I've got a scene to share with you

Some years ago, a friend and I talked about having a Movie Moments party, the plan being to invite people to come with a movie clip to share. There were several variations on the idea: we could choose a theme or just ask for favorites, we could sit and discuss the clips or take a vote and pick a movie to watch based on the scenes. While we never quite got around to making this happen, I still think it's a good idea.

So I've decided to start sharing some interesting movie scenes here, beginning with the one I had in mind for the party that never happened.

From Out of Africa:

After her wedding, Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) is on her way to change clothes for the two-hour journey to her new home. She passes a room, door ajar, and sees an ivory tusk that Denys Finch Hatten (Robert Redford) had earlier loaded onto her stopped train. Curious, she steps into the room and looks around.

When Berkeley Cole (Michael Kitchen) arrives with the second tusk, an embarrassed Karen tries to come up with some excuse for her presence, but ends up admitting that he caught her snooping. Berkeley assures her that this is quite all right, since it is Denys's room, and the thing about Denys is that he doesn't mind.

Karen comments on the lovely books and asks if Denys lends them. Berkeley says: "We had a friend... Hopworth, and he'd got a book from Denys and he didn't return it. Denys was furious. I said to Denys, 'You wouldn't lose a friend for the sake of a silly book, would you?' And he said 'No... but he has, hasn't he?' "

After some small talk, Berkeley goes into another story: "I had a friend who I used to take to the dances at Oxford. They were in June by the river. She always wore a new silk dress... I think you're wearing her perfume." Karen obligingly holds out her wrist to him and he concludes: "No. It's very nice. But it's not the same."

I love this scene, and not just because it tends to come to mind when a friend takes a long time returning something they've borrowed from me.

This is a wonderful character introduction, giving us a real feel for Berkeley's British-ness as well as hints of his past and his view of Denys. The actors are great here; even writing out the dialogue can't do justice to the nuances of spoken inflections and body language. The mood created fits the whole tone of the movie quite well.

I especially love how the scene progresses from an awkward first meeting to two people finding a comfort level with each other as an understanding and intimacy develops; what you are witnessing is the beginning of a lovely friendship.

What clip would you pick for a Movie Moments party? Post or link your own scene to share here.


David Bishop said...

It's hard to pick a good scene that doesn't require too much background information and doesn't spoil the movie in such a way that it makes watching the whole thing less exciting. That being said, I'm going with...

Fred Astaire's famous gravity defying dance in Royal Wedding. The rest of the movie's kind of average, but that number has stayed with me.

Cesia said...

This is a toughie. I can only pick one?! :)

It would definitely be easier with a theme. Since there is none ... I tried to think of a scene I particularly like from my top fifty list.

I think I'd pick the scene in Stranger Than Fiction where Dustin Hoffman is asking Will Ferrell all kinds of questions ...

"Has anyone recently left any gifts outside your home? Anything ... gum, money, a large wooden horse?
Do you find yourself inclined to solve murder mysteries in large homes to which you may or may not have been invited?
What is the likelihood you might be assassinated?
Are you the king of anything? King of the lanes, king of the trolls ...
Is it possible at one time you were made of stone, wood, varied corpse parts, earth made holy by rabbinical elders?
I've determined conclusively that you're not King Hamlet, Scout Finch, Miss Marple, Frankenstein's Monster, or a Golum. Aren't you relieved to know you're not a golum?"

- Cesia.

David Bishop said...

I like that Stranger than Fiction scene.

Wendymoon said...

I like both of your scene picks.

It is hard to find a non-spoilery clip to share for purposes of introducing a movie to friends. Great Endings are a whole other category (but could make for a fun, if confusing, movie party too!)

Don't worry, Cesia, you can share more scenes anytime you want. I plan to. :-)

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