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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Classic Film Q&A Time With... My Brother!

Hello everyone! It's been several months since I posted the last Classic Film Q&A Time so when my two brothers came home for Christmas I was eager to interview them both. Unfortunately, with all the excitement and exhaustion, I completely forgot until one of them had already left again. My verbose oldest brother was still at home so I took advantage of that fact and interviewed him at 10pm the night before he left..

A little bit about Matthew: I've known him for 18, almost 19 years, and I almost shared my birthday with him. As of last year, he is no longer eligible for the Young Person's Railcard which signifies he is of a great age. He's almost as clever as me. I mean, we drew at a game of chocolate Pictionary this Christmas which is a sure test of who has the highest IQ. He plays the piano and the cello and, although it hurts my pride to say this, he is much better at both those instruments than I am. When he was around the age of two, he sang "Daisy, Daisy" in it's entirety whilst sitting in his pushchair in the butchers. He was in a production of The King and I when I was two weeks old and, because my Mum couldn't go to the actual performances because I would probably scream the whole time, she went to the dress rehearsal and took me with her. It was a moment of utter clarity for me. From that moment on, I knew that I would grow up to become obsessed with the film and consequently Deborah Kerr. Thanks, Matthew! Oh, and he bears a somewhat disturbing resemblance to Matt Smith.

Which genre of film do you most like to watch?

Matthew: Well, I don't know. It depends on my mood really. I wouldn't say I have a favourite. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a mindless blockbuster with explosions and sometimes I'm in the mood for a rather more well-crafted, meditative exploration of life.

Me: That's not a genre! You have to give me a specific genre.

Matthew: I don't have one. I suppose I like anything that is character driven. The films which most satisfy me tend to be dramas, I think.

What's your favourite classic film? Least favourite?

Matthew: Probably Kind Hearts and Coronets which I think is a real masterpiece. The main character is incredible and the twist at the end is remarkable. And of course Alec Guinness. Really, anything with Alec Guinness.

Me: Least favourite?

Matthew: I probably haven't seen it. I'm very difficult to displease. I'm not sure I've seen enough really. All the ones I've seen have been recommended by people and I've enjoyed them. I can't remember what I thought of Casablanca. I don't think I was moved by it as people expect.

Favourite actor and actress?

Matthew: Clearly Alec Guiness all the way. I think he's just perfect in everything he does, really. And actress, well, I don't really know.

Me: Say Deborah Kerr then!

Matthew: I think there's a little too much hype over Marilyn. She's never really done it for me.

Me: How many films have you seen her in?

Matthew: Some Like it Hot and the one where they're on a boat.

Me: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Matthew: I prefer the brunette.

Me: You haven't seen some of her best films!

Matthew: Oh, the lass I saw playing in Vertigo was very good.

Me: Kim Novak.

Matthew: The way she transformed from being a very uninteresting, candy floss character into a remarkably complicated, interesting character...

Are you more like Oscar or Felix?

Matthew: I'm probably more like the Walter Matthau character. (Oscar)

What is the first classic film you remember watching?

Matthew: Fiddler on the Roof. I suppose The Sound of Music and The King and I too. That is probably the first one. I remember very early on knowing that. Maybe even The Wizard of Oz.

What is your favourite musical?

Matthew: Fiddler on the Roof. Although, I did enjoy High Society. Singin' in the Rain is brilliant as well. Fiddler I enjoy because it has real dramatic depth and the songs flow seamlessly; they don't feel so much like set pieces like they do in most other musicals which I kind of dislike. The songs feel important and dramatic, important to the narrative. Whereas in Singin' in the Rain they all feel a little tacked on to me. In terms of songs, my favourite from a classic musical would probably be Well Did You Evah? because I've been in several situations just like that. It's probably the most perfect illustration of what being happily drunk is like.

What is your favourite decade for films?

Matthew: Sometimes I like the '80s best for the great Speilberg's and George Lucas of course. The Empire Strikes Back, the Indiana Jones films, Ghostbusters, a lot of cult classics as well. The '80s does have a lot of great films but then the '70s as well with the Godfathers and Star Wars. And then the '80s has Monsignor Quixote which was Alec Guiness' last feature film and which is one of my favourites.

Joan Crawford or Bette Davis? (To make it easier, you can pick either pepsi or coke)

Matthew: I don't like either, really. I think I'd rather marry someone called Bette. Did you say Joan Rivers.

Me: NO! Joan Crawford!

Favourite Hitch film?

Matthew: Of the ones I've seen, and I haven't seen many, I thought Rear Window was the best. Fantastically well made.

Do you have anything to say about silent film?

Matthew: Well, slightly off topic but I have heard it said that what Jurassic Park did for special effects in the '90s was as revolutionary as what The Jazz Singer did in... 1937 was it?

Me: 1937?! You thought that sound films hadn't been invented by 1937?! Anyway, I can't agree with that statement.

Matthew: Well, in terms of technique and in terms of what it was possible to do. If you look at special effects before CGI it's very clunky and seamy.

Me: But silent films are a work of art.

Matthew: I'm talking about film technology though - what it's possible to do. I wasn't commenting on The Jazz Singer or Jurassic Park as works of art. What really interests me about silent films, naturally I suppose, is the culture of musical improvisation that went with the performance of them. Every showing of the silent film would consequently have different shades of meaning because of the contribution of the musician working with all the stock music that was given him. Also, I don't know much about that culture or if they were given entire scores to play, but I do know that there were general ways of doing scenes of peril and ways of doing love scenes and things like this by the musician. For me, that's the most interesting part, the way that every performance of the film would be different because the musician would be different. It's very interesting.

Who is the king of '60s cool: Paul Newman or Steve McQueen?

Matthew: Steve McQueen. He was in a film called Bullitt where he was called Bullitt, which is pretty cool.

A classic film you think you should probably have seen but haven't?

Matthew: The Jazz Singer, probably. I would say that's the one I should see because it's such a watershed moment in film history.

I've probably made you sit through a lot of classic films over the years, any of these occasions stick out in your mind?

Matthew: I enjoyed the first Nick and Nora film. He's the king of cool. He's much cooler than Paul Newman. They just slouched around in leather and looked moody, but he was a class act.

Me: He was.

Matthew: I'd much rather be like him. Also, didn't he carry a hip flask?

Me: He has alcohol running through his veins.

A big thanks to my big brother for answering all these questions and I hope you all enjoy reading his answers as much as I enjoyed hearing them! Speak to you soon!

1 comment:

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