Tried and True


This year’s Hardest Movie Quiz winner: Derek Davidson of the Upper West Side, who for his particularly voracious appetite for futile movie data (51 out of 74) receives a C-note and a half at the reading-viewing boutique of his choice. Honorable mention for second place is a tie between Andrew Grant of Kew Gardens and Ed Gonzalez of Weehawken. The quiz itself opened plenty of unexpected worm cans, and several players got credit for answers we hadn’t thought of.

Our answers: The stills (1) were from (a) Lyrical Nitrate, (b) The Comb From the Museum of Sleep, (c) Born To Dance, and (d) T-Men. Of the semi-
forgotten films (2), Oliver Hardy starred in (a) Mules and Mortgages, Larry Semon in (b)Spooks and Spasms, Olive Thomas in (c) Footlights and Shadows, and Raymond Griffith in (d) When Winter Went. The only actor to work with Cecil B. DeMille, King Vidor, and Edward D. Wood Jr. (3) was George Duryea, who happened to change his name twice, to Tom Keene and Richard Powers, during his career.

Title cards (4) were from (a) Nosferatu (the softest of several softballs), (b) Body and Soul, (c) Barbed Wire, (d) Les Vampires, and (e) The Lost World. Dialogue (5) was quoted from (a) Jean-Paul Belmondo, Leon Morin Priest, (b) Dorothy Malone, The Tarnished Angels, (c) Alec Baldwin, Miami Blues, (d) Rita Hayworth, Gilda, (e) Victor Francen, J’Accuse (’36), and (f) Gary Cooper, The General Died at Dawn. The poems read aloud (6) were from (a) Hannah and Her Sisters, (b) The Sweet Hereafter, (c) Apocalypse Now, and (d) Sophie’s Choice. The lines that did not appear (7)were either mistakenly attributed to or deliberately left out of (a) X— the Man with the X-Ray Eyes, (b) The Silence of the Lambs, (c) Algiers, and (d) The Bride of the Monster.

The first French woman to direct films (8) was Alice Guy-Blaché, debuting in 1896. To the best of our acquired knowledge, the last film to feature Ebbets Field (9) was the kiddie romp Roogie’s Bump (’54), and the Berlin Wall farewell (10) was Wings of Desire, released within a year of the dismantling.

For the Alien space suits (11), the uncredited designs of Möbius were used. Poster art (12) was created by (a) Ferdinand Léger, (b) Phillippe Druillet, (c) Greg and Timothy Hildebrandt (though we gave credit to the common Tom Jung art), (d) Frank Frazetta, (e) Jan Lenica, (f) Roland Topor, and (g) Jack Davis. Films that modeled scenes after famous paintings (13) were more numerous than we thought. Hopper’s Nighthawks (a) was conjured in not
only Pennies From Heaven but also The End of Violence, and The Last Supper (b) was copied in M*A*S*H, Viridiana, and The History of the World Part I. Brueghel’s The Wedding Dance (c) was captured in 1900, but also, we’re told, in So I Married an Axe Murderer. Magritte’s mirror enigma (d) was appropriated in Dolores Claiborne, Botticelli (e) was aped in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and Wallis’s Chatterton (f) was evoked in Love and Death on Long Island.

When tracking which directors had assisted other directors (14), the web grows thick. Points were awarded all over the place but our answers were (a) Andrzej Wajda, (b) Michael Powell, (c) Bernardo Bertolucci, (d) Costa-Gavras, (e) Agnieszka Holland, (f) Marcel Ophuls, (g) Alexander Kluge, and (h) René Clair. Similarly, teachers have many students (15); among the valid connections were (a) Ousmane Sembene, (b) Sergei Paradjanov, (c) Kathryn Bigelow, (d) Errol Morris, (e) Jim Jarmusch, and (f) Hal Hartley.

Nicolas Cage’s wedding ring (16) was digitally erased in one scene of Leaving Las Vegas. Famously, Bobby Beausoleil (17) buried the first reels of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising in Death Valley; they’ve never been found, and Anger had to reshoot. As for Jesus
Franco’s Gordian oeuvre (18), an exhaustive cross-check of five filmographies, aliases and alternate title sources reveals, to our count, 168 movies ranging from El Arbol de España (’57) to a version of Frankenstein made last year. Of course, he might’ve finished one or two since the quiz appeared.

Movies-within— movies (19) were from (a) True Romance, (b) Matinee, (c) Forgotten Silver, (d) Blow Out, (e) The Player, (f) S.O.B., (g) Sherlock Jr., and (h) Contempt. Cahiers du cinéma (20) hailed Flowers of Shanghai (due here in the fall) as best of 1998, with A Tale of Autumn and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil tied for third (21). Directors-cum-novelists (22) are apparently a larger demographic than we thought, ranging from Robbe-Grillet, Duras, and Marker to Barker, King, and Wood. Even Errol Flynn, who directed a documentary about his own yacht voyage in 1952 and published a late-in-life potboiler, got remembered.