Saturday, April 17, 2010

Push the button, Marc

From the moment I joined the intarwebs commewnitty, I've been an easy mark (pun fully intended) for a good survey/questionnaire meme. And Dennis Cozzalio, proprietor of the excellent Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule blog, has apparently joined forces with other correspondents in the service of legendary scoundrel Professor Fate for a heavy duty spring movie quizz. As that Professor demands satisfaction, I offer rejoinder in the paraphrased words of that other great mad Professor, Julius Sumner Miller: This, flicks, is my business!

1) William Demarest or Broderick Crawford?

Amist all the over-the-top insanity of IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD, WORLD, one small moment of palpable hearbreak and audience sympathy occurs, and it's when William Demarest reluctantly proclaims, "Attention all units: arrest Captain Culpepper."

2) What movies improve when seen in a state of altered consciousness? (Patrick Robbins)

Well, I will admit that I was baked like Alaska when I watched last year's LAND OF THE LOST, and consequently gave it a three-star assessment.

3) Favorite studio or production company logo?

United Artists, post-Transamerica, 1981:

Many a night of falling asleep with the TV on was interrupted by this sneaky intro.

4) Celeste Holm or Joan Blondell?

"The cynicism you refer to, I acquired the day I discovered I was different from little boys!"

5) What is the most overrated "classic" film? (Tony Dayoub)

THE MATRIX. A movie that purports to take place in an environment where any and all things are possible, and the climactic battles are still fought with guns?

6) What movie do you know for sure you saw, but have no memory of seeing? (Patricia Yokoe Cozzalio)

Back in the glory days of pre-Fox network WXIX-19 in Cincinnati, there most have been dozens of afternoon movies that I watched with the faintest of attention. If I could summon up one, probably John Berry's CLAUDINE with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones; all I remember is the announcer's i.d. breaks during the broadcast.

7) Favorite Hammer Film?


8) Gregory Itzin or Joe Pantoliano?

Gotta have pants. Joey Pants!

9) Create a double feature with two different movies with the same title. No remakes. (Peter Nellhaus)

How about a triple feature of Paul Morrissey's HEAT (1972) with Joe Dallesandro, Dick Richards' HEAT (1986) with Burt Reynolds, and Michael Mann's HEAT (1985) with DeNiro and Pacino.

10) Akiko Wakabayashi or Mie Hama? (Ray Young)

Umm...Abraham Lincoln?

11) Can you think of a (non-porn) movie that informed you of the existence of a sexual act you had not known of prior? (Bob Westal)

I think I recognized Troy McClure's paraphilia in such movies as STROKER BASS and EVERYBODY'S FIN.

12) Can you think of a black & white movie that might actually improve if it was in color? (Patrick Robbins)

I recall seeing some bizarre colorized footage from Bunuel's UN CHIEN ANDALOU that was in keeping with the already dadaesque visuals; I would enjoy seeing the whole thing done up in similarly off-the-sprockets fashion.

13) Favorite Pedro Almodovar Film?

ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER. The apex of his gift for comedy, tragedy, colorful women, troubled men, and a world that can be painful, but ultimately works for the better.

14) Kurt Raab or Udo Kier?

Who da man? Udo man!

15) Worst main title song (Peter Nellhaus)

While Eric Serra's instrumental theme for LA FEMME NIKITA is awesome, whoever suggested that he and Luc Besson should add English lyrics to it for the closing credits ("The Dark Side of Time") should be buried in Row 34, Plot 12.

16) Last movie you saw in a theater? On DVD, Blu-ray or other interesting location/format?

Theatre: Robert Flaxman and Daniel Goldman's 1976 documentary A LABOR OF LOVE;
DVD: Michael Winner's PARTING SHOTS
VHS: Harvey Hart's THE PYX.

17) Favorite movie reference within a Woody Allen movie? (Larry Aydlette)

The constant allusions to THE SORROW AND THE PITY in ANNIE HALL. Reminds me of how my longtime roommate and I were almost forcing everyone we knew to watch HOOP DREAMS.

18) Mary Astor or Claudette Colbert?

Ask Roy Orbison.

19) Favorite trailer (provide YouTube link if possible)?

Jean-Luc Godard's CONTEMPT (LE MEPRIS):

Possibly the greatest trailer ever made.

20) Oddest double bill you either saw or saw listed in a theater

There was that Harlan Ellison-curated New Beverly double feature of Kurosawa's STRAY DOG with Cimino's THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT.

21) Favoite Phil Karlson film?

HORNETS' NEST. People are upset about one little girl wreaking mayhem in KICK-ASS? How about Rock Hudson teaching a whole village of orphans to kill?

22) Favorite “social problem” picture?

I suppose HOOP DREAMS, because it suggests without preaching that such problems, with steely determination, can be overcome.

23) Your favourite Harryhausen film/monster? (Ali Arikan)

My first striking Harryhausen memory is the snake woman from THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, but I think I'd have to go with THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, because as Ray Bradbury put it, he was really just a poor brute who fell in love with a foghorn.

24) What was the first movie you saw with your significant other? (Patrick Robbins)

I've been unattached for far too long; thanks for reminding me, Prof. ;(

25) John Payne or Ronald Reagan?


26) Movie you feel a certain pressure or obligation to see that you have not yet actually seen

There are so many gaps in my classics it's shameful. But I think the two that keep haunting me the most are SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

27) Favorite “psychedelic” movie (Hey, man, like, define it however you want, man…)

It's not a good movie in any way, but I'm fond of Robert Freeman's THE TOUCHABLES as psychedelia, because it does feel like the crew mixed up the wrong chemicals during a Harold sketch and put the whole thing on film. And really, being in a big bubble house as the captive of hot '60's chicks is awful groovy, man.

28) Thelma Ritter or Eve Arden?

"Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence."

29) Favorite iconic shot or image from a film?

Whether you believe like me that it is a grim reminder that when you leave a place of magic you can never return, or believe like others that it is a glimmer of hope, that solitary ringing in that lonely phone box at the end of LOCAL HERO gets me every time.

30) What is the movie that inspired the most memorable argument you ever had about a movie?

My longest relationship was marred when she insisted on turning off LOCAL HERO an hour in because she was bored. I did not take that appraisal very well. Not the primary reason that the relationship didn't work out, but it was a contributing factor.

31) Raquel Torres or Lupe Velez?

You know what? Lina Romay makes me happy.

32) Favorite adaptation of Shakespeare to a film?

Kenneth Branagh's HAMLET, the GONE WITH THE WIND of Shakespeare adaptations. It seems almost every previous film of HAMLET felt locked into the dialogue scenes, but Branagh understood that a movie can show anything it wants. So in a brilliant stroke, he presents every line of the play while depicting details barely hinted at - Hamlet and Ophelia in passionate privacy, Fortinbras plotting his return to the throne, the size of the armies, etc - and does it in gleaming bright 70mm. The staging of the "My thoughts be bloody" monologue manages to even upstage "To be or not to be" as the best speech in the play, and is as perfect an emotional harbinger and intermission marker as Scarlett O'Hara's "I shall never go hungry again!" What is arguably the greatest English-language play was long overdue for this epic film treatment.

33) Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (in 3D)-- yes or no?

YES! It still galls me that I missed it in childhood and had to wait until my 30's to see it in all it's organ-hovering glory.

34) Favorite movie rating?

I stand with Strong Bad in my love of the ultra-rare triple-R rating.

Which reminds me, I know Don May at Synapse Films reads this blog, so hey man, why haven't you licensed WOMEN'S PENITENTIARY BAKESALE NIGHTMARE yet???

35) Olivia Barash or Joyce Hyser?

Any woman who can make herself so mannish as to inspire babydyke fantasies for two generations, and both bag and dump Warren Beatty, has got a gift. Joyce Hyser for the win.

36) What was the movie that convinced you your favorite movie genre was your favorite movie genre?

Probably that first time I saw IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD on CBS, New Year's Eve, with my parents. My childhood head recalls them saying how they'd seen it in New York City during their short sojourn living there before I was born. Watching them still laughing at it, and how many times I was laughing at it, convinced me that comedy was the greatest thing ever.

37) Favorite Blake Edwards movie?



  1. 29) Just seeing that image again, and even completely out of context, gave me chills. That town seemed, while watching Local Hero, like the most perfect place on Earth, and in remembering it it still does. As for its director, here's a pretty good answer to the oft-asked question "What ever happened to Bill Forsyth?"

    Thanks for the great answers, Marc!

  2. Thanks for the heads-up on HORNET'S NEST! I am Karlson fan, but had never seen this one and will be tracking it down now. That almost PRETTY MAIDS-era Rock Hudson is usually entertaining.