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Q&A Part 1: No Actresses! Whatever Will We Talk About?

To try something a little different I asked y'all to ask me questions that were not actress related this week. Hold me, I'm scared.

But sometimes you gotta push out of the comfort zone. Some people disobeyed -- sorry, not answering those! Some people gave me ideas for much longer posts. Others took it quite literally just reversing the genders of a question they'd normally ask. But a lot of interesting questions were on offer this week so we'll split this baby into two this week, feeling generous. Part two tomorrow.

Here's the 8 questions we're answering today including but not limited to favorite (male) stars, awesome film sets, horror flicks, and costume dramas...

DAN: What film set, taking in mind color schemes, evocative moods, and lighting, would you most like to inhabit. Ignore modern conveniences like air conditioning and pleasant smells. 

NATHANIEL: This question is so open-ended so we'll start with the movie that popped into mind IMMEDIATELY whilst reading it and surprised me becasue it wouldn't leave: Vertigo.

There are so many great rooms you could imagine spending hours in. Midge's apartment is like bohemian artist / spinster heaven. And what a view. And who wouldn't make a multi-course dinner reservation at that red red  red restaurant that Scottie spots Madeleine in?


Every single place is awesome: the beautiful but somehow creepy clocktower, the shop with all the crazy heaps of flowers (even its alleyway), and the museum with the Carlotta painting. Raise your hand in the comments if you love art museums.

Other single sets if not whole movies that seem fascinating but in a more of a "dare yourself to investigate their creepy nooks and crannies" haunted house kind of way are the family estate in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Nicole's shuttered gothic home in The Others (2001), and "Manderley" in Rebecca (1940).

Oh and TOTALLY Auntie Mame's (1958) apartment and every few months, too, to gawk at what she's done to it this time. Wait. Why are both of my main answers from 1958 ??? That's weird.

Okay, something more modern: ask me to come to the sets from any Wes Anderson or Baz Luhrmann and I'll  pack my bags --when can I move in? 

CLOVER: Which pre-20th century era is your favorite for period films?

This is really interesting question which I'll admit I've never thought of. As a kid I loved movies with medieval setting (early Camelot/Excalibur obsession) and any stories that were Greco-Roman in nature but contemporary cinema loves violence too much for me to be drawn to pre-Enlightenment stories now. I understand that life can be brutal and short but I'm just not into seeing it be that way graphically. It's one of the reasons I don't watch Game of Thrones -- admittedly out of the purview of this question as its fantasy and not "period" but it just has way too much maiming and beheading and bone breaking for me. I think my answer is right on the cusp of the 20th century. I tend to be interested in movies set in the Belle Epoque / Gilded Age time frame. I've actually been meaning to watch The House of Mirth (2000) again since falling back in love with Gillian Anderson in The Fall. The time frame was fascinating politically, economically, and in the arts and fashion. These movies demand great eye candy in production design and costume design (Moulin Rouge!, Cheri, The Age of Innocence, etcetera) and long live the "Spectacular! Spectacular!"s you know? 

My runner up answer is... everything else? All periods have their unique soil for great stories and if they find the right filmmaker, like James Ivory & the Edwardian era, it's a marriage made in heaven.

BROOKESBOY: Please name your top ten actors and your favorite (not best!) film from each

Okay this I can do. though I'm never satisfied with the list.

William Holden

  • Montgomery Clift - A Place in the Sun
  • Gene Kelly - Singin' in the Rain
  • Paul Newman - Hud
  • Cary Grant - Notorious
  • Brad Pitt - Thelma & Louise
  • Warren Beatty - Bonnie & Clyde
  • James Dean - Rebel Without a Cause
  • Tony Leung Chiu Wai - In the Mood for Love
  • Jude Law - I ♥ Huckabees
  • William Holden - Sunset Blvd
  • Marlon Brando - A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Gene Hackman - Postcards from the Edge
  • Jeff Bridges - The Fabulous Baker Boys
  • Jimmy Stewart - It's a Wonderful Life

That's 14. SHUT UP. Okay, I can't do that. I couldn't narrow it down any further and I already feel bad about the ones I left off. The current movie star most 'on the rise' towards all time favorite status is Michael Fassbender. You can see a larger unranked list of my 50 favorite male movie stars here, published back in 2012

PAUL OUTLAW: East of Eden opened in NYC on March 9, 1955. (Dean died at the end of September, and Rebel Without a Cause opened in October.) Any thoughts or plans for the blog for the 60th anniversaries (which AMPAS so far seems to have forgotten)?

We try to stick to 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 100th anniversaries (hence this tag) not because we always like those years best -- they change with the calendar year after all -- but because you have to narrow it down somehow or it's anniversaries hourly. But I've had a hankering to revisit Giant (1956) lately so maybe we'll do that. You may have noticed we've already played around a little in 19151965, 1990, and 2005 this year and we'll be doing a big thing for Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) soon to celebrate its 75th. 

VAL: I don't know if this violates the "no actress" rule, but I do have a question about the banner featuring Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Lupita Nyong'o, and Ralph Fiennes. Do these represent your favorite performances from those respective years?

For those of you who are like "huh"? this question involves the deviations from the normal banner. When you click on Oscar charts or Film Bitch Awards (which I hope you do) the banner up top changes to reflect where you are on the site. Usually the method to this madness is obvious. In this case maybe not so much. I was not going with "Performance of the Year" but just going with one of the four "gold medalists" from the last four years and trying to get some variety up there in terms of image, color palette, and style of performance. (Oops, I guess I just spilled the beans that Fiennes is getting the gold medal.) In most cases it's more obvious, various Oscar pages and the Film Bitch pages generally just show the last four big winners.

BHURAY: Five favorite horror films?

I can't go a full five because there are only three that I totally worship and can watch all the time, requiring no rare "I feel like watching a horror flick!" mood, me being a wuss and not an aficianado. My favorites, towering over the rest are: 1. Psycho (1960) 2. Carrie (1976) and 3. Rosemary's Baby (1968). I suggest reading our Team Top Ten on this genre split into two parts "Before The Exorcist" and "After The Exorcist" for a more detailed investigation of highlights of this revered (if not by me) genre. (I like a lot of those 20 pictures discussed but not in the way of 'BEST MOVIES EVAH!' like these three.

JONES: Are there any films you often watch when you're feeling down?

Not particularly single films, no, but any musical will do... even the sad ones. The last part of that sentence might sound weird but watching Liza Minnelli arching backwards in editorial pose over a chair during 'Mein Herr' for the thrill of future Nazis cheers me up just as much as Debbie Reynolds bursting out of a wedding cake singing 'All I Do is Dream of You' at a silly Hollywood party.

HENRY: What are your interests outside film and actresses?







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Reader Comments (38)

Lupita was Ralph's assistant on The Constant Gardener, so it's kind of cool that they're next to each other.

I would support any kind of Giant retrospective.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Raising my hand for art museums. You must visit the Barnes in Philadelphia if you haven't already. A must. Favorite art museum scenes in films is an interesting topic. " Dressed to Kill" with poor Angie Dickinson is 80's heaven. Thank you for a thoughtful and enviable set answer. !958 was a classic year for those in love with mid-century straight lines and low furniture.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Ha Ha Ha

I would love to live in the sets for Skyfall, -The Comfort of Strangers, -The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover or the Lake house from Gone Girl (its a Faye Jones design and really exists.).

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

And I'm a major Museum geek. My favorite (so far) is the Guimet in Paris.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I would love to live in the villa where the Recchi family lived in "I Am Love." (It's actually a museum which you can visit in Milan; see http://eng.fondoambiente.it/beni/villa-necchi-campiglio-fai-properties.asp )

I also have this fixation on the Star Suite in the Skt. Petri Hotel in Copenhagen, where Mads Mikkelsen stayed in "After the Wedding." If I ever win the lottery, I'm off!

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

Places I'd want to live in as far as film or film-related goes? Well, The Bus is actually an obvious one (equal parts cold and alienating for meditative moments and warmly inviting for happier times and was sad to see it get so de-emphasized in a lot of Season 2 of Agents of SHIELD), but also the film version of Knowhere.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

The house that Bardot and Piccoli inhabit in Godard's Contempt just popped into my head.

Thanks for the sensible anniversary explanation, Nat. By all means, Hit Ne With Your Best Giant.

That pic of Bill Holden is so woof-y, but Monty in A Place in the Sun is still my #1 too. I'm curious: Is Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon in your Top 20?

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul -- al pacino in dog day afternoon would be in my top ten male performances ever. but the list was about favorite actors rather than all time best performances. I am not much of a pacino fan.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The green filtered world in the Paltrow version of Great Expectations-so, so beautiful to me.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersuzy

Thanks for answering my question! I've recently started watching all the period films I own in historical order. (I've given up on trying to be normal.) I just finished Gladiator, so I have a ways to go...

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterClover Corliss

There are lots of great scenes in museums and art galleries, for an off-beat choice I would go with "St. Trinians" which used The National Gallery in London.
Your choices for sets are interesting, but I couldn't resist going with Hogwarts & The Burrow from Harry Potter. Not an uncommon choice perhaps, but an irresistible one.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Nathaniel, thanks for answering my question. Great choices, I love your No 1. I got around the ten limit with a four way tie lol. Holden and Clift almost made my list. I never knew you admired Pitt so much!

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Nat, I'm trying to find an old thread (I suspect it may have been on bogspot) where you asked the readers a similar question, "Which cinematic house would you like to live in". I think I remember there being some good discussion.

Off the top of my head I'd love to live at HOWARDS END (I think that was my answer then, too) but the Schegels' London apartment isn't too shabby either. Adore the production design on that movie.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Barry Lyndon. That was such a beautiful house and has been used so many times for various films. I heard they were going to rebuild it (it burned shortly after Lyndon was finished) but no idea if that ever happened.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Here here for art galleries! My favourite is the Palais de Tokyo in Paris!

Love your choices for favourite actors. Can someone get Jude Law's career back on track?

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

How many times has Nicole won your gold medal? I didn't remember her winning for the Paperboy but do remember that she took one home for Rabbit Hole in '10. Does that mean she has two? Or did she also take one home for Moulin Rouge / The Others in '01 also? Maybe even Birth in 04? Any other medals? Gotta love Godcole.

Apologies if there is an archive I'm just not seeing...

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Thelma & Louise -- such a funny film to name Brad's best. Not incorrect, though. He's had a long career trying to top those glorious ten minutes conning Geena Davis.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

Outside of obvious answers like Harry Potter or Star Wars, if I had to pick a realistic place to live I'd want the apartment from Cache...preferably without the cameras down the street.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Hackman has a cameo appearance in Postcards From the Edge. Did The Royal Tenenbaums slip your mind?

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Yeah, Nat, Pacino used to be one of my favorites, but that romance fizzled.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

The Varykino Cottage from "Doctor Zhivago". Even with the insides covered in snow and ice, it is a breathtaking building and interiors. Not sure I'd want to inhabit it with all that ice, but I'd love to see it that way and spend a few hours there.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRJL

I love that actor question and that it's favorite film rather than best film, it makes it so much more fun and subjective.

Mine would be:

John Garfield-The Breaking Point
Richard Widmark-Pick-up on South Street
Robert Ryan-About Mrs. Leslie
James Mason-A Star is Born
Daniel Day-Lewis-Lincoln
William Holden-Executive Suite
Clifton Webb-Titanic
Claude Rains-Notorious
Robert Mitchum-The Lusty Men
Alan Bates-Far from the Madding Crowd

As far as sets, I would love to live in the country house Lana Turner lived in once she was a success in Imitation of Life.

Another vote for any sort of Giant review or overview.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Tom -- i thought i answered this but the comment seems to be lost. Nicole has won gold here twice (Rabbit Hole & Paperboy) and silver once (Moulin Rouge!) and then a few nominations on top of that (Birth, Margot at the Wedding, The Hours)

JOhn T -- LOL. definitely without the cameras

RJL ---ooh great answer. yeah, that frozen solid house with the icicles and such. love it.

March 23, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

God, William Holden was gorgeous. God, that apartment in Vertigo was to die. God, that picture of Chloë Grace Moretz was LOLZ. God, God, God, God, God, God, God!

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

P.S. I can't believe Nicole Kidman didn't win gold for Birth! It must've gone to Kat Winslet for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind because...who else?

P.P.S. My cinematic dream house would be the Hamptons beach house in Something's Gotta Give *or* the amazing estate in The Parent Trap. I don't even need to pack bags!

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Mareko -- i'm slightly embarrassed about 2004. I got really caught up in that dumb Swank vs. Bening narrative and I gave my gold to Bening for "Being Julia" (which I do still think is a great performance albeit in a middling film) partially because I hadn't given her gold before. SEE, I'M JUST LIKE OSCAR SOMETIMES EVEN THOUGH I TRY NOT TO BE. with Imelda Staunton winning silver and Kate Winselt "Bronze". but obviously Kidman shoulda won a medal. and Winslet probably deserved gold arrrrggggh. great years are their own lovely problems./

March 24, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R


March 24, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Two cozy film abodes that I would happily live in:

The Big Sur "shack" where hippie artist Elizabeth Taylor paints with "The Sandpiper" on her shoulder and "The Shadow of Your Smile" playing in the background, while waiting for Reverend Richard Burton to drop by.

The New Mexico winter ranch home of gorgeous psycho Gene Tierney in "Leave Her to Heaven." I'm sure it was just a set, but it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrick gould

I always visit an Art Museum or two when I go to European cities. I thought I would do a list of my Top Five.

1. Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna
2. Prado in Madrid
3. Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin
4. Kunsthalle in Hamburg
5. Nationalmuseum in Stockholm

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

it's probably just me, but that picture of Montgomery Clift looks weirdly like Dave Franco.
Yeah, it's probably just me. :)

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersuzy

hi joel, I almost put Garfield on my list; he's got such intensity. And Widmark is so underrated. I feel he almost steals Judgment at Nuremberg. I need to check out more of his filmography. Marvelous actor.

I can tell we both like old movies. My list skews that way, mostly because their work has stood the test of time. But I can see down the road probably adding Oscar Isaac, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tom Hardy. They are brilliant.

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Is it too late to say that the place I'd want to live is Brian Keith's house in The Parent Trap? Or maybe even the "lair of evil" in North By Northwest if I had my own personal airplane and pilot. :-)

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Fave films featuring my top ten actors:

Montgomery Clift: A Place in the Sun (fave performance: From Here to Eternity)
Cary Grant: The Philadelphia Story (fave performance: His Girl Friday) - that was hard
Robert De Niro: Brazil (fave performance: Taxi Driver) - another hard one
Sean Penn: I'm Still Here (uncredited cameo) (fave performance: Dead Man Walking)
Marlon Brando: Guys and Dolls (fave performance: On the Waterfront)
Humphrey Bogart: The Maltese Falcon (fave performance: In a Lonely Place)
Clark Gable: Gone With the Wind (fave performance: Gone With the Wind)
James Dean: East of Eden (fave performance: East of Eden)
Robert Downey, Jr.: Soapdish (fave performance: Wonder Boys)
Michael Fassbender: 12 Years a Slave (fave performance: Shame)

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

No, no, no! I confused I'm Still Here (which is not a favorite film of mine) with I'm Not There (which is), so I'm going with Milk instead. Yikes.

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

You should make a hit me with your best shot about "Leave Her to Heaven."

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermagicub

brookesboy-I'm not very familiar with Oscar Isaac's work but I love Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tom Hardy and can see them going the distance, especially Hardy.

I love most film and genres but I do have a real affinity for older films and don't know what I'd do without TCM.

So glad you're a fan of Richard Widmark he's woefully undervalued! He was so versatile, a great villain, one of the best really but then he was able to adjust his persona somehow and be very charming when he was cast as the romantic hero. He played vicious bastards and bigots so well it seems kind of ironic that off screen he was fiercely liberal and well known to be an extremely kind and down to earth guy.

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Thank you for answering my question, Nat! Greatly appreciated. I love that we can ask you questions and you always provide great answers.

Definitely good choices for horror films, even though you're not big on them as a whole.

My Top 5 would have to be:


I know number five might not be on anyone else's list of "Best Horror Movies", but that is one I have loved forever. I watched it when I was younger, and like SCREAM, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER has been etched in my brain ever since. Whenever I choose to watch it, or catch it on TV, I always get caught up in the thrill of it. I also love me some Sarah Michelle Gellar, and I think she really elevates the material with her committed performance.

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

I think I would have to add a few titles to that list after thinking it over last night, but those would definitely be in my Top 10 Favourite Horror Films.

March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

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