The New, Simplified Shadowplay Impossible Film Quiz: Year Zero


All you have to do is find the connections.

But remember, just because it’s simpler (twenty questions) doesn’t mean it’s easier!

1) Patrick Stewart, Anthony Newley, Humphrey Bogart

2) Andre Cayatte, Jean Epstein, Barbra Streisand



5) Arthur Lowe, Margaret Whiting, Michelle Pfeiffer

6) Vincent Price, Anjanette Comer, Elizabeth Moody

7) Harpo Marx, Oscar Werner, Essie Davis

8) Jack Hawkins, David Niven, Raymond Griffith

9) George Raft, Bert Lahr, Ving Rhames

10) I’m going to my friend Bernie’s place to watch a late sixties Godard movie. Which one should I choose?

To make things more fun, I realize I have forgotten the answers to most of these questions. But I’m sure I’ll recognize the correct ones if you find them.

55 Responses to “The New, Simplified Shadowplay Impossible Film Quiz: Year Zero”

  1. 1) A Christmas Carol?

  2. It’s a good thought, but I can’t recall Bogart playing Scrooge, or even Bob Cratchit in preppy pre-code mode. Or writing the lyrics to a musical version.

  3. 3) All 3 have provoked/will provoke the reaction “Hang on, Is that X?? What the hell is X doing in this movie?” (X=Johnny Depp, Ron Perelman, Justin Timberlake)

    4) All 3 have sweet pleasant characters who turn out to be completely insane? All 3 drag in the middle?

    5) Lowe, Whiting and Pfeiffer have all fallen from tall buildings and were revived by being the licking of many cats.

    10) Weekend. And if you find Bernie dead when you arrive, alert the authorities, don’t try anything hilarious, no matter how much you admire Ted Kotcheff’s earlier work

  4. 8) they all lost their voices

  5. 4) all feature domineering parents. Also (possibly) involve vehicles being pushed or driven into deep water.

  6. 2) they all made films with mirror in the title

  7. 1) they all played Gurneys

  8. 3) all feature former mariners?

  9. # 1 = X. “X the Unkown” for Newley, assorted X-Men movies for Stewart, and “Return of Dr. X” for Bogart. The DVD commentary track of this last by then-587 year old director Vincent Sherman (“…I have no recollection of what the hell this is… okay, that’s… there’s some guy holding, it looks like, a gun…”) is a treasure.

  10. #9– late in their careers Lahr and Raft were most recognizable for TV commercials they did, for Lays Potato Chips and Alka Seltzer respectively. Rhames did some fairly high profile commercials for Radio Shack some years back. Although I prefer to think all three *just missed* a rendezvous with The Gimp.

  11. Alex, YES on 8, Griffith, Hawkins and Niven all lost their voices and all made films AFTER losing their voices.

    4 — I suddenly remembered what this one is, and you haven’t got it yet.

    1 — YES! Gurneys. I couldn’t recall and thought it might be playing Doctor or Professor X but that seemed not to fit the Anthony Newley MO. So extra points to Jeff Gee for making this work! Two correct answers!

    3 — good guess. IS there an ex-mariner in London Fields? Anyhow, wrong.

  12. 9 is something more specific than commercials, though I am delighted to learn of the actors’ adventures in this field. I believe Marcellus Wallace could sell me anything.

  13. 2 — yes! The Mirror Has Two Faces X2, and The Mirror Has Three Faces.

  14. 10. “Made in USA” (far and away his most important 60s film)

  15. Yes, but “Made in USA at Bernie’s” doesn’t have the same ring.

  16. 9. Raft, Lahr, Rhames all abbreviated/changed their birth names (George Ranft, Irving Lahrheim, Irving Rhames).

  17. #6: Hmmph. Elizabeth Moody has a credit as “Girl in Photo” in something called Turn of the Blade. Anjanette Comer was cast opposite Michael Caine in Funeral in Berlin and started filming before she became ill and had to be replaced– lots of production shots and publicity pictures with her in it online, I wonder if they used a photo of her with Caine sitting on his dresser or something?

    And surely somebody slapped a picture of Vincent Price on the wall in some movie he’s otherwise absent from?

    I’m flailing.

  18. Gareth, great answer! Totally wrong. I have something FAR more specific.

    Arson is always a good answer. I don’t think it’s correct, but can you elaborate?

  19. If you go with Comer and Moody’s best-known credits, it may lead you in the right direction.

  20. UNDERCOVER GANG aka THE FIRE RAISER (1986). Four kids witness an arsonist start a fire, but no one believes them. Stars Elizabeth Moody.

    THE FIRECHASERS (1971). Insurance investigator must find out who is setting fires. Along the way he meets and works with a beautiful newspaper reporter and falls in love. Stars Anjanette Comer.

    Vinnie suffered arson at the start of HOUSE OF WAX.

  21. It’s NOT ARSON!

  22. Harumph. Applying makeup to corpses then?

  23. Funeral directors. The Loved One for Anji, Comedy of Errors for Vincent, and, um… uh… Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring for Elizabeth??

  24. I still like ARSON.

  25. I’m changing my answer to arson.

  26. La Faustin Says:

    9. All played in WAITING FOR GODOT?

  27. 4. Toilets? Slim Pickens’s character in “1941” is made to sit on a toilet to retrieve the toy compass he swallowed; Mr. Helpmann needs Sam Lowry to help him use the toilet in “Brazil”; and of course “Psycho” is famous for showing us a toilet being flushed.

  28. I’m changing my answer to toilets.

  29. Raft and Lahr as Vladimir and Estragon, Rhames as Pozzo?

    Toilets is always a good answer, especially if the question is “What is an anagram of TS ELiot?” but it’s not what I had in mind. However I might need to award an honorary point as it’s just as good as my answer. Brazil also has Bob Hoskins and his partner drowned in sewage.

  30. I’ve got one! I’ve got one! Number 4 is characters with numbers in their names: Nicola Six, One and Johnny Five. I even know your perdonal connection to this, because YOU AND FIONA DiD THAT TOO!

  31. Sorry, number 3. I’m not very good with numbers.

  32. Is arson a no-no, then? Because Essie Davis snd Oscar Werner both burnt books. I bet Harpo did too. Is that number 7?

  33. Yes it is! Essie burns The Babadook and Oskar burns everything in sight and Harpo foreshadows historical developments when he shovels a library of books into a fireplace in Horse Feathers (1932). Not technically arson, except in Oskar’s case.

    And yes to number 4. And yes, we have a character called 6 in Let Us Prey, originally entitled Cell 6 (a less silly title).

  34. Number 5 – milk bottles? Lowe’s head ends up on one in Theatre of Blood, Pfeiffer drinks from one in Batman Returns, and Margaret Whiting played s walking talking bottle of milk.

  35. This Margaret Whiting made so few films that it should be easy.

  36. It’s turning into birds, isn’t it. Pfeiffer in Ladyhawke, Whiting in Sindbad & the Eye of the Tiger and Lowe in… er, er… I’m guessing The Bed Sitting Room.

  37. Yes, he becomes prime minister and then he becomes a parrot and then he becomes dinner.

  38. So, just number 4 to go!

  39. Psycho begins on December 11th, 1941 begins on December 13th, Brazil has Christmas trees and stuff. So I’m guessing December. Unless it actually begins on December 12th.

  40. They all take place at Christmastime, yes. Psycho makes no further mention of this, despite quite a bit of story time passing.

    And we’re done! I’ll count up the scores tomorrow unless someone else wants to save me the bother.

  41. Your quizzes are the best!!!

  42. Why thank you! I won’t wait so long before the next one. There’s something reassuring about discovering each time that there a bunch of people whose minds work in the same strange ways as mine.

  43. I was going to say the appearance of mothers at crucial plot points for number 4; Robert Stack crying at the sequence in Dumbo when his mother is taken away, Sam Lowry’s mother in Brazil played by Katherine Helmond and, I think there might be a mother in Psycho. Is there?

  44. Yes and no…

    Especially if we follow Psycho II, in which Norma Bates turns out to have been NOT Norman’s Mom.

  45. Not as finished as I thought! Nobody has got 9! (Except Alex, over tea at the Cameo.)

    The scores so far:

    Anne Billson: 4
    Alex: 3 (although he got some more over tea at the Cameo.)
    Experimento, 2 yes, I’ll give you applying makeup to corpses although it’s fairly wrong. Correct answer is (spoiler alert) EMBALMED ALIVE but I feel bad because I missed your answer. And arson was ingeniously wrong.
    Mono the Unicorn: 1 Toilets wasn’t right but it was ingenious.
    Jeff Gee: 2, including the ingenious X-answer.
    James S: 1

    So, one answer left and everything to play for!

  46. #9: in 1943, George Raft wanted out of his Warner Brothers contract and Jack Warner offered to pay him a $10,000 settlement. Raft apparently misunderstood and gave Warner a check for $10,000.

    Probably the other two guys did this, too.

    What do I win??

  47. Nothing, sadly. By end of play today I’ll have to give it away, unless Alex shows up again or someone else can figure it. A clue: start with the credits of The Night They Raided Minsky’s and see if that triggers anything.

  48. I know the answer, but only because you told me. So I bow out of the contest with minimum grace.

  49. SPATS!!!

  50. Lahr in “Minskys,” Raft in “Some Like It Hot,” and Rhames in “Idlewild.”

  51. 9) Is it striptease/”exotic dancing” nightclubs where gangsters takeover? Bert Lahr in Minsky’s, George Raft in Bolero and Ving Rhames in Striptease.

  52. Jeff got it, it’s spats. All three played characters called Spats, Spats Columbo in Some Like it Hot being the best-known.

  53. Spats entertainment!

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