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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Shayfer

The Best Bits.....

So....the film magazine, 'EMPIRE', had a feature in which people from the industry chose their favourite, riveting, most moving or scariest moments from a particular film. This seems to me like a great way to get a group to throw their hats into the ring while I throw on another log of silver birch onto the fire. Of course, I've seen so many goddam films during my life that it's hard to choose which ones. But, here we go....

I was allowed to watch horror films when quite young. There's a scene in 'PYSCHO' when the detective reaches the top of the landing and, in an overhead shot, 'Mother' suddenly attacks him with a knife. That's NOT supposed to happen; he should see what's behind the door as we expect him to. The genius of Hitchcock.

A truly visceral shock was when the alien burst out of John Hurt's stomach in 'ALIEN'. Apparently, even the rest of the crew weren't entirely sure what was coming. People actually walked out of the cinema when I first saw it in 1979.

The scene in 'JAWS' when the corpse head suddenly appears through the sunken boat is quite a shocker. I was fifteen at the time and it was the talk of the class.

I'm not that keen on 3D. I find it distracting. The only two exceptions are 'AVATAR' and 'GRAVITY'. In the latter, Sandra Bullock has a moment of despair and sheds a tear. She's in a zero atmosphere environment so, through your 3D glasses, the tear floats then drifts towards you seemingly out of the screen. It's a really profound moment.

One of the most moving scenes in cinema (for me) is in 'RETURN OF THE KING' at Aragorn's Coronation. Everyone dutifully bows and curtsies. When he comes to the four hobbits, Aragorn gets down on one knee before them and says "My friends, you bow to no-one" and the entire assembly pays them homage. Strangely, I always get something in my eye at that point.

And the scene in 'GAME OF THRONES' (as cinematic as any film) when Jamie Lannister grimly reveals to Brienne how he came to be known as 'King Slayer' is both redemptive and moving.

The end scene in 'PLANET OF THE APES' is pretty spectacular. All this time he thinks he's been on another planet, sees the sunken statue of liberty, sinks to his knees and says "I'm home!" It's a great and revelatory moment. (trouble is, cynical me afterwards thought, hang on, didn't he think it a bit weird those talking alien apes were speaking in English?)

I will, no doubt, think of many more after I've posted this but it's a good enough start. If you have any to contribute, be my guest.....

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