MovieMovieBlogBlog and Jennifer Garlen of Virtual Virago. What I will do then is answer both Steve and Jennifer's questions, in that order.
First up are Steve's questions.
1. “All-time favourite movie” is too tough. What is your favourite genre, and what is your all-time favourite movie in that genre? Well, my all-time favourite movie is easy. It's Seven Samurai (1954). As to my all-time favourite genre, that's a lot more difficult. I like a wide array of genres, so it is actually hard for me to pick a favourite. If I were forced to choose, I guess I would go with the British "Swinging London" movies of the Sixties. My favourite movie in that genre would be a tie: A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965). I can't decide which one I like better.
2. “Theatrical” is too easy. What’s your all-time favourite TV-movie? The Night Stalker (1972), the TV movie that introduced the world to newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak (played by Darren McGavin)
3. The Great Movie Genie is allowing you to permanently change the ending of one movie. Which one do you choose, and why? Superman (1978). I really dislike the idea that Superman can fly fast enough that he can literally turn back time. First, even as a kid I never thought Superman was that fast (The Flash may be, but Superman's not). Second, turning back time is too much power for a superhero who is already more powerful than a locomotive and can already leap tall buildings in a single bound to have.
4. You’re the latest heinie-kissing Hollywood exec, slavishly following trends. Which movie, good or bad, would you like to sequelize or remake? I'll probably get hate mail for this (especially as there was already one horrible remake), but I would like to remake Pscyho (1960). That having been said, it would not be so much a remake as a more faithful adaptation of Robert Bloch's original novel. I love Hitchcock's movie, but I love the book too. It would be great to see a more faithful adaptation where Norman Bates is short, overweight, and balding as he was in the novel instead of, well, the handsome and charming Anthony Perkins.
5. Name the movie whose screening you’d like to co-host on TCM with Ben Mankiewicz. I already did this back in April. It was a lot of fun too! The movie was A Hard Day's Night (1964).
6. Describe your most memorable movie occasion — not necessarily your favourite film, but a movie you enjoyed with friends, one that evoked a particular memory, etc. It was when I was in college. We went to a midnight double feature of A Boy and His Dog (1975) and Scanners (1981). We had gone to it the night before, but went to it a second time because my friend Carol had slept through it the first time around. Keep in mind by this point all of us, save Carol, had been awake for 72 hours! Not surprisingly, all of us (except for Carol) fell asleep during A Boy and His Dog. As fate would have it all of us woke up during the notorious "brain exploding" scene in Scanners. To say we all jumped in our seats would be an understatement... Despite that I enjoyed Scanners both times I saw it in the theatre and it remains a fond memory of my misspent youth.
7. What is your favourite line of movie dialogue? " It was beauty killed the beast." from King Kong (1933)
8. Why are movies special to you? That's a hard question to answer. At least part of it is sheer escapism. Movies are a way of escaping one's everyday, workaday world for a few hours, a way of forgetting one's troubles. Of course, that is hardly the only reason films are special to me, as sometimes I watch movies whose realities are much less preferable to my own, For example, I would not want to be one of the characters in the movie Scarface (1932)! In instances such as Scarface, movies are a way of experiencing other worlds, other realities, safely from a theatre or one's own home. If I actually could go back in time and live among gangsters in the early Thirties, chances are good I would be shot or be given a pair of concrete galoshes. I can watch Scarface, though, and not have to worry about winding up dead.
9. What do you enjoy most about blogging? That's like asking what I enjoy most about writing. I really don't know. I enjoy doing research for my articles (in fact, a lot of what I learn doesn't always make it to the finished product), but then I also enjoy the actual writing. In fact, about the only thing I don't enjoy is proofreading (I really wish I could afford to hire someone to do that for me). Oddly enough, getting a response to my blog is not that big of a priority for me. I'd blog even if I had no readers (and in the early days I really didn't).
10. What is your favourite book about movies? The Parade's Gone By by Kevin Brownlow. It was one of the first books on movies I ever read, and the first book about silent movies I ever read.
11. You have your favourite movie actor or actress to yourself for 24 hours to do with what you will. Name, please. Vivien Leigh and we'll leave it at that.
And now here are Jennifer's questions.
1. Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire? This had always been a hard question for me to answer. I think they were very different sorts of dancers and hence equally good. That having been said, in the end I think I would have to go with Gene Kelly because I like more of his movies.
2. What's your favourite Val Lewton film? Bedlam (1946). You can't beat a Val Lewton film starring Boris Karloff set in an asylum.
3. Name one book about classic movies or stars that everyone should read. The above mentioned The Parade's Gone By by Kevin Brownlow. It is still the best primer on silent movies around.
4. What's the absolute worst old movie that you love anyway? That's hard to say. Keeping in mind that I think this is a good movie and I suspect many others think so too, I would have to say A Bucket of Blood (1959). If not that, then I would have to say The Tingler (1959), which I personally think is a great movie too. Of course, while I don't consider either film to be bad by any stretch of the imagination, I guess there might be some people who do.
5. Who is your favourite character actor? I have a ton of favourite character actors, so it is hard to choose. If forced to choose I think it would either be Eddie Anderson (who played my favourite character on The Jack Benny Programme, Rochester) or Sheldon Leonard (who played a ton of gangsters and, coincidentally, the racetrack tout on The Jack Benny Programme).
6. If you could adapt one literary work for film, which would it be and why? Wuthering Heights, because I don't think there has been a proper adaptation yet. Don't get me wrong. I love William Wyler's Wuthering Heights (1939), but it only adapted one half of the novel and Merle Oberson was horribly miscast as Cathy (Vivien Leigh would have been much better). Of course, if I did adapt Wuthering Heights I would have to do it in two or three parts, like Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings. There's just a lot of novel there!
7. What's the last book you read? Woody Allen: Reel to Real by Alex Sheremet (which I really need to get around to reviewing next week)
8. Name one of your favourite movie death scenes. What's so great about it? The death of Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) in Seven Samurai. Kikuchiyo was a peasant who wanted to be a samurai so badly that he even falsified his family tree. Arguably it is with his death, defending the hapless farm village against bandits, that he truly achieves his goal, dying a hero's death as what he wanted to be, a samurai.
9. Who should really have gotten the role of Scarlett O'Hara? Vivien Leigh. I am convinced she was the best possible actress for the role. That having been said, I do think Paulette Goddard, who very nearly got the role, would have made a great Scarlett O'Hara as well. I don't think anyone but Paulette would have done as well as Vivien did in the role.
10. Coffee, tea, or alcohol? I love all three, so it's hard for me to say. Can I just cheat and say, "Long Island iced tea" or "Irish coffee?" Actually, given I am not at all a morning person, I would probably have to go with coffee, of which I consume a great deal before noon.
11. What's your favourite Disney movie? Pinocchio (1940). To me it has the best animation, best songs, and the best story of any Disney film.
And now for 11 things readers might not know about me.
1, Through my mother's family I can trace my line back to the Plantagenets. This is not as impressive as it sounds. If one is of English descent, then chances are good he or she is descended from the Plantagenets!
2. There was a time I could sight read Old English. I have read Beowulf in the original language. Sadly, I am horribly out of practice and these days I need help from a Old English-Modern English dictionary.
3. I have written six novels, all of them unpublished. I have not even tried publishing them as I don't think they are very good. At any rate they would need drastic revising! Five of them I wrote for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place each November. During National Novel Writing Month one must write a novel of at least 50,000 words in thirty days.
4. As you can probably guess from the above, I have written five novels each in under thirty days....
5. I live only about an hour to ninety minutes drive from the hometowns of Walt Disney (Marceleine, Mo), Steve McQueen (Slater, MO), and Lester Dent (La Plata, MO). I also live only about an hour away from Hannibal, MO, the hometown of Mark Twain, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Cliff Edwards. Sadly, the only famous person from my hometown is Civil War guerilla Bloody Bill Anderson.
6. I am 1/8 Cherokee through a great grandmother on my father's side.
7. I am very slightly ambidextrous. I can write with my left hand, although it isn't pretty and I get writer's cramp pretty quickly! That having been said, I favour my left hand for many things. I shoot a bow with my left hand, and I favour it when it comes to handguns as well. If I have to type with only one hand for some reason, it tends to be my left.
8. I can still wear clothes that I wore in my twenties.
9. At one time my brother and I had possibly the largest collection of vinyl records in the county.
10. I think most of my readers probably already know this, but I have a pronounced preference for brunettes. Except for Grace Kelly, Maureen O'Hara, and Veronica Lake, my favourite actresses all tend to be brunette: Vivien Leigh, Hedy Lamarr, Gene Tierney, Margaret Lockwood, Audrey Hepburn, Paulette Goddard, and so on.
11. I own several Region 2 DVDs and my computer is set to only play Region 2 DVDs. I did this so I can watch DVD sets of classic British TV series (like Adam Adamant Lives and Justice) that aren't available on Region 1 in the United States.
And now for my questions for those I am nominating for a Liebster Award:
1. What is your favourite British film (a film made in Britain, not about Britain but made elsewhere)?
2. Who is your favourite British actor or actress?
3. What is your favourite British TV series (again, a show made in Britain, not about Britain but made elsewhere)?
4. Who is your favourite British band?
5. If you could create a TV show based on any intellectual property (novel, movie, comic book, pulp magazine, et. al.), what would it be?
6. What is your favourite TV show that lasted a season or less?
7. What is the first movie you can ever remember watching all the way through?
8. Disney or the Fleischer brothers?
9. If you could put an end to any current trend in movies, what would it be?
10. What is your favourite movie romance and why?
11. Why did you start blogging?
And now for the nominees:
A Classic Movie Blog
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
Thanks to Steve and Jennifer for nominating me!