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Galvanizing Moments in American Movies
by Grover Sales

January, 2001

Three by John Huston:   Bogart's hallway frisking of Elisha Cook, Jr. in The Maltese Falcon. . . Walter Huston's discovery of gold in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre . . . Sam Jaffe's erotic voyeurism of a teen-age dancer in The Asphalt Jungle.

Bogart, Greenstreet and Elisha Cook Jr. in "The Maltese Falcon"
Three by Billy Wilder:   William Holden's exposure of the barracks Nazi in Stalag 17 . . . Gloria Swanson's imitation of Chaplin in Sunset Boulevard . . . Joe E. Brown's curtain line in Some Like it Hot.
Two by Mel Brooks:   Madeleine Kahn's send-up of Dietrich in Blazing Saddles . . . "Springtime For Hitler" in The Producers.
Charles Laughton's barroom recitation of the Gettysburg Address in Ruggles of Red Gap.
The marriage deterioration over breakfast of Orson Welles and Ruth Warrick in Citizen Kane.
George Sanders' hotel room confrontation with Anne Baxter in All About Eve.
Dancers:   Gene Kelly's title number from Singin' in the Rain . . . James Cagney's title number from Yankee Doodle Dandy . . . Fred & Ginger's "Isn't This a Lovely Day?" in Top Hat . . . Ray Bolger's "Once in Love With Amy" in Where's Charley?" . . . The Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather.
Three by Kubrik:   Ryan O'Neal's seduction of Marisa Berenson in Barry Lyndon . . . Peter Sellers' phone heckling of James Mason in Lolita . . . George C. Scott's war-room hysterics in Dr. Strangelove.
Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis sparring over dinner at "21" in The Sweet Smell of Success.
The gin game of Judy Holliday and Broderick Crawford in Born Yesterday.
The unmasking of Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera.
Hurd Hatfield's unveiling his portrait in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Woody Allen's split second transformation as an orthodox Rabbi at Grammy Hall's dinner in Annie Hall.
Marlon Brando's screaming "Hey, Stellaaaaaaah!" in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Anne Bancroft reminiscing to her son about her dance with George Raft in Broadway Bound.
Richard Pryor teaching Gene Wilder how to "walk-Black" in Silver Streak.
Chaplin's final scene in City Lights.
          -- Want to add a movie moment to Grover's List? Send me an email at, and I'll post your pick below. -- Bill


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