Tried and True


This year’s Stuart Byron Quiz wreath goes to erstwhile runner-up Andrew Grant of Brooklyn, edging out Ed Gonzalez of Weehawken and Mitchell Katz of Manhattan.

Arguments are still bound to break out. The earliest glimpse we found of the World Trade Center (1) was in 1971’s Lady Liberty (under construction) and, finished, in 1973’s Godspell—both got a point. The first glimpses of the Watts Towers were in 1972’s Blacula and Hit Man (again, both count), the Vietnam vets’ memorial surfaced first in 1987’s Hamburger Hill, the Sydney Opera House appeared in The Man From Hong Kong (1975), the Seattle Space Needle debuted, naturally, in It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963), and footage of Angkor Wat counts from both Jacques Feyder’s 1927 Au Pays de Roi Lepreux (Grant, you’re a menace) and, because that’s a short, the exploitation feature Angkor (1937). The Berlin Wall featured in 1962’s Escape From East Berlin, the Guggenheim makes an appearance in Three Days of the Condor (1975), and the brand-new Empire State Building registers in two 1931 creakers, Bachelor Apartment and Street Scene.

Dozens of critics have acted (2), ranging from Parker Tyler to Harry Knowles. Frequent Hitchcock alumni (3) in fact number three: John Longden, Leo G. Carroll, and Claire Greet, each with six films. The connections in question 4 are all biographical: Errol Flynn played John Barrymore, who played François Villon; Vincent D’Onofrio played Orson Welles, who played Napoleon; and Diane Lane played Paulette Goddard, who played Lucretia Borgia. Nobody got it.

In the world of swill (5), Oldman downed Harp in Sid & Nancy, Bridges sipped Guinness in Against All Odds, De Niro quaffed Rolling Rock in The Deer Hunter, Stockwell slurped Pabst in Blue Velvet, and Carrey drank the fictional Penn Pavel’s in The Truman Show. A great deal about the federal government is explained by the monstrous number of acting congressmen (6); considering The Candidate, Dave, and Traffic, the original two-points-per-name scoring system seemed lopsided in retrospect. Instead, one point went to every five names (Grant would have won anyway).

Spanky made up as Buckwheat (7) in 1934’s Anniversary Trouble, and a singing flower was cut by Clair (8) from À Nous la Liberté. Dovshenko’s Earth (9) lost the naked-woman scene, and Guy Maddin’s Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (10) bears no credit for its dubbed lead actor. Burt Kennedy, of course, penned the Seven Men From Now novelization (11); director-novelizers (12) include Spielberg (CE3K), Lucas (Star Wars), Boorman (Zardoz), Welles (Mr. Arkadin), Gilliam (Baron Munchausen), and Jane Campion (Holy Smoke).

Depardieu plays water sports (13) in Maîtresse, Borgnine gets lost in The Flight of the Phoenix, Dietrich dons a bleached Afro in Blonde Venus, Belmondo goes blue in Pierrot le Fou, Nolte does oral self-surgery in Affliction, Mitchum retrieves a buried toy in The Lusty Men, Loy dumps Powell in Evelyn Prentice (though entries that posited the divorce farce Love Crazy got a point, too), and Depp got butchered in the original Nightmare on Elm Street. The longest word we’ve found to be spelled from one-letter movie titles (14)—sorry, but P, Y, and i, being shorts, didn’t count—is oakmoss. For those that tried not to repeat letters, shalom was another scorer.

Art imagery co-optation (15)—not the use of actual artworks—were Jacob’s Ladder (Witkin), The Cell (Hirst), and The Shout (Bacon). The Bacon bio Love Is the Devil was also worth a pence. Post-1939 silent features (16) were semi-plentiful (The Thief, Dementia, Juha, The Man Without a Country, etc.), though nobody hit on Brakhage, Warhol, Snow, et al., as we thought they might. The longest film to ever have theatrical release (17) is 1992’s German epic Heimat, at 1532 minutes. Freaks like A Cure for Insomnia (5220) and The Longest, Most Meaningless Movie in the World (48 hours at last count) have seen only occasional screenings.

Everyone knew that furriers Reveillon Freres sponsored Flaherty’s Nanook trip (18), and few had difficulty dredging up Dwain Esper companies (19), which number at least seven (Roadshow, Excelsior, Mapel, G&H, and so on). The earliest American avant-gardienne (20) isn’t Lois Weber, whose silent films were almost without exception social melodramas, but ’30s abstractionist Mary Ellen Bute.