SONG that sums up the attitude of the VA and congress---"

  

Sepiatone

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Funny Face (1957):

Is the photo shoot in Paris the best sequence in movies?  It's hard to find competition.  The Odessa Steps in Battleship Potemkin (1925)?  The ballet in The Red Shoes (1948)?  Other work by Stanley Donen is probably more important in movie history, like Singin' in the Rain (1952).  But this charming vignette is the highpoint of a movie filled with him playing with light and color, time, composition, and depth of field.  From Kay Thompson tossing a bolt of fabric at the camera, unrolling a line of good-n-plenty pink across the screen, to Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in a darkroom, flipping back and forth between color and black-and-white, rather red-and-white.  

On the surface, the sequence follows Dick Avery and Jo Stockton as he photographs her in various iconic locations in Paris.  Donen amuses us by stopping the frame to show how Avery captures her poses at the peak moment.  He breaks the images down into their constituent colors, showing us their preparation for printing, with a lightly satiric tone treating the action and emotion that led to the photo in a mechanical and impersonal way to produce a bit of glam.  But it's also about Jo's development as a model.  First naive, clumsy, unsure, under the full control of Avery.  But she can't even follow his directions.  She's told in the first scene to run and not let the balloons go.  So what does she do?  She comes to a full stop, in an awkward stance.  And lets the balloons go.  And somebody else is caught in the frame, running.  With experience, she gains an understanding of what is needed, takes over the reins, and the initiative more and more, until at the Louvre, coming out from behind the Winged Victory, a winged victory herself, she is in command:  "Take the picture! Take the picture!."

And as Jo develops as a model, she gains confidence (not that she didn't have spirit to begin with), and grows as an individual, enough to fall in love with Dick Avery--as we see in the last scene.  

 

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I still really like this compilation even though it includes a few snappy lines of dialogue too:

I used to make it a game to name the film each clip came from...

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16 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I used to make it a game to name the film each clip came from...

Did you get them all?

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Posted (edited)

The Awful Truth (1937):

Comedy movies offer a lot to choose from.  There are lots of usual suspects.  Something of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp, or any one of Laurel and Hardy's slow moving crescendos of ****-for-tat destruction, for instance.  And all you have to do is close your eyes and throw a dart at Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) to hit a scene that resonates in the public consciousness.  But for pure comic genius, sense of timing, nimbleness of speech, no one beats Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth (1937).  Cary Grant is an able complement to her, and even gets a moment or two.  But he's just along for the ride.

In the scene above, Ms. Dunne, as Lucy Warrener, Jerry Warrener's ex-wife, masquerades as his sister (have fun with the psychology of that!) to throw a wrench into the wedding prospects with his new squeeze.  This was in the days when class distinctions played a greater role in our society--at least in the society of our movies.  Her depiction of a trashy, hard-drinking night club chauntress crashing the stuffy drawing room gathering of parents and other family relics who Jerry is kissing up to to get their daughter (and her money) presents a delicious contrast.  She upsets the staid oppressive atmosphere, discomfiting the comfortable, and afflicting her ex.  Leo McCarey uses her blithe unconscious gaucherie to tweak the noses of the bourgeoisie--ironic, she being bourgeois herself.  Well, fire to fight fire.

 

can't believe what was edited out.  clever readers'll figger out what i said.

Edited by slaytonf
stunned disbelief
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At least we're able to assert what we EACH think are "great" moments in cinema....  like(for me) how IRENE DUNNE explains her financial "system" to hubby WILLIAM POWELL in LIFE WITH FATHER.  :D  I'd often razz my wife by saying, "So...THAT'S where you learned about handling money, EH?"  ;)

 

Sepiatone

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He Walked By Night (1948):

And:

It is hard to describe my jaw-dropping astonishment watching this greatly underappreciated movie the first time.  Up to the point of the first clip, the movie had been a good procedural, with some noiry plot elements and cinematography.  Then it hits you with the scene in the storm drain.  I thought, who is this director, and why have I not heard of him before.  Looking it up, I found Alfred L. Werker, unknown to me at the time.  And, perhaps we might say, an undistinguished director.  But illumination came later when I learned from Robert Osborn that it was Anthony Mann who was responsible for much of the movie.  This I can see.

The thrilling use of light I think is unique, certainly in American movies, perhaps anywhere.  In other movies, light sources are static and objects and people move through them--the exception being things like light from car headlights.  Here the light moves toward and away from us, as spears, or wands, or delimiting the storm drain, as a ring, or plane of light moving along it.

Comparison with the sewer scene in The Third Man (1949) is inevitable (not that I mean to imply Carol Reed used this as, um, inspiration).  I have to admit, I like these scenes better.  Reed's scene is grander, operatic in scale and tone.  The ones here are stark, and coupled with the sound of the hard footfalls (without music!) on damp and gritty concrete, lend a wonderful sharp edge to them.  In the final scene it heightens the desperation of Morgan's flight, and the dread inexorableness of the police pursuit.

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The Red Shoes (1948):

You can't measure movies, or grade them on a scale.  But if I had to choose just one movie. . . .if I had to. . .

I can't think of any movie where the different parts of filmmaking are so well done, and combine and complement each other so beautifully.  Do I have to list them?  The cinematography, the direction, the editing, the scoring, the acting and writing.   Everything, everything, everything.

Of course, the ballet is the high point of the movie, but there is a scene toward the end that has a particular macabre magic (as if there isn't magic in every other moment of it).  Lermontov learns of Vicky returning to Monaco on a trip with her aunt.  He goes to meet her, hoping no doubt it's a sign of her desire to return to the ballet.  Lermontov, a master manipulator, if only for his utter lack of conscience when it comes to his art, plays on Vicky's weaknesses, strokes her ego, finally cajoling her to return to the ballet.  But--did he really need to?

What is brilliant about the scene is the look in her face of voracious hunger for dance.  It lights up her eyes, her face, her whole being.  It always thrills me to watch this scene, and it always makes me sad.  Because Moira Shearer disliked making movies, all we have to watch her in is this and a handful of other movies.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem any of her ballet performances on stage were recorded, either.  That's also a great loss, because she was a superb ballerina.  

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What a great thread this is, starting with "Baby Face" one of my favorite movies with my very favorite actress. I  also loved the compilations and the Janet Jackson video reminding me of a time when pop music included singing and dancing, not just talking and squatting.

I can't do the magical cutting and pasting that you all do, but one of my favorite scenes is the pond scene in, "A Place in the Sun," where Montgomery Cliff  lets the canoe drift while he thinks about drowning Shelley Winters and she drones on in that horrible whine until the audience wants to drown her, too.

Shelley Winters is so underrated. Was there ever an actress so willing to make herself unattractive?  

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16 hours ago, slaytonf said:

Because Moira Shearer disliked making movies, so all we have to watch her in is this and a handful of other movies.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem any of her ballet performances on stage were recorded, either.  That's also a great loss, because she was a superb ballerina.  

Before I ever saw THE RED SHOES, I saw THE STORY OF THREE LOVES, and was absolutely in awe of Moira Shearer. I remember thinking , while watching this scene, that she looked as though she was swimming rather than dancing:

Gorgeous!

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13 hours ago, AndreaDoria said:

Shelley Winters is so underrated. Was there ever an actress so willing to make herself unattractive?  

I'd say Bette Davis could give her a run for her money.

Image result for mr skeffingtonImage result for what ever happened to baby janeImage result for private lives of elizabeth and essex the (1939)

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Some of my favorite moments:

-The classic scene of Dorothy emerging from her sepia bedroom and stepping into Technicolor Oz in The Wizard of Oz

-Harry Lime's entrance in The Third Man

-Robin Hood's entrance into the banquet hall with the deer wrapped around his shoulders in The Adventures of Robin Hood

-Barbara Stanwyck's face while she sits in her car, staring straight ahead, listening to Fred MacMurray murder her husband in Double Indemnity.  One of the most sinister scenes in cinema. 

 

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16 hours ago, AndreaDoria said:

What a great thread this is, starting with "Baby Face" one of my favorite movies with my very favorite actress. I  also loved the compilations and the Janet Jackson video reminding me of a time when pop music included singing and dancing, not just talking and squatting.

I can't do the magical cutting and pasting that you all do, but one of my favorite scenes is the pond scene in, "A Place in the Sun," where Montgomery Cliff  lets the canoe drift while he thinks about drowning Shelley Winters and she drones on in that horrible whine until the audience wants to drown her, too.

Shelley Winters is so underrated. Was there ever an actress so willing to make herself unattractive?  

Thanks for your comments.  I don't have a DVD of the movie to get a clip from, but I found this on YouTube.  I hope it's it:

 

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

-The classic scene of Dorothy emerging from her sepia bedroom and stepping into Technicolor Oz in The Wizard of Oz

A revelation.

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Man, if any movie character was ever begging another character to kill them, it was Shelly Winters in that rowboat in A Place in the Sun, with her endless rambling about how it's not going to be so bad to be poor and struggling with a baby and a wife who's not 19-year-old Elizabeth Taylor!

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Oh thanks for finding that,  Slaytonf!  As many times as I've seen it I still can't look away.

Speaking of Barbara Stanwyck's incredible face. I love watching it tell a story in this scene from, "Remember the Night." Her character is a career thief who had a terrible childhood with a mother her hated her.  The prosecuting attorney has taken her to his home so she wont be in jail over Christmas.  For the first time, she sees what a loving family is like and realizes that her mother had been wrong to tell her she was worthless.  You can see her feel remorse, forgive herself and resolve to start over -- all while Sterling Holloway sings one song.

Eh!  I tried linking this Youtube thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F391_23ysbU&list=WL&index=10&t=0s

But it didn't work.  Sorry.😳😭

 

 

watch[1]

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8 hours ago, AndreaDoria said:

Speaking of Barbara Stanwyck's incredible face. I love watching it tell a story in this scene from, "Remember the Night." Her character is a career thief who had a terrible childhood with a mother her hated her.  The prosecuting attorney has taken her to his home so she wont be in jail over Christmas.  For the first time, she sees what a loving family is like and realizes that her mother had been wrong to tell her she was worthless.  You can see her feel remorse, forgive herself and resolve to start over -- all while Sterling Holloway sings one song.

Nice recap. You bring it back to me. I liked that film.

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