Scenes of the Week: The Odessa Steps
When something is successful the next thing to follow is imitators. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (but in my opinion nothing will flatter me as much as handing over to me a few Benjamins.) However, there is nothing wrong with an homage to a classic scene nor is there anything wrong with a parody that lampoons a famous scene. This week’s scenes take a look at an original, an homage and a parody of a classic scene – The Odessa Steps.
The Original – Battleship Potemkin
Battleship Potemkin is one of the classic films of early cinema that proves you don’t need talking in a movie for it to be entertaining. The film centers around the crew of the Battleship Potemkin and their mutiny against the officers. While the film is heavy on the drama and light on action, the most famous scene makes up for it with the massacre on the Odessa Steps. We witness the czar’s troops massacring civilians and not even women, children or the elderly are spared. The power of the scene is just as evident today as it was almost a hundred years ago.
The Homage – The Untouchables
Brian De Palma’s gangster film has many memorable scenes with Hollywood heavyweights Sean Connery, Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner playing out Eliot Ness and his war against Al Capone. During one such scene at Chicago’s Union Station, a gunfight takes place right on the steps harking back to the classic Battleship Potemkin scene and even includes the baby carriage.
The Parody – Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult
The Naked Gun series is near the pinnacle of parody films and in the third installment we get to see Frank Drebin and his Police Squad crew taking aim at spoofing The Odessa Steps. While the scene is more of a send up of The Untouchables, there is no denying the original influence and even includes the baby carriage.