Paul Batters from Silver Screen Classics has nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. A big thanks to Paul whose writing I very much respect.
Here are the rules for the Sunshine Blogger Award.
- Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- Answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.
- Nominate eleven bloggers.
- Create eleven new questions for your nominees to answer.
Here are my answers to Paul's question.
- Which actor or actress who hasn’t received an Oscar do you think deserves one? And for what film?
Edward G. Robinson. With his looks an unlikely box office draw, he carved out a niche for himself in Hollywood and always made his presence felt. He could elevate any movie even if the material was beneath him.
He was never even nominated but should have been, at least for The Sea Wolf, Double Indemnity, Key Largo and Scarlet Street.
- Who is your favorite child actor and name a film they were in which you love.
First, a confession. I hate children in movies. Despicable little twerps. They’re supposed to add the human element, cute and cuddly, but are usually simply precautious, all-knowing, smug, cloying and as such annoying.
I make an exception for Gigi Perreau in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? She was charming and is one of the few children in films I did not actively want to send to have a lobotomy.
- If a biopic was made of you during the classic film era (1920s to 1960s), who would you like to play you and why?
Lauren Bacall ca. 1946. The Look. Nuff said.
- Which famous starry couple (of any time and place) would you want as neighbors?
Reel couple: Nick and Nora. Perpetually sloshed and living the high life, they solve mysteries while making marriage look like fun. They not only love each other, but like each other.
Real couple: Frank and Ava, though their constant loud fights probably would get on the neighbors’s nerves very quickly. But the parties at Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate in Palm Springs must have been fun. Plus I'd get the Rat Pack.
- Of all the classic monsters, which one do you feel associated with and why?
Unfortunately I have to skip this question. I’m not really into horror/monster movies and can’t think of one.
- Is there a classic era actor/actress that you have a crush on?
One?? Darling, what kind of a question is that? What can I say, my heart is big and I have a one-track mind.
Here it goes: Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Richard Widmark (not as Tommy Udo though), Robert Stack, William Holden, Stanley Baker, Clint Eastwood, Rory Calhoun, Steve Cochran, Jason Statham (have to include a modern one) and so many more.
Plus a one-off: Groucho Marx, just for his snarky zingers.
- If there was ONE actor or actress (living or deceased) whom you could interview for your blog, who would it be and why would you choose that person?
I’m not sure it’s just one but I would love to talk to actors and directors who worked primarily for Poverty Row studios. Nobody set out to work for PR, but many started out there and got stuck. PR meant crackpot plots, haphazardly constructed cardboard sets, no-name actors. Yet these cinematic slums produced many fine pictures. Film critic Dave Kehr wrote in 1990: “A director on Poverty Row labored on films in the absolute certainty that no film critic would see them, no sophisticated public would encounter them, and no financial reward whatever would accrue to their auteurs.” No glory at all, yet they soldiered on.
Peggy Cummins of Gun Crazy fame is the one I’d like to talk to most. Her career in Hollywood unfortunately never took off, but she was in what is now considered one of PR’s greatest classics. When it came out, literally nobody saw the movie. She died in 2017 and was a guest at several Noir festivals where - very belatedly - she finally got at least some recognition. I’d love to know how it was working on the set with Joseph H. Lewis and how it felt to only get recognition decades later.
- Which film character’s closet would you love to raid?
The question is more, which closet would I not raid. Clothes were fantastic from the 30s to the mid-60s. Grace Kelly’s entire wardrobe in To Catch a Thief and Rear Window, Eleanor Parker’s dresses in The Naked Jungle, Jane Russell’s wardrobe in His Kind of Woman. Kay Francis wore a lot of fab outfits in the 30s. Plus Gilda’s and Kitty Collins’s black dresses.
- Marry, Kiss, or Kill: Which film character would you marry, which would you share a hot, pre-code kiss with, and which would you kill like a noir anti-hero or villain(ess) with a score to settle? (And why did you pick these 3?)
Marry, that’s not so easy because a lot of my crushes are not the marrying kind, especially the Noir (anti)heroes. I’ll probably go with one of those upright and stalwart Western heroes. John Wayne's character(s) in Ford's Cavalry Trilogy.
Hot pre-Code kiss: the obvious choice, Clark Gable. But then there’s always Warren William (must be pre-Code William though), the man we hate to love.
Kill: Many villains are bad but also very entertaining, so we need them alive. It would have to be someone truly despicable. I go with Noah Cross from Chinatown, Locky McCormick from Johnny Belinda or Dr. Henry Gordon from Kings Row.
- Of all the classic film studios, which is your favorite and why?
Hard to say. I think I’ll differentiate by genres. For Noir, RKO was great though Howard Hughes did his damnedest to drive the studio into the ground and in the end succeeded. For my second favorite genre - Westerns - Universal International is hard to beat. And Warner Brothers for their fantastic gangster movies.
- Choose a film where you would love to change the ending. Explain what that change would be and why you would do it.
There are a number of Noirs/crime films out there that frustrate with their code-imposed endings to the point of inducing anger simply because the ending doesn’t at all fit the tone of the movie. Sometimes these tacked-on happy endings are so soapy that they almost drive the movie off the cliff.
Two I can think of are Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951) and The Hunted (1948). Both clearly cried out for a downbeat ending but the studio tacked on a happy one. Both would be minor classics with the bleak vision intact.
The 11 Nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award are:
Many people already have been nominated, so I won’t nominate them again. A few on the list unfortunately don’t seem to update their blogs anymore (or not very often) but they belong on my list nevertheless.
Here are my 11 questions for the bloggers (not all original).
- Is there a movie that didn’t have a sequel but cried out for one?
- Who is your favorite movie villain of all times?
- Which movie do you think is better than the book it’s based on?
- If you could live in a movie, which one would it be?
- Dream date with a classic movie star?
- Worst miscasting in Hollywood history?
- Favorite quote from any movie.
- Which film character’s closet would you raid?
- Your favorite guilty pleasure movie?
- You can hop on a time machine, which era/decade would you go to? And would you go even if there’s only a 50/50 chance of coming back?
- What classic song/soundtrack/theme would be the soundtrack of your life?