I always love a good time-wasting survey, so even though this has no connection to Halloween, I’d like to fill out Amanda’s Cinema Survey from Amanda at Noodle in a Haystack. Besides, we don’t give classic Hollywood enough space on this blog, and that’s where I have my roots. (And I’m getting rusty! It’s sad.) So here goes! Warning: It’s a long one.
1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of The Thin Man films?
I Love You Again. (I’m a sucker for Frank McHugh.)
2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complimented each other.
How about Carole Lombard and John Barrymore, who were adorably snarky together in Twentieth Century (1934)?
3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ best film together?
4. Your favorite actor named “Robert”?
I love Ryan (The Set-Up!) and Benchley, but I have to say Mitchum. He was so omnipresent in my childhood I practically recognize him as an uncle, and no one has ever topped Rev. Powell.
5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?
I remember how when Ashley saw Shop Around the Corner, she wished Margaret Sullavan was Jean Arthur. For me… OK, this may be controversial, but I’m not crazy about Lucille Ball’s film roles and would prefer another actress.
6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can’t stand or vice versa?
We can’t think of any…
7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?
We are both fanatical about Joseph Cotten and Catherine Deneuve.
8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O’Brien is to Ethel Merman as…
…um, Freddie Bartholomew is to Charles Coburn? I think that’s the best analogy I’m going to arrive at. (Note: In retrospect, I see that I mistook Virginia O’Brien for Margaret O’Brien. But I’m not going to change my answer.)
9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?
Probably The Lost Weekend, with X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes in close second.
10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?
I did not see this coming, and the 1960s are a huge decade. Well, I really like The Apartment! And Persona. And Bonnie and Clyde. And…
11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year?
I’m really bad at these questions. Despite my fetish for film release years, nothing’s jumping to mind.
12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery’s leading ladies?
The team of Dame May Whitty and Rosalind Russell in Night Must Fall.
13. You think it would have been a disaster if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?
How about the classic example, George Raft in Huston’s Maltese Falcon? Like, really, how on earth could he fill Bogey’s shoes?
14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie?
This is a long list. I recently watched Psychomania just because George Sanders was in it.
15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?
I don’t know his filmography that well, but I loved him as the decadent author in Powell & Pressburger’s 49th Parallel.
16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?
Now this is my kind of question. Just as a Stanwyck primer, let’s do 1) Baby Face, 2) The Lady Eve, 3) Double Indemnity, and 4) The Furies.
17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?
Really pulling out the tough questions here! Oh, hell, I’ve been obsessing over Duck Soup lately, so let’s go with that. (I see that I forgot to put in the “Why” part. I’ll write an essay about it eventually.)
18. You will brook no criticism of what film?
Anybody who doesn’t like the zither in The Third Man can go fuck themselves. Same goes for any other aspect of that pretty much perfect movie.
19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?
Uhh… Maureen O’Sullivan.
20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers?
Alas, I don’t think I’ve seen any. It’s sad, but I’m also not the biggest Ginger Rogers fan.
21. Do you enjoy silent movies?
Yes (of course!), but not often enough.
22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?
Some combination of Now, Voyager, All About Eve, and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?
Out of everybody?? What is this, Sophie’s Choice? Ohhh, Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Fay Wray and King Kong. Farley Granger and John Dall. Etc.
24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?
I don’t really understand the gender bias there, but probably Adrian.
25. To even things out a bit, here’s something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?
Maybe I’m not the kind of boy this survey has in mind…? Oh well; I’ll go (arbitrarily) with The Steel Helmet.
26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)?
I already appreciate him plenty, but Kirk Douglas. For his influence and his personality.
27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?
I’m not too familiar with him, but yes! Why not. I recall him trying to compete with Gable and Laughton in Mutiny on the Bounty, and that takes guts.
28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?
Franklin Pangborn. And I saw Paris, Texas not long ago, so Dean Stockwell. John Carradine doesn’t get enough love. Also, I look forward to the second I hear Joan Greenwood’s voice.
29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?
I’m fond of Charlton Heston, but he had a pretty limited range (one that did not include Renaissance artists).
30. Favorite actor?
These questions will be the death of me. (Alternative option: don’t take them so seriously.) I’ll name you one actor I really love, but keep in mind that there are many many others: Charles Laughton. (William Holden. Chaplin. Claude Rains. Etc., etc.)
31. Favorite actress?
Jesus, really? Marlene Dietrich (probably at #1), Deborah Kerr, Thelma Ritter, Janet Leigh…
32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart?
One of these things is not like the others / One of these things just doesn’t belong. That thing is Patrick Stewart. And he is very, very cool.
33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:
Comedy: Didn’t I have to do this already? I’ll stick with Duck Soup, I guess.
Swashbuckler: I’m not crazy about swashbucklers. But The Adventures of Robin Hood has some awesome Flynn-on-Rathbone action.
Film noir: Why not make this question “Which parent do you love the most?” Sigh. If I have to answer… Detour.
Musical: I tried to keep most of these answers “classic” (i.e., 1960s and earlier), but I fucking love Cabaret.
Holiday: This is a genre? You mean like “Christmas movies”? Do short films count? Can I say “Peace on Earth”?
Hitchcock: And finally, the last impossible choice I have to make. What the hell, I’ll pick either The Birds or The 39 Steps.
(Sorry I got so irrational over these questions! I still really enjoyed the survey overall; it challenged me.)