Films with parallel scenes (possibly spoilers)

As I was writing a paper on the Coen Brothers’ ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’ the other day, I noticed how many parallel scenes it had. The thread Films with repeated scenes seems related, but that seemed to be more for scenes that were duplicates, rather than just referential.

For example, in The Hudsucker Proxy, I counted several scenes that seemed to have been made parallel. Most obvious is Hudsucker and Norville’s plummet from the building. Then there’s Hudsucker’s running down the table to jump out the window which matches the board member who does it later on in the movie. There are two scenes in which the board has a rapid-fire conversation. The scene near the end where Norville is running through the streets, and the scene where the hoop is rolling through the streets. The presentation of the hoop to the board, and the presentation at the end of the movie. The opening narration while flying through the city and into the building, and the closing narration while pulling away from the building. And there were several others as well.

Having only seen one other Coen Brothers movie, is this a trademark of theirs? Are there other movies which do this to the same degree, or is this exceptional (I chose to focus on different aspects in my paper, partly because I wasn’t sure if this was out of the ordinary or not)? Am I simply reading too much into it?

I don’t know if it’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, but there are parallel scenes in the 1949 film “The Heiress.” The heroine Catherine goes up the stairs in her home three times at different points in the movie–sort of as a closing to each act. Each time, the camera is at the same angle above her as she goes up, and the focus is on the expression on her face: the first time, when she has just fallen in love, she is joyous; the second time, after she has been jilted, she is in utter misery; the third time, after she has had her revenge on the man who jilted her, she is frighteningly triumphant (one is afraid about what she intends to do next… but since the movie ends at that point, we’ll never know.)

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” features parallel scenes of Frank’s seductions of Janet and Brad.

Shaun of the Dead; the second half of the movie basically contains the entire dialoge of the first half, although delivered in a different tone.


We see Shaun and Ed playind Timesplitters2 on PS2, Shaun advises Ed to aim “Top Left”.

Later, Shaun and Ed are shooting zombies, Ed advises Shaun to aim "Top Left’.

“Pete! I said leave him alone!”
“How are you?.. Surviving?”

I dunno if it fits the OP, since the ‘parallel’ scenes wind up totally different, but in Gambit Michael Caine is a con man with a terribly elaborate Topkapi-esque caper and the first half-hour or so has him in a bar, looking at Shirley MacLaine (a key component), laying the scheme out to his partner. The partner buys it, they approach Ms. MacLaine to enlist her in the project, and from the moment she opens her mouth, the plan unravels.

One classic example is Citizen Kane, where parallel scenes contain a subtle joke. There’s a scene early in the movie where the camera’s viewpoint tracks across the roof of a building and then down into the room through a window in the roof. Later in the movie the same shot is repeated, but this time the glass in the window is broken - the joke being that the first camera broke it.