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David Thomson's Stump-the-Film-Buff 50 Movie Questions Quiz

by Anne Thompson
November 10, 2010 6:10 AM
42 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood


San Francisco-based critic David Thomson, the brainy Brit behind the must-own Biographical Dictionary of Film, has not only updated a spanking new fifth edition, but has devised a nifty quiz derived from info contained in the book. "In my estimate it's challenging," he writes in an email. "but I think plenty of film buffs will have fun."

The rules are simple. Answer as many of the questions below as you can. The first three people to send in the complete list of 50 correct guesses to akstanwyck@yahoo.com before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 14, 2010, will receive a signed copy of David Thomson's fifth edition of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. If no one guesses all 50, then the three entries with the most correct answers will be declared the winners. Do NOT hazard guesses in the comments thread. Some of the questions are easier than others. Enjoy.

1. Who said, “I know things about people, Lily?”, and in what film?
 
2. Who played Louis Mazzini, Jeeves and Lord Byron?
 
3. Which actor made at least one film with Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Rene Clair and John Ford?
 
4. She was born in Assam, India and he was born in Hampstead. What did they do together, and who are they?
 
5. What film did Upton Sinclair pay for?
 
6. Name a director who has filmed material from Ed McBain, Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare.
 
7. Who is the link in Stavisky, Reds and Beat the Devil?
 
8. Who won the Sarah Siddons prize?
 
9. Find the thread: James Jones, Michael Ondaatje, Colette?
 
10. Who had an Uncle Jack and an Aunt Fanny?
 
11. What’s the common element in M, Caught, Body and Soul?
 
12. What’s the link: L’Atalante, On the Waterfront, Long Day’s Journey Into Night?
 
13. What’s the bond between The Third Man and Johnny Guitar?
 
14. Of what movie was it said, “Gable’s back and Garson’s got him!”?
 
15. In the Cut and Panic Room – who’s the missing link?
 
16. Ulverston, Lancashire and Harlem, Georgia – how are they joined?
 
17. Who taught Alec to ride?
 
18. Who said, “I’d like to kiss you, but I just washed my hair”?
 
19. Who stayed a little too long to watch a pretty girl dance? 
 
20. He made only five films and all were nominated for Best Picture. Who is he?
 
21. What’s the link: The Small Back Room, Out of Africa, The Age of Innocence?
 
22. On whose map might you find Santa Rosa, Bodega Bay and San Juan de Batista?
 
23. He worked with Cecil B. DeMille, Orson Welles and Jean-Luc Godard?
 
24. St Petersburg, Pompeii, the Jungle – who could have been in all those places?
 
25. How might you link Shirley Temple and Truffaut’s Day for Night?
 
26. Who played the second Pharisee, Captain von Rauffenstein and Max von Mayerling – and in what films?
 
27. In what film do we meet Jimmy Gator, Earl Partridge and Frank Mackey?
 
28. He played a judge, a lawyer and a man in prison. Who is he and what are the films?
 
29. How do you link Charles Boyer and Anton Walbrook?
 
30. Who is famous for 26.6 seconds of film?
 
31. What would you find about 15 miles south of Fairvale?
 
32. Who had just a drunk, a cripple and a kid to do the job?
 
33. Who said, “Movies bore me, especially my own”?
 
34. What role links Melville Cooper, Alan Rickman, William Lowery and Peter Finch?
 
35. Who wanted his $93,000?
 
36. What is the link between Robert Morley and Jim Broadbent?
 
37. Who were Victoria Page, Vicki Lester and Victor Laszlo?
 
38. Who was Roger O. Thornhill, C.K. Dexter Haven and Jerry Warriner?
 
39. What links Sunrise and A Place in the Sun?
 
40. The following contended for this part: Vivien Leigh, Loretta Young, Joan Fontaine, Margaret Sullavan. What was the name of the part?
 
41. What links Max Ophuls, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Stanley Donen and Jacques Demy?
 
42. Who played President Andrew Johnson, Joe Starrett and Webb Garwood?
 
43. Who played Sid Vicious and Joe Orton?
 
44. Who said, “Nobody’s perfect!”?
 
45. Three producers had these middle initials – F, B, O – who are they?
 
46. What’s the link for Chuck Barris, Chris Kelvin and Ryan Bingham?
 
47. When did two people tie for an Oscar and who were they?
 
48. In what film was Charles Palantine running for election?
 
49. Who had the key to Walter’s sharp practice?
 
50. Who remembered a girl on the ferry over to Jersey in 1896?

42 Comments

  • John Thompson | November 19, 2010 3:33 AMReply

    what is the answer to number 17

  • Kaj | November 17, 2010 12:10 AMReply

    #49 - It can't be Double Indemnity, can it? Murder is not exactly a 'sharp's practice', unless somehow knocking off somebody for the insurance money is legal and I fundamentally misunderstand the American justice system.

  • Eric72 | November 15, 2010 4:24 AMReply

    # 3. C. Aubrey Smith
    # 13. Vienna
    # 41. Lola
    # 45: Darryl F. Zanuck, Hal B. Wallis, David O. Selznick

    I hope I had only 3 or 4 wrong answers.

  • Dean Treadway | November 12, 2010 9:46 AMReply

    As soon as the contest is over, on Sunday, I'm gonna post the questions and the answers on filmicability.blogspot.com. I'm pretty sure I got all but one right, and yes, there ARE multiple right answers for a select few.

  • Jonathan | November 12, 2010 6:27 AMReply

    28 - Sylvester Stallone in Judge Dredd

  • ratskiwatski | November 12, 2010 5:41 AMReply

    Algonquin - you are one funny MF - more!

  • Algonquin J. Calhoun | November 12, 2010 4:08 AMReply

    I have several answers to share, but only in accordance with the rules:

    5. What film did Upton Sinclair pay for? In 1915, he saw "Birth of a Nation", paid $1.00 for admission and had popcorn, a large diet Coke and nachos with extra peppers and STILL thought it was too much to pay for concessions served by a kid with acne and funny hot dog hat.
    10. Who had an Uncle Jack and an Aunt Fanny? My not-so-bright cousin Irving. He points up at the sky and still says "Aiiirrrpwwanee" even though he is 37 with a wife and three kids.
    19. Who stayed a little too long to watch a pretty girl dance? Ummm, it wasn't me officer. She told me, TOLD ME, she was nineteen!
    21. What’s the link: The Small Back Room, Out of Africa, The Age of
    Innocence? See answer to #19 and send bail.
    23. He worked with Cecil B. DeMille, Orson Welles and Jean-Luc
    Godard? Pablo the pool boy. He clean pool good. Work weekend.
    29. How do you link Charles Boyer
    and Anton Walbrook? Usually handcuffs or a small length of pliable rope.
    40. The following contended for this part: Vivien Leigh, Loretta
    Young, Joan Fontaine, Margaret Sullavan. What was the name of the
    part? Roosevelt's Penis.
    That's all I got. Best of luck next time.
    /actually, those were hard. Got only 15 off the top of my noodle. Keep them up.

  • ratskiwatski | November 12, 2010 3:34 AMReply

    Gee, Arash... well done pumping out so many answers into comment thread for a CONTEST - just couldn't contain yourself, huh? And you only got a couple wrong! Keep sharing!

  • Arash Salimi | November 12, 2010 3:15 AMReply

    I got 15 questions.

    9. Find the thread: James Jones, Michael Ondaatje, Colette? All are writers whose books feature an extra-marital love affair: From Here to Eternity, The English Patient, Cheri

    13. What’s the bond between The Third Man and Johnny Guitar? The titles are based on secondary characters.

    15. In the Cut and Panic Room – who’s the missing link? Nicole Kidman as producer of In the Cut and voice in Panic Room

    22. On whose map might you find Santa Rosa, Bodega Bay and San Juan de Batista? A map of Alfred Hitchcock settings

    29. How do you link Charles Boyer and Anton Walbrook? They both played the leading man in versions of Gaslight.

    35. Who wanted his $93,000? Lee Marvin in Point Blank

    37. Who were Victoria Page, Vicki Lester and Victor Laszlo? The ballet star in The Red Shoes played by Moira Shearer, the star of A Star is Born played by Janet Gaynor, an underground French Resistance leader played by Paul Henreid.

    38. Who was Roger O. Thornhill, C.K. Dexter Haven and Jerry Warriner? Cary Grant characters in North by Northwest, The Philadelphia Story, The Awful Truth.

    39. What links Sunrise and A Place in the Sun? Men plotting to drown their significant other.

    40. The following contended for this part: Vivien Leigh, Loretta Young, Joan Fontaine, Margaret Sullavan. What was the name of the part? The second Mrs. de Winter

    43. Who played Sid Vicious and Joe Orton? Gary Oldman

    44. Who said, “Nobody’s perfect!”? Joe E. Brown in Some Like It Hot

    45. Three producers had these middle initials – F, B, O – who are they? Daryl F. Zanuck, Louis B. Mayer, David O. Selznick

    47. When did two people tie for an Oscar and who were they? 1968, Katharine Hepburn for A Lion in Winter and Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl.

    48. In what film was Charles Palantine running for election? Taxi Driver

  • Allison | November 12, 2010 3:12 AMReply

    I want to see the answer key on Monday the 15th! As for #47, there has only ever been one TRUE tie for an Oscar, in the 60's. The first time two people were awarded an Oscar for the same category, one person actually had won by one vote, but the rules at that time treated such close margins as a tie. I will not give away the answer though!

  • SilverUnicorn | November 12, 2010 3:06 AMReply

    Dear David Thomson,

    I am hoping that you will PLEASE post the answers to all 50 questions when the contest is done!

    Thank you!

  • CON | November 12, 2010 1:49 AMReply

    To Tim, who observed: "I watch a lot of films and didn’t know the answer to a single one." You may indeed have seen a lot of films (I'll have to take your word for it). However, you have apparently not seen any GOOD films. "Happy Gilmore" is, umm, NOT a good film. Broaden your horizons, good sir. Watch something that was made BEFORE 2000, for starters, and/or a non-American release once in a blue moon. Good luck. Sounds like you've got a LOT of homework to do...

  • Hoohah | November 12, 2010 12:15 AMReply

    Thanks Eric, for demonstrating your clear superiority. By the way, how'd you do?

    If a comment thread isn't moderated, it's a beast with a mind of its own.

    RE: #28 -- There are no less that 3 actors who come readily to mind that fit the bill... and a fourth qualifies on a technicality. Frankly, the quiz could benefit from some tighter editing a/o more careful phrasing on some of these.

  • ratskiwatski | November 11, 2010 9:48 AMReply

    Just finished the damned thing and shot off the email, feeling really smug, then I came here and saw the bit for number 40. Ate that one, errrrghhh... think I'll go smack my head with a frying pan, now....

  • Eric | November 11, 2010 9:41 AMReply

    Apparently, a lot of you people are too stupid to read. It was specifically stated not to put guesses in the Comment section. Which word in that statement did you microcephalic morons not understand?

  • Dean Treadway | November 11, 2010 9:31 AMReply

    Bob Fosse. And THREE were nommed for Best Pic: CABARET, LENNY, and ALL THAT JAZZ.

  • Bart | November 11, 2010 8:57 AMReply

    A giant BOO to #20, it implies a director. So in that, a bonus question (it was the closest I could come to the answer): he DIRECTED only five features, but two were nominated for Best Picture. Who was he?

  • Chris Stangl | November 11, 2010 7:54 AMReply

    Multiple choice bonus question: This comment thread demonstrates what principle of human nature?
    a) No one reads instructions.
    b) People are inherently cooperative.
    c) The human love of free stuff is outweighed by inability to keep the human mouth closed.
    d) Movie nerds cannot help showing off, even at the expense of losing contests.
    e) No one reads instructions, ever.

    P.S., these questions are super fun.

  • Peter | November 11, 2010 6:52 AMReply

    Does #49 have to do with Double Indemnity? Is the answer Keyes possibly?

  • Dean Treadway | November 11, 2010 6:43 AMReply

    I'll give you 25 if you give me 49. Cause 49 is driving me crazy!

  • Joe | November 11, 2010 6:20 AMReply

    #30 is Zapruder for the Zapruder Film (JFK assassination film)

  • Dave | November 11, 2010 5:39 AMReply

    ...unless John Ford is the link between Shirley Temple (who he directed in Fort Apache) and Graham Greene (who appears in a small role in Day for Night.

  • Dave | November 11, 2010 5:18 AMReply

    I have all but #25...

  • Dean Treadway | November 11, 2010 5:01 AMReply

    I think I have all but one correct. I just cannot, for the life of me, fathom the answer to or the meaning of question #49.

  • Nick | November 11, 2010 4:22 AMReply

    #40 is Mrs de Winter (the nameless protagonist of Hitchcock's _Rebecca_). Margaret Sullavan played the part on radio, Vivien Leigh's screen test is on YouTube, and Joan Fontaine got the role.

  • Hoohah | November 11, 2010 4:20 AMReply

    Mr Demille forgot Janet Gaynor on #37

  • Tony | November 11, 2010 4:14 AMReply

    15 is Nicole Kidman - was supposed to star in both films

  • cadavra | November 11, 2010 4:10 AMReply

    Pretty sure #3 is Barry Fitzgerald. It's a question I use a lot, minus Clair.

    #32 is John T. Chance (John Wayne) in RIO BRAVO.

    #47 could also be Wallace Beery and Fredric March.

    I have a sneaking suspicion #30 might be Abraham Zapruder.

  • ratskiwatski | November 11, 2010 4:00 AMReply

    Swear to Christ - what part of "no guesses in the thread." did you not comprehend? Back to flippin' pop-up books and juice boxes for the lot of you...

  • Jack South | November 11, 2010 2:42 AMReply

    1. Eastwood in IN THE LINE OF FIRE
    6. Kurasawa
    15. Nicole Kidman dropped out of the lead part at the last minute
    20. John Cazale
    35. Lee Marvin in POINT BLANK
    40. Scarlet O’Hara (?)
    43. Gary Oldman
    44. Joe E. Brown in SOME LIKE IT HOT
    46. George Clooney
    47. Streisand and Hepburn for best actress (FUNNY GIRL & LION IN WINTER(?))
    48. TAXI DRIVER
    50. old guy in CITIZEN KANE

  • Robert Chandler | November 11, 2010 2:25 AMReply

    25 is simply Graham Greene, for his appearance in DAY FOR NIGHT and the trouble he got into for one his film reviews about Shirley Temple - "Infancy is her disguise, her appeal is more secret and more adult. Her admirers—middle-aged men and clergymen—respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable little body, packed with enormous vitality..."

  • grs1970 | November 11, 2010 1:27 AMReply

    Missed one - # 20 is John Cazale - that's a pretty common bit of trivia in movie history (GF, GF2, Dog Day Afternoon, Deer Hunter, The Conversation).

  • grs1970 | November 11, 2010 1:23 AMReply

    # 27 is "Magnolia", # 43 is Gary Oldman....but those are about the only two that come to mind immediately. Well, # 44 if from "Some Like It Hot" and # 50 is from "Citizen Kane", but I can't recall the name of either actor.

  • Bob Rittner | November 11, 2010 1:20 AMReply

    The ones I am pretty sure about are:
    #2: Dennis Price
    #8: Eve Harrington
    #19: Doc Reidenschneider (Sam Jaffe, "The Asphalt Jungle")
    #20: John Cazale
    #22: No guessing I know, but I think it is Hitchcock if the
    last one refers to Topaz.
    #31: Bates Motel
    #38: Cary Grant
    #40: If it is not a trick question, I assume it is Scarlett
    O'Hara
    #42: Van Heflin
    #44: Joe E. Brown

    There are a few more that are familiar, but I cannot place them.

  • Mr Demille | November 11, 2010 12:08 AMReply

    In addition
    #14 Adventure (1945)
    #18 Bette Davis in The Cabin in the Cotton
    #27 Magnolia
    #37 Moira Shearer, Judy Garland and Paul Henreid

  • reeceindie | November 11, 2010 12:03 AMReply

    "Do not hazard guesses in the comments thread"

  • Edward Copeland | November 10, 2010 11:26 AMReply

    There were two ties in the history of acting Oscars, but that one question makes it sound as if it only happened once.

  • Anne Thompson | November 10, 2010 10:57 AMReply

    Some smartypants are getting maybe ten off the top of their heads--and then you have to start figuring it out, looking things up, mixing and matching and eliminating. I will be surprised if anyone gets all 50.

  • The Pope | November 10, 2010 10:46 AMReply

    Anne, I hope his does not get me banned. After all, it's only a game.

    25. How might you link Shirley Temple and Truffaut’s Day for Night?
    Graham Greene. He made an uncredited appearance in Truffaut’s film as an insurance agent. In 1937, Greene review of Wee Willie Winkie resulted in a libel trial for The Spectator magazine. He had written Temple displayed "a dubious coquetry" which appealed to "middle-aged men and clergymen".
    26. Who played the second Pharisee, Captain von Rauffenstein and Max von Mayerling – and in what films?
    Erich von Stroheim (Intolerance, La grande illusion, Sunset Blvd)
    27. In what film do we meet Jimmy Gator, Earl Partridge and Frank Mackey?
    Magnolia
    28. He played a judge, a lawyer and a man in prison. Who is he and what are the films?
    Paul Newman. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The Verdict and Cool Hand Luke.
    29. How do you link Charles Boyer and Anton Walbrook?
    They played the same part in film adaptations of the play “Angel Street”. Walbrook played Paul Mallen in Gaslight (1940) and Boyer played Gregory Anton in Gaslight (1944).
    30. Who is famous for 26.6 seconds of film?
    Abraham Zapruder
    31. What would you find about 15 miles south of Fairvale?
    I DO NOT KNOW
    32. Who had just a drunk, a cripple and a kid to do the job?
    Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne)
    33. Who said, “Movies bore me, especially my own”?
    Robert Mitchum
    34. What role links Melville Cooper, Alan Rickman, William Lowery and Peter Finch?
    The High Sheriff of Nottingham
    35. Who wanted his $93,000?
    Walker (Lee Marvin)
    36. What is the link between Robert Morley and Jim Broadbent?
    Tales of the Unexpected
    37. Who were Victoria Page, Vicki Lester and Victor Laszlo?
    Melissa Clarke, Janet Gaynor/Judy Garland and Paul Henried
    38. Who was Roger O. Thornhill, C.K. Dexter Haven and Jerry Warriner?
    Cary Grant, Cary Grant and Cary Grant
    39. What links Sunrise and A Place in the Sun?
    George O’Brien and Montgomery Clift contemplate killing a woman on boat in a lake (Janet Gaynor and Shelly Winters respectively)
    40. The following contended for this part: Vivien Leigh, Loretta Young, Joan Fontaine, Margaret Sullavan. What was the name of the part?
    The “second” Mrs. de Winter
    41. What links Max Ophuls, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Stanley Donen and Jacques Demy?
    Cities: De Mayerling à Sarajevo, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Blame it on Rio and Les parapluies de Cherbourg/Les demoiselles de Rochefort.
    42. Who played President Andrew Johnson, Joe Starrett and Webb Garwood?
    Van Heflin
    43. Who played Sid Vicious and Joe Orton?
    Gary Oldman
    44. Who said, “Nobody’s perfect!”?
    Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown)
    45. Three producers had these middle initials – F, B, O – who are they?
    Darryl F. Zanuck, Cecil B. De Mille, David O. Selznick
    46. What’s the link for Chuck Barris, Chris Kelvin and Ryan Bingham?
    George Clooney
    47. When did two people tie for an Oscar and who were they?
    April 14 1969, Barbra Streisand & Katherine Hepburn
    48. In what film was Charles Palantine running for election?
    Taxi Driver
    49. Who had the key to Walter’s sharp practice?
    Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson)
    50. Who remembered a girl on the ferry over to Jersey in 1896?
    Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane)

  • The Pope | November 10, 2010 10:45 AMReply

    Ah, what the hell. It's only a game.

    1. Who said, “I know things about people, Lily?”, and in what film?
    Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood), In The Line of Fire
    2. Who played Louis Mazzini, Jeeves and Lord Byron?
    Dennis Price
    3. Which actor made at least one film with Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Rene Clair and Jean Renoir?
    Norman Lloyd
    4. She was born in Assam, India and he was born in Hampstead. What did they do together, and who are they?
    Darling. Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde
    5. What film did Upton Sinclair pay for?
    ¡Que viva México!
    6. Name a director who has filmed material from Ed McBain, Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare.
    Akira Kurosawa
    7. Who is the link in Stavisky, Reds and Beat the Devil?
    Stephen Sondheim
    8. Who won the Sarah Siddons prize?
    Eve Harrington
    9. Find the thread: James Jones, Michael Ondaatje, Colette?
    They all wrote novels that were adapted into films that won Best Picture at the Oscars; From Here to Eternity, The English Patient, and Gigi.
    10. Who had an Uncle Jack and an Aunt Fanny?
    George Miniver (Tim Holt)
    11. What’s the common element in M, Caught, Body and Soul?
    Each film features the death of a child.
    12. What’s the link: L’Atalante, On the Waterfront, Long Day’s Journey Into Night?
    Boris Kaufman
    13. What’s the bond between The Third Man and Johnny Guitar?
    Water conceals the secret passage for the villain.
    14. Of what movie was it said, “Gable’s back and Garson’s got him!”?
    Adventure!
    15. In the Cut and Panic Room – who’s the missing link?
    Nicole Kidman
    16. Ulverston, Lancashire and Harlem, Georgia – how are they joined?
    The birth places of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, respectively
    17. Who taught Alec to ride?
    I DO NOT KNOW
    18. Who said, “I’d like to kiss you, but I just washed my hair”?
    Madge (Bette Davis) in Cabin in the Cotton
    19. Who stayed a little too long to watch a pretty girl dance?
    Doc Erwin Riedenschneider (Stanley Jaffe)
    20. He made only five films and all were nominated for Best Picture. Who is he?
    John Cazale
    21. What’s the link: The Small Back Room, Out of Africa, The Age of Innocence?
    Michael Gough played Capt Dick Stuart, Delamere, and Henry van der Luyden in The Small Back Room, Out of Africa, and The Age of Innocence.
    22. On whose map might you find Santa Rosa, Bodega Bay and San Juan de Batista?
    Alfred Hitchcock: settings for Shadow of a Doubt, The Birds, and Vertigo
    23. He worked with Cecil B. DeMille, Orson Welles and Jean-Luc Godard?
    Akim Tamiroff
    24. St Petersburg, Pompeii, the Jungle – who could have been in all those places?
    George Sanders was born in St. Petersburg, visits the ruins of Pompeii in Voyage to Italy, and voiced Shere Khan in The Jungle Book
    (part two to follow)

  • Tim | November 10, 2010 9:12 AMReply

    I watch a lot of films and didn't know the answer to a single one.

  • Brian | November 10, 2010 8:27 AMReply

    Some are pretty obvious. Some need clues. Some I don't understand at all.

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