I posted a blog entry about this, which I urge you to read. And I'd love to hear about your faves. I'm not looking for movie quotations like "Make My Day," but moments of cinema action that seem to express more than the simple elements of the scene.

My favorite is the scene from Strangers on a Train, as we watch the gallery at the Forest Hills’ tennis match. Robert Walker as Bruno Anthony sits in the middle of the frame staring ahead while audience members on either side snap their heads back and forth in unison to the sound of the tennis ball offstage.

Humor and menace are combined in this special moment. By now, Hitchcock and Walker have schooled us in the significance of evil and embodied it in Bruno – egomaniacal, hubristic, determined. Cracked, in short, but hugely clever. In fact, we are watching our friends and neighbors go about their lives in Pavlovian terms while evil sits in judgment and focuses on its prey. Gives me a shiver every time

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First time I saw Rear Window - all of which is brilliant - the sequence that had me on the teetering the most precariously on the edge of my seat was where Jimmy Stewart and his housekeeper are watching on as Grace Kelly investigates the suspected murderer's apartment as the suspected murderer returns and all they can do is watch as he gets closer and closer to finding her.

It may have become something of a cliché since then, but few other films have done it so well because you care about the characters and so you can completely empathise with Jimmy's expression of sheer powerlessness.

Also, completely different genre, The Abyss. Doesn't entirely work as a film - even though the director's cut provides a much better ending - but has one absolutely classic scene where Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (spelling?) is trapped in a mini-sub with her husband Ed Harris and there's only enough oxygen for one of them to swim back to the base.
This isn't crime fiction, but there are several moments in "The Best Years of Our Lives" that resonate with me in a highly-emotional way. The part in the beginning when Homer's mother reacts to seeing his hooks instead of hands is one. Another is when Fred Derry's father reads his son's commendation letter to his wife. Derry has left it with his father, telling him it doesn't mean that much.

This is a movie I rewatch often, just for moments like those.

Another one (in the suspense/crime genre) is "Shadow of a Doubt" when Charlie finds out that her Uncle Charlie is a murderer.
have to come in here, Debbi because I so agree!
Yes! both films are huge favorites!
I agree with the commendation scene in Best Years--so moving.
and Shadow of a Doubt. the whole film really--and especially when Charlie finds out her uncle is a murderer. That scene in the library with the Merry Widow music in the background!
so good!
I read that Hitchcock wanted to make a film that especially would affect the American audience--with the ethos of ww2. that being that something evil could just walk into the most typically American small town--into someone's family. A typical nice family could actually have someone evil and murderous in it--and not really know--with the exception of the broken hearted Charlie who does discover the evil.
Very interesting idea I thought.
But aside from that, both films were marvelous.
Carole, I've been meaning to write more on "Shadow of a Doubt." You're right about the film being full of great moments. Many of them are haunting. Like the one at the dinner table, when Uncle Charlie talks so disparagingly about rich widows. And when he's in the bar with Charlie, making fun of the way she lives her life blissfully unaware of "reality," dreaming her "peaceful, stupid dreams." And the ending is so ironic--I can imagine the movie truly shocking people at that time.

The theme of evil lurking within the quaint confines of a small town was certainly ahead of its time. But then Hitchcock always did like to explore the "dirt" beneath people's clean surfaces (I'm thinking the leading lady's father in "Foreign Correspondent" is a good example of this). I wouldn't be surprised if David Lynch was inspired by "Shadow of a Doubt."
probaby was inspired by Hitch.
wouldn't be surprised at all.
there are so many great moments--great lines, great camera work--both ensuring under the masterful eyes of directors like HItchcock--works of art.
Shadow of a Doubt is my favorite Hitchcock and I suppose it's my favorite film of all time--too.
Just is.
Well, this will really date me. There was a movie about the making of the A-bomb when I was a pre-teen. My sister (6 1/2 years older than I) and I would go to the late morning movie or matinee in Portland, Oregon, on Broadway. I honestly am not sure of the title of the movie--maybe "The Beginning of the End." A main character stopped a bomb from going off by reaching in and stopping the mechanism. I was around 11 at the time, and it was not long after the era of "Duck and Cover!"

I can visualize the scene but am not sure of the actor's name--some heartthrob of the time. Ummm, maybe Tom Drake. Scary stuff for a kid!
The Public Eye - Joe Pesci stars as a tabloid photographer who learns about an upcoming mob hit that will take place in a family restaurant in Little Italy (NY). He wants to photograph it, so he gets an informer to promise to let him know where the hit will take place. Less than an hour before the hit, he learns that his source has been murdered. Remembering what the informer told him ("we book the place for the evening"), Pesci begins calling all the Italian restaurants, asking for a reservation for that evening. What he really wants to find is a restaurant with no reservations available because of a "private party". As he frantically dials each location and scratches it off his list in the yellow pages, we see the informant's killer pull up outside his apartment, load his gun and then enter the building, because Pesci is next on his hit list. The viewer watches as the killer closes in, and wonders if Pesci will find the location in time. Excellent!

This movie is one of the best noir flicks of the past quarter-century. Set in 1940s Manhattan with great setting and sound track.
There's a scene in The Apartment when Jack Lemmon's C.C. Baxter has Fran's broken mirror and realizes she's the fling his boss has been cheating on his wife with. Jack's facial expression of heartbreak and the realization that all of his affection is worth nothing is etched in my cortex to this day.

Also the scene in Pulp Fiction when Bruce Willis sees the samurai sword in the pawn shop speaks for itself.
One thing I believe is that riveting moments are different at different stages of life. As a kid I was enthralled with the Tarzan movies. I grew up with Johnny Weismuller (sp.?) flicks and can still remember a "romantic" episode with Tarzan and Jane. However, one did not see them together as he would today on our movie or TV screens. In glorious B&W one saw a single white flower floating down the river--a perfect symbol for a pre-teen who often rambled all over her rural homestead while perfecting a Tarzan yell.

Actually, I believe that I saw the Tarzn film when I was a bit older, and I am still an incurable romantic.


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