Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
Dave Pitts
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Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:46 pm

I was going to title this 'tiny moments you live to rewatch', because I do live for these wonderful little moments in films: the little touches, some as brief as a second, that you noticed years ago in classic films and return to again and again. I'll nominate two:
Maltese Falcon -- a film with innumerable small excellences, but for me, the absolute topper is when Bogart is in the DA's office, running down the case as he sees it and the police harassment he's been the target of. He rattles off his lines at top speed, then breaks and, without losing momentum, says to the steno guy: ''You getting this all right, son, or am I goin' too fast for ya?'
Witness for the Prosecution -- Whenever this runs on Turner I wait around for Charles Laughton to shout 'LIAR!!' at Marlene Dietrich. His complete line is, 'The question is whether you were lying then or are you lying now or whether in fact you are a chronic and habitual LIAR!!!!!' Laughton gives the line a terrific build, using the instinctive theatricality that was in his blood. When he reaches the climactic word he's pure thunder.
(I don't mean to imply that all these little moments are from dialogue -- just consider all the bizarre shots that Hitchcock put into his best pictures. They can be editing decisions, facial moves from the actors, nearly anything. In About Schmidt there's a wonderful moment on the soundtrack in the scene where Nicholson stops his car on a dusty, windswept highway and walks about in indecision and emptiness. A brief passage of dark piano chords plays over the scene -- indescribably apt and disturbing.)

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Jean's Book Discussion Club

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Donald Binks
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Re: Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Unread post by Donald Binks » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:10 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with what JFK has said above! But, where can I start on my own list? There are countless scenes that I adore and never tire of seeing. "International House" (1933) has these scenes in bucket loads - but then, nearly every appearance of The Great Man is memorable. One scene that I wished could happen to me in real life occurred in "Travels with My Aunt" (1972)...

....Maggie Smith as Aunt Augusta is in first class in an aeroplane, she collars a steward. "More champagne!"
"But, Madam, we are just about to land."
"Well then, you'll just have to hurry, won't you!"

(Good subject for a discussion. I shall no doubt return here when other gems come to me).
Regards from
Donald Binks

"So, she said: "Elly, it's no use letting Lou have the sherry glasses..."She won't appreciate them,
she won't polish them..."You know what she's like." So I said:..."

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Re: Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Unread post by westegg » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:51 am

This is a moment within a favorite scene. The other night TCM ran THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. I always liked the scene where banker Fredric March listens to an earnest farmer (a returning GI), who seeks a loan without collateral. March excuses himself for a moment and on his return he gives the okay to the ecstatic farmer, based on his risk-worthy character. I always feel like cheering.


Dave Pitts
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Re: Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:22 pm

Oh, yeah, thanks for that Harlow/Dressler flicker book!!! Love that instant where Marie stops short -- you wonder how the crew possibly stifled their laughter. (I've always thought it was a terrible shame that MGM apparently destroyed outtakes and flubbed lines. At least we have the Warners blooper reels to look at.)

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Re: Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Unread post by Rufus T Dowd » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:44 am

Jimmy Cagney tap dancing down the stairs of the White House in Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Dave Pitts
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Re: Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:25 pm

Another gem: It's a Gift -- the riotous picnic scene -- Fields is ordered by his wife to share half his sandwich with his son. He opens the sandwich, carefully folds the meat over to one side, then closes it and pulls off the half that is just bread, handing it to his son. He then munches on the good half, looking serenely into the distance. Lyrical, hysterical, acid, all at the same time.
There's another understated but masterful moment near the end -- the wife has scolded him to pieces for taking them to a dried-out orchard full of withered trees. She's going to leave him there in disgrace. He finds a dead, shrunken orange and does the cleverest bit with it -- looking at it, considering it, making like he's going to pitch it away, finally tucking it in his pocket (which is an insight into the character; you start to wonder what his sock drawer must look like.)

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Re: Tiny moments you love to rewatch

Unread post by 2 Reel » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:50 pm

Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind vowing "I'll never be hungry again" as the music swells and the camera pulls back in that gorgeous technicolor view of her silhouetted against Tara.

Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard "I'll show them! I'll be up there again, so help me!, and then turning in profile, backlit by the flickering projection beam. Also the final shot of her creeping toward the camera close-up and blurring out.

Bette Davis as Baby Jane singing "I've Written a Letter to Daddy," then seeing the horrible reflection in the mirror, realizing how far from youth she has gone.

Charlie Chaplin on the feeding machine in Modern Times. On the tightrope with the monkeys in The Circus. With piano-player Buster Keaton on stage in Limelight.

Mary Pickford in Sparrows waking from a dream in the cold barn loft after the baby died and realizing that Jesus has come and taken her away in the night.

The soldiers at the end of All Quiet on the Western Front marking into eternity in an endless line, but stopping for a moment each to look back at the audience.

I could go on forever.
They call me "Dangerous Dal"

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