Tuesday, January 30, 2007

THE FILMMUSIC BLOG-A-THON

“A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”
--STANLEY KUBRICK



The time has come for Windmills Of My Mind to host its very first blog-a-thon, the subject of which was not difficult for me to choose as it is one that I am very passionate about and to which I feel not enough time is devoted discussing it. That subject is filmmusic (NOTE: It is also fitting given that the title of this blog, chosen before I even opted to make it into a "film blog," comes from the lyrics of a song in a movie).

I love filmmusic. At least 90% of my rather massive CD collection consists of motion pictures soundtracks (the other 10% being jazz, oldies, classical and opera): some of them are song compilations (a la The Big Chill) but most of them are film scores, which would have to be my favorite genre of music. I still remember when I first discovered that there existed these things called "soundtracks" and that they allowed one to be able to listen to the music that played in the background of a movie without having to actually hear any of the dialogue or sound effects. I thought this was just the coolest thing I'd ever seen because I began, at a very early age, to pay attention to the music I heard in movies. The first soundtrack I ever owned was actually on an LP (Superman II). Subsequently I graduated to tape cassettes (I think Ghostbusters was my first; possibly Back to the Future) and eventually CD's (Stargate).

Movies and music, of course, have gone together for a very long time. Before the films themselves had soundtracks (i.e. recorded tracks of sound effects, dialogue and music), movies were accompanied by music, usually in the form of an in-house pianist, organist or sometimes even full orchestra. Often they were original compositions created expressly for the purpose of being heard along with the movie and other times they were either current popular songs or classical pieces. Some filmmakers (particularly Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch) have even compared cinema to music claiming that the two mediums are, or ought to be, remarkably similar.

The artistic merits of filmmusic are still debated. its critics argue that the majority of music written for movies is trite and derivative, bringing nothing "new" to the ongoing devlopment of music history but simply recycling old styles, genres and sometimes even melodies (leaning very heavily on the Romantic period of classical music). Folks like myself, however, tend to consider it a neglected art form (there is even a book by Roy M. Prendergast entitled Film Music: a Neglected Art). We hold the modern motion picture score to be essentially the defining genre of classical music in the 20th (and now the 21st) century. We believe that music written by the likes of Erich Wolfgang Kornglod, Bernard Hermann, Max Steiner, Ennio Morricone, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams and Danny Elfman will be looked at a hundred years from now in much the same way that we today look at the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky (NOTE: I should probably add that, despite my best efforts, I am still terribly ignorant of things musical. I've never taken a class on music history/theory in my life and aside from a couple years of saxophone lessons, everything I know about music, be it classical, opera or otherwise, has been almost entirely self-taught, much like my knowledge of cinema. There are a lot people "smarter" and/or more "educated" than I am who do not share my opinion and who can actually back it up).

Either way, I have noticed that such significant cinematic elements as writing, editing, cinematography, acting and directing often get mentioned in movie reviews but music is almost universally ignored (unless it is poor in which case the reviewer wants to draw attention to that fact). Very little ink is spilled, even among cinephiles, on the subject of filmmusic. Well, no more. This blog-a-thon is my attempt to correct that error.

So, the subject is filmmusic... or, as it is often called, film music (two words, though I personally like to do it in one). Basically, I am referring to "music in film" which can be defined as broadly or narrowly as you want it to be. I originally was going to limit this topic only to film scores but decided that if you want to talk about songs that appear in films, then that's okay too. You can write about filmmusic as a genre. You can write about the history of filmmusic. You can write about your personal favorite use of music in a particular film. You can write about your favorite (or least favorite) filmmusic composer and/or score. You can talk about the difference (if you see one) between "indicental" music and "source" music. You can talk about the philosophy behind using music in movies. The sky is the limit. Whatever you want. The ONLY requirement is that your post be, in some way or another, about the use of music in film.

The dates of the blog-a-thon will be JUNE 21-25 (Thursday through the following Monday). I know it's a long way off yet but I wanted to give time for the word to spread throughout the blogosphere and to allow for people who might, as I usually do, need time to think about what it is they're going to say. So, right after you celebrate the beginning of summer (or return home from seeing Evan Almighty) I'd love for you to share a few thoughts on the subject of filmmusic and to pop by Windmills and leave me a link so I can include it here. I look forward to reading what other people have to say. Who knows? I might even chime in with some opinions of my own. :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

An Update on the Parking Situation

A couple people have been asking me for an update on how the "parking situation" is going at my new apartment complex.

To briefly recap, a few months back I posted a blog (aptly entitled The Parking Situation) in which I revealed how various people were using my reserved parking space and I was growing increasingly disheartened. I tried several different solutions, but none of them seemed to work. Finally, in desperation, I drafted a letter to my fellow tenants and left a copy on the front door of each room.

Well, I am pleased to say that since then I have had no problems whatsoever with anyone else parking their car in my spot. In fact, I have actually had a couple other tenants see me entering my room and ask if I was "the guy who wrote the letter." Nervously I answer "Yes" and they proceeeded to shake my hand and congratulate me. I guess some of them had been having similar difficulties and just didn't know what to do. When they saw my letter they were impressed by my particular approach.

Anyway, I don't expect it to last forever. I am certain that I will come home at some point to find my parking space occupied by someone else's vehicle, but my frustration has been severly lessened by this outcome and for that I am very grateful. I'm pretty sure that there is a lesson to be learned here somewhere, but I don't exactly know what it is.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Rest... is Silents


I make no apologies for the fact that I believe William Shakespeare's Hamlet to be the greatest work ever written in the English language and Hamlet himself to be the greatest literary character ever created. Ever since I first discovered it in college and connected very deeply with the story's themes and protagonist, I have had a tremendous amount of affection for it and have labored to see every recorded version of the play that I could get my hands on (including that of Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Nicol Williamson, Maximillian Schell, Mel Gibson, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Ethan Hawke, Adrian Lester and, my personal favorite, Campbell Scott). So, it was with no small measure of excitment that I read the following news item on IMDB today:

Although a silent version of HAMLET seems like a contradiction in terms, the Berlin film festival said Thursday that it plans to present a "rediscovered" color version of a German film of Shakespeare's play produced in 1920/21 starring an actress, Asta Nielsen, in the title role. The film was originally presented in color (it was shot in black and white and colored in post-production), but the color version was lost until recently. In a news release the film festival noted that the film caused controversy when it was originally released because of an alteration in Shakespeare's tale, to wit: "To secure the succession to the throne, the Queen of Denmark disguises her daughter as a boy."

I had read about this particular version before and had been very curious about it. Though I don't agree with the interpretation, I thought it was a very bold and imaginative way to answer many of the troubling questions about the play and its title character. Now, with its "re-discovery," perhaps they will release it on DVD. It may not be the first filmed version of this classic tale (that honor belongs to a very short 1900 silent with Sarah Bernhardt), but it has to be at least one of the earliest recorded adaptations of the Bard's classic and perhaps even the first full-length version. Either way, it is clearly a very significant film and I hope I get to see it.


Oh, and just because this is MY blog and I can do what I please, here are a few choice moments from a very satisfying experience in my "career" as an actor. In the summer of 2006, a long-time dream of mine was realized when I had the honor and privelege to play the tragic prince of Denmark himself in a local community theatre production of Hamlet.

Talking to my father, the ghost.


"To be or not to be. That is the question."


"I say we will have no more marriages!"


"Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio."


The "friendly" duel with Laertes


"Good night, sweet prince..."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is there NOTHING new under the sun?

Every now and again I see something that makes me wonder if originality has completely disappeared from moviemaking today... particularly from the publicity/advertising department (an aspect which, I have to admit, has always fascinated me). It is a subject I should probably make the focus of one of my future entries. For the present though, I shall simply draw your attention to three movie posters.

Here's a one-sheet I stumbled across today for the film Becoming Jane, which comes out later this year, about Jane Austen.


Now, here is a poster for the big-screen adaptation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice that came out in 2005.


And finally, going ALL the way back to 1995, here is the poster for Ang Lee's version of Austen's Sense & Sensibility.


A picture is worth a thousand words, eh?

Monday, January 15, 2007

I am a Genius!



One of my personal favorite movies is the 1972 mystery film Sleuth. It is based on a famous two-man Broadway play by Anthony Schaffer and stars Laurence Olivier and a Michael Caine as two men trying to "one-up" each other in a series of games involving wit, intelligence and a little bit of crime. It's a wonderfully fun mystery filled with lots of twists and turns. Both actors received an Oscar nomination for their performances.

Now, for the part where my genius becomes apparent.

For a long time I have been saying that they should do a remake of Sleuth, but Michael Caine should now play the older role (the part played originally by Olivier) and the younger part cane be played by the actor who is more or less the "young Michael Caine of today" Jude Law. I thought this was anexxcellent idea and I have told many people about it over the years.

When I saw this news item on the IMDB today, I nearly fell off my chair:

Kenneth Branagh will direct Michael Caine and Jude Law in a remake of the classic movie SLEUTH. Caine, who played Milo Tindle in the 1972 thriller will play co-star Laurence Olivier's part in the remake - adapted from Anthony Shaffer's play by Harold Pinter - while Law will take on Caine's original role. It's the first time Law, who is also co-producing the remake with Branagh, and Caine have worked together, although both British actors have played love rat Alfie on the big screen. Production on the film will begin later this month at Twickenham Studios in London. SLEUTH tells the story of a wealthy author and his efforts to outwit an out-of-work actor (Law) who is having an affair with the writer's wife in the rooms and corridors of his exquisitely modernized Georgian manor.

Not only does this development speak rather highly of me but it reflects very well on Branagh too since he is the one who decided to actually undertake the project. I could only wish for it to happen. Branagh has made it happen. This is a film which I am very much looking forward to seeing. :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Does the Name "Laurent Bouzereau" Mean Anything To You?

If you are like me, you probably saw the headline to this post and said to yourself: "Wait a minute. I've seen that name somewhere before. Why does it look so familar?" Perhaps then you immediately looked at the photo below, before you even read this first paragraph, to see if you could possibly identify this guy (an endeavor which I am pretty confident didn't help you much). If, on the other hand, you immediately knew the answer to the above question, then you, my friend, are a better person than I am. Laurent Bouzereau is the unsung hero of "making of" documentaries.


Not too long ago, after finishing one of the bonus features on a DVD, I found myself doing something that I hardly ever do: watching the credits. Now, I ALWAYS watch the credits of a movie (even if it means I'm the last one to leave the theatre and I get dirty looks from the employees who want to start cleaning), but rarely do I find myself with the desire to sit through the credits of a DVD's "making of" featurette. As it happens the name of the person who directed the featurette I had just finished stood out to me because it was a rather unusual one: Laurent Bouzereau. Shortly thereafter I saw his name on the special feature of a different DVD. I began to get intrigued. The possibility occurred to me that perhaps this Bouzereau was the industry's "go-to guy" when it came to DVD behind-the-scenes featurettes, which got me wondering how many of these things has this dude directed? Well, I got on the IMDB and the list is staggering.

Currently, Laurent Bouzereau is the best-known home video/movie documentary filmmaker. His name has appeared in the closing credits for over 150 "making-of" documentaries and featurettes thus far, and he has only been in the business for 10 years as of 2005.

HOLY COW! 150 documentaries in 10 years? That's an average of 15 a year (or a little over one a month). Did this guy find his niche or what? I'm telling you, The Burns brothers got nothing on him! In fact, he may very well be one of the hardest working filmmakers in the business today! Granted, a rather sizable portion of his work would be classified as shorts (since featurettes are often no longer than 10-15 minutes), but I have little doubt that the studios place tight restrictions on how long their DVD extra features should be. According to IMDB:

Almost all of his first films were of feature-length including "The Making of 1941," "THE LAST PICTURE SHOW: A Look Back" and "The Making of Steven Spielberg's JAWS" to name a few. Unfortunately, as the DVD format changes, there is more demand for shorter documentaries to appeal to the masses. This resulted in having to personally cut down the JAWS documentary for the 25th Anniversary DVD. Now, the majority of his work it split up into three or four featurettes rather than one documentary. As for "The Making of JAWS," it's finally being released onto DVD uncut, with the release of the 30th Anniversary DVD.

As if this weren't enough, Laurent Bouzereau has also found time to author some books, including The Art of Bond: From Storyboard to Screen (The Creative Process Behind the James Bond Phenomenon), Ultraviolent Movies: From Sam Peckinpah to Quentin Tarantino, The De Palma Cut: The Films of America's Most Controversial Director, Alma Hitchcock: The Woman Behind The Man (which he co-wrote with Hitch's daughter Patricia), The Cutting Room Floor: Movie Scenes Which Never Made it to the Movies and several others.

Apparently this fellow's career started when he collected film memorabilia for classic Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma films at the time of their release. It was clear that he loved films, and would hopefully get to make them in the future. He first started in the "film business" when he came over to the United States from France to work in film distribution. This was then followed up by several writing gigs for French magazines including L'Ecran Fantastique and Globe. At one point Bouzereau had heard that The Criterion Collection was making a Laserdisc for Brian De Palma's Carrie. He called them up and told them he had some collectibles they may be interested in. As it turned out, some of those at Criterion had already read his book and wanted his input on the Laserdisc, so he recorded a very informative audio commentary track to be included on the Laserdisc. This was his first foray into the home video circuit. Bouzereau then produced another Laserdisc for Criterion, Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail. Universal Studios subsequently contacted Bouzereau and from here on in, he would produce some of the best making-of documentaries for home video and eventually for DVD's. Anyway, I ended up feeling ashamed that I did not know ANY of this. I realized that I was no better than the folks that, despite my better efforts, I have a tendency to feel superior to: those who have no problem enjoying a movie but could care less about who was behind it. I was enjoying this man's documentaries, but I didn't care a fig for who made them. I had a big old, fat helping of "humble pie."

I guess it is somewhat of a comfort, however (though certainly not an excuse), to know that I was not an unusual case. A number of movie-lovers have unknowingly benefitted from his work. Again, if you visit the IMDB you'll find that there are only five threads on the boards of Laurent Bouzereau's profile (the last entry of which was made in July of '06). You may also notice that they have the year of his birth and his country of origin (France, 1962) but no other information. So, I was, at least, not alone in my ignorance. The lesson that I have learned through all this (aside from the ever-present "never get too full of myself") is a significant one and I can't believe I hadn't already learned it: namely, never stop pulling back the curtain. I love movies and I love to learn about movies. Hence, I love documentaries about the making of movies, but somebody has to make these "making of" documentaries and the fact that they require just as much work and skill to produce as any other movie is something that I took for granted. The director of a "making of" featurete (whether it's 15 minutes or two-and-a-half hours) is just as much a filmmaker as whoever he/she happens to be interviewing.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Contemplative Cinema: Notes on "Slacker"

The following post is my contribution to the Contemplative Cinema Blog-a-thon. It is a series of notes written by Rick Linklater and taken from the booklet accompanying the Criterion Edition DVD of SLACKER, a film which I think fits comfortably into the category of “contemplative cinema” (as defined here by Harry Tuttle of Unspoken Cinema), the one difference being that SLACKER actually does employ the use of dialogue. Incidentally, I may not fully agree with the proposed definition of “contemplative cinema” (although I do like the term), but I will admit that it did provoke a great deal of thought on my part, which was probably its primary intention all along, and it did help recall to mind a film that I had not seen in years and eventually decided to use as a “starting point” for my participation in the Blog-a-thon. In the process of revisiting it, though, I discovered a collection of musings (which the director penned before launching the project) that I found just as fascinating as the film itself and which I thought would be far more interesting than anything I had to say on the subject. So, here are Linklater’s thoughts and ideas about SLACKER, a work that, if you have not yet seen it, I highly recommend and which serves, I think, as a prime example of “contemplative cinema.”


From Richard Linklater:

Knowing this film would depend so much on its own methodology, I put these thoughts and “rules” to keep everyone somewhat “calibrated” and in sync with the film’s original spirit and intentions. Many of these are quotes or lines from or about filmmakers (such as Bresson, Tarkovsky, Godard, Rohmer) I’d written down over the years and seemed to apply to what I had in mind.


VERTICAL NARRATIVE
-A film as one long sequence in which each shot, each event and character, lead only to the next.
-New scene/New start: each complete in itself, the next is simply juxtaposed to it. The relationship between various scenes can be connected later (or before–cause can follow effect).
-The audience will itself construct causal relationships.
-The scenes and characters change… but the preoccupations of the movie remain the same.
-What seems like a straight line (as narrative) will actually be a circle (emotionally speaking).
-“…any apparent philosophical and political contradictions are actually an integral part of the non-narrative…”

SCRIPT
-A film where anything goes–anything people do can be integrated into this film.
-A film of posing problems, even in a confused state (possibly to be solved or addressed differently elsewhere).
-Optimistic cinema: anything is possible, nothing is prohibited.
-Avoiding the “mechanically intellectual…”
-“Something filmed is automatically different from something written, and therefore original.” –Jean Luc Godard

VISUAL
-Camera: quiet but eloquent (especially when it moves)
-Colors: muted, not bright, muddied by the environment.
-Fiction… entering into documentary. Documentary of characters acting out a fiction?
-Lack of establishing shots: has a partitioning effect (same with the characters’ lack of development).
-Environment: suggests documentary.
-Characters: passion.

CASTING
-Method of casting: (a) choose people based on their visual aesthetic and attitude; (b) interview: testing for camera shyness and presence; (c) question them on their life, attitudes and tastes, and on the basis of their answers, match them with a character and situation in the script and shape the role. An entirely new role can always be created and fit in somewhere.
-Performances will depend on screen presence: the actor must give off the right vibrations, be the surface that represents the complex depths, and be able to capture the essence of the moment of that time.
-Pick actors whose sheer physical presence conveys a distinct reality (the physicality of the characters imposing itself).

TO THE ACTOR
-The character’s emotions will always be your own (can’t be forced on you/must arise from yourself). We must labor to bring forward the right FEELING from which the right expression arises.
-Disconnect your scene from the whole (especially the preceding scene).
-We are striving for a TRUTHFUL state of mind/being that cannot be feigned… the truth of THAT moment’s state of mind.
-Live your OWN inner life in front of the sensitive camera. Don’t try to convey the full depths of what is going on with you. Simply show LIFE (the audience will find within themselves the appreciation of what you’re doing).
-The film is much more interested in who you are than what you’re doing.
-Need to accept the rules of the film and have a large capacity for trust (in the film and its personnel).

CHARACTERS
-They are deliberately constructed, not developed.
-Obsessed by their own thoughts.
-People without a history or dramatic evolution. May seem less sympathetic or unattractive… good… forces the audience to analyze rather than emote.

DIALOGUE
-Dialogue is a kind of monologue in which the interior is brought forth.
-Actors speaking as if to themselves… in alternating monologues… Self-analysis…

THIS FILM
-A film locked in with the moment locked in with the moment and place of its on making.
-To be avoided: deliberate generalizations, false exaggeration, and established clich├ęs… Must force ourselves to search for truthfulness.
-Tension in the film: Characters’ desire to act contrasted with their inability to do so.
-Tension outside the film: Those who expect a traditional narrative and are not getting one.
-If we are sincere and honest (not to mention driven into a corner) over every aspect of this film, the result will necessarily be sincere and honest.

THE VIEWER
-Rather than a singular realism–concerned with the cumulative effect in the head of the viewer (subject to contradictions).
-It’s okay for the viewer to be aware that they are watching a construct.
-The form of a film makes the viewer experience the discomfort and alienation/disorientation of the characters.

A METHOD
-Cinema should be a part of living–normal and natural… Live your cinema.
-For now:
The process is more important than achievement. The questions are more valuable than the answers. The attempts are more admirable than successes.

To be continued…

Harrison Ford's FIFTH time as Indiana Jones




First of all, let me assure everyone that, contrary to appearances, Windmills is NOT becoming a "Spielberg blog." After my two recent posts Great Cinematic Speeches and Spielberg and the "Landscape of the Human Face" (both of which were inspired by the re-viewing of two of Steven's movies) I realize that I really need to start writing about something else or people might get the impression I don't think/care about the work of any other filmmaker.

I did want to say, however, that I am VERY pleased to hear the news that the fourth, and apparently final, Indiana Jones film will begin shooting later this year. It appears that a script has at last been written (by David Koepp no less) that Spielberg, Lucas and Ford are all satisfied with. They all sound very excited about it, so why shouldn't I be?

Nevertheless, I must correct one misunderstanding that the press seem to be perpetuating (and I am really demonstrating my hopeless "geekiness" with this observation). Several publications have referred to this movie as the fourth Indiana Jones film. This is true. Some articles, however, have said that this is Ford's fourth time playing the role. This is not true. Ford has actually portrayed the part four times previously. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and a made-for-TV movie entitled The Mystery of the Blues. Granted, the movie was essentially a two-hour episode of the Lucas-produced Young Indiana Jones Chronicles series and a bearded Ford (ostensibly because he was also filming The Fugitive at that time) appeared in the film all of five minutes to basically book-end the "flashback" story, but it still counts as a performance by Ford as the character.

For anybody out there who might not believe me, here is the ending to that movie:



In the end, it may be a rather embarassing moment for both Lucas and Ford (not to mention Indy), but when I was younger I actually remember quite liking the show and staying up one night to watch The Mystery of the Blues simply because it was a thrilling prospect to see "the man" back in the hat again. Here's hoping Harrison's FIFTH time playing the role is much better than his fourth. :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Great Cinematic Speeches: Jaws

Watching Jaws again the other day (for, I swear, the hundredth time) I realized something during the speech that Robert Shaw makes immediately following the “comparing-of-the-scars” scene. I’ve always loved this speech but I would’ve been hesitant to call it my “favorite” moment in the film (although Spielberg has no problem calling it his) because there are so many great and/or memorable scenes in the film. I had to admit to myself finally that Quint's "Indianapolis" speech is not only my favorite scene in Jaws but that it is probably one of the great cinematic speeches of all time.



Long speeches are not unheard of in films but they are not exactly common either. Since cinema is primarily considered a visual medium, the old adage is “show, don’t tell.” Give the audience something interesting to look at. Communicate an idea or emotion via images. So, anytime something has to be explained at great length it is referred to, quite affectionately, as “exposition” and no actor likes to have expository dialogue. Just listening to someone talk for 2-3 minutes is often considered “death” in cinema. We tend to associate monologues/soliloquies more with the theatre than with film (since theatre is more of an actor’s medium; film a director’s). Nevertheless, speeches do occasionally surface in movies and they can range from the sublime (the Jaws speech or Jack Nicholson’s tirade in A Few Good Men) to the ridiculous (Chris Walken’s “watch” story in Pulp Fiction or Pheoebe Cates’ Christmas tale in Gremlins).

Sometimes a long speech, like an extremely long tracking shot (unless they're very well-placed by the writer/director), can simply draw attention to itself. Filmmakers often think very economically and unless something furthers the story or develops character, it’s usually considered extraneous. This is one of the many things I love about the “Indianpolis” speech. Yes, it is indeed a wonderful stand-alone sequence and a n electrifying performance by Robert Shaw, but it is anything but extraneous. It is essential to understanding Quint. Up until this scene Quint has been a wonderfully entertaining, eccentric character but he could also be (as some have argued) a caricature, an exaggerated stereotype of the “salty sea-dog.” This speech reveals that he became the crazy, hardened shark-hunter that he is because he was one of the few survivors of a massive shark attack. It’s actually one of the few moments in the film where the audience is not worried at all about the shark attacking. We realize that this scene belongs to Quint, he “owns” this three-and-a-half minutes of the film. This also foreshadows the climax (for the dozen or so people who still haven’t seen Jaws, spoilers follow) where Quint will be eaten by the shark in virtually the same manner that his fellow sailors were eaten. It’s almost as if this particular shark has come to finish the job that was left undone so many years earlier. The astute viewer seeing Jaws for the first time, should realize after that speech that Quint is not going to make it to the end of the film.

Finally, the thing that for me places this among the annals of great cinematic speeches is that the story Quint tells really happened. It may be a fictionalized telling of the event (I believe that Quint gets the date wrong) but the numbers are more or less accurate (“1,100 men went into the water; 316 came out.”). I remember working in the video store one night, with Jaws on, and a customer came in during the Indiananpolis speech. He said to me, “You know, my father was on the carrier that rescued the Indanapolis survivors.” I got shivers. I had already known by that point that the scene was based on a real, historical occurrence but to actually have a person who was in some way connected to it talking to me made the scene all the more powerful. And, of course, you can’t beat that last line. If there is any more poignant way to end that speech, then I don’t know what it is. The loss of hundreds of sailors to sharks was certainly an immense tragedy... and yet their mission was to deliver the atomic bomb that killed thousands of people at Hiroshima. The way Quint smilingly acknowledges that they accomplished that mission (“Anyway, we delivered the bomb.”) before taking a drink indicates that the irony is not lost on him.

Anyway, rather than post a list of 10 or 25 great cinematic speeches and invariably forget some, I figured I would just mention my personal favorite contender and then throw the door open for others to contribute some of their picks. So, what is/are, in your opinion, the great cinematic speech(es) of all time?