Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Amanda’s Cinema Survey (A Noodle in a Haystack)

Amanda’s Cinema Survey (A Noodle in a Haystack)

Amanda at A Noodle in a Haystack has posted a Cinema Survey, the questions of which are of particular interest and can be difficult because there are no correct answers. She has a diverse following, which makes for an entertaining kaleidoscope of preferences. And, as one would expect from her site, the discourse is civil and collegial. (I commented to Amanda that I think her survey questions tell us as much about her film tastes as her answers,)

I responded in Amanda’s Comment section, but am inclined also to post on this site. It provides an opportunity to append a few additional remarks and to reflect on a few comments Amanda received (including her own choices) which refreshed my memory. It also allows me to include photos of players past and players present to whom I am particularly partial.

1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of The Thin Man films?

Manhattan Melodrama because of them and for the rare depiction of the General Slocum disaster. There is also the Dillinger connection that was used to good effect in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies.

2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complemented each other.

Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart: In a Lonely Place.

3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together?

Top Hat.

4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"?

Robert Montgomery

5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?

Jack Nicholson.

6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa?

None that fits “can’t stand”.

7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?

Bette Davis and James Cagney.

8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...

Mrs. Danvers is to Bullwinkle.

9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?

The Major and the Minor.

10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?

Easier than I thought: Le samouraï. Mythical Monkey’s comment, however, reminded me of The Apartment. So I will include both and categorize one as favorite foreign and one as favorite American.

11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year?

Alan Curtis in Phantom Lady. Get him away from Ella Raines. There were four East Side Kids movies in 1944. Put him in one of those.

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies?

Audrey Totter.

13. You think it would have been a disaster if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?

Fredric March in the Cary Grant role in Bringing Up Baby. Oh God! Source: Todd McCarthy in Howard Hawks: the Grey Fox of Hollywood.

14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie?

Ethel Barrymore. Any. No almosts. Just going to the Broadway theatre named after her is splendor.

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?

The Scarlet Pimpernel (with ‘Pimpernel’ Smith as a chaser).

16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?

Double Indemnity / Meet John Doe / Baby Face / Ball of Fire. I am a Sturges fan but had to leave something out.

17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?

Bringing Up Baby. On board were the following. One of our greatest actresses. One of our greatest actors. One of our finest American directors. And Dudley Nichols writing. Stellar supporting cast. Hawks thought a flaw was that there were no normal people in the movie – virtually all were screwballs. I think it matters not. He did, though, try to temper his next great comedy (His Girl Friday) with the introduction of the Ralph Bellamy character.

18. You will brook no criticism of what film?

I Know Where I'm Going!

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?

Maureen. Inevitable.

20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers?

I’ll Be Seeing You. This is a very personal favorite. It is one of a quartet of films done by William Dieterle in a seven year period (1944-1950) all of which included Joseph Cottten. The other three are: Love Letters, Portrait of Jennie, and September Affair.

21. Do you enjoy silent movies?

Yes. But I came late. When younger, I had inexcusable and ill informed prejudices about silent films.

22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?

Dark Victory.

23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?

Linda Darnell and Paul Douglas. Tough edges but perfect pairing. Only three films that I know.

24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?


25. To even things out a bit, here's something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?

The Wild Bunch.

26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress (es)?

Classic: Jean Harlow
Modern: Rebecca Pidgeon (realizing I am in a distinct minority)

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?

Slightly enthusiastic yes. Just having been in Phantom Lady helps.

28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?

Jean Hagen. Particularly in Asphalt Jungle. (Afterthought: Dawn’s mention of Spring Byington is perfect.)

29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?

Jack Nicholson. Grimace and shout.

30. Favorite actor?

Joseph Cotten. He was in so many landmark films: Citizen Kane, The Third Man, The Magnificent Ambersons, and Shadow of a Doubt for starters. Then the four personal favorites as listed in my answer to Question 20. And so many more.

31. Favorite actress?

Bette Davis. There was a time when I thought it was Katharine Hepburn -- but then I found myself saying “I always think Kate is our best film actress – until I see another Bette Davis movie.”

32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart?

Sorry -- but I must go off path. Elizabeth of “Oh by Jingo” enlightened me in the past with her choice of Hoagy Carmichael. Flawless choice.

33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

Comedy: Bringing Up Baby.
Swashbuckler: The Mark of Zorro (Tyrone Power)
Film noir: Criss Cross
Musical: Gold Diggers of 1933 (I just love Aline MacMahon)
Holiday: It’s a Wonderful Life
Hitchcock: Vertigo

Amanda’s Cinema Survey (A Noodle in a Haystack)

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your work and opinions, got here because of Pamela Brown, who's picture you used. I agree with you on that one 100 percent!