First, for Make Mine Criterion‘s questions.
1 – What do you pick up at the theatre’s concession stand before going in to see your movie?
I’m actually a follower of the Paleo Diet, so I’m not supposed to pick up anything…though if I’m in a cheating mood, usually I choose something involving chocolate.
2 – What upcoming release are you most excited about? Why?
I’m not sure if this counts, exactly, but I am very excited about TCM’s presentation of The King and I on the big screen August 28th and 31st. The King and I was specifically made to be seen on the big screen and to lure people away from their living room TVs. Can’t wait!
3 – What older film would you most like the opportunity to see on the big screen? Why?
That’s a difficult choice…Singin In the Rain, The Band Wagon…or maybe a silent film like The General with Buster Keaton…or any silent film, because I’ve always read that silent films, with the emphasis on the eyes (at least with the good actors) and face, were made to be larger than life. I sometimes wonder what seeing these films on a small computer does to one’s sense of proportion about acting and the impact motions and expressions have.
4 – What’s your favorite movie trailer?
I like trailers for silent movies, though they are usually modern trailers for DVD and Blu-ray releases. But I like them because they give me a sense of films that are often difficult for me to get my hands on. This modern trailer for a DVD release of Intolerance made me want to see a film that I had long dismissed in my mind as “probably long, ponderous and boring,” though it might partially have been the score by Carl Davis that changed my mind. Unfortunately, I was not able to see this particular release with the Carl Davis score, so I am actually very open to watching it again…with this score.
5 – What’s your favorite Christmas movie?
Remember the Night, with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. A lovely blend of screwball comedy, romance, drama and four-hanky-ness…or, in the words of screenwriter Preston Sturges, a little bit of “schmaltz, schmerz and schmutz.” It’s not a film I grew up with, but when I discovered it, it soon became my favorite.
6 – What era of cinema would you most like to have witnessed firsthand?
The silent era, because it’s the era most difficult to fully appreciate today. Most silent films are now lost and many that remain have deteriorated. If I lived in the silent era, I could have witnessed the rapid advances first hand and seen the films in all their original pristine glory.
7 – Who’s your favorite film critic?
I must admit to a relative ignorance of movie critics.
8 – What was your most recent film disappointment?
9 – What was your most recent film surprise?
Orphans of the Storm. After Birth of a Nation, I was a little wary, but I was completely drawn into the story, long as it was and melodramatic as it was. Griffith certainly knew how to manipulate emotions…and Lillian Gish held it all together.
10 – Which bear is best?
Panda bears, because they are adorable.
11 – And once again, if your life had narration, who would you want to provide it?
Barbara Stanwyck. I love her voice, not just the timbre of it, but also how vocally expressive she is.
And now for Little Bits of Classics‘ questions.
1 – Which five actors do you wish had played together in a movie once (it’s not a problem if they didn’t live at the same time)?
I keep a record of all the movies I watch, with pertinent information about director, costume designer, cinematographer, composer, cast – but I once accidentally lost a portion of my list. All I could remember was that it involved a lot of movies with John Barrymore, Mary Astor, Errol Flynn, and Humphrey Bogart. And then I thought it was a pity I didn’t see a movie with them together and I tried to devise a plot that could accommodate all four actors. If I could add one actor to the list…maybe Bette Davis. That might have been quite the film!
2 – Which movie do you think should never have made it into AFI’s top 100 list?
Toy Story…it’s a good film, but in the top AFI’s 100?
I read a book called Dancing to the Precipice about the true story of a woman – an aristocrat named Lucie de la Tour du Pin – who saw the French Revolution, fled to America (where she farmed), and then back to France and witnessed Napoleon. She met an extraordinary array of historical figures (including Napoleon) and always met life with determination. A biographical film would be an extraordinary epic.
4 – Which completed TV series do you wish had another season?
Pushing Daisies. I watched both seasons after they had come out, but it would have been lovely to have another season. They wrapped up so quickly and conveniently.
5 – How early do you start writing an entry for a blogathon?
Usually the night before, and then I finish it the morning of. Though I have been known to start a day before.
6 – Which movie star would you have liked to visit at his or her home?
Myrna Loy’s? I’ve read that she was such an incredibly nice person, it would be a pleasure to visit with her.
7 – What is the favorite movie of your parents?
They didn’t usually like the same kinds of movies, though on one of their first dates they saw Star Wars. My mom gravitated towards musicals and romantic adventures (and comedy) while my dad rarely ever watches a film more than once and leans more towards films of historic or cinematic interest.
8 – During which movie’s shooting would you have liked to be a fly on the wall?
Anything with Fred Astaire. It would be mesmerizing to watch him work on his dances.
9 – Is there an actor or an actress who you’ve seen in every single movie they’ve ever appeared in?
Not yet, though I am very close to seeing every film where Fred Astaire danced. I just need Finian’s Rainbow and Lets Dance.
10 – Whose Oscar ceremony speech is your favorite?
The only one I’ve heard is Bob Hope’s opening speech for the 1953 Oscars, which was the first televised Oscars. He begins around 2:28 on the video. He has quite a lot to say about the extreme newness of television, mentions the new phenomenon of 3D and eyes the table full of Oscar awards (“looks like Bette Davis’ garage”).
11 – Who did you receive your latest Liebster Award from?
My previous award came courtesy of The Cinematic Frontier.
My thanks again to Make Mine Criterion and Little Bits of Classics for the nomination and the great questions!