by Paul Batters
It’s a real thrill to be acknowledged by a fellow blogger whose work you respect and enjoy. We rarely receive that acknowledgement and to be nominated by by Zoe K at Hollywood Genes is certainly thrilling! I cannot thank you enough for your kindness, Zoe!
As Zoe pointed out in her acceptance, it’s a great deal of fun to receive the award because the questions allow for introspection that we rarely give to ourselves. So without further ado, let’s get into the conditions 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 Zoe’s questions:
1). Whose biography would you want to write and why would you pick that person?
James Murray. I became fascinated by his story when I read ‘Hollywood Babylon’ as a kid (which I know is heavy with inaccuracies) but was even more fascinated after finally watching ‘The Crowd’ which is one of my favourite films and an exceptional artwork. There are myths regarding James Murray’s life that need to be cleared up and indeed there’s a lot we don’t know either. There’s something tragic about his story and so many themes to examine that I think it would be challenging and very interesting to research and find out more about the man.
2). What is a film that people would be shocked to find out you haven’t seen?
I’ve avoided many of the Marvel and DC films, particularly the most recent ones. I’m so tired of ‘over-the-top’ CGI nonsense and noise. And for the record I was a huge Marvel comic fan from the 70s onwards (and still am!). But if I had a free ticket to go, I wouldn’t nor couldn’t be bothered to see any of those films. Not judging anyone who likes them – it’s just my taste.
3). Which favorite book of yours has never been made (or made properly) into a movie? If it were, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Definitely Budd Schulberg’s book ‘What Makes Sammy Run?’ – not because it’s a favourite per se as many books I love have been made into films but because it’s a powerful book and should be made. I know and understand the stories behind why it’s never been made as a film, as it is a terrifyingly cynical view of the film industry.
In terms of casting, it’s very difficult which might also explain why it was never made. But I’ll take my best shot, using actors from the classic era.
Al Mannheim: Dana Andrews
Sammy Glick: Frank Sinatra
Cathy ‘Kit’ Sargent: Teresa Wright
Sidney Fineman: James Gleason
‘Sheik’: Anthony Quinn
Laurette Harrington: Martha Hyer
Carter Judd: Jeffrey Hunter
Rosalie Goldblaum: Cathy O’Donnell
4). Which blog post did you spend the most time researching and/or writing and what was it about?
It would have to be ‘Fatalism And Futility In Film Noir’. It’s over 4,000 words and I really focused on it a great deal. Of course I re-watched the films I discussed a number of times, as well as read some critical work and reviews to immerse myself in the essence of what I wanted to write. I think it came out ok!
Here’s the link: Fatalism And Futility In Film Noir
5). When and why did you start blogging?
I began in 2016 for a few reasons; I have always loved classic film and wanted to write about it. The advice that kept popping up in my face was quite simple – just DO IT. It was also an avenue to developing an idea for a book (which I am still working on) nI finally took on the challenge and whilst I have been disillusioned and disheartened at times, I’ve tried to remember why I started writing in the first place and I am starting to get my mojo back.
It’s also a desire to keep alive an appreciation of classic cinema, at a time when it is slowly being eroded away and diminished by so many factors. Researching and writing about classic cinema is also a fantastic way of learning more and I wanted that to be a key part of the reason I started blogging.
The key with writing is simple yet difficult at the same time – just WRITE. Even if they come out terrible, the process is still cathartic as well as being a learning opportunity.
6). You’re hosting a themed Halloween party. Which book or film would you use as the theme and in what ways?
It would be Roman Polanski’s film The Fearless Vampire Killers – simply because it would give everyone a chance to become a creature of the night. Everyone of course would be dressed in period piece, the party would be held in a beautiful old ballroom for everyone to dance the night away and the hired staff (suitably attired) would be on duty to provide everyone with enough food and beverages and keep them satisfied.
For those who are interested, there would be viewing rooms with different classic and not so classic horror films playing – and of course the decorations would be appropriate to the evening.
7). What was the last film you saw that really blew you away and why?
The Irishman. Not only were there incredible performances from De Niro and Pacino, but there was also the reminder of why I miss Joe Pesci so much on the big screen. Ray Romano was no slouch and perfectly cast. A tour de force of a film!
8). 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: Nora Charles (Myrna Loy). That is assuming Nick was deceased and she was available. (I know that sounds awful but…it is Myrna Loy after all! To spend a lifetime with such a gorgeous gal would be heaven!)
Kiss: Marian Martin (Joan Crawford). Locking lips with a hell of a sexy pre-code dame like Joan Crawford would send the temperature soaring!
Kill: Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark). He’s a sadistic, mad dog and dangerous as hell!
9). Which film character’s closet would you love to raid?
Why any character being played by Cary Grant of course!
10). Recast Star Wars using early Hollywood (silent to 1940s) actors and actresses then recast Casablanca with modern actors and actresses (1990s to today).
I’ve also placed the original players next to the recast actors and actresses.
Luke – Jackie Cooper
Han – Clark Gable
Leia – Olivia de Havilland
Obi-wan Kenobi – Sir Cedric Hardwicke
Darth Vader – Claude Rains (Voice)
Grand Moff Tarkin – Boris Karloff
Rick – George Clooney
Ilsa – Monica Bellucci
Victor – Christoph Waltz
Sam – Jamie Foxx
Captain Renault – Jean Dujardin
Major Strasser – Mads Mikkelsen
Signor Ferrari – Anthony Hopkins
Ugarte – Steve Buscemi
11). You were working in the lab, late one night, when your eyes beheld an eerie sight. What was it and what did you do?
The hour was beyond the clock, as I looked dazedly upon my work. Was it finished? Was it complete? Was what lay before me everything that I had sweated, ached and poured my heart out for? Or was there more to do?How long had I toiled and found myself lost in the seemingly infinite depths of trying to perfect my creation! Yet at every turn there were obstacles; some I had placed there, the rest beyond my control – or so I told myself. The distinction between perseverance and madness had long blurred and I could not remember the last time I had spoken to someone about the weather or sat at the table to eat. Indeed, what was finally driving me to complete my work was something I could not ascertain, even when I deigned to find some moments of peace in disturbed sleep. Even then the only reason I closed my eyes was a justification to allow myself to recover to continue my work.
And so at that point, I slumped in my seat and felt my arms fall lifelessly by my side. It was enough. There was no more that I could do.
Yet something compelled me to turn to my right, as if a presence was watching me. Finding myself torn between daring to look and pretending there was nothing there, I nonetheless apprehensively turned slowly towards an apparition beyond my wildest nightmares.
Staring at me was a figure so grotesque that I could not scream. As I opened my mouth in silent horror, the figure did the same, as if it were mocking my terror and laughing inside at my frozen fear. Its eyes were large and dark, sunken in what appeared to be the hollows of a long dead oak, with hair hanging down bedraggled over its’ face. Its pale face was fixated on me like a predator eyeing its’ prey and as I instinctively raised my hand in some pathetic attempt to fend it off, I saw it too raise its’ fiendish arm as if ready to strike.
Rising slowly out of my chair, the figure also stood and I knew that at any moment, it may rush at me and inflict violence upon me. Determined to defend myself, I saw its’ face contort into a horrific mask of contemptuous violence.
My fists clenched into red knuckled balls of fury.
And waited. Bracing myself for the attack to come.
But then I noticed a change in my tormentor’s face, as it looked at me questioningly. I, too, found myself staring back, realising that I knew who it was and the realisation hit me like a thousand thunderbolts all at once…
I touched the mirror with the tips of my fingers before turning back to my creation and hitting the ‘Publish’ button on the screen. Sleep beckoned…
The 11 Nominees For The Sunshine Blogger Award
My questions are a mixed bag of my own and others that Zoe.K was given so I hope you find them interesting!
1. Which actor or actress who hasn’t received an Oscar do you think deserves one? And for what film?
2. Who is your favourite child actor and name a film they were in which you love.
3. If a biopic was made of you during the classic film era (1920s to 1960s), who would you like to play you and why?
4. Which famous starry couple (of any time and place) would you want as neighbours?
5. Of all the classic monsters, which one do you feel associated with and why?
6. Is there a classic era actor/actress that you have a crush on?
7. 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?
8. Which film character’s closet would you love to raid?
9. 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-rhero or villain(ess) with a score to settle? (And why did you pick these 3?)
10. Of all the classic film studios, which is your favourite and why?
11. Choose a film where you would love to change the ending. Explain what that change would be and why you would do it.
Well, I hope you take part and of course totally understand if you cannot or would prefer not to. However, I thoroughly recommend it as it’s a great deal of fun and certainly is a pleasure and honour to be nominated. Happy blogging everyone! And I’m looking forward to reading your responses.
Paul Batters teaches secondary school History in the Illawarra region and also lectures at the University Of Wollongong. In a previous life, he was involved in community radio and independent publications. Looking to a career in writing, Paul also has a passion for film history.