In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb wildlife

Wildlife

One never senses judgment from Dano, Kazan, Gyllenhaal, or Mulligan—they recognize that there’s beauty even in the mistakes we make in life. It’s what makes…

Thumb can forgive

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? comes from a place of understanding and love that few other biopics do, and it makes this difficult character a…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Opening Shots Project: Pop Quiz

mulholland.jpg

It feels like an unbroken stream (of consciousness)...

We've received some terrific contributions to the Open Shot Project. Thank you so very much. And please keep 'em coming in. (And tell your cinemaniacal friends.) I'm going to start posting them next week. But remember: We're talking about single opening takes, not entire sequences or montages. Doesn't matter if the image comes before, during, or after the titles -- just as long as it's the first image. (Of course, the first shot of a montage could be significant and wonderful and worth considering on its own, especially when you consider how the succeeding images build upon what it establishes.) I'd even include this shot from David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" because, although it is really a combination of layered opticals, it gives the illusion of being a single, unbroken take -- no clear cuts, just a lot of overlapping fade-ins, fade-outs and dissolves.

Advertisement

Today, I've decided to offer a little pop quiz. What follows after the jump are single frame-grabs from some of my favorite opening shots in some of my favorite movies from the '20s to the '00s -- some famous, some fairly obscure. I don't necessarily expect anybody to get them all (unless they know me personally!), but see what you can do. In most cases, the frames are taken from the first second or two of the shot. Some shots last only a few seconds, others a minute or more, and some begin as dissolves out of the opening titles. Keep in mind that filmmakers often like to hit you with a distorted image you can't quite make out -- an extreme close-up, or a reflection, or a shot from a peculiar angle -- just to grab your attention and pull you in. Ready? Begin...

Hint: Four directors are represented by images from two films (if you include the film above).

os9.jpg

os4.jpg

os12.jpg

os14.jpg

os5.jpg

os6.jpg

os11.jpg

os16.jpg

os2.jpg

os10.jpg

os3.jpg

os7.jpg

os8.jpg

os1.jpg

os17.jpg 

(Hint: This could be considered the beginning of the second shot, if you count the shot the credits run over.)

os15.jpg

os13.jpg

BONUS

E-mail me with your answers (by clicking on my name below, or using the e-mail link at the top of this page) and I'll let you know who gets the most right!

UPDATE (07/02/06): Answers here

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Netflix’s Terrifying, Moving The Haunting of Hill House is Essential Viewing

A review of Mike Flanagan's new horror series based on the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House.

Always Leave 'Em Laughing: Peter Bogdanovich on Buster Keaton, superheroes, television, and the effect of time on movies

Peter Bogdanovich, film historian and filmmaker, talks about Buster Keaton, the subject of his new documentary.

Why The Godfather, Part II is the Best of the Trilogy

A look back at one of the best films of all time.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus