Dear Mr. Smithee: Do you think there has been a better screen entrance than Omar Sharif's shimmering image in "Lawrence of Arabia"?


Dear I'm Here! There are ample examples of excellent screen entrances.

I remain quite impressed with William Holden's introduction in the great "Sunset Boulevard." As his voice-over intones what amounts to the essential exposition of the story, his character is shown face down in a pool, the camera from below showing him bobbing in the water and the police and others standing to the side above him. It is some kind of terrific.

I love the little vignettes that introduce the main trio in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." I love the itty-bitty alien bursting forth with blood and ook from the chest of John Hurt in "Alien." I love Anthony Hopkins standing with that creepy "Hello, Clarice" smile on his face as Jodie Foster approaches his dank, dark cell in "The Silence of the Lambs."

I certainly respect the extravaganza of aerial shots that lead to Julie Andrews twirling herself atop a picturesque alp at the beginning of "The Sound of Music."

But, yes, the entrance of Omar Sharif in "Lawrence of Arabia" is the best.

From a far distance in the desert, he's seen as a blip on the horizon as he approaches, then sort of a watery mirage as he gets closer. The scene lasts seemingly forever. It underscores the vast expanse of space and desert mystery that defines the film.

It is grand. It is great.

By the way, I recently ran into an old friend, Jordy (Ray) Purlky Jr., and he reminded me of an outstanding entrance from this summer's landslide of action movies.

It occurs at the store where one moment we're watching James McAvoy and then, as if out of nowhere, Angelina Jolie appears by his side.

If Sharif has the longest entrance, Jolie certainly has the shortest.


P.S. You get T-shirts from "Wall•E" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

What's 'Happening'?

Dear Mr. Smithee: We saw "The Happening." I had heard it was bad, but I was not prepared for how bad it actually was.

Throughout the film, across the top of the screen, there were noticeable microphones hanging above the actors' heads. Later, I called a theater manager to complain. She said that was the way the movie was printed, that it was very low-budget, and that it was supposed to look that way.

Is that true?


Dear Now You Know: From time to time, I receive similar complaints about other movies from other readers.

In truth, sometimes a film is printed in such a way that the microphone is visible. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen a microphone sneak into a frame. Remember, it is being hand-held.

But the extent of microphone visage you describe suggests that the theater incorrectly framed the film.

That happens. And when it does, you either need to get your money back or never set foot in that theater again.


P.S. You get "Batman" shark repellent and a "Young@Heart" T-shirt.

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