Monday, February 6, 2012

One More Classic Film Survey Never Hurt Nobody

Thank Internet for fellow bloggers who pull you out of writer's block with their addictive surveys. This one is brought to you by the lovely Rianna at Frankly, My Dear. I was going to post this before the weekend, but then moving and superbowling and sleeping happened instead. So nothin' like a Monday afternoon meme, amiright?

1. Favorite classic Disney?
Jungle Book counts as classic, right? 1967 isn't pushing it, is it? Art, story, characters, songs--Disney at its best and most frankly fun. I want to join Colonel Hahti's regiment.

Imperialism is fun when it's represented by elephants!

Runners-up are Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty. Dogs eating spaghetti and dresses changing colors from blue to pink are some of my favorite things.

2. Favorite film from the year 1939?
Man, to be different I really want to put At the Circus, but it's been so long since I've seen that one I can't remember much about it! Wait, was that the one with Lydia the Tattooed Lady?

...Checking YouTube....

Yes, it is!!

Okay, for that song alone I'll say At the Circus. And also because I want to be unique so badly and not say Gone with the Wind even though oh my God I love Vivien so much and Clark Gable can smile at me with his beautiful false teeth anytime and I'll swoon, every time.

3. Favorite Carole Lombard Screwball role?

Twentieth Century. No, wait, My Man Godfrey! D'ohhhh....

She was better in Godfrey, so I'll give that one the nod. Twentieth Century was principally John Barrymore's show, if you ask me--though Lombard was, as always, super swell in that one too. But she was so manically bright in My Man Godfrey that I was pretty sure she was going to explode and start spewing glittery crazy. 

There's a reason she and Gracie are my favorite screwball heroines. Although whoever gave her those godawful bangs in Godfrey should have been dunked in that shower instead.

PS. don't you think if she were a few years younger, Amy Poehler would make a smashing Carole in a biopic? Both tiny blondes brimming with energy, and with zany, devilish expressions.

4. Favorite off screen couple? (It’s ok if it ended in divorce.)
I plan to talk about this more in-depth in a V-Day post, but for now I'll give you a sneak peek and say Charles Boyer and Pat Paterson.

Well, either them or Peter Cushing and Helen Beck. I'll talk about both couples on the fourteenth, so I'll save the reasoning for then. I'll just say this: I really like bittersweet love stories tinged with pathos. Because I'm a total creep.

5. Favorite pair of best friends? (i.e: Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford)
Speaking of Cushing, I'll go with his friendship with Christopher Lee. I read somewhere that the last time they saw each other before Cushing passed away they sang a Jimmy Durante song together. Drac and Van Helsing. Singing Durante. Think about it. Love it.

6. Favorite actor with a mustache? 
Sam Elliott. Because sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.

7. Favorite blonde actress?
This one's difficult, and changes a lot. One month it'll be Tuesday Weld, the next Sue Lyon. After that, Elke Sommer. After that, Toby Wing. After that, Marion Marsh.

I think my overall answer is Michelle Pfeiffer, but right now I'll go with the recently departed Jill Haworth, since I discovered her not too long ago. She played one of the most adorable, likable one-time characters I've ever seen in a TV series, that of Cathy in a 1963 episode of the original Outer Limits called "The Sixth Finger". She was earnest, sweet, and uniquely drop-dead gorgeous.

The full episode is on YouTube here, and I'd recommend it to scifi, romance, and quirky British mining townfolk fans. Oh, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. fans, too. You'll see.

8. Favorite pre-code?
Naughty, gaudy, bawdy, 42nd Street.

Well, look at that. I got a shot of Toby Wing in after all.

9. Which studio would you have liked to join?
Poor neglected Paramount! Get me some Lillian Roth/Thelma Todd roles in Marx Bros classics! (Count me out when you get to the MGM and Kitty Carlisle years. The boys were still funny, but that's about it).

10. Favorite common on screen pairing that SHOULD have gotten married? 
Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr! They adored each other and he rubbed her feet!

Ha ha, I've made this look far dirtier than it actually is in context.

I love the stories about their working together for the first time on Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. Mitchum was allegedly apprehensive about starring with a broad who had such a "Great Prim Lady" reputation, but all that changed on one of the first days of shooting when something went wrong and she cussed out John Huston. He about keeled over laughing. 

11. Favorite I Love Lucy episode?
VItameatavegamin is Lucy at her funniest as a comedienne.

12.  Out of these actresses which one do you like best: Lucille Ball, Ingrid Bergman, Natalie Wood, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Greer Garson, or Katharine Hepburn?
Ho dang. Toss up between Kate and Ingrid...I'll go with Ingrid. It's that damn Swedish statuesque aura, it does elevate her so ethereally above us mortal women. And I'm calling it: most beautiful smile ever photographed, ever.

13. Shadowy film noir from the 1940’s or splashy colorful musicals from the 1950’s?
Well, depends. I'll take the worst noir over the worst musical, but the best musical over the best noir. The best musical, of course, being Singin' in the Rain. So just for that, I'll give the nod to musicals, which makes me feel less hardcore and mysterious than the image of myself I've built up in my head.

But whatevs:

14. Actor or actress with the best autograph (photo preferred).
I'm actually going with a writer, one George Bernard Shaw. Why? Because of what's hanging up on my parents' wall.

"I inscribe this volume to Mr. William Henry Crawford whom I do not know at the request of Mr. H. Plunket Woodgate whom I do not know, but who invokes the memory of Jim Penrose whom I remember very well."
G. Bernard Shaw
22nd Oct. 1931

This was bequeathed to us by my mother's stepgrandma after said stepgrandma died. Apparently either she or my great-grandfather received this from a guy named William Henry Crawford, who knew a guy named H. Plunket Woodgate, who knew a guy named Jim Penrose, who knew a guy named George Bernard Shaw. So obviously, when Woodgate saw Shaw in a restaurant or something one day, he felt evoking the name of Penrose would yield positive results for one Mr. Crawford in the volume which is now lost somewhere in time--which did indeed yield positive results, since Shaw gave him the above autograph, summing up everything.

And now it's on our wall. 

15. A baby (or childhood, or teenage) photo of either your favorite actress or actor (or both, if you’d like.)


  1. Thank you for participating, Laura! I loved reading your answers, they're so unique. I loved that bit about Deborah cursing out John Houston! She comes across as so demure and quiet, but there are so many spunky stories about her. (Someone needs to write a real, honest biography on her). And Vivling was adorable. Thanks once again, Laura! :)

  2. Thank you for the survey, Rihanna! Fun questions.

  3. Durr, and by Rihanna I mean Rianna. Though you can always stand underneath my umbrella if you wish.

  4. Looking forward to your Valentines post. And I agree with you that Jill Haworth is quite beautiful and adorable in The Sixth Finger. Blond ingenue yes, but with a distinctive look. And the G.B. Shaw autograph is all kinds of fantastic. I'm envious.

  5. Thank you, Rachel! And you're right on about Haworth looking distinctive--sort of an icy kitten, but her acting softens her.

  6. You are SO right about Amy Poehler and Carole Lombard, Laura. I also love your item about Cushing/Lee. In fact, I love your site!

  7. Thank you, Trish! Glad as always to meet another old-timey fan!

  8. Hi Laura! I recently found a comment you left on my blog I Think, Therefore I Review and wanted to stop by and thank you. I don't know how I missed it when you posted a few months ago, but I was writing more Hammer essays and found it. Yay!

  9. You're welcome, Kristin! Thanks for replying!

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