The Scene’s The Thing!

Will Pfeiffer directs our attention to a potentially exciting resource–the Synoptique Style Gallery. The site’s founders are asking film geeks to come together and build a massive library of cinematic virtuosity one upload at a time! Finally–a truly noble dream! I like what’s there so far, but I’d like it even more if someone would contribute the “16 Reasons”/”I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star” scene from Mulholland Drive to the mix! It must be a great scene, ’cause I’ve been thinking about it for a week! Now, you might think that so many zooming close-ups of people gazing longingly at each other in such a short period of time would be overkill, just as you might be tempted to declare that overwrought fifties bubblegum ballads make a mockery of romantic love, but, well, if you thought that, you would be wrong, that’s all! In fact, the combination of these elements creates an artifact so real that you’re more likely to doubt your own existence than the emotions on display!

Other scenes I’d like to add:

1. The tracking shot that follows Geroge Bailey from the train as he ponders the fact that he will never get out of Bedford Falls (referenced, believe it or not, in Amazing spider-Man #129!)

2. Miriam Hopkins and Merle Oberon seated in front of the fireplace in William Wyler’s These Three–it’s shot through a window, unbeknownst to the viewer, until the rain drops appear on the surface at exactly the right moment!

3. Bette Davis’ freak-out delirium in Dieterle’s Juarez–with Claude Rains as Napoleon III as Satan.

4. Barbara Stanwyck’s (and the camera’s) mad romp up and down the church aisles in Capra’s Miracle Woman.

5. The camera’s ascent from the duel in the barracks into the German postcard heavens in Powell & Pressburger’s Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

There are only a million other great scenes! Too bad I have to make tracks for school RIGHT NOW! Why don’t you play along at home?

Good Afternoon Friends!



  1. I like that scene in The Godfather where the baker’s hand is shaking so Michael lights his cigarette and notices right then his hand is definitely not shaking. Very cartoony, but effective.

    I like all the Groucho Mark big movie openings, because there’s something lovely and brave about just coming out and ruling the whole world for a few minutes, just to show the world who’s boss. I prefer “Whatever It Is, I’m against it.”

    I like that scene in Topsy Turvy where Jim Broadbent is working with the three actors directly.

    I like that scene in Local Hero where Peter Riegert is trying to describe the Northern Lights.

    I like that last scene in Sanjuro, where the guys round the corner and you see Toshiro Mifune’s opponent.

    I like the establishing shot in Paradise Lost, where you see the town where the murders took place from above and it just looks so terrifying.

  2. I love MH, and wrote a synopsis of its structure back when it came out on dvd for some friends. There’s 2 schools of thought on Lynch, that he’s a irrationalist (an image that he tries to spread in his popular interviews) and that he’s quite rational (but a certain type, namely one who doesn’t provide answers before the question). I believe his narratives are too tightly structured to place him in the former category, as MH demonstrates (contrary to the outlook of, say, Martha Nochimson). Your dream within a dream scenario points to what I see as Lynch’s dismantling of the Hollywood dream while still using film’s oneiric qualities (what’s Reason to do when it falls through the rabbit hole? The only rational thing it can, adapt). There’s too many specific connections between the earlier dream sequence and the later reality sequence and the embedded flashback sequences (e.g., the key being there and then missing and how it clears up the significance of the box) for me to believe that this segment is on the same plane as the earlier one. But the last shot of the ghosts over Hollywood, in what seems a nod to Anger’s cover to Hollywood Babylon (but it’s a been a little while since I’ve seen the film), seems to either be a nod to Hollywood’s potential and inevitable lure, or a final bit of cynicism, or (probably) both. Anyway, the film strikes me as using dream (i.e., film) to critique dream (i.e., the Dream Factory) while casting a skeptical eye on itself (i.e., being a continuation of the factory through it’s allusions to Classic Hollywood to reinforce its meanings, such as the reversal of the homosexual love triangle from GILDA, from which Rita gets her name).

    But I look forward to hearing the commentary to see where they go with it. Thanks.


  3. I always enjoyed the scene on the beach in “Jaws” when Roy Scheider sees an incident in the water. The camera zooms in on his face.

    Another scene I like is the final one of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when the janitor wheels the boxed Ark down the aisle of the massive warehouse full to the brim with other boxes.

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