Never surrender to nincompoops or madmen

There are some movies I will watch again and again for just one scene. 

In the movie The Darkest Hour, Winston Churchill rides the Underground for the first time as his advisors urge him to surrender to the Nazis. The bulk of the British army is surrounded at Dunkirk and the Americans are refusing to join the fight. Surrender seems to be the only way to avoid catastrophic defeat. Those politicians on the side of surrender have talked themselves into believing they can come to reasonable terms with a depraved madman but Churchill knows otherwise.The scene I love in that movie opens with Churchill gazing out at ordinary Londoners trying to escape the rain from his limousine. It’s a stark reminder that wars are begun by men in chauffeur-driven limos but it’s the man on the street who pays the price. Suddenly he disappears. When next seen he is trying to figure out the system map much to the surprise of the commuters. Aristocrats don’t ride the Underground everyday. Once they warm up to him, he asks how they feel about surrendering to Germany and to a man, woman and even a child they say “Never Surrender.”

 And of course Churchill weeps and I wept along with him.

After the movie I made the mistake of watching the news. Good grief.  Today a senate committee questioned some muleheaded nincompoop determined to stonewall them unless he could expound upon the dignity of human life (code speak for “take away a woman’s right to choose.”)  Any time a committee member came up with a reasonable question about his credentials, some jackass from the other party interrupted their time by yelling “point of order” which actually had nothing to do with order but had more to do with defending a nincompoop put into enormous power by a madman and I wanted to yell “NEVER SURRENDER” loud enough that it could be heard in Washington D.C.  

On a lighter note, here are a few favorite scenes from movies I’ll take the time to watch just for a few unforgettable scenes:

  • Mortimer discovers his dear sweet aunties are serial killers.
  • Ralphie gets a rude awakening from Santa
  • Winger and Ziskey discover they’ve joined the “wrong” army.

There are many more of course.  And we need them these days, we surely do.  Is there a movie you’d watch again just for one scene or am I the only one addicted to sentimentality? 

32 thoughts on “Never surrender to nincompoops or madmen

  1. I immediately thought of two scenes from two movies which I wouldn’t mind watching in full again. The first is Truly Madly Deeply with Alan Rickman. The scene I mean is without him but includes a sleight of hand and a pigeon. I remember rewinding the VHS over and over. One other time I did it was in Barfly, where Mickey Rourke sitting at the bar wraps a scarf around his hand to help him down a glass. You have to see it for yourself.

  2. That was my favorite scene in the movie as well. Take your concern to the people that matter the most—the ones you represent. Then you really will know how they feel about the matter. And as for the state of our own country and our government, I give you, Groucho Marx. Who said of our politicians and what they practice, “The art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” Describes them perfectly.

    1. It’s horrifying to think what would have happened if they’d had surrendered. But the burden of knowing that fighting on would cause more suffering must have been almost unbearable. Groucho was absolutely right!

  3. I recently watched The Darkest Hour and I too thought this was a powerful scene … although apparently it is not historically accurate. As you say though, it was a poignant reminder that powerful men ‘cocooned’ from the realities of war make devastating decisions.

    1. I think the scene was added to emphasize the agony of making such a decision. There’s only so much a actor can do to portray such emotion so a little artistic license can be forgiven!

  4. It’s always about taking away a woman’s rights, somehow. I get tired of the news, but am not surprised by it. On a lighter note, one of my favorite movies scenes is in Bull Durham when Annie says in reference to Crash who just got promoted: “The world is made for those not cursed with self-awareness.” No truer words, eh?

  5. I had to think.. One of the most remarkable scenes that comes to mind is the wrong German translation scene in the Life Is Beautiful. I think that saving a life of a child is such a noble cause. The movie is very Italian, which in my interpretation means ‘intelligent’ and ‘tragic’. But hey, Catch-22 is one of my favorite books written about the War. Not everything lies on the surface, and as we know, comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin 🙂

  6. I wasn’t familiar with that movie, Jan. I enjoyed how you described Churchill in it.
    You’re so right about the parallel with the squatter in the Oval Office…
    Never surrender. Hugs on the wing.

    1. Most of the Darkest Hour was quite dark and serious but that scene has at least a little levity. Dunkirk, which I saw on the same day, covers the same exact time in British history – it’s wonderful but so intense. There are people who will fight tyranny to the end and we need those people now – or we need to be those people. Happy V-day to you!

  7. Great post. I love anything about Churchill. History continues to prove his greatness.
    Movies that I watch for one scene?
    The Godfather 2…I know it was you, Fredo
    Almost Famous… Singing Tiny Dancer on the Bus
    A Bronx Tale… Now youse can’t leave bar fight
    Shawshank… The warden realizing Andy escaped

    Yea I have about a million

    1. You can’t go wrong with the Godfather as far as favorite scenes or quotes. What that one about “swims with the fishes” and of course, “don’t forget the cannoli.”

  8. So many. I am a lover of film, and moments of film. Mmhm. Enchanted April, when the housewife speaks of measuring out love. Elizabethtown when she doesn’t need an ice cream cone. And many, many more. More funny than those, but those are the first that came to mind.

  9. A very interesting post. I won’t get on my political soap box and bore everyone to death. I have watched ( prepare yourself)!Unfaithful because I am captivated by the sex scene in the hallway. I also have watched The Philadelphia story many times to see Cary Grant and Kathryn Hepburn discuss their sail boat. “ she was Yar”.

    1. Some scenes you just need to see again. Doesn’t have to be a reason. I love the scene in Stripes where John Candy, as he is in line to get on a bus to boot camp asks an MP “Is there a movie on this flight, Stewardess?” Silly but it always makes me smile. Nice to meet you!

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