Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Think You Know Your Movies?


Following are some interesting facts about this year's new entertainment special, AFI'S 100 YEARS … 100 MOVIES: 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, to be broadcast Wednesday, June 20 (8:00-11:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby," "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Driving Miss Daisy") will host the special that will count down the greatest movies of all time. During the broadcast, the confidential list of the 100 greatest American films of all time will be revealed by some of Hollywood 's biggest stars.

Those scheduled to be included in the special are Tim Allen, Halle Berry, Peter Bogdanovich, Jeff Bridges, Laurence Fishburne, Peter Fonda, Harrison Ford, William Friedkin, Dennis Hopper, Norman Jewison, Spike Lee, Shirley MacLaine, Malcolm McDowell, Eva Mendes, Liza Minnelli, Sydney Pollack, Debbie Reynolds, Martin Scorsese, Martin Sheen and M. Night Shyamalan.

*Did you know that Frank Sinatra "Coulda been a contender" when he was seriously considered for the starring role in ON THE WATERFRONT? Paul Newman was also considered before Marlon Brando committed to the part.

*Did you know that John Singleton was only 23 when BOYZ N THE HOOD was released in 1991, making him the youngest director on the ballot? Singleton was also the first African American to receive an Oscar nomination as Best Director and the youngest to be nominated in that category. Orson Welles was the second youngest director to be nominated for an Oscar and the second youngest director on the ballot, directing CITIZEN KANE when he was only 25.

*Did you know that Sofia Coppola, who wrote and directed LOST IN TRANSLATION, made her screen acting debut as a baby in the baptism scene in her father Francis' THE GODFATHER, and later had a major role in his film THE GODFATHER, PART III?

*Did you know that Clint Eastwood was 74 when MILLION DOLLAR BABY was released in 2004, making him the oldest director on the ballot?

*Did you know that the oldest films on the ballot are THE CHEAT and THE BIRTH OF A NATION, both released in 1915, and the newest films on the ballot are BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CRASH, GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK and HOTEL RWANDA, all released in 2005?

*Did you know that in 1973 Bob Fosse won an Oscar for directing CABARET, an Emmy for the Liza Minnelli special Liza with a Z and a Tony for directing the Broadway musical Pippin?

*Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock and William Wyler each directed 10 films on the ballot—tying for the most represented director? Steven Spielberg and Howard Hawks each directed eight films on the ballot, followed by Billy Wilder and George Stevens, who each directed seven films.

*Did you know that Henry Fonda is the most represented actor on the ballot and that Katharine Hepburn is the most represented actress? Fonda appeared in 10 films, while Hepburn appeared in seven. The male runners-up are, James Stewart and Cary Grant with nine films each and Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson with eight. Female runners-up are Lillian Gish and Bette Davis, who each appeared in five films.

*Did you know that in Oct. 1942, just before the world premiere of CASABLANCA , a Warner Bros. publicist wrote a studio memo advising, "Change the title. It sounds too much like a beer."

*Did you know that in 1939 Victor Fleming directed both THE WIZARD OF OZ and GONE WITH THE WIND? He won an Oscar for GONE WITH THE WIND.

*Did you know that GONE WITH THE WIND publicists Howard Dietz and Russell Birdwell managed to plant news items and feature stories about the production almost every day from July 1936, when David O. Selznick bought the rights to the novel, through December 1939, when the film had its Atlanta premiere? The high cost and long production schedule was so notorious that it led to a popular limerick: "The Civil War was quite a fight and not a mere diversion; I never knew how tough it was before Dave Selznick's version."

*Did you know that 1939 and 1942 are the most represented years on the ballot, with 11 films for each year?

*Did you know that 205 films on the ballot are included on the National Film Registry of culturally, historically or aesthetically significant American motion pictures, selected by the Librarian of Congress?

*Did you know that sometimes critics change their minds about films? In 1946, when influential New York Times critic Bosley Crowther reviewed THE BIG SLEEP, he called it "an over-age melodrama" and a "poisonous picture…likely to leave you confused and dissatisfied." He seemed to have changed his mind by 1974 when reviewing CHINATOWN , lamenting that the picture "continually made me wish that I were back watching THE MALTESE FALCON or THE BIG SLEEP."


*You probably knew that Audrey Hepburn's singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon for MY FAIR LADY. But did you know the reason was that Hepburn's singing voice was too low to reach some of the high notes and the key could not be changed because of composers Lerner and Loewe's contract, which stipulated that the score could not be altered in any way?

*Did you know that both the 1925 and 1959 versions of BEN-HUR are on the ballot and that William Wyler, who directed the 1959 version, was an assistant director on Fred Niblo's 1926 version?

*Did you know that MARTY, 12 ANGRY MEN and DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES were all based on 1950s live television dramas?

*Did you know that when A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was first released in 1971, it received an X rating from the MPAA, but when major newspapers in 30 American cities refused to run ads for the film, the MPAA criticized newspapers for excluding ads for "a legitimate motion picture." In 1972, Kubrick re-cut two scenes so that the picture could receive an R rating.

*Did you know that a few months after he completed SOME LIKE IT HOT, Tony Curtis, who mimicked Cary Grant's and mannerisms voice for the film, co-starred with Grant in OPERATION PETTICOAT?

*Did you know that the smallest cast of the films on the ballot appeared in 12 ANGRY MEN? And the largest is THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, one of the many biblical epics of the 1950s to boast "a cast of 1000s."

*Did you know that outtakes for shots of Dabney Coleman and Jane Fonda's car driving to her parents' summer house in ON GOLDEN POND were used for the opening credits of the popular 1980s television comedy Newhart?

*Did you know that the film that Joel McCrea's character wanted to make in the classic Preston Sturges comedy SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS was entitled O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, which inspired the 2000 comedy of the same name directed by the Coen Brothers?

*Did you know that the storyline in the 2001 film MEMENTO is actually told in two directions: the black and white portion moves forward, while the color scenes interrupting the black and white sections, move backward? The two sections come together at the end, when the beginning of the story is revealed…Got that?

*And did you know that the word "Memento" is an important plot point in the 1936 Fritz Lang film FURY?

*Did you know that while Gene Kelley choreographed and directed the lengthy ballet sequence for AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, the film's director, Vincente Minnelli, was able to shoot an entire film, FATHER'S LITTLE DIVIDEND, before returning to complete AN AMERICAN IN PARIS?

*Did you know that THE GRADUATE inspired the 2005 film RUMOR HAS IT, a comedy about a woman who learns that her mother and grandmother were the inspiration for "Elaine" and "Mrs. Robinson" in THE GRADUATE?

*Did you know that, while the official premiere of THE WIZARD OF OZ took place in Hollywood 's Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 15, 1939, the actual world premiere was as the Strand Theatre in Oconomowoc , Wisconsin on August 12, 1939.

*Did you know that, for a brief time before production began on CITIZEN KANE, RKO executives referred to it as JOHN CITIZEN , U.S.A. ?

*Did you know that, before James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster TITANIC, there had been several films about the sinking of the RMS Titanic, beginning in 1912, not long after the real ship went down? The most famous of those films centered on the ship were the 1956 Fox film TITANIC and the 1958 British film A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, but the 1964 Debbie Reynolds-starring musical THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN also included a section about the Titanic.

*Did you know that Walt Disney originally intended to re-release FANTASIA every few years with additional musical sequences? The high cost of the film and the start of World War II prevented this from happening.

*Did you know that when M*A*S*H was being filmed, stars Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould wanted to have director Robert Altman fired because they thought he was ruining the picture with his innovative, layered dialogue technique. Later both actors went on record to say that they had been wrong.

*Did you know that SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE was inspired by AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER and included scenes of the film when Meg Ryan and Rosie O'Donnell were watching it on television?

*Did you know that current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in one film on the ballot, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY?

*Did you know that 80 films on this year's ballot were not on the original AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies ballot, and that 44 of those films were released in the last 10 years? Some of the new films include LA CONFIDENTIAL, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, MOULIN ROUGE!, all three films in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, LOST IN TRANSLATION, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, RUSHMORE, SPIDER-MAN 2 and SIDEWAYS?

*Did you know that in 1978, the college Greek system of fraternities and sororities was on a steep decline but started on an upsurge right after ANIMAL HOUSE was released that year? Toga! Toga!

*Did you know that in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA there were no women in the huge cast, aside from a few extras.

*Did you know that Cary Grant originally wanted to play the part of George Bailey and even brought the original short story, "The Greatest Gift," to the attention of RKO studio executives as a vehicle for him?

*Did you know that the shortest film title on the ballot is RAY, while the longest is DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB?

*Did you know that the 1950's rock 'n roll hit "Rock Around the Clock" was introduced to the movies over the opening credits of the intense 1955 urban high school drama BLACKBOARD JUNGLE? The song, performed by performed by Bill Haley and His Comets, became such a rock 'n roll anthem that it became a movie title for the 1957 film ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK?

*Did you know that the hit song "Singin' in the Rain" by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown was first performed in the M-G-M musical HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929? Years later, after Freed had produced many of M-G-M's big-budget musicals, he thought it would be a great idea to let the song be the inspiration for a movie about movies during the transition from silent to talking pictures. That picture became SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, selected as #1 on AFI's list of Greatest Movie Musicals.

*Did you know that, prior to his Oscar-winning performance as the King of Siam in the 1956 musical THE KING AND I, Yul Brynner played the role on Broadway and later reprised the role in a television series, Anna and the King, as well as a Broadway revival and numerous road show productions before his death in 1985?

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