Friday, December 7, 2012

Dialog-free pivotal moments

I'm always surprised by how many times otherwise good books and movies spoil key moments by explaining them to us, as if we audience members can't possibly understand what's going on from actions alone. 

When a work gets it right, though, it's a beautiful thing.  For no good reason, a little bit ago this lovely scene from Houseboat came to mind.  Watch as Cary Grant and Sophia Loren come to fully realize how they feel about one another, even though they don't speak for long after they begin dancing. 

Never mind that last bit of painful dialog; I won't be spoiling the film by telling you that Grant and Loren will eventually end up together. 


Eric said...

I had this happen a couple of weeks ago. We were watching a production of Conor McPherson's "Shining City". After a wonderful and subtle 3rd scene where you learned everything about a male prostitute without being told anything, McPherson ruined the ending by giving the lead a long speach where he basically told you how to interpret the upcoming shock ending.

Sometimes it's better to trust the audience.

Michelle said...

In the same genre, nothing was more revealing that sex was about to occur than in the scene of Gone With The Wind, when Rhett sweeps a struggling Scarlett up the stairs after an argument. The next scene is her lying in bed, literally purring like a satisfied cat, surrounded by rumpled bed covers. It speaks volumes. The viewer didn't need a graphic sex scene to know what went on. You have to thank the director for give us credit for an imagination.

Mark said...

Perhaps because of censors and technology, older films definitely seemed to be willing to leave more to our imaginations than newer ones.


Blog Archive