Andrew suggested the idea of a Blogathon where bloggers write about their personal favourite cinematic moments and I think it is a great idea. I feel this can tell you much about the writer themselves, what matters to them, what appeals to them and what is most important to them. It can also tell you what type of films they like. As you'll probably be able to tell I like horror films and many of my favourite perfect cinematic moments come from horror films. Some choices are violent and shocking, however in amongst the blood, incest and gut wrenching endings are a number of films that really strike a chord on an emotional level. There will be spoilers ahead.
Lawrence of Arabia
This list is mostly in no particular order except the first one which is the perfect jump cut in David Lean's epic of all epics, Lawrence of Arabia. The scene in question is Lawrence blowing out a match, we then cut to watch the sun rise in the Arabian desert, the music soars and sand dunes stretch for miles and miles, this burning furnace has never looked more striking. It really is cinematic perfection.
Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The world's first introduction to Leatherface was an incredible cinematic moment. A young man stumbles into Leatherface in an isolated house in the middle of Texas. With a sound like a squealing pig Letherface smashes him with a hammer as though the young man was a farm yard animal ready for slaughter, the legs thrash violently but another swing of the hammer is enough for a fatal blow. A chilling few seconds introduces us to one of cinema's most terrifying villains.
Roman Polanski's film adaptation of Ira Levin's novel Rosemary's Baby has two memorable and terrifying moments, the first the Satanic rape sequence but the golden moment is the film's conclusion (come to think of it there are three) where Rosemary begins to gently rock her child's cradle...It is glorious.
Terry Gilliam's surreal, Orwellian masterpiece has one of the most gut punching endings ever written, it really does knock all the wind out of you. The studio wanted a different, more happy ending, try to think of Brazil without that ending and you'll have a much lesser film.
When the identity of the women who the central character has been in a sexual relationship with is revealed it is one the most shocking, unforgettable and depraved moments in the history of medium...and I love it.
The Lives of Others
The moment where HGW finds the book dedicated to him maybe a tearjerker of a conclusion, but very few golden moments such as this produce a huge wave of emotion from the viewer. Ulrich Mühe's performance is a perfect example of the powerful effect an understated performance can have.
Sadly, I can only pick one scene from Paris, Texas otherwise I'd pick four from this film alone. However, the scene in the peep booth where Travis finally speaks to Jane and speaks from the heart is the film's golden moment. It's almost as though it was made up on the spot. That's how real and genuine it feels.
I grew up with this film as a kid so I love it unconditionally, whatever the faults you can't deny this is one special film. There are three perfect moments - the Raptors in the kitchen, the first meeting of the T-rex and first meeting of Brachiosaurus. Even two decades later the first meeting of the Brachiosaurus is an awe-inspiring moment for anyone watching for the first time.
Don't Look Now
Brutal and shocking, Nicolas Roeg's heart stopping conclusion where Donald Sutherland's John Baxter finally finds the figure in the red coat is a monumental moment in the horror genre. However, the actual perfect cinematic moment is the juxtaposition between the couple getting ready for dinner and engaging in passionate sex.
'Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation'
Exorcism movies are my guilty pleasure, I even like The Rite, and the moment I always wait for is the Exorcism sequence itself. It gives the opportunity for great actors such Tom Wilkinson, Max Von Sydow, Anthony Hopkins and Oliver Reed to really ham it up, much like how it was done in the 16th and 17th centuries. You see, Exorcisms were treated as a spectator show back in the day, people actually gathered round to see it!
Let's face it every movie fan loves a good kickass moment, and it doesn't get much more kickass than Ellen Ripley walking into the Alien Queen's nest and shouting "get away from her you BITCH".
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Aragorn's speech before the Black Gates of Mordor was so rousing I wanted to climb into the world of Middle Earth and fight Sauron's forces of evil myself, probably would have been killed mind.
As far as cinematic propaganda goes very few scenes are as perfect as this one. The Nazis start singing Die Wacht am Rhein (not the German national anthem), this annoys Victor Lazlo and he gets the band to start playing the French National Anthem (following a nod from Bogart's Rick Blaine). The French gathered in the cafe start a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise, drowning out the German sing song and causing the place to be closed. The context of the times make this moment a golden one, it is pretty much the same as sticking two fingers up to Germany.
The blood sample scene in John Carpenter's The Thing is a perfect moment of high tension, mistrust and paranoia, it is hard to tell who is infected and which sample of blood will be that of an infected one. When it is revealed you're in for almighty shock.
Another example of an incredible use of juxtaposition is found in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, here we have Al Pacino's Michael Corleone denouncing the devil whilst his men eliminate the five heads of the rival families in an act of cold blooded murder Satan himself is capable of.