"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" ... Bogart, Shakespeare, The Maltese Falcon, Those Great Movies

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Everybody's Got One!

By ClassicBecky

All of us remember particular scenes in movies that touched, surprised, made us laugh or made us cry.  Here are three of my favorites.  What are some of yours?

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Charles Laughton as the tragic Quasimodo, has two scenes that I have never forgotten.  In the first scene, Quasimodo has been unjustly accused of wrongdoing, lashed to a whipping post and cruelly beaten.  Laughton's portrayal of his angry humiliation and anguish is tour de force.  When the beating is over and he must stay bound in the hot sun, he begs for water and is only laughed at by the crowd.  Then the lovely gypsy girl Esmeralda (Maureen O'Hara) steps up to the whipping post and brings him drink.  The crowd falls silent, and there is only the sound of haunting music.  At first Quasimodo is ashamed and will not look her in the eye.  Then, in a moment of absolute trust and gratitude, he turns up his head to accept the water.  If you don't have a tear in your eye at that one, check your brain waves for a possible disorder.

The second scene is Esmeralda's hanging.  Also accused unjustly, the beautiful girl stands at the scaffold in front of the cathedral.  The crowd shouts its disapproval at first, but then falls silent.  In a moment of absolute silence, Quasimodo swings down from the top of the Cathedral on a rope, grabs Esmeralda in his arm and swings her back up to the top, shouting "Sanctuary, sanctuary!"  He holds her up for the crowd to see, the roar is deafening, and a magnificent choir sings Alleluia.  It is a moment never to be forgotten.

The Phantom of the Opera, Lon Chaney's silent version, was one of the first classic films I was ever lucky enough to see in a real movie theatre.  A very old lady played music throughout the film on a very old organ, and it was wonderful.  The scene that took my breath away was, of course, the unmasking of the phantom.  On a big screen, it drew gasps from the whole audience of modern moviegoers who have seen a lot, but who were just as terrified as the original audiences must have been.  After the initial horror, the phantom then reveals his shame and humiliation at having the girl he loves see his hideous face.  What a movie moment!

If you have something you would like to share that you have never forgotten, tell us in the comment format.  It's fun to discuss what memorable scenes other movie-lovers share.


  1. I'll always remember that part in CASABLANCA when Claude Rains needs a reason to shut down Rick's Cafe, and he says, "I'm shocked, shocked to learn there's gambling in here!" He's then approached by a man holding out money to him and telling him, "Your winnings, sir." Then Claude thanks him and takes the money. That is such a laugh-out loud moment, and I quote that endlessly around my house.

  2. I love that one too, Sark! Good pick! My boys and I are always quoting a favorite scene from Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN - Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman are digging up a grave. Wilder says "What a filthy job!" Feldman says "Could be worse, could be raining". Thunder and rain follow immediately. "Could be worse, could be raining" is my life motto!

  3. I dunno.. the one that comes first to mind is
    in the film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, when she puts the cat out of the cab in the rain, but.. then goes back looking for it in the alley. The scene makes me cry every time..

  4. Becks ,way to many for me .Two come to mind. " Putting on On The Ritz!!!" and John Cousak standing in the rain with his "Boombox " over his head in Say Anything.

  5. Another Mel Brooks one, from HIGH ANXIETY: Cloris Leachman is describing the evening plans, including dinner, and completely deadpan, she says, "Those who are tardy do not get fruit cup." Then she shoots a quick glance to Harvey Korman. And, of course, he's late and whines when his fruit cup is taken away from the table!

  6. The Quasimodo scene reminds me of a scene in Ben-Hur where Judah has collapsed from exhaustion and a man hands him a ladle of water. A Roman guard tells the man there is no water for him but then shy's away when he locks eyes with the stranger. Judah looks up in awe at the good samaritan and drinks. We all know that this man was Jesus Christ.

  7. You have all reminded me of wonderful scenes that I love too. Paul and Sark, I am a Mel Brooks fanatic, and I remember in "History of the World, Part I" the French Revolution part, where the LeFarge Inn had a sign that said "Serving the scum of Paris for years." I loved that. Dawn, the scene in the alley with the cat was a tearjerker indeed. And Greg, that scene in "Ben Hur" was haunting. Don't you think the music strongly underscored that memory? I think a movie score can make or break a scene like that. It was very powerful.

  8. When Tommy Kirk tells his Mom (Dorothy McGuire) that he's needs to be the one to shoot (the now rabid) Old Yeller because Yeller is his dog. Sniffles always ensue.

  9. For me, Becky, it's when Gladys Cooper confronts Bette Davis about her new persona in Now, Voyager. Cooper wants to know who will pay for it if she cuts off Charlotte's(Bette's) trust fund/alllowance. As the two women go back and forth, Charlotte finally says "I'm not afraid Mother." It is completes Charlotte's transformation and Davis beautifully/tenderly plays the scene.

    Another memorable BD moment happens in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. Bette has been drugged and gaslighted during the course of the movie. Near the end of the movie, we discover the answers to some mysteries and so does Bette. She awakens to hear those who have been victimizing her brag about their deeds. Bette is on the balcony and pushes a huge cement planter on the evildoers, killing them. The smirk on Bette's face says it all!

  10. LAUGH..RAYMOND MASSEY in "arsenic and old lace"