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Favorite Open Scene In A Classic Film


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My favorite is similar: Zachary Scott getting plugged at the beginning of "Mildred Pierce." The way he utters "Mildred" is second, on my list of great one-word cinema utterances, only to "Rosebud."

 

[Now, now. I know there are many great one-word cinema utterances -- don't go getting all hysterical. To paraphrase: It's my posting, and I'll choose if I want to.]

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Good choices from both of you! It is hard for me to pin down just one, so I'll say that one of my favorites is "How Green Was My Valley" with a grown up Huw Morgan reaching back to his childhood days. That's my favorite at the moment.

-Susan

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Oh no, I've thought of another one. See, they're just like potato chips, you can't stop at just one. How about "Mr. Lucky", with Laraine Day down at the docks looking for her Briny Marlin? I like that one also.

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"It Happened One Night!

Arsenic And Old Lace."

 

"Young Frankenstein"

 

"A Hard's Day Night

 

Runners-up:

 

Vertigo

Andrei Rublev

Murder on the Orient Express

JFK

Bram Stoker's Dracula

 

I encourage y'all to remind us how these movies opened and what it was about their beginnings that stayed with you.

 

Vertigo is the only opening of those listed above that I clearly remember. And that is the chase that send James Stewart over the rooftops of San Francisco. [This follows the Saul Bass/Bernard Herrmann credits, of course.] Scottie (Stewart's character) slips and finds himself dangling from the eaves. The vertigo that he experiences here only exacerbates his acrophobia, and gives the audience an idea of what's to come. It establishes his neurosis, which is -- and will be again -- his achille's heel. And it's because of this event that he is chosen to return to private detective work and follow Madeleine...

 

But what about these others. Why are they your favorites?

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"A Hard Day's Night," opens with the Beatles escaping from their enthusiastic fans and barely getting on a train. It is the best James Bond sequence ever, and it has a better soundtrack too.

 

"Andrei Rublev" opens with a man fleeing from a group of peasants. He climbs a tower and finds a balloon. He grabs onto it and flies away, before shortly crashing down to earth. This is a deeply strange scene, since it involves flight four centuries before the Montgolfier brothers, and is not referred to in the rest of the film.

 

"Murder on the Orient Express," starts with an account of the Armstrong kidnapping case, and has a memorable score by Richard Rodney Bennett, and excellent editing by Ann Coates.

 

"JFK", of course, consists of a series of montages and editing that lead up to Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, effortlessly combing stock footage, real footage of Kennedy and re-enacted scenes.

 

"Bram Stoker's Dracula," starts with an Orthodox Cross falling to the ground with the Turkish conquest of Constantinople. Aside from explaining Dracula's origins, the shadowy red scenes provide a nightmarish atmosphere of Europe in the dark ages (at least the dark ages in Romania, while the Renaissance is taking place in Italy).

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I might also mention "Winter Light" which starts with the most depressing church service in movie history. And then there is "Shoot the Piano Player," which starts with a man fleeing two criminals, running into a lampost, being helped up by a man, walking with the man for about a block about his family, departing, and then running for his life again. This does set the tone for the many changes in tone for the entire movie.

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The opening to "Vertigo" is one of my favorites!

"The Letter" did have a cool opening too, great character intoduction!

Whats a better way to start a movie then with gun shots? lol

 

 

 

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