Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Paul Biegler is small-town lawyer that after losing the re-election for district attorney spends most of his days fishing and hanging out with his alcoholic friend Parnell McCarthy. The story begins when Biegler is contacted to defend Lieutenant Manion, who has been arrested after killing a man -Barney Quill- that allegedly has raped his wife Laura.

In a movie that has been called “the best movie about lawyers and the legal process ever”, this scene is really a great final moment. Just before knowing the veredict, Parnell has this incredible monologue about juries and justice. I love the scene, specially by the way it remembers me how amazing the secondary actors used to be in Hollywood’s golden age. Both actors, Arthur O’Connell and Eve Arden, are incredibly good through the whole the movie but in this scene they really own the moment.

Shadows and Fog (1991)

A serial killer has strangled multiple persons in a foggy night. Kleiman is awakened in the middle of the night to help in the search of the killer. Later a clairvoyant accuses Kleiman of being the killer, forcing him to escape from the mob and to take refuge in a brothel.

The choral dialogue is -as often in Allen’s work- a brilliant mix of thoughts about sexuality, perversions, God and Death. In a way it feels fake (is this a brothel or Les Deux Magots?) but is vibrant, smart and gives John Cusack the opportunity to say that incredible sentence: “And I always listen to my blood”.

Shadows and Fog (1991)

Irmy arrives to the city after having a dispute with her boyfriend the same night that a serial killer has strangled multiple persons. In the dark streets she meets a prostitute who brings Irmy to her brothel. In the brothel’s kitchen we witness this awesome choral dialogue about sex, love and marriage.

The amount of talent on the screen in this scene is simple off the scale, but the way Woody Allen shoots it in a continuous, circular take is mesmerizing.

New York Stories - Life Lessons (1989)

Lionel Dobie -famous abstract painter- is infatuated with his -not anymore lover- assitant Paulette. She wants to move back to her parents, but Lionel try to convince her to stay in New York.

Another overwhelming tour de force of Nick Nolte, made even more powerful by the lovely candidness of Rosanna Arquette.

New York Stories - Life Lessons (1989)

Lionel Dobie -famous abstract painter- is infatuated with his -not anymore lover- assitant Paulette. They live in the same loft and she keeps dating other people on it, what drives Lionel mad. We see him staring at her window while the famous aria sounds in the background.

Nessun dorma always moves me. Everytime. Brings me to the brink of tears. But Nick Nolte. Shit. Look at the infinite blackness of Nolte’s gaze. No better Calaf has been ever recorded.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Cliff Stern is documentary filmmaker hired by his submental, pompous and much more succesful brother-in-law, Lester, to make a documentary on Lester’s life and work. The only escape from the worries of everyday life for Cliff is his niece Jenny. Here we see him giving her a vital lesson.

A few years after the movie, the director, Woody Allen, gave some context for this scene to the swedish film critic Stig Bjorkman: “You looked at them and you knew what their lives were like and you knew what their values were, and you imbibed more from that socratically than you did intellectually” (Page 222 Bjorkman, Stig, ed. Woody Allen On Woody Allen. New York: Grove Press, 1993).

On the Waterfront (1954)

After the mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly killed his brother, Terry Malloy has broken the pact of silence that reigns on the waterfront testifying against him and his extortionist practices. He is a snitch now and everybody turns his back on Terry. Unable to find a job Terry decides to confront him again, this time with his fists, only to be beaten -almost- to death by the gangsters. But his courage does not go unnoticed as the rest of the longshoremen realize this is their oppotunity to throw off the yoke that oppresses them.

Marlon Brando is the ecce homo, Jesus Christ in the Via Crucis, gaining redemption for all sinners. He is so massive on the screen that I can’t see this scene without being moved.

The Third Man (1949)

The postwar Vienna. Harry Lime, a black-market opportunist points his friend Holly Martins to a very interesting correlation between peace, numbness, war and progress. Every second of Orson Welles in the screen is a display of magnetism.

Larry and Carol see their marriage’s routine altered when their neighbor’s wife -an apparently very healthy woman- appears dead. Carol starts thinking her neighbor is involved in the dead, but Larry seems to be not so sure.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Harry and Sally have met for first time a few hours ago. They are driving to NYC to start their new lives. A few hours into the journey they have this incredible discussion about Casablanca’s ending.