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FINALLY! The Answers--and Winners--for David Thomson's 2012 Impossibly Hard Quiz

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 13, 2012 at 8:15PM

"Is it too hard?" David Thomson asked me when he submitted his 2012 Impossibly Hard Quiz (to accompany his new Hollywood history, "The Big Screen"). I jumped into the rabbit hole for a few queries and thought if I gave it enough time I'd be able figure them out. Did I have that time? No. And when Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule quiz master Dennis Cozzalio abandoned ship early on I should have known something was wrong.
'Rear Window'
'Rear Window'

7. Who was Joey, John Henry and Lonnie?

Brandon de Wilde in Shane, Member of the Wedding and Hud

8. Who played Stella, Moe and Birdie?

Thelma Ritter in Rear Window, Pick Up on South Street and All About Eve

9. They were born in Cadiz, Ohio and west Bengal – what was their movie together?

Gone With the Wind; they are Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh

10. What do these have in common: Anna, Camille Javal, Jim and Junior?

Characters killed in car crashes: Anna (Jacqueline Sassard) in Accident; Camille Javal (Brigitte Bardot) in Contempt; Jim (Henri Serre) in Jules and Jim ; Junior (Sonny Bupp), the son in Citizen Kane

11. Who played Elvira Puccini, Mary Queen of Scots and Henrietta Browning?

Virginia McKenna in Puccini, Mary Queen of Scots and The Barretts of Wimpole Street

12. Who played Napoleon, Kristo and Ben Yussuf?

Herbert Lom in War and Peace; Night and the City; El Cid

13. Who filmed the Galveston flood, a retreat from Moscow and the essential song?

King Vidor: in Galveston as a youth; retreat from Moscow in War and Peace; the essential song, “Over the Rainbow” in The Wizard of Oz, shot by Vidor in the absence of Victor Fleming

14. Name three left-handed actresses.

Start with Eva Marie Saint, Emma Thompson, Diane Keaton, Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren

15. Name three films where people have fun in small boats, and three where the experience turns tragic.

Fun: Three Men in a Boat; Partie de Campagne; Some Like It Hot. Tragic: A Place in the Sun; Leave Her to Heaven; Sunrise – and many others in both areas
16. What happened to Loretta, Red Lightning and Brewster?

They are all shot: Loretta (Dimitra Arliss) in The Sting; Red Lightning, a race horse in The Killing; Brewster (Carroll O’Connor) in Point Blank

17. Name films in which these rivers participate: the Ouse, the Blackfoot, the Ganges, the Tennessee, the Seine.

The Ouse is the river where Virginia Woolf kills herself in The Hours; the Blackfoot is in A River Runs Through It; the Ganges is in The River; the Tennessee is in Wild River; and the Seine is in so many films, notably L’Atalante

18. Who said:  “I played the Advocate.”,  “Free of income tax, old man”, “Has anyone ever told you that you overplay your roles rather severely?”?

Orson Welles in The Trial;  Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in The Third Man; Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) in North by Northwest

19. Who were patients to these doctors: Dr Jaquith,  Dr Kelekian, Alex Linden, Dr Larsen, Dr Alex Brooks, Dr Lewicki

Dr Jaquith (Claude Rains) treats Bette Davis in Now, Voyager; Dr Kelekian (Christopher Lloyd) treats Emma Thompson in Wit; Alex Linden (Art Garfunkel) treats Theresa Russell in Bad Timing; Dr Larsen (Herbert Lom) treats Ann Todd in The Seventh Veil; Dr Alex Brooks (Barry Sullivan) treats Ginger Rogers in Lady in the Dark; Dr Lewicki (Nicole Kidman) treats Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder

20. He played Cardinal Danaher, a munitions expert who stammered, a senior fire operative and Bob Assingham?

Cyril Cusack in True Confessions; The Small Back Room; Fahrenheit 451 and The Golden Bowl (on TV)

21. Who stayed at the Hotel de la Gloria?

David Locke (Jack Nicholson) in The Passenger

22. What did these women have in common: Gabrielle Gerard, Jo Stockton, Maria Acuna, Penny Carrol, Dale Tremont?

They are female roles in Fred Astaire films: Gabrielle Gerard is Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon; Jo Stockton is Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face; Maria Acuna is Rita Hayworth in You Were Never Lovelier; Penny Carrol is Ginger Rogers in Swing Time; and Dale Tremont is Ginger in Top Hat

23. In what film does the business of Thomas Crapper appear?

The Servant

24. Could it have been Mary Pickford and Montgomery Clift?

Original casting ideas on Sunset Blvd

25. Who set sail on the Santa Maria and bumped into the horizon?

Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) in The Truman Show

26. William Katt, Laurence Olivier and Mandy Patinkin – what do they share?

It’s a Carrie connection: William Katt was in Brian De Palma’s Carrie; Olivier was in William Wyler’s Carrie; and Mandy Patinkin tries to look after Carrie (Claire Danes) in Homeland

27. Who taught Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, the talking treatment, psychology and the Song of Songs, how to fold a napkin. and mathematics at Princeton?

Andrew Crocker-Harris (Michael Redgrave) in The Browning Version; Carl Jung (Michael Fassbinder) in A Dangerous Method; Professor Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) in The Woman in the Window; Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft) in The Miracle Worker; Richard Nash (Russell Crowe) in A Beautiful Mind

28. What film did Mary Sinclair do so much to fund and produce?

Eisenstein’s Que Viva Mexico. She was the wife of Upton Sinclair and did a lot of work raising money on the film.

29. Name film titles composed of three adverbs, two and one.

Truly Madly Deeply; Gaily, Gaily; and Suddenly – among others

30. Who was Nabby, Maren Hontvedt and Nicole and will soon be herself?

Sarah Polley in John Adams; The Weight of Water, The Sweet Hereafter and in next year’s Stories We Tell

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.