Welcome to the beginning! In my last Top 10 column I mentioned I'd be throwing some more lists your way in November. Well, November is now here. I noticed awhile ago that I have three columns running in this month(I actually get paid the same day this runs, that's how I noticed), so why not make it special? Since Top 10 lists are so fun to write and apparently are the most read of our columns for my three columns this month I'll be giving you my Top 10 Entrances, Twists and Endings in movie history. So, to kick things off, here's the Top 10 Entrances by any character in movie history....
10. Capt. Jack Sparrow - Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
Okay, as far as the Pirates trilogy is concerned, well, you won't see it on many "top" anything lists. The first movie is passable, but the sequels are merely junk. Despite the lack of overall quality, Pirates of the Caribbean did a few things very well. Jack Sparrow(played by Johnny Depp) is a great cinematic character that audiences really get behind. Sparrow's always cheating or stealing to further his own ends, and he's really funny in the process. It takes several little moments to create a character like that, but it's how we meet the character that automatically sets Jack Sparrow up as someone unique. We see a huge grand shot of Johnny Depp standing tall at the top of a ship, but only when the camera pulls back do we see that the ship is slowly sinking. Just as the ship is about to be completely swallowed under water, Sparrow calmly steps onto the dock as his ship sinks below. Every dog has it's day.
9. Willy Wonka - Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The world is set on fire when it's announced that candy genius Willy Wonka will be opening up his factory to five lucky prize winners. The people allowed inside will have found a golden ticket inside one of Wonka's great chocolate bars. After ransom demands, forgeries and all-out craziness, five winning kids and their parents await outside the factory to start their adventure. We meet Willy Wonka as Gene Wilder hobbles out with a cane appearing to be handicapped until he miraculously does a summersault. He then greets his guests with kindness, but mostly sarcastic remarks. Willy Wonka's entrance gives us a glimpse into what becomes one of the most magical and heartwarming movies ever.
8. Joe Gillis - Sunset Boulevard (1950)
When you first see Billy Wilder's masterpiece there's no doubt about how our leading man will fare in this tale. The movie opens with narration from William Holden as we're seeing his dead body floating at the top of a pool. The story of Sunset Boulevard tells how Holden's character of Joe Gillis went from a broke screenwriter to a corpse. The opening seconds set the tone for the entire film as the story seems to always get darker and darker. Sunset Boulevard is pure classic gold all the way through, but it's start and our introduction to the character of Joe Gillis may just be the film at it's eerie heights.
7. Colonel Walter E. Kurtz - Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apocalypse Now is almost three hours long(original version that is), and we don't see it's biggest star until about 80% into the movie. The story is of a US solider in Vietnam(Martin Sheen) sent to kill a renegade Colonel in his own army. Colonel Kurtz is played by probably the greatest actor ever in Marlon Brando. Most of the movie takes place on the boat that Sheen is taking to meet his target. For about two hours we hear about the exploits of this larger than life man who supposed to be murdered. Upon finding Kurtz location Sheen is captured by Kurtz's own army. We finally meet the insane Colonel as he sits with Sheen and both men compare their insanity. Apocalypse Now is defiantly a trip in more than one sense of the word. It's also one of the best movies you'll ever see. To top it off, Kurtz lives up to hype. As does Brando....
6. John Doe - Seven (1995)
Back in September I posted a column on Seven and I hinted at how cool the scenes were when we first meet our killer in this twisted movie. Kevin Spacey had his name taken off the intro credits and any promo material for the film because if you saw his name before the film during viewing you'd know who the killer was. There's no great dramatic finale setting up the mystery of the killer in Seven. The madman known as John Doe simply walks into a police station and turns himself into the detectives looking for him. John Doe walks in and yells "DETECTIVE" at the top of his lungs to get his pursuer's attention and then simply laments "You're looking for me." All the while being covered in a new victim's blood. In a twisted way, I think that's pretty cool.
5. Honey Ryder - Dr. No (1962)
I'm a little ashamed. I just noticed that Ursula Andress' portrayal of the most famous Bond girl is the only female to make the list. I guess it's better than no females, right? Whenever I think of the term "Bond girl" Honey Ryder is the one that always pops in my head. We meet her towards the end of Dr. No as James Bond has followed his enemy to a tropical island and he sees Ryder emerge from the water. It's a simple entrance, but when Ursula Andress emerges from the water you see a beautiful amazon(hey, she was hot back in day!) strapped with a knife to her leg. When that character enters the movie she's automatically a character of strength. Apparently strong enough to rival the uber-masculine James Bond for your attention. Even if she did just end up having a bit of sex with the best Bond, Sean Connery.
4. Frank, Once Upon a Time in the West - (1968)
I discussed this scene in my Top 10 Performances column some months back. In what some call Sergio Leone's masterpiece, we see a little family preparing a dinner for a soon to be arriving family member. All of a sudden we hear a single gun shot as the mother falls to ground. The father runs to his wife's aid, but is shot himself, followed by his oldest son. After the mayhem has settled we see several men dressed in long dusters emerge from the frontier. The family's little son runs out of the house in shock. One of the gunman asks their leader "What about this one, Frank?". Frank replies "Since you've used my given name", then all we see is pistol drawn and fired. The kid and his family are dead. How horrible.... Oh yeah, and Frank just happens to be Henry Fonda.
3. Darth Vader - Star Wars (1977)
In what is now the fourth installment of the Star Wars saga, this entrance would be the second time we see Darth Vader in his black suit after Revenge of the Sith. Well, back in 1977, Star Wars(or a New Hope as some prefer) was the first time the world was introduced to the villain in black. After we see a starship attacked and soldiers draped in white rush aboard we finally see their leader. Darth Vader bursts through a hole in the ship and into movie history. After I'm done using all the clichés in the book, I don't really think I need to describe this with any depth, do I? Have you really not seen this movie? Darth Vader enters the way a WWE wrestler would enter going to a match. We've all seen it many times over. Great Entrances always tell you something about the character entering the story. When Darth Vader appears on the screen in Star Wars he's immediately an imposing villain, as much as there's ever been.
2. Harry Lime - The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man is about as classic as any movie has a right to be. You've got a great setting in post-war Vienna, beautifully poignant music, Joseph Cotten and especially, Orson Welles. Well, at least for half of the movie anyway. The story of The Third Man is of an American novelist(Cotten) traveling to Europe to meet his old buddy, Harry Lime. Upon arriving in Paris, Cotten learns that Harry is dead. After a night of much drinking, Cotten stumbles back to his hotel, but notices someone following him. He looks over and sees only the man's shoes as he's hidden in doorway. After he yells at the man to show himself, an old lady opens her window above to see what the noise is about. In doing this, light from her room shines directly on the man's face. The man following our hero is Orson Welles and he's a very much alive Harry Lime. Pure genius! If it weren't for the strength of the next selection I would've happily selected it as #1!
1. Blondie - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Well, some say Once Upon a Time in the West is Leone's masterpiece. I say The Good, the Bad and the Ugly holds that title. Each of three main characters in the movie represent either good, bad or just plain ugly. Any one of their entrances could make this list, but I just had to go with the good. While the ugly(Eli Wallach) is about to be captured by three bounty hunters, they mention that Wallach is worth several thousand dollars, we hear a voice simply say "Yeah, but you won't be the ones to collect it". We see a gun emerge in front of the camera as if we're playing a first person shooter game. The voice draws his gun and shoots all three men dead. We have just met the good in this epic story. The good just happens to be the man with no name or Blondie for a nickname. How about we just call him Clint Eastwood?
Honorable Mentions - Rhett Butler(Gone with the Wind), The Wizard(The Wizard of Oz), The Terminator(The Terminator), Sherif Ali(Lawrence of Arabia), and Lisa Carol Fremont(Rear Window)
Well, my friends, one down and two to go......
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Dec 23, 2011 7:15 PM
|One thing you forgot to mention in regards to Welles masterful entrance into The Third Man -- it's foreshadowed when Anna says that the only person the cat would go to was Harry Lime. When Joseph Cotten sees the shoes, we get a close up of the cat purring against the leg of the man in the shadows. Brilliant, brilliant movie.|
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Andy is a life long movie fanatic. The first movie he saw in the theater was Back to the Future, Part 2 at the age of 3 and he has loved movies ever since.|
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