09 August 2009

30 Questions, AKA the reason I've been an antisocial blogger.

Thanks to the increasingly (and deservingly) lionized Matthew Coniam of Movietone News, I've another survey to complete, this time about films of the thirties and forties. Well, mainly.

So here goes. It's terribly hard by the looks of it. Especially that last one-- gulp.

But first, this is the reason I haven't read a lot of your blogs on this topic. Didn't want to subconsciously steal your answers, y'know. ;)

1. Your favorite Humphrey Bogart film in which he doesn't play a gangster or a private eye. (Oh, and not including Casablanca either.)
Marked Woman. No doubt. His performance in that one is my favorite, including his performances as hoods and whatnot.

2. Your favorite appearance by a star in drag (boy-girl or girl-boy).
Well, I suppose the obvious answer for me'd be Katharine in Sylvia Scarlett, but...the one that first came to mind was June Preisser in Sweater Girl. That hat is simply divine.

3. Your favorite 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.)
You're Darn Tootin'. The first one I ever saw, and still my favorite.

4. Your favorite appearance by one star in a role strongly associated with another star. (E.g.: Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, Grace Kelly as Tracy Lord, Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates...)
Vince Vaughan as Norman Bates. Hah! You wish. Man alive-- I keep forgetting this is 30s and
40s. So I'll say it anyway...Tammy Blanchard as Sybil in...Sybil. But sticking to the rules I'll make it Janet Gaynor as Esther Blodgett. Then again, she and Judy are both pretty famous for it. And this in no way means I prefer Janet to Judy. Just thought I’d clarify, hee hee.

5. The thirties or forties star or stars you most think you'd like, but have yet to really get to know.
Ooh, good 'un. Audrey Totter. And Tallulah Bankhead probably. After all, she was friends with Dorothy Parker. As for the men, Van Johnson seemed like a nice guy. But I’ve only seen him in one or two things. Same for Lew Ayres.

6. Your favorite pre-Petrified Forest Bette Davis film.
Tie between Dangerous and Bordertown. Is that allowed? ;)

7. Your favorite post-Mildred Pierce Joan Crawford film.
Johnny Guitar. I just adore seeing gals in westerns.

8. Your favorite film that ends with the main character's death.
Well, Dark Victory's definitely up there...that or Waterloo Bridge. Ooh, or DOA. I’m too indecisive for my own good.

9. Your favorite Chaplin talkie.
Monsieur Verdoux, but (shh-- don’t tell) I’ve never seen Limelight. Relax though, I just added it to my Amazon cart.

10. Your favorite British actor and actress.
Robert Donat and Margaret Lockwood, but Phyllis Calvert’s growing on me.
EDIT: Okay, I peeked at someone’s answers. I need to get it into my head that Vivien Leigh is indeed a British actress. Ho hum.

11. Your favorite post-1960 appearance by a 1930's star.
Olivia de Havilland in Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. If she qualifies as a ’30s star. She should, by the way.

12. Dietrich or Garbo?
Garbo. For now, as I've yet to really watch a lot of Marlene.

13. Karloff or Lugosi?
I fell in love with Lugosi when I first saw a picture of him from The Black Cat. How debonair can you get?

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.)
Keaton. But you must understand how very hard it was for me to choose. I hope Charlie does.

15. Your favorite star associated predominantly with the 1950's.
Gloria Grahame...Is that okay? Golly I hope so. Because I was gonna say Lucille Ball, but the work I love most isn't associated with the fifties-- she is. Oh drat, I just rambled, didn't I?

16. Your favorite Melvyn Douglas movie.
Too Many Husbands. Only because A Woman’s Face belongs too much to Joan. So there. ;)

17. The box-office failure you most think should have been a success.
Well, I’d love to say The Pirate, but I can understand why it was a failure at the time. Silly audiences. So I’ll go with Sturges’ Unfaithfully Yours. Linda Darnell, Rex Harrison-- brilliant.

18. Your favorite performance by an actor or actress playing drunk.
I know it’s only for a bit, but Una Merkel in Midnight Mary plays drunk to perfection. So that’s it for me.

19. Your favorite last scene of any thirties movie.
Why oh why couldn’t The Lady Eve have been made just two years earlier? about Bringing Up Baby?

20. Your favorite American non-comedy silent movie.
Too difficult, so I’m going to rely on one of my favorite techniques-- cheating. Sadie Thompson or The Eyes of Julia Deep.

21. Your favorite Jean Harlow performance.
The Beast of the City....I like her in comedy, but prefer her in stuff like this.

22. Your favorite 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.)
Good definition. Um...Good News, from ‘47. Though I haven’t seen the original, so I can’t really


23. Your favorite Orson Welles performance in a film he did not direct, not including The Third Man.
Actually, the only movies I’ve seen with Orson (that aren’t off limits, of course) are The Long Hot Summer and Three Cases of Murder, so I’ll go with the latter.

24. Your favorite non-gangster or musical James Cagney film or performance.
Does Hard to Handle count? He’s not really a gangster...more of a general ne’er-do-well.

25. Your favorite Lubitsch movie.
One Hour With You. But Trouble in Paradise is a close second. And I’ve always wanted to see Cluny Brown.

26. Who would win in a fight: Miriam Hopkins or Barbara Stanwyck? (Both in their prime; say in 1934 or so.)
You kidding? Well, Bette shook Miriam around, and Barbara could totally take Bette, so it’s Barbara Stanwyck by a mile-- and she wouldn’t even break a sweat. She wouldn't have to put a doorknob in her glove for it, either...

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.)
Okay. Linda Darnell and Judy Garland, in a sort of film noir spoof. Like Lady on a Train, but this time with two ladies. Hahaha, I’m probably the only person who’d see it, but you did ask. I was gonna say John Wayne and Stanwyck, but then remembered he had part in Baby Face. Thank goodness. Otherwise this would be far too hard.

28. Your favorite Lionel Barrymore performance.
Sue me, but it’s You Can’t Take It With You. If you’d have said favorite Lionel Barrymore film, the answer’d be altogether different. :)

29. Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard or Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour? (See note on question 14.)
Eek-- you’re killing me. Bob and Paulette, but only because of my sworn loyalty to Paulette. Otherwise, I like him best when with Lamour.

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...?
Ahh! This is entirely too cruel. Thirties is the toughest of all (but you knew that, didn’t you?)
Well, I was gonna come up with awesome answers of movies that had tons of stars, or compilation films and such, but then decided to pick my actual favorites. So, here goes...but please, never ever (ever) try to recreate this one in life.

RKO--Stage Door. Ha, Ginger and Kate! Take that, fire!
Paramount-- I’m No Angel
MGM--I’m giving two answers. Gone With the Wind and (because MGM didn’t really produce GWTW by itself) Babes in Arms.
Universal-- Dracula.
Warner Bros.-- Baby Face. (I think I can actually hear Bette screaming)

I think I’d manage to save these and, in the midst of choosing between His Girl Friday and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington for Columbia, pass out due to smoke inhalation. I did try though, but just couldn’t save them all. Don’t judge me. ;)

Sigh. Now that’s over, I can read all of your marvelous posts.


Radiation Cinema! said...

Juliette: Such a smart girl, and from Indiana to boot! My people, by the way, come from Muncie and New Castle. Great post! -- Mykal

Juliette. said...

Shucks, thank you. :)

Yeah? NEat. Where exactly is New Castle?

Radiation Cinema! said...

New Castle is Here.
Like the English town it is named for, New Castle is a factory town, or was. My mother was raised there, her father worked at Chryslers. Salt of the goddamned earth.
I really enjoyed your answers to Matthew's questions. They showed tremendous care and insight. Job well done! -- Mykal

Christopher said...

wow..Johnny Guitar!..I'm impressed..I was trying to think of my fave latter mommie dearest film ,but all I could come up with was Straight Jacket..I think Merecedes McCambridge turned in a greater performance in that one,but maybe I'm biased since I worked with her on a Play in Austin in the late 70s....Peter Lorre in The Raven was my pick for 30's actor in a post 1960s film..I need to clear my head better..maybe...."give 'im the ooo lalaaa.."

Juliette. said...

Mykal-- Oh, okay, I think I may have traveled through it before. Sounds like they were great people, if I'm allowed to base such a decision from your description. My grandfather worked at a car factory as well. :)

Thanks again...they were fun questions. Did you answer them?

Christopher-- Haha, thanks! Johnny Guitar was, believe it or not, the first Joan Crawford movie I saw, so it came to me pretty easily as a favorite. The Damned Don't Cry is terrif as well.

Ooh, Peter Lorree..that's a good one!

Glad you're still enjoying those songs. :)

Radiation Cinema! said...

Juliette: You may indeed base your decision on my description. I loved my grandfather no end and remember him often. I have saved his union card and factory ID pin in my collection of beloved family heirlooms.

I did post my answers to Matthew’s questions over at his blog. -- Mykal

Juliette. said...

He sounds marvelous, and it's nice that you got to keep such precious stuff.

Grand-- I'll check it out. :)

Meredith said...

i love that you used that picture of stanwyck in boxing gloves. there is no rival.

i've...i've tried to like van johnson. i really, really have. so far he just hasn't impressed me. =/

jwalker said...

Juliette - HI! wow, you have a killer website!!! Nice to have info on many stars of old... although you know where my heart is, I am really into a lot of others, and some cool movies - heck, I can even stomach Kate Hepburn on occasion :-) JK - hard to deny she is a great actrass...
BTW - the Stage Door pix is Priceless! It kinda makes you wonder how much those two needed to rehearse their scenes - bet they nailed a lot of those lines the first time - along with possible 'ad lib'? Honestly, it seems like Ginger and Kate were not 'enemies', but rather 'healthy rivals'... well, maybe, anyway...
so, hopefully this makes me a follower of your blog...BTW - cool music! I need to dig up some tunes to put on mine...

Juliette. said...

Indeed. Before her, I thought Bette was the toughest gal in cinema. Ha!

yeah? Haha, I dunno what it is-- he seems like such a nice guy, but I've never really gone out and tried anything just for him. I liked his dancing number in Till the Clouds Roll By, if that counts.

Juliette. said...

S'pose I should clarify...haha, that last comment was for Meredith. Didn't see you there until just now, JWalker-- hello! :)

Thanks, glad you like it. When I was younger, I thought the only Hepburn for me was Audrey. Now, I'm not sure if I could choose at all.

I love, love, love Stage Door! You're right-- they seem to fall naturally into those roles, but I read that (though there was probably some friendly rivalry) they were knitting buddies on the set. How cool is that?

jwalker said... I was thinking the other day I need to watch Stage Door again... there are so many funny and cool lines in there from everyone, you always pick up a few new things when you watch it!
It seems like Ginger talks about Kate in her book in a 'friendly rival' light... one time where Ginger came to the set in a fur - or mink, whichever - and she was 'bragging' about the fur to the producer, who was up in the rafters somewhere, and all of a sudden, Kate peered over and dumped a glass of water on Ginger (!) and Kate said, 'If it's real fur (or mink), it won't shrink'... sounds a bit mean, but it seemed Ginger took it ok...I guess...or at least 40 years later, reflected on it in good humor. But yes, it seems like they were ok with each other.

Christopher said...

LOL!!..just saw that bette Davis/De Havilland clip :o)))..haven't seen this movie in ages..

Matthew Coniam said...

Well, you take the prize for coming up with the most films I haven't seen, or even heard of:
Sweater Girl, Sybil, Good News, Hard To Handle... and the list is not exhausted. You even managed to plump for one of the half-dozen or so Laurel and Hardy films I've never seen as your favourite.
Good work!

Baffled commendations also for having seen Three Cases of Murder. Where? How? I saw it when I was a boy but only remember Welles's episode. As you seem to like the same kind of forties/fifties British horseshit that I do (Lockwood, Calvert etc) may I enquire as to whether you have seen Miranda, the '47 comedy with kittenish Gloria Grahame-lookalike Glynis Johns as a mermaid? If not, I think you'll like it. In fact I know you'll like it.

Yes, Beast of the City!!! How did I manage to forget that in my endless list of possible Harlow choices. Great performance, amazing film.
And you also get bonus points for voting for Una Merkel. (I'll be doing a post on this magnificent woman soon!)

As to question 30, seeing as you were so nervous about it, I think it's fair to say you performed impeccably until the smoke finally got the better of you and consigned all trace of the sight of Rosalind Russell's hats and the sound of Jimmy going all sore-throaty to the pitiless inferno.
And don't worry about Gone With the Wind - Selznick made it fireproof.

Thanks for your answers!

Lolita said...

Great and entertaining post, Juliette! And indeed, DeHavilland must count as a 1930's actress: Captain Blood, Robin Hood and Gone With the Wind alone does it ;)

Love your ambitious answer to the last question, I can really see the scene play out before my eyes!

As a little side note, I usually hate music players on blogs - they always scare me when they suddenly start playing, and often you listen to music on your own, and it all becomes a nightmarish combination of Beatles and Gloria Gaynor (or something) - but I must say that I for the first time let that music player go on playing, when "Fais-moi mal Johnny" started. I had never heard it before, it's crazy! And totally adorable!

Juliette. said...

JWalker-- What a terrific story. I found Kate's part to be hilarious...if a bit cruel. Haha, I wonder if it did shrink...

Christopher-- Glad you enjoyed the clip. One of my favorites.

Matthew-- Why thank you! None of it woulda been possible without your tremendous effort in making the survey.

Ooh, is Sybil one you haven't seen or haven't heard of (or, I guess-- both)?

I got Three Cases of Murder from a shady business dealing on bluedot before they (evidently) went out of business. It's not high quality, but watchable. :)

I've not seen it-- but love Glynis Johns and will be on the lookout for it.

Thanks for the kind words regarding number thirty. Alas, my lungs failed me in the end.

Lolita-- Shucks...thanks. :)

Hahaha, your description of music players is spot on...the results are generally disconcerting, but I'm glad you didn't mind the songs here. I really like that song too.

Elsie said...

Ohh, this one IS difficult! I don't know if I'll be able to finish it myself, but I love your responses!

Juliette. said...

Thanks, Elsie! If you ever finish it, I'd be more than eager to read the responses. :)

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