Classic Movies · Stuff You Should Know

Pop quiz, hotshot…


My good friend and fellow film blogger Matthew Coniam at Movietone News has dreamed up a nice little quiz in the style of the famous brain-busters created by Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, and while I don’t want to show any favoritism, I sort of like Matthew’s questions a bit better because they’re more geared toward my classic movie sensibilities. I urge every one of my fellow film buffs to take a whack at it, and in the meantime, here are his posers with my responses:

Your favourite Humphrey Bogart film in which he doesn’t play a gangster or a private eye. (Oh, and not including Casablanca either.)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). “Fred C. Dobbs don’t say nothin’ he don’t mean.”

Your favourite appearance by a star in drag (boy-girl or girl-boy).
Katharine Hepburn in Sylvia Scarlett (1935).

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.)
My favorite feature film is Way Out West (1937). As for short…well, I’ll go with The Music Box (1932).

Your favourite 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…)
Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1944). (Assuming more people associate Bogart with the role in The Big Sleep [1946].)

The thirties or forties star or stars you most think you’d like, but have yet to really get to know.
Jean Arthur.

Your favourite pre-Petrified Forest Bette Davis film.
Three on a Match (1932).

Your favourite post-Mildred Pierce Joan Crawford film.
Johnny Guitar (1954).

Your favourite film that ends with the main character’s death.
Citizen Kane (1941)!

Your favourite Chaplin talkie.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947).

Your favourite British actor and actress.
James Mason and Jean Simmons.

Your favourite post-1960 appearance by a 1930’s star.
I like Bert Lahr’s performance as “Spats” in The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968).

Dietrich or Garbo?
Depends. I like Dietrich’s sound films and Garbo’s silents.

Karloff or Lugosi?
Karloff. (No hesitation on that one.)

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. (Didn’t have to hesitate on that one, either.)

Your favourite star associated predominantly with the 1950’s.
Montgomery Clift.

Your favourite Melvyn Douglas movie.
The Candidate (1972). (He plays Redford’s pop, former governor of California.)

The box-office failure you most think should have been a success.
The Crowd (1928).

Your favourite performance by an actor or actress playing drunk.
Jack Norton. (Was there any doubt?)

Your favourite last scene of any thirties movie.
The wrap-up to King Kong (1933).

Your favourite American non-comedy silent movie.
Yipes…so many choices. I’ll go The Docks of New York (1928).

Your favourite Jean Harlow performance.
I’ll choose Bombshell (1933) only because she has to share Libeled Lady (1936) with Spencer Tracy, William Powell, and Myrna Loy.

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.)
You’re Never Too Young (1955), Martin & Lewis’ remake of The Major and the Minor (1942).

Your favourite Orson Welles performance in a film he did not direct, not including The Third Man.
Jonathan Wilk in Compulsion (1959). (Thought you had me handcuffed, didn’t ya?)

Your favourite non-gangster or musical James Cagney film or performance.
One, Two, Three (1961).

Your favourite Lubitsch movie.
To Be or Not to Be (1942).

Who would win in a fight: Miriam Hopkins or Barbara Stanwyck? (Both in their prime; say in 1934 or so.)
Oh, no contest—Babs would take her out in the first round with a TKO. (Hopkins is one of those genteel Savannah, GA dames.)

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.)
Charley Chase and Buster Keaton. I don’t have a scenario planned, but it’s gonna make a hell of a two-reeler. (And don’t go telling me this answer isn’t kosher because they appear in the Robert Youngson compilation 4 Clowns [1970], among others.)

Your favourite Lionel Barrymore performance.
Key Largo (1948).

Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard or Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour? (See note on question 14.)
Bob and Dottie. Hands down.

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 isone 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…?
Paramount: Duck Soup (1933)
M-G-M: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
R-K-O: Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934) (Hey, I like Wheeler & Woolsey—so sue me.)
Columbia: Holiday (1938)
Universal: Destry Rides Again (1939)
Warners: Angels With Dirty Faces (1938)

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