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Those Indelible Moments in the Movies


TomJH
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It may be a big moment, or it may be small. It may make you happy or sad, or perhaps just intrigued. There are no rules here. What are those moments in the movies that have stayed with you, even if you haven't seen the film in years. (Perhaps even particularly if you have seen the film in years).

 

Here is one of mine:

 

LOST HORIZON (1937)

 

The emotional highlight of the film for me has always been when renowned international diplomat Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) leaves Shangri La. The decision to depart only comes about after his brother has convinced him that the small community hidden in a Himalayan valley is not a utopian paradise, after all, but, instead, a fraud.

 

The moment that haunts me is when Colman is at the mountain pass about to depart and turns around for a final look at Shangri La. There is a funeral procession of lights, with monks chanting, spreading out in the valley below. But it's the closeup of Colman's face that stays with me.

 

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It's in his eyes primarily. As Dimitri Tiomkin's haunting musical score soars across the film's soundtrack, Colman's eyes capture the conflict of emotions that Conway is feeling, the doubt and confusion mixed with tears and a sense of melancholy. It's the face of a man about to turn his back on his utopian dream.

 

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I almost never fail to tear up when I watch Colman at this moment.

 

 

 

How about you? What are those special moments in the movies that you can't forget.

 

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Speaking of "eyes"...and possibly because Mother's Day is tomorrow and thus placing the following front and center in my mind, but the scene in which Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey recoils away from 'Ma Bailey's Boarding House' after having his own mother(the great Beulah Bondi) not recognize him, and the manner in which director Frank Capra chose to have Stewart run up to the camera and face it in a closeup, and the way it seems that JUST for a second Jimmy breaks the fourth wall and stares straight into the camera showing the absolute terror on his face, has stuck with me ever since the very first time I watched this movie then in the public domain sector in the mid-60s on a local Los Angeles television station and years before this film would be "rediscovered" and now cherished as the holiday season perennial it has become....

 

 

WonderfulLifeGeorgeBaileyExtremeCloseUp.

 

 

(....saaaaay, that was quite the little run-on sentence up there, wasn't it?!!!)

 

LOL 

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After Jimmy Stewart's return from the war he frequently started to play darker, more cynical characters than he had before. It was also a reflection of the post war times. Stewart became a more interesting actor, in my opinion.

 

His George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life had his character facing darker moments than he ever had in his previous Capra efforts, as you have fully illustrated, Dargo, and I think we're seeing the development of a maturing actor capable of considerable depth.

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I've posted it here several times:

 

The look on CATHY O'DONNELL'S face, as WILMA in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES when Homer finally puts his arms around her!

 

Another is Bobby Darin hallucinating his Father climbing out of the drain in the sink during a recollection during an analysis session in PRESSURE POINT.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I'm a sucker for sweet romantic moments in film.  Not overly sappy or sentimental romance (often times, I find those types of moments insincere and not believable) but true (well at least "true" in the movie sense) romantic moments.

 

Of course, there's probably one of the most famous romantic scenes in film, the classic airport scene in Casablanca.  Even though the ending isn't happy and Bogart and Bergman do not end up together--their goodbye scene is so romantic.  Combine Bogart's classic dialogue and calm tone of voice, with Bergman's closeup complete with soft focus lens makes for a memorable scene.  What puts it over the top for me though is the part where Bergman starts crying, Bogart tips her chin and says "here's looking at you kid." 

 

Definitely not as memorable, but I love the scene in The Parent Trap when Brian Keith returns home after the disastrous camping trip and watches Maureen O'Hara look for dishes in his ridiculously high cupboards.  There's a look on his face while he watches her, where he realizes how beautiful his first wife was and how much he misses her.  After that, he decides to clean up, get wine, turn on the stereo and really set the mood.  

 

In Breakfast at Tiffanys, Audrey Hepburn spends the entirety of the film being rather shallow and self absorbed, only caring about how she was going to marry someone with wealth.  At the end of the film, after being dumped by her latest rich prospect, she announces to "Fred Baby" her intentions to follow through with her plan to go to Brazil.  "Fred Baby," (I like calling him that over Paul Varjack) the only man who doesn't treat her like an object, tells her that she's nuts and tells her off for her selfish ways.  Prior in that point, she had even cruelly thrown Cat out of the car, in the pouring rain, to fend for himself.  When "Fred Baby" tells her off, he throws a jewelry box at her (the one containing the ring they had engraved at Tiffany's together) telling her he doesn't want it anymore.  The indelible moment in the film is when she puts the ring on and realizes that she and "Fred Baby" are meant to be together and that she loves him. 

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Sticking with the concept of "the eyes" here...

 

The manner in which director Billy Wilder in THE APARTMENT chose to show Jack Lemmon's face and his reaction to discovering during the office Christmas party scene that the women he's falling in love with might have more facets to her personality than he had previously thought, would be another one of those cinematic indelible moments of mine...

 

xmas-the-apartment.png?w=700&h=393

 

(...my heart always breaks a little for the guy every time I see it)

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I'm a sucker for sweet romantic moments in film.  Not overly sappy or sentimental romance (often times, I find those types of moments insincere and not believable) but true (well at least "true" in the movie sense) romantic moments.

 

Of course, there's probably one of the most famous romantic scenes in film, the classic airport scene in Casablanca.  Even though the ending isn't happy and Bogart and Bergman do not end up together--their goodbye scene is so romantic.  Combine Bogart's classic dialogue and calm tone of voice, with Bergman's closeup complete with soft focus lens makes for a memorable scene.  What puts it over the top for me though is the part where Bergman starts crying, Bogart tips her chin and says "here's looking at you kid." 

 

Definitely not as memorable, but I love the scene in The Parent Trap when Brian Keith returns home after the disastrous camping trip and watches Maureen O'Hara look for dishes in his ridiculously high cupboards.  There's a look on his face while he watches her, where he realizes how beautiful his first wife was and how much he misses her.  After that, he decides to clean up, get wine, turn on the stereo and really set the mood.  

 

In Breakfast at Tiffanys, Audrey Hepburn spends the entirety of the film being rather shallow and self absorbed, only caring about how she was going to marry someone with wealth.  At the end of the film, after being dumped by her latest rich prospect, she announces to "Fred Baby" her intentions to follow through with her plan to go to Brazil.  "Fred Baby," (I like calling him that over Paul Varjack) the only man who doesn't treat her like an object, tells her that she's nuts and tells her off for her selfish ways.  Prior in that point, she had even cruelly thrown Cat out of the car, in the pouring rain, to fend for himself.  When "Fred Baby" tells her off, he throws a jewelry box at her (the one containing the ring they had engraved at Tiffany's together) telling her he doesn't want it anymore.  The indelible moment in the film is when she puts the ring on and realizes that she and "Fred Baby" are meant to be together and that she loves him. 

and loves CAT too....

 

colazione-da-tiffany.jpg

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When I had a cat I named her Holly.   If Holly can name her cat,  CAT,  I can name my Cat,  Holly! 

 

WOW, what a coincidence here, James!

 

I once had a big ol' yellow dog I named "Moochie Corcoran"!!!

 

(...but if you're now wonderin' here, no...I didn't have to ever shoot him...he never got the "Hydraphoby"!)

 

;)

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My BROTHER had a cat HE named "Cat".  He also named a dog he once had,"Poochie".  No imagination when it came to naming things, it seemed.

 

In THAT way, it's a good thing he never had kids!  Can't imagine what THEY'd have been named!

 

 

Sepiatone

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My BROTHER had a cat HE named "Cat".  He also named a dog he once had,"Poochie".  No imagination when it came to naming things, it seemed.

 

In THAT way, it's a good thing he never had kids!  Can't imagine what THEY'd have been named!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

My guess is his first one would've probably been named "Number One".

 

(...especially if he was a fan of Charlie Chan movies) ;)

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In Breakfast at Tiffanys, Audrey Hepburn spends the entirety of the film being rather shallow and self absorbed, only caring about how she was going to marry someone with wealth.  At the end of the film, after being dumped by her latest rich prospect, she announces to "Fred Baby" her intentions to follow through with her plan to go to Brazil.  "Fred Baby," (I like calling him that over Paul Varjack) the only man who doesn't treat her like an object, tells her that she's nuts and tells her off for her selfish ways.  Prior in that point, she had even cruelly thrown Cat out of the car, in the pouring rain, to fend for himself.  When "Fred Baby" tells her off, he throws a jewelry box at her (the one containing the ring they had engraved at Tiffany's together) telling her he doesn't want it anymore.  The indelible moment in the film is when she puts the ring on and realizes that she and "Fred Baby" are meant to be together and that she loves him. 

 

In Truman Capote's novella that the movie was adapted from, Holly never finds Cat after she lets it go.

Although I typically don't like tacked-on happy endings, I do like that in the movie BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S Cat and Holly are reuinited.

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I have to include another James Stewart moment, it's one I have mentioned on other threads. In the final minutes of REAR WINDOW when Stewart excitedly answers the telephone,  and thinking its his buddy the detective,  Stewart  starts blabbing about what he knows about the killer.  There is just dead silence on the other end and then a hang up.  At that moment Stewart realizes that  he has just revealed himself to the killer, the emotional impact is like going 100 mph into a brick wall. Stewart knows (and so do we) that the killer is now coming and there is nothing to stop him.  Jimmy, great actor that he is, shows that sudden panic and fear so well.  I first saw REAR WINDOW in a theatre on the big screen so that moment has always stuck with me.

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I have to include another James Stewart moment, it's one I have mentioned on other threads. In the final minutes of REAR WINDOW when Stewart excitedly answers the telephone,  and thinking its his buddy the detective,  Stewart  starts blabbing about what he knows about the killer.  There is just dead silence on the other end and then a hang up.  At that moment Stewart realizes that  he has just revealed himself to the killer, the emotional impact is like going 100 mph into a brick wall. Stewart knows (and so do we) that the killer is now coming and there is nothing to stop him.  Jimmy, great actor that he is, shows that sudden panic and fear so well.  I first saw REAR WINDOW in a theatre on the big screen so that moment has always stuck with me.

 

Did REAR WINDOW air on TCM during the Sunday With Hitch Spotlight? 

 

I've never seen that movie but then again I only saw PSYCHO last year. 

 

Hitchcock was the master at getting around the code.

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My BROTHER had a cat HE named "Cat".  He also named a dog he once had,"Poochie".  No imagination when it came to naming things, it seemed.

 

In THAT way, it's a good thing he never had kids!  Can't imagine what THEY'd have been named!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

How about Kid, Hey You, and Little Girl?

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I have to include another James Stewart moment, it's one I have mentioned on other threads. In the final minutes of REAR WINDOW when Stewart excitedly answers the telephone,  and thinking its his buddy the detective,  Stewart  starts blabbing about what he knows about the killer.  There is just dead silence on the other end and then a hang up.  At that moment Stewart realizes that  he has just revealed himself to the killer, the emotional impact is like going 100 mph into a brick wall. Stewart knows (and so do we) that the killer is now coming and there is nothing to stop him.  Jimmy, great actor that he is, shows that sudden panic and fear so well.  I first saw REAR WINDOW in a theatre on the big screen so that moment has always stuck with me.

I agree that that is a key moment in Rear Window, mrroberts.

 

But what about that scene shortly before it, when Stewart,spying on Raymond Burr through his telephoto lens camera,suddenly sees Burr looking across grounds separating their two buildings right at him. It's that moment when it suddenly twigs on Burr that he's being watched by a stranger. That moment, and that sudden realization and grim look on the face of a man who may be a murderer, is extremely chilling for me.

 

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Yes Tom,  at that moment Burr sees that he's being watched, but he doesn't know who the watcher is or  more importantly what that man  may know. Burr determines where the man's apartment is, gets the phone number and calls that number. It's only when Stewart blabs on the phone the he confirms who he is and what he knows.  And Burr is only down the hall from Stewart's apartment so he can make an immediate visit.  It won't be a friendly visit either.

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Tonight's TCM  8 pm feature (at least for us folks back east) is IN OLD CHICAGO from 1938.  Its not so much one moment but the whole special effects spectacle of seeing the great Chicago fire that has lasted with me. As a young boy I often sat up late at night watching movies with my dad, I know I was quite young when I saw this film and that scene really impressed (scared?) me. It's one I have never forgotten even though it may have been years since seeing the film again.  Its a great 30's big budget major studio film, I recommend it to anyone to record/view.

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Tonight's TCM  8 pm feature (at least for us folks back east) is IN OLD CHICAGO from 1938.  Its not so much one moment but the whole special effects spectacle of seeing the great Chicago fire that has lasted with me. As a young boy I often sat up late at night watching movies with my dad, I know I was quite young when I saw this film and that scene really impressed (scared?) me. It's one I have never forgotten even though it may have been years since seeing the film again.  Its a great 30's big budget major studio film, I recommend it to anyone to record/view.

 

Great movie with Tyrone Power, Don Ameche and Tom Brown as the O'Leary brothers.

 

I'm not sure who played the cow.

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Yeah, I thought so.  So, who was behind the cow conspiracy idea in the first place?  Anyone know?

A pig. (He didn't want to take the blame).

 

 

 

On the other hand, if you don't care for my theory, here's what Wiki says:

 

The fire started at about 9:00 P.M, October 8, in or around a small barn that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street.[2] The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary. In 1893, Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who wrote the O'Leary account, admitted he had made it up as colorful copy.[3] The shed next to the O'Learys' was the first building to be consumed by the fire, but the official report could not find the exact cause.[4] There has, however, been some speculation that would suggest that the fire was caused by a person, instead of a cow. Some testimonies stated that a group of men were gambling inside the barn so they would not be seen by others. The lamp that they were using was accidentally knocked over and started the fire. Little evidence has been presented to prove whether or not this is true. There has been speculation as to whether the cause of the fire was related to other fires that began the same day.

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