Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens…blah, blah…favorite things.
Favorite things! Favorite things! How about favorite movies? I have lots of favorite movies! Favorite ghost movies, favorite musicals, crime, comedy, drama, science-fiction, foreign, romance, westerns, on and on and on. Some of these movies are my favorite because they are just really really good. But sometimes I get a yearnin’ for a real stinker. You may not know this but occasionally good movies and stinker movies both have a scene or scenes that require one to watch that movie over and over. So, because I like making lists and who doesn’t, I have come up with a list of some of my favorite movies, be they good or stinkers, based on a scene or scenes in that movie. It’s just that there are just some movie moments that stay in ones mind forever.
In chronological order:
My Man Godfrey, 1936, starring the great Carole Lombard, William Powell, Gail Patrick, Alice Brady. This movie is one of my all time
favorite screwball movies. Watching the dysfunctional Bullock family stampede through a lot of silliness always makes me smile. Tucked inside this wonderful movie is a scene that I always watch for. This particular moment showcases the talents of one of Hollywood’s great character actors, Misha Auer playing the role of Carlo Mrs. Bullock’s “protégé”. The fun starts when Mrs. Bullock asks Carlo to imitate a monkey. It’s a laugh from the moment he bounces around with an orange in his mouth to the end when he’s sulking by the doorway. A very funny moment and by the way, Misha Auer was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in this movie.
Shall We Dance, 1937, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers. Oh, there’s nothing better than an Astaire-Rogers movie! This couple created some beautiful dance sequences…who can forget the floating ostrich feather gown of Rogers and all the feathers sticking to Astaire’s black tux (Top Hat) or the exquisite beaded dress who’s sleeves keep whacking Astaire in the face (Follow the Fleet). However, I love watching, without interruption, the roller-skating Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off moment. I don’t know how many takes were required to film this wonderful sequence…probably if one wanted to, one could set down and count the cuts, but why bother when you can just sit there and watch a masterful moment by two greats and on skates!
The Maltese Falcon, 1941, Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre. Forget that over used “here’s looking at you kid,” from Casablanca! I prefer this film noir movie and always get a chill when Bogart mutters “the stuff that dreams are made of.” But my favorite moment is the scene right before that memorable quote. In typical gumshoe manner Sam Spade (Bogart) gives Mary Astor up. “If they hang you I’ll always remember you…don’t be silly your taking the fall…I won’t play the sap for you…you killed Miles and you’re going over for it.” Tears glistening from Mary’s eyes as the elevator door closes and she’s taken to jail. Great scene! Great film noir!
Rashomon, 1950, Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimuram Machiko Kyo. As much as I admire this film beauty and consider it a classic, ushering in Japan’s golden cinema, there are moments while
Rear Window, 1954, James Stewart, Grace Kelly. Oh sure, there are scarier Hitchcock movies out there, but one doesn’t have to be scared to have suspense. Sort of. This movie is for voyeurs – we watch an incapacitated Jimmy Stewart as he watches what his neighbors are doing. He starts with just a pair of
The Killing Fields, 1984, Sam Waterson, Haing S. Ngor, Julian Sands, John Malkovich. This is a award winning story of being left behind, being abandoned, whether it’s a friend or an entire country, that’s what this film is really about…abandonment. This story covers the 1973 fall of Cambodia, the establishment of the Khmer Rouge regime and eventual genocide of the Cambodian people. We follow a group of newspaper
There are a lot of great movies and a lot of great scenes that didn’t make my list…but I do have some honorable mentions: Wizard of Oz, 1939, tornado scene; When Ladies Meet, 1941, a melodramatic stinker, but watch for the two women together scene; The Lady Eve, 1941, the shoe scene; It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946, George and Mary on the phone scene; Duel in the Sun, 1946, a melodramatic shoot out at the end; Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948, “we don’t need no stinkin’ badges” scene; White Heat, 1949, “top of the world” scene; Sunset Boulevard, 1950, not the stairway scene at the end, but the body in the pool at the beginning; Niagara, 1953, Marilyn Monroe’s death scene at the tower; Les Diaboliques, 1955, bathtub scene; The Court Jester, 1955, vessel with the pestle scene; Psycho, 1960, shower scene; Dr. Strangelove, 1964, Dr. Strangelove being choked by his own hand and the eventual Nazi salute; Planet of the Apes, 1968, Statue of Liberty scene; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969, “Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?” scene; Godfather, 1972, “leave the gun, take the cannoli,” scene; One Flew over the Cuckoo Nest, 1975, bathroom sink scene; Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975, Tim Curry arriving in the elevator; Annie Hall, 1977, Christopher Walken and Woody Allen suicide discussion car scene; China Syndrome, 1979, dying Jack on the floor “I can feel it; Alien, 1979, crawling in the duct work; Basic Instinct, 1992, leg cross scene; Schindler’s List, 1993, red coat scene; The Two Towers, 2002, Legolas’ interesting method of mounting a galloping horse.