Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Blowup (1966)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Blowup (1966, UK)

In Michelangelo Antonioni's breakthrough, absorbing first English language film, set in mod-Swinging 60s London:

  • in a swinging London photographer's studio, hip, disinterested, often introverted and jaded fashion photographer Thomas (David Hemmings) engaged in a frenzied camera-shoot scene with various 'birds' - including skinny, writhing model Veruschka (Herself) during a solo shoot, urging her orgasmically as he straddled her on the floor with his phallic camera: "On your back. Go on. Yes. Now really give it. Come on. Come on. Work, work, work! Great. Great. And again. Come on. Back. Back. Arms up. Arms up. Stretch yourself, little lady. Great. And again. Go on. Go. Go. That's great. That's it! Keep it up. Lovely. Yeah, make it come. Great. No, no, head up, head up. Now for me, love. For me. Now! Now! Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Orgasmic Fashion-Model Photo Shoot
  • Thomas innocently followed and took photographs in a serene East London park, first of pigeons, a litter collector, wind blowing through trees, and the wide expanse of green grass, and then he came upon what he thought was a tryst between lovers (a distant view of a young woman and a middle-aged man embracing); he furtively captured the scene in his voyeuristic camera, but then the woman approached angrily and protested his intrusion on their privacy: ("Stop it. Stop it! Give me those pictures. You can't photograph people like that...This is a public place. Everyone has a right to be left in peace"); when she tried to grab his camera away, he refused: "What's the rush?"; afterwards, she ran off, and stood momentarily by a distant tree
  • the Girl (Vanessa Redgrave) from the park desperately and seductively asked for the film at Thomas' studio; she bargained for the roll of incriminating film that he had shot of her in a public park with an unidentified, middle-aged man; she eventually offered sexual favors after going topless; Thomas gave her a roll of film, but kept the one she wanted
  • an exciting montage presented the stages of the pictures' development, through printing and magnified enlargement in the darkroom; as tension heightened, he pinned the pictures on the wall of his living room - in sequence - giving them life as if they were individual frames in a motion picture; to his shock, Thomas believed he saw a shadowy figure and a hand holding a gun in the bushes behind a fence, and possibly a dead body; he imagined that he had witnessed a scene of sexual intrigue and the riveting possibility that he may have accidentally obtained visual, criminal evidence of a murder
Storyboarding the Photos - A Possible Murder?
  • Thomas also experienced a controversial, sexual encounter with two naked, naive young wanna-be teenage models or "dolly birds" (blonde Jane Birkin and brunette Gillian Hills) in his studio (39), when they stopped by on their second visit; while trying on clothes, the skinny blonde was stripped of her clothes by Thomas, and then she wrestled her dark-haired friend and she was stripped too, claiming: "She's got a better figure than me"; eventually in a pre-threesome orgy sequence, the trio ended up frolicking and rolling around on an extended roll of purple backdrop paper
The Wrestling/Orgy Scene with Two Teens
  • during Thomas' return nighttime visit to the park, the haunting sound of the wind blew through the trees - he discovered a scene of the murder and a man's prone corpse next to a tree
  • in his next-door neighbor's apartment, Thomas watched as unhappily-married Patricia (Sarah Miles) was underneath her husband Bill (John Castle), Thomas' artist friend, who was on top making love to her. She wordlessly entreated Thomas in their flat to position himself and stay in view nearby so she could achieve orgasm - his presence aroused her passion. When he next saw her, he asked: "Do you ever think of leaving him?" and she responded: "No, I don't think so." Before leaving, she also inserted another request: "Will you help me? I don't know what to do," but the subject quickly changed
  • upon his return to his photographic studio, Thomas shockingly realized that someone had stolen the majority of his negatives and prints of the incident - he returned to the park the next day to find the body missing
  • in the final enigmatic scene, a group of mimes played a mute game of tennis with an invisible, non-existent tennis ball on a tennis court (the soundtrack picked up the sound of the tennis ball however) - Thomas joined in the game (and threw the imaginary ball back to them)
  • the film ended with an aerial view of Thomas standing at a distance in the middle of a grassy field in the park near the tennis court, with his camera in his hand; he faded from view just before the words THE END zoomed forward

Muted and Pantomimed Game of Tennis

Aerial View Ending

Photos in the Park

The Girl's Desperation to Get the Film

Examining the Photos in Detail

Body in Park Found During Nighttime Visit

Missing Body the Next Day

Patricia (Sarah Miles)

Stolen Photos


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z