Christmas Quiz

YES! A proud tradition is begun. The first annual Shadowplay Christmas Quiz. It’s all about your powers of observation. Just watch this short clip and answer the questions below. Remember, the answers are all in the clip.

1) What is the name of Charles Foster Kane’s pet shadow-rooster?

2) Giraffe, elephant, rooster… what comes next?

3) What is Susan Alexander concealing in her left hand?

4) Ted Healy, of Three Stooges fame, is hiding behind the divan (you can just see his thumb). But why was he there, and who is sewing up his pants?

5) What colour is Susan’s wallpaper?

6) The oval portrait above the radiator depicts which famous hockey player?

7) The rug on the wall is Welles’ homage to dialect comedian El Brendel, of course, but what about the lamp?

8) What is the triangular, patterned object with the white stick projecting from it, mounted on the wall above the chair? Seriously, it’s driving me nuts.

9) The sounds of a kazoo and an iron lung can faintly be heard from next door. What did Welles hope to convey with this?

10) The subliminal image about 7 seconds in: why a bus station?

Remember — the answers are all in the clip. Merry Christmas!


29 Responses to “Christmas Quiz”

  1. 1) Answer : Lilypad. Following the pattern of “Rosebud” and Charlie Kane’s love for flowers.

    2) Answer : Orangutan.

    3) Answer : A rabbit

    4) Answer : Welles asked him to stay there because he felt that the divan must act in that scene. As for sewing his pants, simple. it’s just that for reasons of fitting underneath, the team made him go underneath in his innerwear and then sewed his pants over it.

    5) Answer : Mauve.

    6) Answer : Peter Lorre.

    7) Answer : It’s a homage to an aborted early design of Buster Keaton’s straw hat.

    8) It’s the sign of the sacred feminine. Welles was part of an elite secret society(the same one in ”DaVinci Code”) which plotted to take over the world by subliminally putting coded images in his framings.

    9) He wanted audiences to lower their hearing frequency so that they can listen to the martian’s hidden, coded message under the dialogue.

    10) For sake of realism. Susan Alexander is working class and as such knows a bus station better than an airport.

  2. Happy Christmas David(s), my first as a Shadowplayer. Hopefully next year’s christmas would be just as banal as this one. I saw ”Good Sam” on Christmas Eve. Leo McCarey’s story about the misery inflicted by a real life Good Samaritan, Samuel Clayton played by the superb Gary Cooper is a really moving and intelligent film about the emptiness in modern civilization and the last reel of the film culminates in the hero getting pissed drunk in a bar, trading booze with his bartender. Ann Sheridan is terrific in that film, her best performance. Really should be seen often.

  3. Must get Good Sam, that sounds fantastic. I have Make Way for Tomorrow “lined up” for the New Year.

    Good answers! I welcome more suggestions. Will publish the results tomorrow.

    This Xmas seems reasonably banal compared to last, which was more anal than banal. Seasons greetings to one and all!

  4. Merry Xmas !

  5. ”Make Way For Tomorrow” for New Years sounds terrifically iconoclastic. That’s one of the saddest films ever made. Why not Charles Laughton in and as ”Ruggles of Red Gap”, a genuinely cheerful film if there ever was one.

    ”Good Sam” is on a good VHS transfer. Like many McCarey films it’s not on DVD, save for the ones with Cary Grant(who became “Cary” by imitating Leo’s own sophisticated style) and ”Duck Soup” where he helped Harpo Marx steal the film from Groucho. ”Ruggles” and ”Make Way for Tomorrow” recently came out on DVD in France. McCarey is a terrific director, really funny but moving too. And his films are highly sophisticated and feel real in a way that only Renoir and Rossellini or say Ozu are.

    ”Good Sam” for instance is shot almost entirely in the small house of the Clayton and you get a sense of seeing your own home in the film because the off-screen noise, constant interruptions feel too spontaneous. The most interesting thing about McCarey is the fact that he was the least prolific of all major American film-makers and was the total auteur of all his films as well.

  6. merry christmas. get anything good? i got some expired vouchers

    1) the shadow is Supposed-To-Be, a rooster
    2) a giggling denial
    3) she’s concealing her right hand because it looks like a rooster.
    embarrassed, she keeps guessing wrong on purpose
    4) don’t know
    5) none. she rents. it is her landlord’s wallpaper/doilies on concrete
    6) field or ice? field = sean curley, ice = wendel clark
    7) nikola tesla
    8) blind man stuffed into bag
    9) the birth of fully automatic music
    10) kane’s dying words were ‘road bus’

  7. I haven’t time right now to take the quiz (looks like something that requires a little time), but I just want to wish you and Fiona a Merry, and a Happy, as well as the other Shadowplayers out there in Shadowland. As gift-giving goes, may I suggest for the men out there, and the women who love their men, and the men who love their men……………….MANDOM (makes a great stocking stuffer).

  8. Happy Christmas to Shadowplay, its founder and all its members!

    Bill Douglas Trilogy, The Terence Davis Trilogy, The Long Day Closes, L’Argent (1928), Zabriske Point (2.35:1) and Cronenberg’s The Fly on Blu-ray certainly means I’ve had a good one!

  9. That sounds grand. Orson Welles at Work is the one present I can’t wait to get into, although, perverse to the last, Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science is the one I’ve started on.

    I’m enjoying these answers, more are welcome! I’ll give you all another 24 hrs.

  10. R.I.P. Harold Pinter!

  11. Alas! My winterval has become a pinterval. A minute’s silence has never seemed so apt.


    Another viewing of The Pumpkin Eater in his honour, I think.

  12. It’s a mistake to take your quiz on a full stomach – we lay on the couch and stared in blank incomprehension for hours before giving in and opening another bottle of mature port.

    Christmas viewing so far: Muppet Christmas Carol, which is pretty great in fact, with a massively, outlandishly committed performance from Michael Caine as a tortured Ebenezer Scrooge;
    The Strawberry Blonde, Raoul Walsh’s profound but never pretentious take on ‘the road not taken’, which benefits from Cagney playing both sides of his character for a change – dreamy and soft-hearted, as well as aggressive pug;
    The Wind, which neither of us had seen through, and which is as good as its reputation suggests;
    and The Godless Girl, CB de Mille on TV on Christmas Day! courtesy of Channel 4. The latter has a real Shadowplay Intertitle of the Week, referring to a prison escape in a sausage van: “He Blew! On the Baloney Bus!”

  13. If I have sewn a little blank incomprehension into your Christmas, then my miserable life ain’t been in vain for nuthin’.

    The Godless Girl is a curiously sophisticated piece of Christian propaganda, which begins by seducing us atheists onto the side of the protags, and then pulling the old switcheroo. Smartly done. I think I might have to use that intertitle.

    The Wind is magnificent, especially that climactic scene.

  14. Sigh…This just hasn’t been a good year. We have a global financial crisis, the Middle East on the brink of an abyss, the ceasefire between Israel and Palestine at West Bank going to the dogs, the Tibetan oppressions by the Chinese, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai which may/may not lead to war with Pakistan. Then there’s the eco system going haywire, Russia losing it’s Winter, Russia threatening Ukraine to shutting of it’s gas, the war in Georgia. In Africa we have the mess in Congo and Mugabe’s continuing presence in Zimbabwe presiding over a cholera outbreak. Then there’s the imminent end of the US auto industry, Prop 8 and on top of that we now have Harold Pinter dead.

    Well on the bright side we can say he left at the right time. Imagine being a playwright starting out NOW. RIP.

  15. There’s mosr life in the dead Pinter than most people I can name. (Present company excluded needless to say.)

  16. And, sad to say, Eartha Kitt is gone.

  17. Damn. Just read an interview with her a few weeks ago. There, and then not there.

    They’re supposed to go in threes, not twenty-threes! It’s like a slomo apocalypse.

  18. The Reaper’s working extra hard to squeeze them all in by year’s end.

  19. If all the recently deceased celebs got together for a dinner party, that would be quite a night.

  20. I’d be more than happy to attend, but I’m not ready to leave this plane just yet (“Hey, this salmon mousse tastes like ectoplasm.” Forgive the irreverence, just couldn’t resist).

  21. It’s the luck of the draw. If you die the same day as Orson Welles and Yul Brynner you get some good conversation on your way through the afterlife’s lobby. Or you could wind up with Dick Cheney.

  22. Christmas viewing has been mostly dismal over here. SCROOGED ain’t as fun as when I was twelve, but at least Bing Crosby was amusing in his blackface christmas classic. The Benjamin Buttons was nice in theaters last night though, once we found a theater that wasn’t sold out. Things are looking up for new years with a shiny new Murnau/Borzage box set under my tree, whoopee!

    I’d have more if my browser wasn’t mysteriously unable to play video clips today… happy holidays anyhow.

  23. I watched the first half of the Fox/Murnau/Borzage documentary from that box last night, and it’s really excellent, way above and beyond the standard Extra Feature (as befits the price tag, I suppose). It made a great double bill with Liliom – what an extraordinary (though not actually very good) film. And now I know where the song title “He Hit Me (and it felt like a kiss)” comes from!

  24. Ah, Comrade K saw that connection too, after watching the Lang version. In the subtitles on that, it says “He hit me, and it felt like nothing.”

    I was keen to see Benjamin B, but slightly put off when I learned it was the screenwriter of Forrest Guff. But I expect I’ll see it for visuals and perfs. Hopefully it’ll be out here soon.

  25. Answers to the quiz:
    1) Rhode Island Rosebud.
    2) New Year.
    3) Her fingerprints.
    4) Healy is credited with “Additional upholstery”. Trick question: no one is sewing up his pants, but an angry Mrs Healy is in fact stewing up his pants, a punishment she often inflicted on her erring spouse.
    5) The colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.
    6) Peter Lorre.
    7) “It is not symbolic of anything. This isn’t that kind of picture.”
    8) A Salem witch-beater.
    9) Hope.
    10) No images of gymnasia were available in the RKO props department.

    0 – 3. You are Susan Alexander Kane. Lay off the sauce.
    4 – 6. You are Jed Leland. Finish what you start.
    7 – 9. You are Mr. Bernstein, chairman of the board.
    10 or over. You are Erskine Sanford, the huffing puffing editor of the Inquirer. Well done!

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