Scenes I Love: “Print The Legend” From The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

The legendary director John Ford was born 129 years ago today, in Maine.  As I sit here writing this, you can go see The Fabelmans, which ends with a scene in which a young Steven Spielberg (or Sammy Fabelman, whatever) meets John Ford (played by David Lynch).  The meeting is based on a meeting that a young Spielberg actually had with Ford shortly before Ford’s death in 1971.

However, long before John Ford met Steven Spielberg, he directed one of my favorite films, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  Today’s scene that I love comes from the end of that 1962 film and it features a line that would become a classic.  “Print the legend.”  That was a line that Ford understood and I imagine it’s one that Spielberg eventually came to understand as well.

Rest In Peace to Lisa Loring, the original Wednesday Addams

Rest in peace to Lisa Loring, the original Wednesday Addams.  She passed away as the result of a stroke yesterday.  She was 64 years old.

Here she is, as Wednesday, teaching Lurch how not to be a square.

Scenes That I Love: Nick Confronts Rick Von Slonecker in Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan

The Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to director Whit Stillman!

Today’s scene that I love comes from Stillman’s first film, 1990’s Metropolitan.  In this scene of preppie-on-preppie violence, Nick (Chris Eigeman) confronts the loathsome aristocrat Rick Von Slonecker (Will Kempe).  Upper class fisticuffs follow.  Chris Eigeman is about as perfectly cast as any actor ever has been in the role of Nick.

Scenes That I Love: Jack Sings True Love’s Flame From David Lynch’s What Did Jack Do?

It’s David Lynch’s birthday.  Celebrate accordingly.

In honor of this day, here’s a scene that I love from 2017’s What Did Jack Do?  As Lynch listens, Jack sings about True Love’s Flame.

Scenes That I Love: The Viola Lee Blues Montage from Richard Lester’s Petulia

Who, you may be asking yourself, could have brought George C. Scott, Julie Christie, and the Grateful Dead all together in one movie?

The answer to that question is Richard Lester, who today celebrates his 91st birthday!  Though Lester is best-known for his work with the Beatles and with the Superman films, I think his best film was undoubtedly 1968’s Petulia.  A sharp social satire, Petulia took a look at what happened when the counter culture and the establishment collided in San Francisco.  And there’s perhaps no better symbol of that collision than George C. Scott, wearing a turtleneck and smoking cigarette while attending a Grateful Dead show.

While the band plays Viola Lee Blues, Scott wanders through 1960s San Francisco.

Scenes That I Love: The Opening of John Boorman’s Zardoz

Zardoz (1974, dir by John Boorman, DP: Geoffrey Unsworth)

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 90th birthday to the great British filmmaker, John Boorman!  Here is a scene that we love, the opening of Boorman’s 1974 film, Zardoz!  Fresh from directing and receiving an Oscar nomination for Deliverance, Boorman turned down a chance to direct the original Exorcist so he could bring Zardoz to cinematic life.

(Of course, Boorman would direct the first sequel to The Exorcist.)

Directed by John Boorman and featuring Sean Connery, here is the opening of Zardoz!

Scenes I Love: Snake Plisskin Shuts Down The World In Escape From L.A.

What is the deal with Presidents who don’t understand how important it is to stay on Snake Plisskin’s good side?

At the end of Escape From New York, The President (Donald Pleasence) made the mistake of not showing proper respect to all the people who died while Snake was rescuing him.  So, Snake destroyed the tape that was apparently key to keeping the world from descending into war.  Now, to be honest, the President was pretty shook up at the time and it’s possible that Snake was being a bit too judgmental.  After everything the President had been through, it was totally possible that he wasn’t even sure where he was.  Still, the tape was destroyed and America presumably never elected another British president.

Then, in Escape from L.A., the next President (Cliff Robertson) again makes the mistake of getting on Snake’s nerves.  So, Snake basically robs the world of electricity.  (Kurt Russell has said that all of this could have been avoided if they had just left Snake have a cigarette but the President had passed a bunch of anti-smoking laws.)  Hopefully, the next President was capable of not annoying Snake Plisskin.

With all that in mind and in honor of John Carpenter’s birthday, here’s a scene that I love from 1996’s Escape From L.A.

Scene That I Love: “Want to go for a swim?” from Once Upon A Time In America

Since today is Sergio Leone’s birthday, it only seems appropriate to share one of my favorite scenes from Leone’s 1984 gangster epic, Once Upon A Time In America.

For some context, Noodles (Robert De Niro) has just gotten out of prison and has been reunited with Max (James Woods) and all of the other hoodlums that he grew up with.  While Noodles was away, Max has been building up their gang and becoming a force in the underworld.  One of the first post-prison jobs that Noodles is involved with turns out to be a hit on another gangster.  Max, however, did not let Noodles know ahead of time that it was going to be hit.

In this scene, Noodles attempts to learn why.

Scenes That I Love: Happy New Year From The Poseidon

Happy new year!

With 2023 coming in like a tidal wave, it only seem fitting that the first scene that I love for this year should come from 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure.  Just as how Die Hard has recently been acclaimed as one of the great Christmas films, The Poseidon Adventures is one of the best of the New Year’s Day films.  It’s also perhaps the only film in which Gene Hackman managed to overact more than even Ernest Borgnine.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  It’s a strong competition between two great actors, neither of whom was known for being particularly subtle when it came to barking out their lines.  But, in the end, Hackman still managed to take the overacting crown for this film.

(That said, what’s New Year’s Day without Borgnine shouting, “Where’s your God now, Preach-ah!?”)

In the scene below, the passengers ring in the new year while Leslie Nielsen faces the tidal wave that will soon turn the boat upside down.  Whatever else you may want to say about this particular film, it does a great job of contrasting the celebrations in the ballroom with the dread on the bridge.  While everyone else is counting down and celebrating and mugging for the camera, Nielsen can only stare in stoic horror as the wave approaches.  He does the only thing that a captain can do.  He sounds the alarm.  He sends out an S.O.S.  Unfortunately, the alarm can barely be hard over the celebrations of the new year and the S.O.S. man is quickly swept away by the crashing of the wave.

The scene goes from celebrating the future to highlighting the type of old-fashioned, nature-fueled destruction that has been wiping out civilizations since the beginning of time.  It doesn’t matter how many plans you’ve made.  It doesn’t matter how rich  you are.  It doesn’t matter how safe you feel or how much you cling to the furniture as the world turns upside down.  Fate, whether it’s in the form of a wave or some other natural disaster, is pitiless.  That’s one reason why disaster movies, as melodramatic as they could often be, so entranced audiences.  Everyone knew that it would just as easily happen to them.  Just as no one expected the tidal wave on New Year’s, no one would be expecting to leave the theater to be confronted by an earthquake or a tornado.  But it could definitely happen.  Life, like society, is a fragile thing.  If not even Gene Hackman, Stella Stevens, Shelley Winters, and Roddy McDowall could make it to the end of the movie, what hope is there for anyone?  Of course, the thing to remember is that they may not have made it but Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, and a few others did.  They survived, though I imagine they spent the rest of their lives dreading January 1st.

Needless to say, neither the passage of time nor the wave can be escaped.  As much as we may have things left to do in 2022, it’s too late now. 2023 is here and the world has moved on.