Saturday, October 30, 2010

Answers to Amanda's Cinema Survey

My Answers to Amanda's Cinema Survey

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

2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complimented each other.
I think these people appeared together only once: Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward in "My Foolish Heart". Eleanor Parker and Dennis Morgan in "The Very thought of You"

3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together?
(My personal favorite because it also has Randolph Scott and Harriet Hilliard who sings some wonderful songs.)

4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"?
ROBERT RYAN . Great actor, great hunk.

5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?
LUCILLE BALL in most movies. (I don’t like “I Love Lucy” either, what an annoying character! I really admire Lucille Ball’s great business sense, she was a consummate professional.  But I never feel like watching a film if she's the star.
Most of SPENCER TRACY’S later movies. He was usually too old for the parts and obviously cast for box office reasons.  (ie, Sea of Grass - and he could not even ride a horse!)
GARY COOPER dramas. He was OK in comedy, but too stiff for drama. He was awful in The Fountainhead (and he knew it). The lusty bits in Fountainhead are quite good of course.

6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa?
My mother thought Harrison Ford is a good actor, I think he has the talent of a fence post. Ironically, I brought him to her attention by saying I thought he had an interesting face.

7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?
We agreed that James Mason was a great actor and a fine figure of male pulchritude. We agreed on most movie things.

8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...
As Buster Keaton is to Joe E Brown.

9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?

10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?
COMEDY OF TERROR with Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff.

11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year?
Take Allan Jones out of "Everybody Sing" which is OK, but Jones deserved to be in a better film: "Girl of the Golden West".  Nelson Eddy was too tall, fair and Anglo Saxon to play Rodriguez, although of course Eddy's voice was fine. Allan Jones was Jeanette MacDonalds choice for the film and would have been a
better fit. Besides, I like Allan Jones a lot and wish he'd made more films with Jeanette.  That leaves Nelson Eddy without a property, which is unfair.

Removce Cary Grant from  Arsenic and Old Lace - he can be in anything else as long as it's not A&OL. He was awful in that. Grant said Capra made him mug it up in the movie, he hated his performance.

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies?
Ann Harding and Myrna Loy in "When Ladies Meet"

13. You think it would have been a disaster if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?
WIZARD OF OZ. Shirley Temple was considered to star. They realized the songs were beyond her abilities and needed a stronger singer, so went with Judy Garland. If they had stuck with Temple, maybe they would have tailored the songs to her range and abilities and it would have been a completely different movie, which is unthinkable.

13 Alternate : What movie would be great if the actor/actress originally asked had appeared in it?
Dan Dailey was oroginally cast as the gunslinger in Blazing Saddles. He was enthusiastic had to back out due to bad eyesight. John Wayne was offered the role. He loved the script and would have liked to do it, but he said his public would not understand. Gene Wilder got the part. So instead of an actor
parodying himself, you get a nebbish jewish guy who can't ride.

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

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?
Tom in THE ANIMAL KINGDOM. I also like The Scarlet Pimpernel, and preferred Ashley to Rhett.
There are some films I have not yet seen, so there may be another favorite.

16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?
MIRACLE WOMAN, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW, THE LADY EVE (I think that well illustrates her fabulous range.) Actually, due to the popularity of the marathon, it should be extended  another day with these films:  MY REPUTATION, CLASH BY NIGHT, STELLA DALLAS. Because once you see a few Stanwyck films, you want to see more.

17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?
KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS. Every line is pithy. It just works. This movie gets a lot of attention because of Alec Guiness' multiple roles, but the script  and ensemble is great.

18. You will brook no criticism of what film?
I don't worry about that. Everyone has their hits and misses according to personal taste.

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?

20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers? 

21. Do you enjoy silent movies?
Very Much! Especially the long German sagas like THE INDIAN TOMB and SPIES.

22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?
LITTLE FOXES came first to mind, Davis  was a great actress and it's hard to choose just one.
23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?
JACK CARSON and JANE WYMAN. They always conveyed fun loving lust.

Memo: Why just couples? How about pairs? Like Ronald Reagan and Wayne Morris in their comedies. Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins!

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?

26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)?
JEAN ARTHUR. Her voice is incredibly annoying to me. I've gotten used to her voice so I can appreciate her talent.  Same thing with Glynis Johns - something about her voice grates on me, but she is great.

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?  YES!

28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?
BASIL RATHBONE: People mostly think of him as Sherlock Holmes but he was extremely versatile and could play anything.
LIONEL BARRYMORE: People remember Barrymore as the crochety old character actor in a wheelchair. They need to see him in more films before he was crippled when he could do so much more.
HEDY LAMARR : she was so beautiful, she didn't always get a chance to play interesting characters. When she had a chance to do something unusual, like The Strange Woman, or a nice natural woman like HM Pulham Esq. She was also excellent in comedies.
TYRONE POWER: Like Hedy, he was so handsome he was stuck Swashing on film, but found an outlet on the stage. Also his career was interupted by WW2. He was from a distinguished acting family, was well read and anxious to play unusual roles. Check him out in NIGHTMARE ALLEY.
RONALD REAGAN: It's fashionable to dismiss Ronald Reagan's film career. Because they don't like his politics, people believe he was a mediocre actor yet have not actually seen his films. This is unfair. He was natural and earnest and very good in light comedies.  Bedtime for Bonzo isn't as bad as they claim - it's cute and lightweight.

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

30. Favorite actor? I like too many to nail down just one person. I'll answer with a twist. My favorite German /Austrian actors are Conrad Veidt, Wolfgang Preiss and Bruno Ganz

31. Favorite actress?  My favorite French actress is Isabelle Hupert

32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart? I'm not sure what the definition of cool is but I like Patrick Stewart best of this list.

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

Swashbuckler: THE SEA HAWK
Musical: MAYTIME

UPDATE:  hmmm...I'm not sure Maytime is quite a musical, it's a melodrama about opera singers plying their trade.  So I'll suggest one of my 50's favorites "THE PAJAMA GAME". It also features much of the original broadway cast which is a great bonus.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  Segue on Question #13.  I recently read that there were plans in 1977 to remake "Dodsworth"  starring  Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.  Thank goodness *that* never happened!


Laura said...

Loved reading this -- your answers were so interesting! Thanks for posting that you had completed the survey. :)

Best wishes,

Gordon Pasha said...

Panavia: This is an intriguing set of takes on Amanda’s survey. I suspect if I slipped through barbed wire and ended up in the same audience as you, I would not be behind enemy lines.

Yes, Grant is superb in most films, but beyond awful in “Arsenic and Old Lace”. And you ably, aptly, and agreeably to me, skewered some sacred idols: later Tracy, Monroe, Harrison Ford and Lucille Ball (who never seemed to fit into the frame in motion pictures). By the time my family acquired a television, Lucy had moved into that medium and I was otherwise engaged. (Although as a peacetime soldier in Germany, when not in the field, I occasionally watched John Wayne westerns dubbed into German on German television in our Company Day Room.) Many denied Wayne’s greatness in the 60s and 70s because of his politics. So much for freedom of thought and speech. I was certainly at the other end of the political spectrum from Robert Ryan, but loved his work -- and when choosing a Robert in the survey it was a toss up with Montgomery.

Basil Rathbone, Bruno Ganz, Ann Harding, Isabelle Huppert, Tyrone Power, Barbara Stanwyck, and Harriet Hilliard. As my English friends in Gravesend and Wokingham would say: “brilliant.” I have three film / stage photographs hanging on my wall. Two are signed (not to me): Jessica Tandy and Jeanette McDonald. The third is Basil Rathbone, which my wife and I withheld from sale when we catalogued and sold the Rathbone collection to the Mugar Library. The photograph is by Hal Phyfe and is of Rathbone (alone) as Romeo (when he played opposite Katherine Cornell as Juliet in 1934 and 1935).

You and I might joust a bit about Laurence Olivier (on film without Shakespeare), on Jean Arthur’s voice (rapture to me) and not joust – but discuss -- your choice of “The Paradine Case” – which has my favorite Barrymore, albeit underutilized. Ethel was known to have said that Lionel was the best of the Barrymores, but I disagree – she had only to seek a mirror.

I have seen all but three of the films you mentioned: “Everybody Sing,” “The Indian Tomb,” and “Blazing Saddles” (on the last I included myself out). And for a closer, my wife and I saw the original “The Pajama Game” cast in “The Pajama Game” on Broadway on a date in the mid-1950s. "The tops are fifteen minutes behind the bottoms.” Sorry for the length of this but you struck a chord. Best. Gerald

panavia999 said...

Gordon, Many Thanks for visiting and leaving feedback. These surveys are a fun way to exchange ideas.
Re Ethel and Lionel Barrymore. Ethel made so few films where as Lionel was in films most of his life. I'm really hard put to choose one over the other on film. (Especially when viewing Lionel when he was still mobile and versatile.) They were different but equal. Seeing Ethel on stage must have been a great treat. She could do so much with her voice.
Even John has his moments of brilliance, but in his talkies shows too often the affects of drink. Very sad.
As for non-Shakespeare Olivier: "Term of Trial"? "The Entertainer"?

Gordon Pasha said...

Panavia: Yes, Laurence was excellent in “The Entertainer.” And thank you for the tip on “Term of Trial.” I have not seen it. Excellent cast. Checked Netflix but not available but I can likely track it down. Best. Gerald

panavia999 said...

Gordon Pasha: Thanks for giving it a shot. "Term of Trial" is available from the Warner Archive Collection for $17.99 (current sale price)
That's the best price I've seen.
It's worth a watch if you like "Kitchen sink dramas", or Simone Signoret, Sara Miles, Olivier, Terrence Stamp.. :-)

Gordon Pasha said...

Thank you. I will pursue. Gerald.

surly hack said...

Not to be a nitpicker, but Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward are also in the terrific Canyon Passage by Jacques Tourneur.

panavia999 said...

Surly Hack - Thanks for the tip! Dana Andrews and Tourneur would make Canyon Passage a must see.