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Going to the polls



Just a reminder, if you live in the U.S., that Turner Classic Movies begins its long-awaited Hollywood history series, "Moguls & Movie Stars," tonight and it will air for the following six Mondays (with repeats during each week). The initial episode, of course, begins the day before Americans go to the polls for mid-term elections -- and speaking of polls, TCM commissioned one recently on how people compare current Hollywood to the classic era.

The survey was conducted Oct. 20-22 among 1,000 adults, 43% who identified themselves as “classic film enjoyers” (http://news.turner.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5439). Here's what they asked, along with the answers:

The Marx Brothers were comedy pioneers in the 1930s and 1940s. Among the following, who do you think best represents their crazy style today?
33% (tie) Jim Carrey
33% (tie) None of the above
18% Will Ferrell
9% Steve Carell
5% Sacha Baron Cohen
2% Seth Rogen

Errol Flynn was famed for his heroics in films like The Adventures of Robin Hood. Among the following, who do you believe best carries on the swashbuckling tradition today?
41% Johnny Depp in "The Pirates of the Caribbean" series
24% Antonio Banderas in "The Mask of Zorro"
18% Russell Crowe in "Robin Hood"
12% None of the above
6% Cary Elwes in "The Princess Bride"

Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni and James Cagney portrayed gangsters in the early 1930s. Among the following, who do you think is the best modern-era gangster?
47% Robert DeNiro in "Goodfellas"
26% Al Pacino in "Donnie Brasco"
10% None of the above
9% Johnny Depp in "Public Enemies"
9% Jack Nicholson in "The Departed"

Alfred Hitchcock was a prolific film pioneer. Among the following, which of today’s filmmakers are as influential?
61% Steven Spielberg
34% Clint Eastwood
30% Martin Scorsese
27% Ron Howard
25% Quentin Tarantino
10% Spike Lee
8% None of the above
7% Joel and Ethan Coen

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were Hollywood royalty. Among the following, which celebrity couple is just as iconic today?
36% Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
27% None of the above
16% Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
15% Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith
4% Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
2% Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony

Judy Garland became a star at age 16. Among the following, who do you think had the biggest breakout role among today’s young stars?
44% Drew Barrymore in "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial"
18% None of the above
16% Dakota Fanning in "I Am Sam"
8% Natalie Portman in "The Professional"
6% Ellen Page in "Juno"
5% Kirsten Dunst in "Interview With the Vampire"
1% Anna Paquin in "The Piano"

Marilyn Monroe was an iconic star and sex symbol. Among the following, who would you consider to be today’s “Marilyn?”
33% None of the above
25% Angelina Jolie
16% Scarlett Johansson
14% Halle Berry
10% Charlize Theron
3% Uma Thurman

"Singin’ in the Rain" is one of the most famous musicals of all time. Among the following, which modern-day musical would you consider to be the greatest?
27% (tie) "Chicago"
27% (tie) None of the above
17% "Mamma Mia"
12% "Dreamgirls"
10% "Hairspray"
8% "Rent"

Charlie Chaplin was an iconic comedic actor and renowned director. Among the following, which modern-day star do you think is best-known for this double duty?
38% Clint Eastwood
21% Woody Allen
17% Ron Howard
14% None of the above
10% George Clooney

Sidney Poitier was a pioneering black actor. Among the following, who do you think carries on that tradition today?
71% Denzel Washington
9% None of the above
7% Forrest Whitaker
7% Eddie Murphy
6% Jamie Foxx

Some intriguing questions, and results. Had I been running the poll, I might have added this question, with a list of possible responses:



Carole Lombard was an iconic comedic actress. Among the following, who do you think best carries on that tradition?
Jennifer Aniston
Anna Faris
Katherine Heigl
Kate Hudson
None of the above

There's another survey going on around the Internet, at the fine classic film blog "A Noodle In A Haystack" (http://noodleinahaystack.blogspot.com/)



Here's the survey, question by question; send your replies to http://noodleinahaystack.blogspot.com/2010/10/amandas-cinema-survey.html by Friday:

1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of the "Thin Man" films?

2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complemented each other.

3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together?

4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"?

5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?

6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa?

7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?

*8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...

9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?

10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?

11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year? (People who were not in any pictures that year are allowed, too.)

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies?

13. You think it would have been a disaster (or, at least, not as good) if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?

14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie?

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?

16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?

17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?

18. You will brook no criticism of what film?

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?

20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers?

21. Do you enjoy silent movies?

22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?

23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?

24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?

25. To even things out a bit, here's something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?

26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)?

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?

28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?

29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?

30. Favorite actor?

31. Favorite actress?

32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart?

33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

Comedy --
Swashbuckler --
Film noir --
Musical --
Holiday --
Hitchcock --

* (for #8): Laid-back vs. over-the-top

My answers (below the cut):


1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of the "Thin Man" films?
"Libeled Lady," although "I Love You Again" and "Love Crazy" also have their charms.

2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complemented each other.
Cary Grant and Constance Bennett in "Topper."

3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together?
"Top Hat," no question.

4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"?
Apologies to Mitchum, Redford and Young, but...Montgomery.

5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?
Nothing against Robert Taylor, who may be a better actor than I've given him credit for, but he just seems so...generic.

6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa?
It's a vice versa here. I'm a fan of Marlene Dietrich; my mother, who just turned 90, never liked her.

7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?
We're both Carole Lombard fans.

*8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...
...Miriam Hopkins is to Betty Hutton.

9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?
"It Happens Every Spring."

10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?
"A Hard Day's Night."

11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year? (People who were not in any pictures that year are allowed, too.)
I'd be curious to see how Lombard would have fared as Hildy in "His Girl Friday"; I can't imagine she would have improved on what Rosalind Russell did, but given her success in "Twentieth Century," a second stint under Hawks, opposite Cary Grant, might have resulted in something special. We'll take her out of "They Knew What They Wanted" (apologies to Garson Kanin).

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies?
The one who was in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," of course.

13. You think it would have been a disaster (or, at least, not as good) if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?
Constance Bennett was initially envisioned to play Irene in "My Man Godfrey," but she would have been a bit too arch for the role, lacking the innate likability Lombard brought to the part.

14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie?
William Powell, if only to hear that voice.

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?
"It's Love I'm After"; I knew he was a good actor, but I didn't know how capable he was in comedy.

16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?
"Night Nurse," "Baby Face," "Remember The Night" and "Double Indemnity."

17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?
"My Man Godfrey" -- great performances by Powell and Lombard, superb supporting cast, excellent writing and some social commentary subtly driven home.

18. You will brook no criticism of what film?
"Citizen Kane," "Libeled Lady."

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?
Maureen O'Hara.

20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers?
"Tom, Dick And Harry."

21. Do you enjoy silent movies?
Very definitely, particularly those made in the late 1920s when the art of silent filmmaking had reached its apex.

22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?
"All About Eve."

23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?
William Powell and Myrna Loy.

24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?
Travis Banton.

25. To even things out a bit, here's something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?
"Tough Guys," '80s comedy reuniting Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster.

26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)?
Loretta Young, through her pre-Code work.

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?
Yes. He had a quality about him that lifted him above other second-tier MGM stars such as Robert Taylor or Walter Pidgeon.

28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?
James Cagney (deserves more credit for his comedies) and Una Merkel.

29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?
Charles Laughton (often overacted) and Katharine Hepburn, (talented, but too patrician for my tastes).

30. Favorite actor?
William Powell.

31. Favorite actress?
Carole Lombard.

32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen or Patrick Stewart?
Probably Newman.

33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

Comedy -- "My Man Godfrey"
Swashbuckler -- "The Mark Of Zorro" (1920)
Film noir -- "Double Indemnity"
Musical -- "Top Hat"
Holiday -- "Remember The Night"
Hitchcock -- "North By Northwest"

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