Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Snow Day

So did anyone really believe it would snow like this? I mean, “they” are always predicting what are called “weather events” that either don’t happen at all, or that fall far short of being much of an event of any kind. This time, however, I’m fully expecting that my old rear-wheel drive truck is grounded for the foreseeable future—and so am I. (At this moment, I’m glad I dragged myself to screen Avatar at 8 a.m. yesterday, since that covered my actual theatergoing needs this weekend.) Ah, well, I have coffee, cigarettes and movies and that’ll keep me set——at least unless the power goes out at some point.

Since we have snow, let’s take a cursory glance at snow in the movies. Most cineastes are, of course, well aware that most of the time movie snow has only the slightest relation to real snow. Anyone who’s seen Francois Truffaut’s Day for Night (1973) knows that it might easily be soapy foam. Anyone who doubts this should look at the feet of Woody Allen and Harold Gould during the snowy duel scene in Allen’s Love and Death (1975). That’s merely the tip of the snowflake. You can find feathers and cornflakes being palmed off as snow, along with various Hollywood concoctions standing in for the genuine article—not to mention the creative use of instant mashed potato flakes pictured in Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind (2008). 

Occasionally, you do find the real deal, but all in all, movie snow is magical snow. And that’s fine, since the movies mostly concern themselves with snow for romantic or picturesque purposes. When it’s not doing that, snow tends to be either part of the plot, an horrific elemrment, or used for comedic purposes. It’s rarely just there and while it may represent some kind of danger, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen snow pictured as an inconvenience. And let’s face it, after the initial burst of admiration over its beauty fades (for me, that’s usually about as long as it takes to watch it fall while listening to the Tchaikovsky First Symphony, “Winter Dreams,” or roughly 45 minutes), that’s what it turns into.

When I first started thinking about writing something on movie snow, I thought it would be easy to compile a list of movies that featured snow as a major element or at least was part of a key scene. The truth—at least for me—turned out to be somewhat different. Yes, there are some wonderful scenes involving snow, but not as many as I had assumed. I did, however, come up with a few that strike me as memorable. Hopefully, readers will jog my memory with other examples.

I suppose if I was trying to be anything like authoritative, I’d have to cite such things as the “into the snow you go” melordrama of D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East (1920). And there’s no denying that this hoary drama with its seduced-and-abandoned heroine (Lillian Gish) driven into the full blast of winter by her self-righteous tormenters is a landmark of its type, it’s not really a film that has etched itself into my memory. For all its excitement with Miss Gish heading for certain doom on an ice floe, I actually have a stronger memory of her at a much later date in a much simpler snow scene when she goes out to check the mail in Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter (1955).

My earliest choice for notable snow scenes is James Whale’s The Invisible Man (1933), a movie that sets its wintry tone before the first image by having wind sound effects mixed into the opening credits. Here’s a film that begins in snow—as a mood setting device—with the title character on the snowy road to the village of Iping. It’s a perfect—and truly memorable—opening, but one that is overshadowed, I suspect, by the film’s more famous plot-driven ending where the Invisible Man’s footprints in the newly-fallen snow prove to be his undoing. (Yes, I know, it seems rather curious that his bare feet leave prints that strongly suggest shoes.)

That same year we have the W.C. Fields short film The Fatal Glass of Beer. This is perhaps the ultimate in movie fakery snow—not because it’s in any way believable, but because it dares the viewer not to notice how fraudulent the whole thing is. Nothing—not one single moment—ever suggests that anyone involved in the movie ever got near a single flake. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of stock footage—really battered stock footage—of snow and even (wildly out of proportion) rear-projections of a herd of reindeer, but you’re not meant to buy it. That’s part of the joke (a joke that merely perplexed and annoyed 1933 viewers). In fact, Fields constantly points out how unreal it all is, noting at one point that the snow “tastes more like cornflakes,” and repeatedly opening the door to his Klondike cabin to opine, “And it ain’t a fit night out for man nor beast,” only be hit in the face with a handful of obviously prop snow.

In an altogether different key—and one of the very first things that occurs to me when I think of movie snow scenes—there’s George Stevens’ Swing Time (1936). Now, this lovely Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie isn’t all about snow. In fact, only one scene—and the climactic shots—have anything to do with snow, but that one scene is a keeper. It’s the scene where Fred and Ginger perform the song “A Fine Romance,” and it’s a mostly comic scene as befits the tone of the song. It’s also charming and presents a wholly romanticized vision of the pleasures of a day spent out in the snowy countryside. If only real snow was actually like this.

In the realm of the utterly preposterous, there’s always Phil Rosen’s The Return the Ape Man (1944), one of Bela Lugosi’s infamous “Monogram Nine.” This decidedly idiotic thriller gets off on the wrong foot from its very title, since it claims to be a sequel to the previous year’s equally notorious The Ape Man. Well, they both star Lugosi and were both made for Monogram and that’s about the only connection. This is more the return of an ape man, which in Monogram logic means a defrosted caveman (billed as being played by George Zucco and Frank Moran, even if Zucco only appears in one shot) that mad scientist Bela and his crony John Carradine find in a glacier. This required a trip to the Arctic—consisting of a few stock shots, some inappropriate canned music, a couple extras with picks taking care not to hit the studio floor, and our heroes in cheesy furs standing in front of blown-up photo of craggy, snow-covered mountains. It may be funnier than The Fatal Glass of Beer, but that wasn’t the idea.

In 1945 there was Hal Walker’s Road to Utopia, the fourth of the “Road Pictures” that starred Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. In this case, Utopia is Alaska during the gold rush era. It’s a somewhat more believable soundstage-bound vision of the frozen north than the ones depicted in The Fatal Glass of Beer and Return of the Ape Man, but it’s hardly bursting with realism. After all, here’s a movie in which an Alaskan mountain suddenly becomes the Paramount logo and where Bing and Bob run into Santa Claus, who was going to give them a couple of chorus girls for Christmas, but doesn’t when they express disbelief in the old gent. For romance, there’s a scene where Dotty sings “Would You” to a fur-clad Bob, who gets so hot that he melts the snowbank he’s sitting on.

In terms of unfettered romance, there’s Richard Quine’s Bell Book and Candle (1958), the film version of John Van Druten’s play starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. The play—and by extension the film—is a subversive take on New York’s gay underground culture with witches and warlocks standing in for gays. That to one side, the film is gloriously romantic and much of that tone is accomplished by its soundstage image of a snowy New York City. No one is likely to mistake this pristine snow as having any even tenuous relationship to the sooty slush of the real thing, but no one is likely to care. The image of being magically transported to the snowy roof of the Flatiron Building by Kim Novak is more than adequate fantasy compensation.

Real snow—in the real Swiss Alps—shows up in Richard Lester’s second Beatles movie Help! (1965). It serves no real function except perhaps to demonstrate that the budget allowed for extensive location work on the boys’ second movie (they also go to the Bahamas). But function is of little concern here. The idea is simply that it would be fun to watch the Beatles playing in a picturesque snow-covered setting—and it is. The scenes also include the most elaborate of the film’s musical numbers, “Ticket to Ride,” for which Lester and company had some hapless grips transport a grand piano into the snow for the fab four to cluster around. I don’t know if it’s surrealism or merely an outburst of good humor (the film mostly exists to be fun), but it’s striking and charming.

More real snow crops up in two of Ken Russell’s earlier theatrical films, Billion Dollar Brain (1967) and Women in Love (1969). (It also figures in the opening of The Music Lovers [1970], but more for visual excitement than anything else.) The snowy settings both come from the literary sources of both movies, though Russell certainly takes it to extremes in the Cold War spy thriller Billion Dollar Brain where he presents his own version of the “Battle on the Ice” from Sergei Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky (1938). But there’s an interesting difference between these memorable snow scenes and any that I can think of that predate them, because the snow isn’t romanticized. It offers a nice backdrop in Billion Dollar Brain and the battle on the ice requires it. But the image one is left with is Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer (the “thinking man’s James Bond”) as a solitary figure in a vast space of frozen emptiness trudging off into the distance.

Women in Love is a bit different. Its snow scenes start in a romantic—and slightly comic—tone with what is supposed to be a pleasant holiday for the main characters—Oliver Reed, Alan Bates, Glenda Jackson, Jennie Linden. They arrive in Zermat, Switzerland in high spirits—matched by Georges Delerue’s musical score—and proceed to frolic in the snow, indulging in a snowball fight that ultimately turns into the four smacking each other with huge slabs of snow. But as the mood of the holiday changes, the snowbound setting becomes sinister and unsettling. By the time Oliver Reed commits suicide by walking off into the snow to die of exposure, the landscape becomes so unforgiving and foreign that it almost appears to be on another planet.

In 1980 Stanley Kubrick brought something new to the snow scene—unrelenting horror—with The Shining, which is perhaps the most disturbing depiction of snow ever committed to film. The climactic scenes of the film with the completely unhinged or possessed or both Jack Nicholson pursuing young Danny Lloyd the snow and ice-encrusted maze of the Overlook Hotel is one of the most harrowing horror sequences of all time. As brilliant and chilling—literally—sequence as could be imagined with a final iconic shot that is only second to the film’s image of the “bleeding” elevators in terms of horror.

While there’s nothing romantic in the last films named, there’s nothing but romance in the meeting of Tim Burton and snow in Edward Scissorhands (1990). It would not be the last time that Burton created memorable snow scenes, but it is almost certainly the most unabashed in its pure joy. It’s virtually a celebration of snow—and one that creates its own myth to explain the existence of the stuff. That it’s also perhaps the living embodiment of the old Preston Sturges addage that “people always like what they don’t know anything about” is interesting and telling, since it’s the brainchild of a guy who grew up and spent most of his life in southern California. It’s more an idea of snow than snow itself. It’s virtually snow as described in The Ruling Class (1972) by the 14th Earl of Gurney as “candied dew.”

Burton’s cinematic love affair with snow is evident from the very first frame of the film with its 20th Century Fox logo depicted (minus the Alfred Newman fanfare) in monochromatic blue with snow falling on it. From there he goes on to envision a fantasticated image of winter that turns out to be the result of his title character (Johnny Depp) created ice scupltures with his makeshift scissor hands. Since the film is finallly a bittersweet love story of a romance that can never be, the making of snow becomes his expression of love for the girl of his dreams (Winona Ryder), since he saw that it made her happy. In his self-imposed exile, he continues to create this snow for her. There may in fact be no more romantic depiction of snow in the history of film. It’s without a doubt the first thing that comes to my mind when snow and movies are mentioned.

I’m going to end this very haphazard and personal look at snow in the movies with Edward Scissorhands, but feel free to point out any obvious snowy delights I’ve overlooked. At least four have already occurred to me.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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66 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Snow Day

  1. LYT

    Certainly this year, snow makes me think of Max’s cave at the beginning of Where the Wild Things Are. Starts out fun, then becomes slightly scary, then the melted snow becomes an instrument of vengeance. The mood swings of childhood nicely summed up.

  2. davidf

    Being just a bit south of you in Greenville, where the cold didn’t come on as fast and it’s been raining all day, I’m thinking of watching THE ICE STORM.

  3. davidf

    Some other films with interesting uses of snow:
    Kill Bill Vol. 1
    Kwaidan
    Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams
    Fargo

    This is a fun little game.

  4. davidf

    Let the Right One In
    The Empire Strikes Back
    Better Off Dead
    Cold Mountain

  5. Ken Hanke

    The mood swings of childhood nicely summed up.

    Unfortunately, the movie insists on going on for another 90 minutes. Okay, snark aside (I really couldn’t resist that) that’s a perfectly reasonable addition.

  6. Ken Hanke

    This is a fun little game

    Well, you’re doing very nicely at it — at least in the case of movies I’m familiar with. I’d add Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, the Mae West film Klondike Annie, the end of Tovarich, and certainly Holiday Inn, which I’m surprised to find I don’t have a copy of except on laserdisc. Oh, yes, the Laurel and Hardy short Below Zero.

  7. luluthebeast

    Some others:

    Lost Horizon (Ronald Colman, not that silly remake!)

    Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.

    Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

    Island In The Sky.

  8. Steph

    I would’ve added MISERY but you got the STephen King snow thing covered with The Shining.

    Dr. Zhivago?

  9. brianpaige

    Amazing with all the Crosby mentioned here that no one has said the single most obvious example of snow ever in a movie: White Christmas. The entire movie builds up to it snowing at the end. It’s not my favorite movie or anything, but there’s a nice 90m movie in there somewhere.

  10. Vince Lugo

    Although I’ve not seen it yet (I’m waiting for the dvd), Whiteout comes to mind since being trapped by a snowstorm is a major part of the story. For a couple of animated examples, Lady and the Tramp has a nice, romantic snowy opening and Beauty and the Beast has some very effective snow scenes (thank the effects animators for that). The first X-Men film also has a good snow scene when Wolverine fights Sabertooth.

  11. Chip Kaufmann

    How about Polanski’s FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, Robert Altman’s QUINTET, Arnold Fanck and G.W. Pabst’s WHITE HELL OF PILZ PALU, and Robert Flaherty’s NANOOK OF THE NORTH to name a few big name director snow titles. Also this time of year let’s not forget Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

  12. Ken Hanke

    How about Polanski’s FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS

    Thank you. That’s one I really ought to have thought of. I still have a feeling that something I ought to have on here is missing.

    Robert Altman’s QUINTET, Arnold Fanck and G.W. Pabst’s WHITE HELL OF PILZ PALU, and Robert Flaherty’s NANOOK OF THE NORTH to name a few big name director snow titles

    You might add W.S. Van Dyke’s Eskimo to that list, come to think of it. You know, I’m not at all sure I’ve actually seen the others.

    Also this time of year let’s not forget Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

    We can remember it if I don’t have to watch it.

  13. davidf

    Well, if we’re talking about fake snow, too, we should definitely include CITIZEN KANE.

  14. davidf

    Well, if we’re talking about fake snow, too, we should definitely include CITIZEN KANE.

  15. davidf

    “We can remember it if I don’t have to watch it.”

    In that case, it may also be worth mentioning THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.

    And I haven’t seen it, but I’m really curious: is DEAD SNOW any good?

  16. Ken Hanke

    Well, if we’re talking about fake snow, too, we should definitely include CITIZEN KANE.

    It has “real” snow, too.

    In that case, it may also be worth mentioning THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

    That may go too far!

    And I haven’t seen it, but I’m really curious: is DEAD SNOW any good?

    I haven’t seen it, but it’s hard to go completely wrong with zombie Nazis.

    Arthur Penn’s Dead of Winter might be worth considering, though I don’t remember it very well.

    We should chuck in Batman Returns and Nightmare Before Xmas. Also the opening of the 1933 Alice in Wonderland.

  17. Ken Hanke

    but there’s a nice 90m movie in there somewhere

    I suspect that even at 90 minutes you wouldn’t get rid of Danny Kaye.

  18. brianpaige

    Perhaps not but you could cut down a couple of extraneous numbers Kaye does, like the dreaded Choreography song.

  19. Ken Hanke

    Perhaps not but you could cut down a couple of extraneous numbers Kaye does, like the dreaded Choreography song

    Well, it would help. You’d still be stuck with “What Can You Do with a General,” though. I admit I have seriously grown to dislike this movie over the years, however.

  20. Chip Kaufmann

    I was going to mention DEAD OF WINTER but you beat me to the punch. Don’t forget Alistair MacLean’s BEAR ISLAND, ICE STATION ZEBRA and poles apart there’s SCOTT OF THE ANARCTIC and the Japanese film ANARCTICA which was remade as EIGHT BELOW. I suppose you’d have to include SNOW DOGS as well. Then there’s always THE CALL OF THE WILD, NORTH TO ALASKA…and what about GORKY PARK…

  21. Ken Hanke

    and what about GORKY PARK

    Just about everything set in “Mother Russia” — The Scarlet Empress, Rasputin and the Empress, We Live Again, Anna Karenina, etc. — probably has snow. (And what of those sleigh bells that W.C. Fields tries to sell a customer as “Old Moscow in the Winter” in The Pharmacist?)

    I suppose some special mention should be made of Wm. Dieterle’s Madame DuBarry where DuBarry is intent on a sleigh ride with King Louis in midsummer — an event brought off by pouring sugar all over the palace roadways.

    Has anyone mentioned Hitchcock’s Spellbound?

    A nice addition to snowy animation is the Betty Boop Snow White.

  22. Hal

    Has anyone mentioned “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (1997)? Don’t remember how much actual snow was in it, but I DO remember the book was much better than the film!

  23. Ptrrrlorre

    Disney’s ISLAND at the TOP of the WORLD has a chilly setting… provided, for the most part, by the late, great matte artist Peter Ellenshaw.
    Let’s not forget Howard Hawks’ classic THE THING from ANOTHER WORLD, as well as the John Carpenter remake.
    And Ken, there’s no way you could have overlooked the offbeat, wonderfully quirky Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)? It’s final shot must surely qualify it somewhere on your list. But, then again, I suppose, an Artic blizzard of historical proportions can do things to a man… and his memory!

  24. Ken Hanke

    Has anyone mentioned “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (1997)?

    I am embarassed to admit I’ve never even heard of it.

  25. Ken Hanke

    And Ken, there’s no way you could have overlooked the offbeat, wonderfully quirky Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)? It’s final shot must surely qualify it somewhere on your list

    And for that matter, its opening sno-globe image takes us back to Kane.

    But, then again, I suppose, an Artic blizzard of historical proportions can do things to a man… and his memory!

    Not sure what it’s done to my memory, but on day three of being snowbound, I’m well and truly over it. I presume you are snow-free in Florida?

    It is, however, very nice to see you on here, Mr. Lorre.

  26. davidf

    ‘Just about everything set in “Mother Russia”’

    Well that reminds me of TRANSSIBERIAN and, it’s been a while, so I may be misremembering, but was it snowing at the end of RUSSIAN ARK?

  27. ptrrrlorre

    It is, however, very nice to see you on here, Mr. Lorre.

    It’s nice to be here…and to feel wanted. No snow to speak of down south but quite soggy just the same.

    I heartily recommend “hot chocolate crowned with marshmallow dollops” and back-to-back viewings of THE SONG of SUMMER and DANTE’S INFERNO to warm you up.

    You might chase the above concoction with a shot of TOMMY for safe measure.

    And, although off topic, when shall ye slay the vile behemoth that is AVATAR??? No critic that goes up against it seems impervious to its hackneyed story and ill-effects. But beware my friend, at the very whiff of naysaying it may very well “eat your eyes out like jujubees”!

  28. Ken Hanke

    Well that reminds me of TRANSSIBERIAN and, it’s been a while, so I may be misremembering, but was it snowing at the end of RUSSIAN ARK?

    Certainly the former qualifies. The latter…I cannot remember if snow was involved.

  29. Ken Hanke

    I heartily recommend “hot chocolate crowned with marshmallow dollops” and back-to-back viewings of THE SONG of SUMMER and DANTE’S INFERNO to warm you up

    Not a bad recipe. Unfortunately, I have too much writing ahead of me for such a thing to permit itself the luxury of occurring. I did semi-kinda-sorta watch Road to Rio out of the corner or my eye earlier. Hardly in the same league, but…

    And, although off topic, when shall ye slay the vile behemoth that is AVATAR??? No critic that goes up against it seems impervious to its hackneyed story and ill-effects.

    I just finished, though I’m not sure you could say I slayed it. I don’t think it’s very good and its story is certainly hackneyed, but I’m actually more disturbed by the fawning over its imaginary profundity and the supposed ground-breaking nature of its effects than I am by the movie itself.

    I’m interested to see that the pundits are falling all over themselves explaining its less-than-anticipated opening numbers by virtue of the snowstorms. That doubtless had an impact. One local theater had a scant 114 customers all day on Friday for everything — not just Avatar — and was closed yesterday. But I’m not sure it tells the whole story. They’re failing to factor in that its projected $73 million take (which would not be unimpressive if it hadn’t cost so much) is inflated by the $3-3.50 “event” surcharge on every ticket for the 3D showings. That dims the luster even more. Come next week, it has to contend with Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, It’s Complicated and the current front-runner for Oscars Up in the Air vying for ticket-buyer attention.

  30. LYT

    DEAD SNOW isn’t great, mainly due to being a tonal mess, unsure whether it wants to be seriously scary or Dead-Alive campy.

    But it does have one very memorable instance of planting and payoff, in which you learn exactly what to do if you’re buried in avalanche in order to avoid the most common mistake.

    I won’t spoil it, but it’s the one thing from that movie that has stuck with me.

  31. ahs07

    I’m super excited about Young Victorian and Precious opening at Fine Arts! Does anyone know if New Moon (yes, I know it’s a little trashy) will still be open at Carmike or the Regal 15 on Friday, or will it move on to make space for the Christmas openings?

  32. Ken Hanke

    you learn exactly what to do if you’re buried in avalanche in order to avoid the most common mistake

    Yet another Movie Tip That May Someday Save Your Life.

  33. Ken Hanke

    Does anyone know if New Moon (yes, I know it’s a little trashy) will still be open at Carmike or the Regal 15 on Friday, or will it move on to make space for the Christmas openings?

    Let me see if I can remember what the story is at Carmike (I have no idea what the Grande is doing). I know they open one print of Up in the Air on Wednesday and I think Men Who Stare at Goats leaves for that. Then two prints of Sherlock Holmes on Xmas Day, and I’m pretty sure that Ninja Assassin and Pirate Radio are the casualties there. So if I’m remembering right, New Moon will still be there. God alone knows why.

  34. Jason

    I remember when they shot Patch Adams here they hauled in snow making equipment to cover Arlington St. with snow. It was in the spring, I think. It was kind of surreal.

  35. Ken Hanke

    Also JACKIE CHANS FIRST STRIKE.

    I admit that has escaped my notice altogether.

    In any case, it’s very nice to see you back on here.

  36. Zigopolis

    When I first thought of snow and a horror movie, I instantly went to Ghost Story. Some marvelous moments in that film involving snow, plus the atmosphere is decidedly one of doom, gloom, and snow. The cast is pretty amazing as well.

  37. Ken Hanke

    When I first thought of snow and a horror movie, I instantly went to Ghost Story.

    I’d pretty completely forgotten about Ghost Story, but it certainly works as an addition.

  38. DrSerizawa

    I’m not so sure that one would consider being cooped up in the snow with Oliver Reed as a “holiday”.

    However my favorite movie snow is that special snow in “The Day After Tomorrow” that allowed Dennis Quaid to walk from DC to NY in less time than it would have taken to walk on dry pavement.

  39. Ken Hanke

    However my favorite movie snow is that special snow in “The Day After Tomorrow” that allowed Dennis Quaid to walk from DC to NY in less time than it would have taken to walk on dry pavement

    Well, such a “special” movie deserves special snow. Then again, I would be hard-pressed to want the movie to take any longer than it does.

  40. Rufus

    And how have we all missed Murder on the Orient Express?

    And Then There Were None also?

    Until I got not very far into your column, I thought I was going to get to mention The Fatal Glass of Beer “He was mighty good with mustard.”

    As a chaperone on an overnight bus trip I was subjected to something called Vertical Limit played LOUD. Lots of snow, but quite possibly the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

    Bond performed well in the snow. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service comes to mind.

  41. DrSerizawa

    The most effective use of snow I can recall in recent movies is the final sequence in “Lady Verngeance”. That is pure poetry IMHO.

  42. Ken Hanke

    And Then There Were None also?

    Is there a version of that that takes place in the snow? The Rene Clair version (the one we saw in Tallahassee in 1975) doesn’t, does it?

    Until I got not very far into your column, I thought I was going to get to mention The Fatal Glass of Beer “He was mighty good with mustard.”

    “We were mushin’ over Blind Nag Rim last night and I got mighty hungry.”

    As a chaperone on an overnight bus trip I was subjected to something called Vertical Limit played LOUD. Lots of snow, but quite possibly the worst movie I’ve ever seen

    I grant you it’s pretty bad (if you look in the archives, you’ll find my review), but if it’s the worst you’ve ever seen, I’ll send a list of worse ones.

    Bond performed well in the snow. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service comes to mind

    Well, having Diana Rigg with you is a big plus.

  43. Ken Hanke

    The most effective use of snow I can recall in recent movies is the final sequence in “Lady Verngeance”. That is pure poetry IMHO

    I’ll have to take your word because I haven’t seen that one.

  44. Dread P. Roberts

    Ok, I’m a little late in this article because I haven’t had any power – therefore no internet – but here’s a few worthy ‘snow’ films that I can think of right now, that I didn’t see listed above (but I may have just overlooked them):
    Insomnia / White Fang / Never Cry Wolf / The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe / Anastasia / Beauty and the Beast.

    Also, even though it was briefly mentioned, I’m a little surprised that Ken didn’t touch on Fargo. That, and Edward Scissorhands, were the first two movies to pop up in my mind.

  45. Ken Hanke

    Also, even though it was briefly mentioned, I’m a little surprised that Ken didn’t touch on Fargo.

    I probably should have, but it’s one of my less favorite Coen movies and it didn’t come to mind.

    I’m actually surprised that you’re the first one to mention Narnia.

  46. Dread P. Roberts

    I’m actually surprised that you’re the first one to mention Narnia.

    Me too. The snow is like the biggest key element of that movie.

  47. Rufus

    Is there a version of that that takes place in the snow? The Rene Clair version (the one we saw in Tallahassee in 1975) doesn’t, does it?

    Evidently I was thinking of Ten Little Indians 1965.

    “The cold has affected my embouchure.”

  48. Ken Hanke

    The snow is like the biggest key element of that movie.

    It’s also far and away the most visually striking.

  49. Ken Hanke

    Evidently I was thinking of Ten Little Indians 1965

    And now that you’ve said that, I realize you’re quite right about it being the 1965 version.

  50. Uncle Charley

    Now that me and the internet are friends again after the storm, I must second John Carpenter’s remake of “The Thing” for the big fat list of flicks the snow reminded me of. Still being fairly new in town from the abysmally warm, balmy pit that is middle Georgia, this weekend was visually striking, but equally as terrifying…if not more so when I consider that my car is a bike, and any means of conveyance I have with a roof is a mere figment of my imagination. The horror of the whole massive, gray, thorough thing really hit me when the power went out nice and early and I was left to mumble Keith David and Kurt Russell’s final words to my cat: “What do we do now?” “Why don’t we just wait here for a little while…see what happens….”

  51. Ken Hanke

    this weekend was visually striking

    I have to confess I was pretty much over the striking quality by Saturday, since I still haven’t made it out into the world, I’m way past over it by now.

    I was left to mumble Keith David and Kurt Russell’s final words to my cat: “What do we do now?” “Why don’t we just wait here for a little while…see what happens….”

    And did you? And what did?

  52. Uncle Charley

    And did you? And what did?

    I did, at great length. Then I received refugees from Leicester who were clearly not getting power back until well after me. The fact that they brought over enough J & B to fry my computer just added to the whole thing even more.

    Fortunately, the parallels stopped there and I was not compelled to test anyone’s blood for foreign organisms.

  53. Ken Hanke

    Fortunately, the parallels stopped there and I was not compelled to test anyone’s blood for foreign organisms

    It is perhaps just as well.

  54. Melissa

    My favorite movie with snow: “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

  55. Ken Hanke

    My favorite movie with snow: “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

    I don’t imagine anyone will take issue with that choice.

  56. davidf

    It just occurred to me that no one has yet mentioned THE SPIRIT.

  57. luluthebeast

    “It just occurred to me that no one has yet mentioned THE SPIRIT.”

    Never had any desire to!

  58. Ken Hanke

    It just occurred to me that no one has yet mentioned THE SPIRIT

    It occurs to me that you’re quite right — and that it’s a reasonable addition.

  59. luluthebeast

    “Never had any desire to!

    Yes, well, that’s your mistake.”

    We never did agree on this one. It did have nice snow, though.

  60. Ken Hanke

    We never did agree on this one

    Probably we aren’t going to.

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