Scenes That I Love: Lon Chaney Gets Unmasked in Phantom of the Opera

I know I’ve probably shared this scene in the past but I’m going to share it again because today is Lon Chaney’s birthday!  137 years ago, today, one of the greatest actors of all time was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He was the man of a thousand faces and he brought a lot of life to silent cinema.

This scene is from the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera!  That’s Lon as the phantom and Mary Philbin as Christine.  In honor of the anniversary of Lon Chaney’s birth, we invited you to enjoy a scene that I love…..

This scene, incidentally, was originally planned to be shot in color.  Unfortunately, the lights that were (back then) necessary to film in color were too hot and they caused Chaney’s makeup to melt.   So, those plans were scrapped and then scene was shot in black-and-white but, personally, I find the black-and-white to be more effective.  I’ve seen a colorized version of this film and it just wasn’t as effective.


Scenes That I Love: Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction

Today is Christopher Walken’s 77th birthday so it seems appropriate to share a Walken scene that I love.  Without further ado, here is the classic gold watch speech from the 1994 film, Pulp Fiction:

Scenes That We Love: James Bond Meets Honeychile Ryder in Dr. No

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 84th birthday to Ursula Andress!

Ursula Andress was one of the very first Bond girls, appearing opposite Sean Connery in Dr. No.  Andress played the role of Honeychile Ryder, who was good with a knife and totally willing to trespass on Dr. No.’s beach.  Andress set the standard by which almost all future Bond girls would be judged and the scene where Bond and Ryder first meet remains one of the most famous in the Bond franchise.  It was such a culturally-defining moment in 1962 that it apparently led to rocketing sales of bikinis.  Up until this film came out, bikinis were apparently considered to be too risque to be worn anywhere other than France.

(Personally, I’m thankful that Andress and Dr. No made bikinis popular.  I look good in a bikini and, even if I don’t swim, I do like lying out by the pool and pretending like I’m capable of tanning as opposed to just burning.)

Of course, in the original novel, Honey Ryder is naked (except for a belt and a knife) when Bond first sees her.  Personally, I think that’s a bit much.  I prefer the scene as it plays out in the movie, where everyone is flirtatious and fashionable.

Though Dr. No is best known for turning Sean Connery into a star, it also did wonders for Ursula Andress’s career.  Whereas she had previously been best-known for briefly dating Jams Dean and being married to John Derek, Andress was now an actress who was able to pick her roles and to become financially independent, a development she would later tell the Daily Independent that she owed to “that white bikini.”  Andress also appeared in Playboy several times, even after becoming a star.  When she was asked why, she replied, “Because I’m beautiful,” and I have to say that I absolutely love that answer.

Anyway, from 1962, here’s a scene that we love:

Happy birthday, Ursula Andress!

Scenes That I Love: Jean Harlow in Red-Headed Woman

Today would have been Jean Harlow’s 109th birthday so today’s scene that I love comes from one of her best films.  In the 1932 film, Red-Headed Woman, Jean Harlow plays Lil.  Lil is determined to get ahead in society.  In fact, she’ll do just about anything to make it happen.  Fortunately, this is a pre-code film, which means that Lil not only gets to stand up for herself and nearly kill a man but she also doesn’t get punished for it.  Just a few years later, after the production code went into effect, there was no way that Hollywood would have allowed Lil a happy ending.  The culture had changed and people were a lot more judgmental.  Thanks a lot, FDR.

In this scene, Lil gets drunk and confronts her married lover (Chester Morris), who also happens to be her boss.  Playing Lil’s best friend and usually unsuccessful voice of reason is Una Merkel.

Jean Harlow was only 26 years old when she died but she lives forever as one of the great screen icons.  And did you know that she wrote a book?  It’s true!  Of course, it wasn’t published until nearly three decades after her death but still!

Here’s the scene from Red-Headed Woman, which has both a great title and a great star!

Scenes That I Love: The Samurai Fight From Sucker Punch (Happy Birthday, Zack Snyder!)

Today is Zack Snyder’s birthday!

To say that Zack Snyder is a controversial filmmaker would be an understatement.  People seem to either love his ultrastylish films or they hate them.  Myself, I was not a fan of Man of Steel and I’m still laughing about the “Why did you say Martha!?” scene from Batman v Superman.  At the same time, I also think that Zack Snyder is responsible for one of the greatest (and most underrated) films of the past ten years, 2011’s Sucker Punch.  Though the film may be under appreciated today, Sucker Punch is one of those films that’s destined to eventually be rediscovered and appreciated by a new generation of film students.

In fact, you can start appreciating it now by reading my review from 2011.  This was one of the first big reviews that I ever wrote for this site and, along with my Black Swan review, it’s one of the reviews that really set the tone for the future of the Shattered Lens.

And, after you’ve read the review, check out this scene that I love.  From Sucker Punch, it’s Babydoll’s battle with the giant samurai.  Like almost all great action movie scenes, it’s both ludicrous and brilliant at the same time.

Scenes That I Love: An American In Paris (Happy Birthday, Vincente Minnelli)

Today is the 117th birthday of the great director, Vincente Minnelli!

While Minnelli actually made films in several different genres, he’s best remembered for his many musicals.  It’s been said that Minnelli was one of the directors for whom technicolor was invented and his musicals certainly prove the truth of that statement.  Minnelli made films that not only celebrated music and dancing but which left audiences wanting to sing and dance themselves.

Several of Minnelli’s films were honored by the Academy.  Two of his films won the Oscar for Best Picture and today’s scene that we love comes from the first one to do so, 1951’s An American In Paris.  In this scene …. well, the why is not important.  What’s important is the way the Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron move and the way that Minnelli captures and celebrates every movement.

Enjoy this scene from An American In Paris!


Scenes That I Love: Vampire Lucy Makes Her Presence Known In Horror of Dracula

Today is the 116th anniversary of the birth of the British director, Terence Fisher.

Though Fisher had a long career as both an editor and a director and he worked in almost every genre, he achieved immortality with the horror films that he directed for Hammer Films.  Fisher’s horror films took the monsters that had previously been made famous by Universal Studios and resurrected them with a pop art spin.  Regardless of whether the subject matter was Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula, or some other fearsome creature, Fisher brought a vibrant splash of color to their stories.  (Often that color was blood red.)  At a time when American horror films were still hobbled by the production code and tended to hide their themes under several heavy layers of subtext, Terence Fisher brought Hammer’s stories to life with explicit violence and unapologetic sexuality.  When Christopher Lee’s Dracula stared at a victim with lustful eyes, there was little doubt about what was actually happening.  Once Fisher started working for Hammer, he never left the horror genre.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen what he could have done with a Bond film.

Today’s scene that I love comes from one of the first of the Fisher-directed Hammer horror films, 1958’s Horror of Dracula.  (In the UK, it was simply know as Dracula.)  Christopher Lee may not appear in this scene but it’s still one of the creepiest moments in the film.  In this scene, Lucy (Carol Marsh) returns from the dead and, sporting a new set of fangs, attempts to get her former maid’s daughter, Tania, to come for a walk with her.  Thanks to both Fisher’s direction and Marsh’s unforgettable performance, this is a scene that sticks with you even after the film ends.   Whenever I see Lucy peeking out from behind that tree and calling out to little Tania, my mind flashes back to when I was in the 1st grade and a police officer stopped by the classroom to ask if we all knew what to do if an adult who we didn’t know tried to get us to go off with them.  This scene definitely gives off stranger danger vibes and it’s all the more creepy as a result.