Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Time Again for Autumn Leaves and a Movie Quiz

Among his regular readers, blogger Dennis Cozzalio (he of the wonderfully titled Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule site… and that’s not him pictured above, btw) is well-regarded for his in-depth film knowledge and the thoughtful essays he gladly shares. The L.A.-stationed Mr. Cozzalio remains one of my long-time reads for the moving picture. But beyond that, his semi-regular movie quizzes remain the stuff of legend. For October and the Autumn, he’s teed up another:

PROFESSOR ARTHUR CHIPPING’S MADDENINGLY DETAILED, PURPOSEFULLY VAGUE, FITFULLY OUT-OF-FOCUS BACK TO SCHOOL MOVIE QUIZ

Personally, I regard these as interview questions. But, that’s me. Anyone interested in film is invited to take part. You can paste the questions and craft your answers into Google’s sometime temperamental Blogger comment system in Dennis’ post. Been there, done that (thank you very much). Or, do as I’ve learned to do: post your answers on your own blog (if you have one) and leave a comment on his post with a link back to your answers. As Dennis encourages:

“Unlike the last two quizzes, there is no overriding theme, just a series of posers intended to stimulate your thinking and sate your appetite for entertainment. But the learned professor would like to emphasize, by way of the customary preamble to all SLIFR quizzes, that in posting your answers you be as elaborate and loquacious in your responses as possible, all the better for the reader who is ready to indulge in them.”

So, on to the subject at hand:


1) What is the biggest issue for you in the digital vs. film debate?

My issue is with the studios’ conviction digital is as much of an improvement as they believe (hence their primary reason for abandoning 35mm film). Many point to the permanence in the signals of 0s and 1s, and that is yet to be proven over time. It’s the gist of my article in support of keeping 35mm around, at least for older films and in step with revival theaters like the New Beverly Cinema that wish to continue to project them.

2) Without more than one minute’s consideration, name three great faces from the movies

For those who don’t recognize them, from left to right: Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Linda Darnell.

3) The movie you think could be interesting if remade as a movie musical

They already did it. I always thought there was music gold in Re-Animator!

4) The last movie you saw theatrically/on DVD, Blu-ray, streaming

In theaters: Looper
Blu-ray: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
DVD: Razorback
Streaming: Let The Right One In

5) Favorite movie about work

6) The movie you loved as a child that did not hold up when seen through adult eyes

Oh, I don’t know. But, it was probably a Jerry Lewis movie.

7) Favorite “road” movie

8) Does Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention change or confirm your perspective on him as a filmmaker/movie icon? Is that appearance relevant to his legacy as a filmmaker?

About as much as John Wayne’s politics affected me. That is to say, none. Neither of their views are mine, but I judge their work in film on the criteria of what I’ve come to think of cinema. Politics is a science and film is an art. I can watch Wayne’s and Eastwood’s films all day, even if I vehemently disagree with them on their political stances.

9) Longest-lasting movie or movie-related obsession

Actually going to a movie theater. Even with the offerings of home theater setups, high-definition picture, and extras like director commentary and behind the scenes features available on disc, nothing replaces being in a darkened hall with a bunch of strangers to watch a movie together. The communal experience, no matter that it doesn’t last beyond the 90 minutes to three plus hours it takes for the film to be projected, the act of being at the altar of cinema, remains the same singular special obsession I acquired as a child (going on fifty-something years now). And if it happens to be in a movie palace with at least that many years under its belt, well, that’s icing on the cake.

10) Favorite artifact of movie exploitation

The oh so glorious movie soundtracks.

11) Have you ever fallen asleep in a movie theater? If so, when and why?

A week ago last Sunday. Can you blame me, it was Hotel Transylvania for crying out. I only went to take my daughter to see it. God, that was awful!

12) Favorite performance by an athlete in a movie

That would be the ex-baseball and basketball pro Chuck Connors and his performance in William Wyler’s The Big Country, as I explained here.

13) Second favorite Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie

Sorry, I’m seen not a one of his.

14) Favorite film of 1931

Frankenstein, as directed by James Whale

15) Second favorite Raoul Walsh movie

Objective, Burma!White Heat would be first.

16) Favorite film of 1951

17) Second favorite Wong Kar-wai movie

Chungking ExpressIn the Mood for Love would be first (the only two of his I’ve ever seen).

18) Favorite film of 1971

19) Second favorite Henri-Georges Clouzot movie

The Wages of Fear; Diabolique would be first (again, the only two I’ve ever seen).

20) Favorite film of 1991

It’s a tie:

21) Second favorite John Sturges movie

The Magnificent SevenThe Great Escape would be first.

22) Favorite celebrity biopic

That would be Spike Lee’s Malcolm X:

23) Name a good script idea which was let down either by the director or circumstances of production

Cowboys & Aliens

24) Heaven’s Gate– yes or no?

Ah, not really. I’ve seen two different cuts through the years (on cable and VHS, I think) and liked neither one. Only if a friend would offer to lend me their copy of the new Criterion Collection edition to come, I’d think to see it again… maybe. Are you loaning, Dennis?

25) Favorite pairing of movie sex symbols

Would Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in Charade count?

26) One word that you could say which would instantly evoke images and memories of your favorite movie. (Naming the movie is optional—might be more fun to see if we can guess what it is from the word itself)

Rick’s

27) Name one moment which to you demarcates a significant change, for better or worse, on the landscape of the movies over the last 20 years.

Would Twilight count for worse?

28) Favorite pre-Code talkie

We’re back to this again:

29) Oldest film in your personal collection (Thanks, Peter Nellhaus)

See above.

30) Longest film in your personal collection. (Thanks, Brian Darr)

Would Lord of the Rings count as one really, really long movie (especially with those freakin’ Extended Editions)? No? Okay, then it’s Oliver Stone’s director cut of JFK (at 216 minutes).

Note: this will change when the Blu-ray of Lawrence of Arabia comes out next month (which will clock in at 227 minutes)

31) Have your movie collection habits changed in the past 10 years? If so, how?

Only the fact I collect more of them now (to my wife’s consternation).

32) Wackiest, most unlikely “directed by” credit you can name

It’s likely not what you’d define as ‘wacky’, but my unexpectedly favorite remains Sam Peckinpah’s director’s title on the film below, which arrives on William Holden’s immortal words at the end of this sequence:

33) Best documentary you’ve seen in 2012 (made in 2012 or any other year)

The Flaw (2011)

34) What’s your favorite “(this star) was almost cast in (this movie)” anecdote?

As my colleague Kevin (aka Jack Deth) only recently reminded me:

“… Hollywood originally wanted Marlon Brando and Jack Lemmon to play Butch and Sundance.”

35) Program three nights of double bills at a revival theater that might best illuminate your love of the movies

For Friday, it’s Westerns:

On Saturday, let’s go Epic:

For Sunday, finish with a Sun-baked Noir triple-feature (hey, it’ll still be shorter than Saturday’s run):

36) You have been granted permission to invite any three people, alive or dead, to your house to watch the Oscars. Who are they?

Cary Grant, Peter O’Toole, and Barbara Stanwyck

37) Favorite Mr. Chips. (Careful…)

Well, that would be the gentleman in the lead image for this post, Robert Donat.

23 Responses to “Time Again for Autumn Leaves and a Movie Quiz”

  1. Eric

    Love these quizzes, Michael, and really enjoyed reading your answers. Count me in for that Sunday triple feature — haven’t seen any of them, but definitely interested in all three!

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      These are fun to do (though do represent a fair bit of homework). Ever think of joining in, Eric? You’d certainly have me eagerly reading your answers. Many thanks for the kind words, my friend.

      Reply
  2. Morgan R. Lewis

    A lot of interesting answers, Michael. Though I do feel obliged to say (as a programmer) that the permanence of 1s and 0s was proven before Hollywood ever thought of shooting digitally (indeed, if it weren’t, movies would be the least of our worries). Media — film, DVDs, and so forth — can degrade, but as long as the data isn’t corrupted by damage it can be copied perfectly, losslessly, an infinite number of times. That’s the advantage it has over film, where each copy is slightly inferior to the source, and copying a copy is a little more inferior yet. Digitally, there’s no difference between the master and the millionth copy.

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Great to have your thoughts on this issue, Morgan. Especially, as a programmer. It’s a thoughtful comment and I hope to respond in kind. I freely admit my work on the IT support/user experience side weighs on my opinion and the hesitancy I have with digital as the grand solution on this front. Digital, as a whole, is not my villain on this topic. Though, I think studios (the same ones who let miles of film degrade because they didn’t give a damn beyond the bottom-line) could fit that role. All of this is still in its youth.

      “Media — film, DVDs, and so forth — can degrade, but as long as the data isn’t corrupted by damage it can be copied perfectly, losslessly, an infinite number of times. That’s the advantage it has over film, where each copy is slightly inferior to the source, and copying a copy is a little more inferior yet. Digitally, there’s no difference between the master and the millionth copy.”

      I don’t disagree on this fundamentally, but experience tells me when the rubber (hardware and software) hits the road, on the deployment user-side of things, and over the course of years, terms like “perfectly”, “losslessly”, and “infinitely” aren’t terms thrown about by those who have to support and live with it.

      Please don’t get me wrong, modern technology works quite well, and to a high degree of efficiency (one not seen in the analog world). Of course, that is until it doesn’t. “Redundancy”, “back-up”, and verifying the “validity” of backups are those that get tossed about in my sphere. Though, I grant you, the file systems I work with likely aren’t those that studios would rely upon. So, the apple and oranges argument in this case, and of my opinion, is not to be dismissed. Yet, I recommend reading sinaphile‘s answer to this same question that was part of his comment in Dennis’ post (it’s the second one). His thoughts, as a film archivist-in-training, frame this better than I ever could. Film preservation is a fascinating subject, and certainly cinema is obviously an art worth protecting.

      As always, thank you for reading and offering your thoughts on whatever I write, in general, and this subject, in particular. With respect.

      Reply
      • Morgan R. Lewis

        It’s true that errors can creep in with digital copies, though this is due to flawed hardware (or occasionally software). Still, I think that from a preservation standpoint, I’d prefer to use a format that can theoretically be replicated without error as opposed to one that can’t even in theory — especially as anything that can damage permanent digital storage (not counting magnet-vulnerable drives here as those shouldn’t be used for preservation anyway) can just as easily damage film.

        Definitely right about the importance of redundancy, back-ups, and verifying the validity, though, especially in the presence of human error. That’s something that people on both sides of the film/digital debate should agree on — there’s no excuse for the master being lost or damaged through carelessness, with no way to recover.

        Reply
        • le0pard13

          I think we’re in sync, for the most part, on this in the context of film preservation. The factors of hardware, software, and the human component will always be in play in this triumvirate, too. It’s were my wariness lies. I agree film, with dust, decay, changes of color, etc. as its prime scourges, remains a fragile medium. Then again, with proper care and preservation, film from the 1920s, 30s and on has been successfully conserved, like in the National Registry, into the second decade of the 21st century. That’s still a remarkable record, especially given the brevity of human life. And when digital storage of the moving picture meets (and hopefully exceeds) that mark, I’ll gladly eat my words ;-). I just want to see it done, and that will take more time to take care of my doubts at the moment. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, for my children and future ancestors, to enjoy this art form (and not lament on what the previous generation lost or squandered). Many thanks, Morgan.

          Reply
  3. mummbles

    I had a great time reading your answers, you cant tell you have a great love for all thing movies! Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  4. Mark Walker

    Some great answers here Michael. I particulary like that your favourite road movie is Midnight Run. I love that movie.
    I’m surprised to hear that Eastwood is a republican. Unlike yourself though, I find it hard to ignore the politics of the person. That’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t really take to John Wayne. I recently found out the same about Bruce Willis and now Eastwood? Call me a lefty but politics jaw always been important to me. I do my best to judge on the artform bug have to admit it’s hard.

    Quick question: As a fan of Westerns Michael, have you seen the tv miniseries Lonesome Dove? If so, what’s your thoughts?

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      I think Eastwood considers himself a Libertarian, but he does seem to hang out with Republicans. I certainly understand your point, and passion, on this subject, Mark. My views are quite contrary to Clint and Bruce Willis, too.

      I happen to love that miniseries. It was the initially release of Lonesome Dove that caused me to go read McMurtry’s novel series. I’ve since collected all of the TV adaptations.

      Thanks so much for the comment, my friend.

      Reply
      • Mark Walker

        Obviously from my neck of the woods it’s between Labour and Conservative (Tory) but if I ever become a Tory in my life, I have lost my soul. I follow American politics to an extent and I still find myself angered.

        As for McMurtry, After Lonesome Dove I too went through his books. I absolutely love the adventures of Gus and Call. Dead Man’s Walk was simply superb and to follow that up with Commache Moon was a thing of genius – then of course Lonesome Dove but I wasn’t keen on The Streets of Laredo. I couldn’t get into that at all. All being said, how good are “Buffalo Hump” and his son “Blue Duck” as villains?

        So glad to speak to fellow fan Michael. You’re a man after my own heart. :-)

        Reply
        • le0pard13

          The polarization of American politics has gotten far too extreme. Once, we could disagree, but still govern. Now, it’s to the point few things get addressed. And, it’s due, IMO, to a large degree with the obscene amount of corporate money thrown in the mix to push agendas. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

          We’re very close on the books, Mark. I understand your thinking on Streets of Laredo. I like its TV adaptation more, but that’s primarily for James Garner. I remain a big fan of his, and if Woodrow Call couldn’t be with Tommy Lee Jones, then I was more than happy it was Garner picking up the reins.

          “Buffalo Hump” and his son “Blue Duck” as villains were simply splendid. I admire McMurtry’s treatment of the Comanches in the books. Enough that I would highly recommend the volume ‘Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History’ by S. C. Gwynne. It may be non-fiction, but the history of this tribe is quite stirring.

          Great to converse on this, Mark. Many thanks.

          Reply
          • Mark Walker

            Excellent Michael. I’ll look into that book. I’ve read many on different tribes and Native American culture. I find it fascinating. As for the tv series’. I Loved Lonesome Dove but the others were a little tame in comparison and didn’t do the books justice. Still, any adventure with Gus and Call is worth being on. Do you know that I’ve only came across 4 people in my life that have read the books and you’re one of them. A pleasure as always.

          • le0pard13

            Oh, good. I think, given your readings, you’d find Gwynne’s outlook and conclusions on the Comanche absorbing. Thanks, Mark.

  5. Marianne

    As always, your posts make me think and make me want to stay up watching movies. But I think I would need longer than one dinner with Cary Grant and Peter O-Toole to hear all of the stories.

    Reply
  6. ruth

    I really enjoy reading your answers Michael! Some of them I sort of knew already as I’ve gotten to know you quite a bit :) I might decide to give this a shot myself though some of the questions flew right past me, ahah. I LOVE Question #36, that’s like the ultimate fantasy!! :)

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Great to find another fan of Robert Wise’s ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’. That one never gets old. Thank you very much, T.

      Reply

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