CLASSIC MOVIE SCENES #2 – ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984) – “THE CAKE SCENE”

CLASSIC MOVIE SCENES #2 – ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984) – “THE CAKE SCENE”

Sergio Leone’s sprawling, violent, elegiac and epic gangster film is rarely on television but always deserves a re-watch every few years. It revolves around the lives of young gang of Jewish friends growing up in 1920s Brooklyn called: Noodles, Max, Patsy, Cockeye and little Dominic. It contains majestic story-telling of the highest quality as the story is structured around past, present and possible future, with Robert DeNiro’s older Noodles reminiscing and projecting from the hazy and drug-addled glow of opium den. The film acts as a history of childhood friendships and includes themes relating to: love, lust, greed, betrayal, loss, broken relationships; as well as focusing on the rise of mobsters in American society.

OneGroep1

As a father myself it is a very noticeable trajectory seeing one’s son grow up from a small child to an adult and witnessing the changes in character as he becomes a man. The single most significant thing for me is that loss of innocence, not so much in regard to a child becoming a bad person, but that light which seems to drift away from a young person when they become a teenager. Once Upon A Time in America is a brilliant film in dealing with the collision between young innocence and adult corruption by external society and natural changes.

cake

One such scene which perfectly encapsulates such a loss of innocence occurs when young Patsy (Brian Bloom) buys a cream cake with the desire to lose his virginity to a local girl. He buys the cake, sits on the stairs waiting for her to get ready and looks at the cake. Ennio Morricone’s beautiful score resonates as Patsy is tempted by the cake. He fingers at the cream just once, then again and then all thought of sexual temptation is removed by the desire for cake. In the end he eats the whole cake and scrams when the girl opens the door. Such a classic scene stands as a beautiful and touching moment amidst all the death and violence throughout. For that moment Patsy’s innocence remains intact yet we know that, in this violent, ugly world of: men, gangsters, guns, crime, crooked cops and prohibition it will not last forever.

14 thoughts on “CLASSIC MOVIE SCENES #2 – ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984) – “THE CAKE SCENE””

  1. Excellent post, Paul. Once Upon a Time is one of my all time favourite films. In fact, it’s in my top two. Such a beautiful crime epic that, for me, is the best of the genre. This is also a great scene. There’s so much being said just watching young Patsy with that cake. A masterpiece from Leone and still Morricone’s best score too.

      1. Yeah, very few people ever even mention it. The Godfathers and Goodfellas (as great as they are) always get the plaudits while Leone’s film is often forgotten about. I know it was butchered in America upon its release but the European full length version truly is something to behold.

  2. I have yet to watch this at my own pace. I had breifly watched it which doesn’t do any movie justice as such a while ago. It sure is a beautiful moment to witness.It made me emotional, you can see the desire in his eyes in more than one way, something so simple yet complex, accompanied by the musical score from Morricone, is as beautiful as you have stated. He knows how to tug at your heartstring. A lovely read Paul.

    Sincerely Sonea

      1. Thank you Paul. I am still battling my health as it is a lengthy process so playing catch up on posts aswell as finding the time and energy to write is challenging but I am trying my best.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s