The hat scene in Steamboat Bill Jr is just wonderful. Here are both versions, side by side:
Reminds me of Peter Falk spending an afternoon choosing a hat for Wings of Desire. At the end of this, WW said, “Well, I’m not sure we have the hat, but we have a scene for the movie.”
God, I love that shooting gallery scene in Sherlock Holmes. The whole scene is great, from the quick-cut montage of carnival grotesques to Torrence as Moriarty posing as a wax figure for no particular reason beyond he’s an evil mastermind and evil masterminds do things like that. Clive Brook’s drag act towards the end is also memorable. It’s really his liveliest moment in the entire film.
It’s a movie that manages to be absolutely exhilarating in its montage sequences and beginnings and endings of scenes, and rather stodgy whenever it settles down to dialogue. You could cut it down to five minutes of abstract genius…