Amanda’s Classic Cinema Survey, a la Casey

Amanda at Noodle in a Haystack has come up with this fabulous classic film survey that I simply must participate in. I’ve been truly enjoying reading all the responses from the classic film bloggers, so I’m going to jump in with my answers. Oh, and I’m adding photos for your viewing pleasure (an idea I’m borrowing from Kate!).

1. What is your all-time favorite Clark Gable movie?

China Seas (1935) with Jean Harlow. It was nearly a tie with Idiot’s Delight (1939), but China Seas wins because of all the terrific digs and jabs in the dialogue.

2. Do you like Joan Crawford best as a comedienne or a drama-queen?
Oh, drama queen – definitely. I don’t appreciate her comedic efforts. And don’t even get me started on her dancing… Some my favorite drama-Joan films are The Women, Grand Hotel, Susan and God, A Woman’s Face, When Ladies Meet, Above Suspicion and Mildred Pierce.

3. In your opinion, should Ginger Rogers have made more musicals post-Fred Astaire?
No, I don’t think so. The Fred and Ginger teaming was a very special match made in heaven. I think if Ginger had gone on to star in more musicals after Fred, it never would have worked out as well and now, we would all be mad she wasted her time on it. Just think of all the quality comedic and dramatic films she made after her time with Fred: Vivacious Lady, Having Wonderful Time (if Millie can place James Dean where ever she wants, I can capitalize on Doug Jr, too!), Stage Door, Primrose Path, The Major and the Minor, Weekend at the Waldorf, Kitty Foyle, Roxie Hart, etc… I’d rather have these gems than other musical films pairing Ginger with new leading men who could never compare with Fred.

4. I promise not to cause you bodily (or any other serious) harm if you don’t agree with me on this one. So please be honest: do you like Elizabeth Taylor? Hm?
Poor Liz. She is constantly the subject of controversy! I do like her, but with reservations. I’ve seen almost all the films she made between 1943 and 1954, plus some of the later ones like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer and Butterfield 8. I’ve found that I enjoy her earlier films much more than the later ones (the films made after 1960 I totally refuse to watch on several grounds, one of which is Richard Burton). I enjoy her performances in all of the films I’ve seen her in, but she was not the drawing star for me. For example, I didn’t watch Julia Misbehaves because it was a Liz Taylor film. So, she was just additional happiness in a film I was already enjoying.

5. Who is your favorite offscreen Hollywood couple?
Douglas Fairbanks Jr & Wife MaryDouglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Mary Lee Eppling

6. How about onscreen Hollywood couple?
Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon
7. Favorite Jean Arthur movie?
Mr Smith Goes to WashingtonMr. Smith Goes To Washington
Hey Millie – Jimmy Stewart is good sometimes! ;)
8. What was the first Gregory Peck movie you saw?
It’s hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure it was The Paradine Case with Alida Valli. The Paradine Case is the earliest memory I have of classic film, so I guess that makes it the first one I ever watched!

9. What film made you fall in love with Alfred Hitchcock? (And for those of you that say, “I don’t like Hitchcock” — what is wrong with you?!)

Either The Birds or Dial M For Murder. I think The Birds is the first Hitch I ever saw. My parents were on a Blockbuster renting kick for a little while and we rented it from there. I was about 6 years old and it terrified me to no end!

I also have early memories of Dial M For Murder. Fuzzy images of a key under a mat, Grace Kelly clipping articles from newspapers and a very excited Robert Cummings.
Both are superb films suitable for sparking a Hitch habit. And by the way, if you call yourself a classic film fan and have not contracted the Hitch habit, you need to enroll yourself in Hitch School, asap!
10. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption? At the moment, it’s The Fountainhead starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. I’ll be reading the book it’s based on soon, so this is subject to change, depending on how faithful the film is to the book.

11. Do you prefer Shirley Temple as a little girl or as a teenager?
Though I love Shirley in general, I prefer her when she was a teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against her in the child roles. It’s just that I spent a great deal of my own pre-teen and teenage years watching Shirley and Jane Powell when they were that age and the fond memories linger on.
12. Favorite character actor?
Just like all those who have responded to this survey before me, I’m having a really hard time picking just 1! Here’s a few that always put a smile on my face when their names pop up in the credits: Guy Kibbee, Eugene Pallette, Mildred Natwick, Barry Fitzgerald, Edna May Oliver, Eric Blore, Erik Rhodes, Edward Everett Horton and Alice Brady. I could write an entire post with nothing but the names of character actors I adore!
13. Favorite Barbara Stanwyck role?
Christmas In Connecticut - cast shot
Christmas In Connecticut with Dennis Morgan. It was quite a fight between this one and Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity, Clash By Night & The Mad Miss Manton.
14. Who is your favorite of Cary Grant’s leading ladies?
Jean Harlow in Suzy (1936).

15. Bette Davis or Joan Crawford?
Bette Davis!
16. What actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?
Ronald Reagan, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, Robert Sterling, Dick Powell, Frank McHugh, Glenda Farrell, Claire Trevor, Audrey Totter, Billie Burke, Frank Morgan. Just to name a few.

17. What actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?
Randolph ScottRuth Roman
Oh dear – what a can of worms this question is! But I’ve never been one to avoid opening a can of worms! Hmm, let’s see… Donna Reed (aka “The Most Annoying Whisperer of All Time!”), Randolph Scott (I love watching Follow The Fleet because Fred & Ginger get top billing over him after he outbilled them in Roberta), Rod Steiger (just a thoroughly unlikable person, especially in Oklahoma!), Robert Young (*yawn* aka Mr. Boring), John Garfield (makes my skin crawl), Ruth Roman (“The Second Most Annoying Whisperer of All Time!” She’s really annoying in Strangers On A Train). These are just the top 6, I have others but I won’t bore you.

18. Do you watch movies made pre-1980 exclusively, or do you spice up your viewing-fare with newer films?
I mainly stick with films made pre-1960, actually. Although I do begrudgingly see modern films. Whenever I do, it is almost always a disappointment and merely serves to reinforce my belief that films made before 1960 are the best ever. I recently saw Up, and was pleasantly surprised by the touching story. But a case like that is few and far between.

19. Is there an actor/actress who you have seen in a film and immediately loved? If so, who?
One For The Book - Ronald Regan & Eleanor ParkerRonald Reagan in One for the Book with Eleanor Parker. I’d seen films with Ronnie before that, but One for the Book made me fall in love with him and I’m sure I’ll never get over it!

20. Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire?
Absolutely, positively, Fred Astaire. No hesitation whatsoever.
21. Favorite Ginger Rogers drama?
Kitty Foyle with Dennis Morgan and James Craig

22. If you wrote a screenplay, who would be in your dream cast and what roles would they play? (Mixing actors and actresses from different generations is allowed: any person from any point in their career.)

Will you be very angry with me if I beg to save this question? I’ve planned a whole post that feeds into this idea, so I’ll reveal it then, okay? (oh and yes, I realized I just answered a question with 2 more questions. Isn’t blogging wonderful? ;) )

23. Favorite actress?

Ooh. Very tough! All right… I’ll make the hard choice: Hedy Lamarr.

25. Favorite actor?

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (20)Everyone probably knows it by now, but I’ll take any opportunity to advocate for my beloved Douglas Fairbanks, Jr!

26. And now, the last question. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:
Love Letters '45
Drama: Love Letters (1945) with Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten (I can never decide exactly what genre this does fall under, since it’s a cross between Drama, Mystery/Suspense  and Romance.)
Romance: The Quiet Man (1952) with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers cast
Musical: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) with Jane Powell and Howard Keel (My favorite brother is Benjamin, aka Jeff Richards, who ends up with Julie Newmar. I’ve watched SBfSB a couple times just to find him in every scene. These JR viewings are in addition to the 20 or so times I’ve seen SBfSB anyway.)

Comedy: The Women (1939) with Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford – the above photo is a huge tribute to the talent of the three ladies, they look so happy! Sadly, the truth is the set of The Women was notoriously clouded with jealousy and star rivalry.

Western: Stagecoach (1939) with John Wayne and Claire Trevor – I like to think of it as Grand Hotel in a western setting. Isn’t that a marvelous photo?!

Hitchcock (he has a genre all to himself): The 39 Steps (1935) with Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll, even though Madeline Carroll makes me mad. I mean, seriously girls, who wouldn’t want to be handcuffed to Robert Donat?

Suspense/Mystery (I’m adding this one so I can include a Noir film): Laura (1944) with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney (If you’ve never read the book by Vera Caspary, you have no idea what you’re missing!)
All right, there it is, all photoed and everything! A big thanks to Amanda for creating this survey – it was lots of fun coming up with the answers! And, dear reader, if you haven’t written up your own answers, what are you waiting for?


Filed under Film Bloggers, Tags & Awards

20 responses to “Amanda’s Classic Cinema Survey, a la Casey

  1. Oh my gosh– Donna Reed IS a whisperer. It’s so annoying! Last month they seemed to have two Donna Reed marathons on TCM, and I noticed her strange way of talking. Rod Steiger, too! He was so annoying in Dr. Zhivago, I wanted his character to just die off or something.

    And I think Christmas in Connecticut ties with the two movies I listed in my answers for best Stany movie! I totally forgot about that one, but I ADORE it!!

    And Yay for DFJ :D

  2. Ahh! How did I forget CIC? That one’s even better than Ball of Fire!

    I’m so with you on those over-rated actors! In fact, I would have included Randolph Scott, but I didn’t think enough people liked him, for him to be considered overrated! ;-D

    Benjamin? Really? He’s actually my least favorite brother! Besides Adam and Gideon (who everyone loves) my favorite brother is Ephraim (and his energetic ballet dancing).

    Hahaha, I know about 39 Steps! I was watching it (for the thousandth time) with my littlest brother during Hitchcock’s Birthday Bash, and loudly proclaimed, “How can she not trust him? He has an honest face!” Hahaha…and then when he escapes from the farmer I was like, “See, she trusts him! She knows he has an honest face.”

    However, my ten-year-old brother just didn’t understand and looked at me like I was a complete idiot!

    Oh, gosh! Laura’s AMAZING!

    Great post and great answers, Millie!

  3. Gads, I think I must be the only one who has chosen Gene over Fred so far! I have to say I love Christmas in Connecticut. I think it is an underrated film! I do have to take issue with Randolph Scott being overrated. At least in his Westerns he did show some acting chops!

  4. Kate– I’m so glad you agree with my dislike for Donna! I couldn’t believe those Donna Reed marathons! One was for her birthday, but I couldn’t figure out the other for the life of me. Ugh!

    Oh yes! CIC is amazing. I don’t think there is a single imperfection in the whole film!

    And thank you very much for the DFJ enthusiasm. :)

    Millie– Aww, I can’t believe you don’t like Benjamin! He’s the hunkiest brother of them all! My least favorite is Adam. Howard Keel is always much too believable when he’s mean.

    I love that story about 39 Steps! My brother doesn’t understand my film philosophy, either. I get those crazy looks, too. ;) Although, he always loves to point out the inaccuracies of gangster gun battles, so I guess we’re even. It’s a good thing I have my mom to watch films with – she always understands!

    Mercurie– I don’t think you’re alone in Gene admiration. Nicole picked him, too!

    Christmas in Connecticut is underrated! It’s A Wonderful Life usually steals the spotlight for best classic Christmas film, but CIC is better, if you ask me.

    Yes, I suppose ole Randy did do pretty good with the westerns. As a romantic lead, though he wasn’t much to write home about. Speaking as a girl, he’s not the guy you hope the heroine ends up with in the end!

  5. Ugh! Benjamin’s just plain annoying!

    Aww, I love Howard Keel! He’s probably my favorite musical actor ever!

    ROFL! “The inaccuracies of gangster gun battles”? Sounds fascinating!

  6. Off-topic very slightly: interested to see you like The Fountainhead. I’m a huge King Vidor fan and I found the film very impressive, powerful, moving, etc. But I’m just wondering what your view is on the Cooper character’s central philosophy? I mean, his whole conception of architecture – the public are too stupid to know what’s good for them, thinking they want classical aesthetics when really they want ugly modernist boxes – is totally arrogant and wrong, isn’t it? And the film was basically endorsing him, wasn’t it?
    Or do you think I’ve misunderstood it and/or him? You being a designy sort of person, I’m sure you’ll have some interesting thoughts on this…

  7. Millie, Benjamin has always been my favorite of the brothers, too! And you’re right, he is quite a hunk, which was probably the first thing that attracted me to him – when I was three years old! I also love Dorcas (Julie Newmar), so I guess that makes them my favorite couple in SBforSB, but Millie is my favorite character.

    Speaking of a Millie… you don’t like Benjamin? How sad! Adam, Ephraim and Gideon are great too, though, so I won’t blame you TOO much – they’re all pretty wonderful. : )

  8. P.S. Happy birthday, Casey!

    P.P.S. Whoops! I just realized that I addressed the first part of my previous post to Millie – it’s meant for Casey!

  9. Tom

    I loved reading your answers to this survey. Most people I know who have taken this survey have said they preferred Shirley Temple’s movies from the 30s. Your answer was really interesting! I’d forgotten how many good movies she made in the 40s, and love that photo!

  10. Millie– Oh, Benjamin’s not annoying! ;) And yes, my brother is a guest lecturer on the topic of classic 30’s gangster gun battles and everything the actors are doing wrong when they handle the guns. I’m trying to persuade him to start his own blog and share these insights with everyone else. It’s really quite fascinating! :D

    Matthew– I love talking about The Fountainhead and Ayn Rand, so you may get more than you bargained for with your questions. ;) First, have you read any of Ayn Rand’s works? The Fountainhead is steeped in her philosophies and it makes much more sense when you understand them. I look at Cooper’s character’s philosophy of architecture as more of a rebellion against the establishment rather than trying to tell people what to do. The established way of designing that Cooper so vehemently abhors is created by people who have no talent, people who are merely copying accepted forms of architecture and meshing them together instead of coming up with their own ideas. (Much like modern Hollywood is doing right now with their films…) The “establishment” rejects Cooper’s designs mostly because they know the designs have merit and will knock the ruling elite from their positions of power. I would say, yes the film does endorse Cooper and his philosophies. But, I think the film is not so much an endorsement of modern architecture as it is a statement against suppression of creative freedoms. (Truth told, the modern architecture doesn’t appeal to me much, either. I think it’s just the vehicle Ayn Rand used to make her points.) You’ve kind of preempted me on this debate, because I want to explore these ideas in a new series of posts coming up soon.

    And hey- thank you very much for the Ronnie birthday card! I’ve printed it out and have it hanging on my bulletin board. I love seeing his smiling face each time I look up. :)

    Amanda– Yay for a Benji supporter! I also loved Benji with my first viewing of SBfSB. Dorcas and Benji are my favorite couple out of the bunch, too. The Jane Powell character isn’t to be beat though, you’re right. Did you know that when Walter Plunkett designed those amazing patchwork dresses for Jane, he sent people out to antique shops to buy handmade quilts and used those as the fabric? I’ve always wanted to do that too, but somehow I can’t bear the thought of destroying some lady’s handmade quilt.

    Thank you very much for the birthday wishes! :D

    Tom– Thank you for visiting! I’m glad you enjoyed my answers. Shirley’s work in the 1940’s almost qualifies her as an underrated actress, if you ask me. She was amazingly compelling and a joy to watch when she got older. I think even more so than when she was a child. So, I’m happy to have the chance to shine some spotlight on that!

  11. Casey, oh, yes! Those dresses are so amazing – and it really makes sense too! The pioneer women had to make do with what they had and, as was the case in SBfSB, they couldn’t always get into town to buy fabric for ALL the dresses that were needed (think about it, seven women and only Millie’s wardrobe to wear? impossible! she didn’t have that many clothes!). Using quilts was an ingenious idea on Plunkett’s part because they’re not only colorful and fun, but practical too for the situation! I just love those quilt-dresses – they always make me think of my grandmother and great-grandmothers’ patchwork quilts!

    I hope you have a great birthday and enjoy every minute of it!

  12. Loved reading your opinion…but you don’t like Richard Burton. :( That makes me very sad. Of course everyone loves Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Taming of the Shrew is really nice. But oh well.

    Happy Birthday.

  13. Amanda– I always wonder where all the clothes for the brides came from! Millie had almost nothing with her when she moved into the cabin. I never thought that the quilt solution is what actually would have been used to give the girls something to wear, but you are absolutely right! The quilt dresses make me think of my aunts, who made all the quilts we have. I just love the tradition behind quilts. So much lovely thought and care goes into each one!

    E.E.– Thanks for commenting! I am sorry to disappoint with my views on Richard Burton. I’m sure this will only make you sadder, but I’ve never seen Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I have seen The Night of the Iguana, in which Burton is very good, I must admit. He’s just not my cup of tea, I guess. Anyway, thank you for the birthday wishes!

  14. It’s been a lot of fun reading everybody’s answers to these questions. Dorcas was always my favorite of the girls, so I couldn’t help but like Benjamin too. But Adam’s my favorite.

    And a belated Happy Birthday to you! Hope it was a great one!

  15. Mel

    I had so much fun reading your answers, and I totally agree with a bunch of them (the Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson question), and I cannot stand Randolph Scott! I never occurred to me that he got billing over Fred and Ginger in Roberta…ugh I’m disgusted.

  16. Deborah– Dorcas is my favorite of the girls, too! I guess I’m just prejudiced against Howard Keel after reading his autobiography. It wasn’t very pleasant. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!

    Mel– Thank you for commenting! Haha, I’m glad to have another supporter in Randy dislike. ;) The billing situation is all I ever think about when I watch Roberta. It burns me up. I’m heading over to your blog now…it looks amazing!

  17. JF

    I completely disagree that Donna Reed is overrated. If anything, she is vastly underrated. She had a lovely voice and perfect enunciation when it was called for. Who the heck is Amanda?

  18. JF– Thank you for commenting. I’m glad to hear you like Donna Reed. She has a large body of work for her fans to enjoy. Best wishes in watching, Casey

  19. mbizy2

    Have you seen Bachelor Mother? Second fav Ginger Rogers comedy ever! So good! David Niven in adorable!

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