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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 5, 2009 at 9:08 AM

A scene at the museum

“The International,” which opens next week, has a long, interesting sequence shot at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, making good use of the space’s distinctive ramps and curving walls. It got me thinking about movie scenes in great museums and galleries. Here are a few:
— In “Vertigo,” when poor “Madeleine” (Kim Novak) gazes at her ancestor’s portrait in the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, her posture and hair eerily mirroring the portrait.
— Steve Martin, in “L.A. Story,” breezily roller-skating through a museum gallery to the consternation of the other patrons.
— I don’t remember the name of the museum, but there’s a lovely scene in “A Room with a View” in which two characters talk in a museum, and a beautiful painting stands between them like a third character.
— The nifty final sequence in “The Thomas Crown Affair” (the 1999 version — actually shot in the New York Public Library, standing in for the Metropolitan Museum) with all the men in derby hats.
— “A Night at the Museum,” of course, and that late scene in “Election,” both at the Natural History Museum.
— And this classic art-talk moment from Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” (which has several scenes set at museums or galleries; this one might be MoMA?), with Diane Keaton being sublimely irritating with her blathering about “negative capability”:

These are just a few. What are your favorites?

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