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August 13, 2007 | Comments ()


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Name That Movie

An Afternoon Comment Diversion / Ranylt Richildis

Comment Diversions | August 13, 2007 | Comments ()


Years ago, at the tender age of seven or eight, I sat in my grandmother’s den watching an old movie. I can’t remember anything about it but for one scene, one exchange of lines that has never left my brain: a man and a woman seem to be in some kind of straits, and when she says something along the lines of, “I never learned to laugh but I know how to cry,” he responds with “I never learned how to cry, but I know how to laugh.” Close-up diffusion lens on the dark-haired woman with one diamond tear sparkling on her cheek.

Odds are the film was made in the 40s or 50s, and odds are even better that it isn’t very good, but damn if that silly-smeary scene hasn’t been nagging about my brain all this time. Thanks to IMDb, knowing the name of even one actor usually solves these types of mysteries, but we don’t often have even that much to grasp onto. I would love to identify that film and put it to rest (the Googling does nothing).

Today’s Diversion springs out of this desire. Post details about your own mystery movies below (era, color/B&W, genre, scene or plot description, etc), and see if another reader can’t help you out by naming that movie. With luck, it’ll 187 that nagging bee in your head, and give other readers a chance to be know-it-all movie-trivia cubicle-wizards, live and in public (I am expecting great things from Manny).

Two more to get the ball rolling:

1. A 70s or early 80s horror film (it aired on TV in 1984) that features killer household appliances: an oven that blisters a housewife’s arm, and an electric carving knife that makes a hash of a Sunday family dinner. [UPDATE: Thousand thanks to be right back who helped me solve this one: a 1983 French film “Demon dans l’ile” (The Demon of the Island).]

2. A Dracula film, no question, but which one of the dozens out there? Possibly a hey-day Hammer, possibly a 1970s revival. A Van Helsing type encounters his undead daughter in a sewer-like zone. She opens her mouth and growls out paaapaaa, and her torn nightgown is rotting, and Papa’s crucifix goes flying and sinks under the liquid scum (it was at this point that my brother and I ran straight into Mommy’s arms—we were consoled with murmurs and gingerale). [UPDATE: David knew this one to be John Badham’s 1979 “Dracula” with Laurence Olivier and Frank Langella, which I have since re-watched and loved (psychedelic vampire lovemaking scene? Yes please!). That daughter-ghoul is still creepy after all these years. You, sir, are one of the truly rocking.]


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