Saturday, August 8, 2009

Some Like It Classic

Questionnaire from the mischievous and quite brilliant mind of Matthew Conian as a substitute or addition to the more modern film questions asked over at the also wonderful Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule.

1. Your favourite Humphrey Bogart film in which he doesn't play a gangster or a private eye. (Oh, and not including Casablanca either.)
His performance as Dobbs in John Huston's Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Bogie's descent into madness for me rivals Kathleen Bryon's in Black Narcissus.
2. Your favourite appearance by a star in drag (boy-girl or girl-boy).
William Powell in Love Crazy
3. Your favourite Laurel & Hardy film; short or feature, or one of each. (This will sort out the men from the boys - or perhaps the men from the girls.)
The Music Box (1932)

4. Your favourite appearance by one star in a role strongly associated with another star. (Eg: Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, Grace Kelly as Tracy Lord, Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates...)
Irene Dunne as Anna Owens in Anna and the King of Siam (1946) the non-musical precursor to The King and I.
5. The thirties or forties star or stars you most think you'd like, but have yet to really get to know.
Rita Hayworth and James Cagney.
6. Your favourite pre-Petrified Forest Bette Davis film.
I'm going to say Parachute Jumper (1933) simply because her Alabama accent is absolutely adorable.
7. Your favourite post-Mildred Pierce Joan Crawford film.
I've only seen Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? so...sure.
8. Your favourite film that ends with the main character's death.
The Letter (1940). Also includes one of the greatest opening scenes of a film in film history.
9. Your favourite Chaplin talkie.
The Great Dictator (1940). Chaplin's speech more or less as Chaplin at the end of the film is timeless.
10. Your favourite British actor and actress.
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
11. Your favourite post-1960 appearance by a 1930's star.
Barbara Stanwyck as the delightfully evil Mary Carson in the epic television melodrama The Thorn Birds.
12. Dietrich or Garbo? Dietrich
13. Karloff or Lugosi? Lugosi
14. Chaplin or Keaton? (I know some of you will want to say both for all of the above. Me too. But you can't.) Definitely Keaton for me (though of course I love Chaplin as well)
15. Your favourite star associated predominantly with the 1950's.
Deborah Kerr
16. Your favourite Melvyn Douglas movie.
For me it's a tie between Theodora Goes Wild (1936) and Ninotchcka (1939)
17. The box-office failure you most think should have been a success.
Citizen Kane and It's a Wonderful Life
18. Your favourite performance by an actor or actress playing drunk.
Definitely the scene in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington where Jean Arthur gets drunk with Thomas Mitchell and goes to tell off James Stewart and set him straight about what really goes on in Washington. A close second would be Deborah Kerr playing an old, broken down drunk in Edward, My Son. She hardly has anything to do in the film but her final scene is absolutely why she was noticed by the academy that year.
19. Your favourite last scene of any thirties movie.
Remember My Forgotten Man in Gold Diggers of 1933
20. Your favourite American non-comedy silent movie.
The Wind (1928) a masterpiece directed by Victor Sjostrom starring the unsurpassable Lillian Gish.
21. Your favourite Jean Harlow performance.
Red Dust (1932). Love love her and Clark Gable.
22. Your favourite remake. (Quizmaster's definition: second or later version of a work written as a movie, not a later adaptation of the same novel or play.)
The Parent Trap (1998). This movie defined my childhood. Don't be hatin'.
23. Your favourite Orson Welles performance in a film he did not direct, not including The Third Man.
Tomorrow is Forever (1946) starring Orson and Claudette Colbert
24. Your favourite non-gangster or musical James Cagney film or performance.
See Question 5.
25. Your favourite Lubitsch movie.
To Be Or Not To Be (1942) one of my all time favorites.
26. Who would win in a fight: Miriam Hopkins or Barbara Stanwyck? (Both in their prime; say in 1934 or so.)
Barbara Stanwyck hands down. Don't mess with Brooklyn, boys and girls. No one slaps her around unless she wants them to (unlike Hopkins)
27. Name the two stars you most regret never having co-starred with each other, and - if you want - choose your dream scenario for them. (Quizmaster's qualification: they have to be sufficiently contemporary to make it possible. So, yes to Cary Grant and Lon Chaney Jr as two conmen in a Howard Hawks screwball; no to Clara Bow and Kirsten Dunst as twin sisters on the run from prohibition agents in twenties Chicago, much though that may entice.)
Teresa Wright and Eva Marie Saint as gangster's molls in a 50s comedy akin to Some Like It Hot.
28. Your favourite Lionel Barrymore performance.
You Can't Take It With You (1938). Greatest fictional family ever created.
29. Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard or Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour? (See note on question 14.)
J'adore Paulette
30. You won't want to answer this, but: there's been a terrible fire raging in the film libraries of all the major studios. It's far too late to save everything. All you can do is save as much as you can. You've been assigned the thirties. All you'll have time to drag from the obliterating inferno is one 1930's film each from Paramount, MGM, RKO, Columbia, Universal and Warners. Do you stomp around in a film buff's huff saying 'it's too hard, I can't choose just one' and watch them all go up in smoke? Or do you roll your sleeves up and start saving movies?
But if the latter:
which ones...?

Good Grief.

Paramount: Duck Soup MGM: The Wizard of Oz RKO: Top Hat Columbia: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Universal: Frankenstein Warners: Gold Diggers of 1933

If you are up to the challenge be sure to post your responses (or a link) over at Matthew's blog here.


  1. Excellent! I've linked to you on my original post.
    Agree totally with 8 and 28, and 22 made me laugh...
    I really can't decide about 26. I think Stanners would have more staying power, but Miriam would be more inclined to fight dirty.
    Thanks for joining in!

  2. excellent! :) and that is a good point about miriam, but i still say there's no beating victoria barkley.

  3. Just watched THEODORA GOES WILD yet again and agree on the Melvyn Douglas thing. Also, Paulette Goddard is the BOMB-A-LICIOUS!!

  4. rupert-theodora goes wild is such an underrated comedy, definitely one of my favorites. :)

  5. Great answer to 27! And why didn't I save Wizard of Oz? People would have to be satisfied with silent version and the 1980's follow-up, I guess...

  6. Wonderful and very amusing answers. :)

    I wish I'd have thought of your answers to 4, 8, 11, 16, 18...haha, so many. :)

    I absolutely agree with you on 26. No contest.

  7. lolita-basically we will just hope that such a situation never ever occurs. :D

    juliette-why thank you! :] and there's just no comparison, really. yes miriam has cunning on her side, but there's not messing with barbara stanwyck.