Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Great Stairway Scenes


Recommended Posts

All these other threads about restaurants, boudoirs, etc. and recently watching a certain movie reminded me that there are a lot of great "stairway" scenes on film. Think about it, from Rhett Butler taking Scarlett O'Hara up the stairs in "Gone With the Wind" to Tom Cruise and Rebecca DeMorney in "Risky Business", filmmakers have sure made great use of this home feature.

 

Some other memorable scenes include:

 

Dark Victory - near the end, when Bette Davis climbs the stairs

The Little Foxes - Herbert Marshall struggles while Ms. Davis waits

The Spiral Staircase - of course

Notorious - Cary Grant escorts Ingrid Bergman down and out with Claude Rains in tow

Funny Face - Audrey Hepburn urges Fred Astaire to "take the picture, take the picture"

Vertigo - with James Stewart looking down

Psycho - the scene with Martin Balsam falling

 

And I can't remember the name of the film which featured the wheelchair assist which was used to "knock off" the old lady. If you can remember, please respond with it and ANY OTHER great stairway scene from classic film.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Margo Channing headed up the stairs as she tosses out: "Hang on...it's going to be a bumpy nite!" and later whenEve, Bill, Margo,Addison,etc sit on the same stairs and dicuss the theatre as Max Fabian gets a drink for Marilyn.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Path, the scene that you're thinking of with the old lady being pushed down the stairs in her wheelchair is "Kiss of Death"(1947) with Richard Widmark making his lurid debut on film as the psychopath. It is indeed memorable, in a really gruesome sort of way.

 

A couple of other stairway scenes that are quite vivid in my memory:

 

"The Bad and the Beautiful"(1952)-after Lana Turner, under producer Kirk Douglas' tutelage has earned kudos for her appearance in his film, she interrupts his tryst with a gorgeous extra, (i think she was played by Vanessa Brown). Ms. Brown drifts languidly halfway down the stairs, telling Turner to get lost. Her surliness prompts Kirk's admonition, through gritted teeth, of course--"...to get back where you belong". It's brief, but, boy, does that starlet make an impression.

 

"The Uninvited"(1944)-Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey's encounter on the landing and stairwell with the spirit who is haunting their lovely cliffside dwelling is chilling and romantic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget perhaps one of the greatest stairway scenes on film when Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) walks up the stairway with Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) while sadly discussing Bonnie Blue's funeral in "Gone With the Wind".

 

Also when Bette Davis' mother throws herself down the stairs in "Now, Voyager".

And when Agnes Moorehead gets conked by Olivia de Havilland in "Hush...Hush Sweet Charlotte" and goes tumbling down the stairs.

We also have James Cagney kicking a dead Steve Cochran down a flight of stairs in "White Heat".

 

Mongo

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Moira, but I don't think that's it (given that I don't remember ever seeing that film). Let me describe it better. There's a device on the stairway that assists a wheelchair bound person with going up and down the stairs. The person sits on it, presses a button, and it takes them up the stairs (and vice versa). The wheelchair bound person (actually, it may have been Herbert Marshall and not an old woman;- ) is eventually severly injured or killed by someone who takes control of this device or turns up the speed to "too fast" or something like that. I think I saw it on TCM within the past couple of years, but can't remember it's title.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What about James Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life." Throughout the movie he curses the old wobbly knob at the bottom of the staircase. Then at the end of the film he grabs the knob right off the railing and just starts telling it how great it is. Then of course there's the rest of the film with Stewart and his family standing at the top of the stairs watching wonderful things flooding through the door.

 

Also, "Suspicion," the scene with Carey Grant creeping stealthily up the stairs with a glass of milk that is or is not poisoned.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bette Davis spends half of "Mr. Skeffington" on that striking staircase. You watch her coming down as the belle of New York to meet an army of love-struck swains at the turn of the century. Then you watch her coming down again to greet her swains after typhoid has turned her into a living mummy--scarred face, false curls and all. In "Beyond the Forest", Bette's got that incredible final staircase descent when she's dying of peritonitis and she's slapped on grotesque make-up, smeared lipstick and she's all dolled up for her final trek to the railroad tracks to catch that Chicago train. And of course there're several staircase scenes of la Bette in "The Little Foxes". Bette is definitely the Queen of the staircases!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another memorable scene is in "Woman of the Year" when Katharine Hepburn turns a corner and starts up a flight of stairs and then stops to light a cigarette, and Spencer Tracy who's following her bumps right into her when he turns to go up the stairs. Sounds a little confusing, but it's a good scene.

 

I also love the scene in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World" when most of the cast is chasing Spencer Tracy up the stairs of an old office building to get the suitcase full of money from him.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I love the giant staircase that Georges Guetary dances down while singing "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. Especially the human candlabras! I always wondered how uncomfortable those ladies were during takes. Looks great, though!

 

Sandy K

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

paty,

 

Bette Davis is definitely the Queen of the Staircases!!! Besides the movies you & I already listed, I've seen "Deception" and "All This And Heaven Too" which also feature her prominently in staircase scenes. LOL!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did anyone ever notice how Dorothy Malone comes down a stairway? It is like she is gliding or even spider-like.

Take note next time you watch "Written On the Wind" and "Man With a Thousand Faces". It's actually facinating to watch her.

 

Mongo

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew! Some great scenes...and how about Gene Tierney throwing herself down the stairs in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN...and of course Richard Widmark throwing Mildred Dunnock and her wheelchair down the stairs in KISS OF DEATH!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides all the ones mentioned I can recall (Antar, you'll agree...) Lovely Hedy Lamarr, Lana Turner and Judy Garland walking down that huge Stairway on stage to the tune "You've Stepped Out od a Dream" (Tony Martin sang?)...in "Ziegfeld Girl"...as well, from the same film Jimmy Stewart's scene with Lana Turner...when she falls from the stairs....very entertaining film.....and what about the HUGE stairs (the "hugest" of them all...one of the most expensive numbers ever filmed!!!) of the "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" number in "The Great Ziegfeld"??? with a very young Dennis Morgan singing.....plus lots and lots of extras and Virginia Bruce at the top of ths Stairs...like a "Crown Jewel"!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...