Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thinking caps on, please.

The questionnaire I got from Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule
via Allure has been tempting some of you but others have balked at all the corny, old-fashioned modern films included. I sympathise.
Here, then, is my brand spanking new self-devised classic questionnaire, devoted almost entirely to the thirties and forties.
I COMMAND everyone to have a go, either in my comments or in your own blogs and let me know...

The following have so far posted responses on their own blogs:
Meredith at Or maybe Eisenstein Should Just Relax
Elizabeth at Oh By Jingo! Oh By Gee!

Millie at Classic Forever

Lolita at Lolita's Classics

Juliette at Some Parade

Amanda at A Noodle in a Haystack

Panavia 999 at Stuff

So, thinking caps on (or ask Clara for a lend of hers if yours is at the cleaners) - here goes...
1. Your favourite Humphrey Bogart film in which he doesn't play a gangster or a private eye. (Oh, and not including Casablanca either.)
2. Your favourite appearance by a star in drag (boy-girl or girl-boy).
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.)
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...)
5. The thirties or forties star or stars you most think you'd like, but have yet to really get to know.
6. Your favourite pre-Petrified Forest Bette Davis film.
7. Your favourite post-Mildred Pierce Joan Crawford film.
8. Your favourite film that ends with the main character's death.
9. Your favourite Chaplin talkie.
10. Your favourite British actor and actress.
11. Your favourite post-1960 appearance by a 1930's star.
12. Dietrich or Garbo?
13. Karloff or 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.)
15. Your favourite star associated predominantly with the 1950's.
16. Your favourite Melvyn Douglas movie.
17. The box-office failure you most think should have been a success.
18. Your favourite performance by an actor or actress playing drunk.
19. Your favourite last scene of any thirties movie.
20. Your favourite American non-comedy silent movie.
21. Your favourite Jean Harlow performance.
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.)
23. Your favourite Orson Welles performance in a film he did not direct, not including The Third Man.
24. Your favourite non-gangster or musical James Cagney film or performance.
25. Your favourite Lubitsch movie.
26. Who would win in a fight: Miriam Hopkins or Barbara Stanwyck? (Both in their prime; say in 1934 or so.)
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.)
28. Your favourite Lionel Barrymore performance.
29. Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard or Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour? (See note on question 14.)
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...?