rec.arts.movies.* Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

rec.arts.movies.* Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Subject: rec.arts.movies.* Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.current-films,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.arts.movies.misc

Last change:
26 Feb 2012

    7) What "ethnic" actors have won/been nominated for Academy Awards?

This FAQ is cross-posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,
rec.arts.movies.past-films, and rec.arts.movies.misc.

Questions include:
    0) "What movies has X appeared in/directed/written etc.?"
    1) "Does anyone know this movie?"  
    2) "What stories/movies/tv shows are about X?"
    3) How can I get an address &/or a phone number for (some famous
    4) "Does anyone want to talk about X?"
    5) What is letterboxing?
    6) What are those funny dots that blink on in the upper-right 
       corner of films?
    7) What "ethnic" actors have won/been nominated for Academy Awards?
    8) How do films, actors, etc., get nominated for Academy Awards?
    9) What are the top twenty grossing films of all time?
   10) When does a movie break even?
   11) What is a director's cut?
   12) Are there any Web sites for movie scripts?
   13) What is Roger Ebert's CompuServe address?
   14) Is Jodie Foster gay?
   15) What are some movies that were better than the books/stories 
       they were based on?
   15a) What are some sequels that were better than their predecessors?
   16) How can I find out where a certain movie is playing?
   17) What is the earliest *numbered* sequel?
   18) Why are clips of old films always fast?
   19) What does the number at the end of the end credits mean?
   20) Why aren't there more G-rated movies released?
   21) What was the first PG-13 movie to be released?
   22) What is the worst film to win the "Best Picture" Oscar?
   30) References, cameos, etc.:
        A) What are all the James Bond films and who played Bond?
        B) What are the Hitchcock cameos in all his movies?
        C) What are the references to "See You Next Wednesday" in John 
           Landis's films?
   31) Specific films:
       A) What movie did the quote: "Badges?? Badges?? We don't need no
           stinkin' badges?" come from ??
       B) Is it true that a hanged person (munchkin) is visible in the
           background of one scene in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)?
       C) Did Andy Williams dub Lauren Bacall's singing voice in TO 
          HAVE AND HAVE NOT (1944)?
       D) Did Audrey Hepburn do the singing in MY FAIR LADY (1964)?  
          How come Julie Andrews did not reprise her Broadway 
          performance of Eliza Doolitle?
       E) What's this talk about a ghost in THREE MEN AND A BABY 
       F) Can someone explain BARTON FINK (1991)?
       G) What is the secret of THE CRYING GAME (1992)?  (rot13'd)
       H) What is the significance of the stones at the end of 
          SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993)?
       I) What is the poem in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL (1994)?
       J) Where in THE CROW (1994) did Brandon Lee get shot?  Did they
          leave it in? And how did it happen?
       K) Is FARGO (1996) a true story?  Was the "Victim in the Field"
          really played by the Artist Formerly Known as Prince?
   32) In what films does John Wayne get killed?

Topics include:
    1) Colorizing -- various legal and moral issues
    2) Product placements in movies
    3) Has anyone seen this great movie I just saw called HEATHERS?

For the following items, see the rec.arts.sf.movies FAQ:
 1. Abbreviations
        a. General
        b. SF specific
 2. Anime
 3. Can the X beat the Y?
 4. Exposure to vacuum
 6. Frequent subjects
 7. Isaac Asimov movies
 8. Websites for further SF movie info
 9. What movies are about X?
        a. Alien Invasion
        b. Alternate History
        c. Artificial Intelligence
        d. Cyberpunk
        e. Cyborgs
        f. Dinosaurs
        g. ESP/Telepathy
        h. First Contact
        i. Genetic Engineering
        j Killer asteroids/comets
        k. Magical Realism
        l. Mars/Martians
        m. Post Apocalypse
        n. Robots / Androids
        o. Time Travel
        p. Urban Fantasy
        q. Virtual Reality
Specific movies:
        a. Jamie Lee Curtis' role
        b. Sequel
        c. FAQ
 3. ALIEN, ALIENS, etc.
        a. Alien v. Predator
        b. Names of ships
        c. FAQ
        a. Cute gimmicks
        b. FAQ
        a. Deckard a replicant?
        b. Possible sequel
        c. FAQ
        a. What does the title mean?
        a. Original
        b. Different versions
        a. What is that famous phrase?
 9. DUNE
        a. David Lynch film - Rumored 7-hour Director's Cut
        b. Telefilm
        a. Original
        b. Possible remake
        a. Sequel?
        a. CGI forerunner
        a. Original
        b. Possible remake
        a. Animated versions
        b. Live action version
        a. Why was it dubbed?
        b. Where can I get an undubbed version?
        c. Sequels
        d. FAQ
        a. Different versions
        b. Music of
        c. FAQs
        a. Original
        b. Remake
        c. Was Leo on Earth the whole time?
        d. What's up with the ending?
        e. Sequel
        f. How did Boulle's book end?
        a. What story is it based on?
20. Quatermass films
        a. Various films
        a. Original
        b. Remake
        a. Trek newsgroup
        b. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
        c. Next Trek film?
        a. Original film
        b. New releases
        a. Power armor
        a. Harlan Ellison's credit/lawsuit
        b. Sequels
        c. FAQ
        a. Film v. novel
        b. HAL v. IBM
        c. Cinerama
        d. Sequel
27. TRON
        a. Original
        b. Possible sequel
28. 12 MONKEYS
        a. What film was it based on?
        b. What did the ending mean?
        a. Who voiced Jessica Rabbit?
        b. Sequel?

Items covered in the FAQ (cf):
        Q6. What is that [classical] music in [insert TV show/movie
            here]?  [I'm not sure this still exists, however.]

rec.arts.movies.* are newsgroups devoted to discussions of movies.  They
are high-volume newsgroups and this article is intended to help reduce 
the number of unnecessary postings, thereby making them more useful and
enjoyable to everyone.

If you have not already done so, please read the articles in
news.announce.newusers.  They contain a great deal of useful information
about network etiquette and convention.

Before we begin, a piece of net.etiquette.  This is mentioned in 
news.announce.newusers, but since it is so frequently violated, and is 
particularly relevant to this group, we mention it here:

SPOILER WARNINGS:  Many people feel that much of the enjoyment of a film
is ruined if they know certain things about it, especially when those
things are surprise endings or mysteries.  On the other hand, they also
want to know whether or not a film is worth seeing, or they may be
following a particular thread of conversation where such information may
be revealed.  The solution to this is to put the words SPOILER in your
header, or in the text of your posting.  You can also put a ctl-L
character in the *first* column for your readers who are using rn.  Some
people think that spoiler warnings are not necessary.  We don't 
understand why, and do not want to discuss it.  Use your best judgment.

Please keep in mind two points:

        1.  Always remember that there is a live human being at the
        other end of the wires.  In other words, please write your
        replies with the same courtesy you would use in talking to
        someone face-to-face.

        2.  Try to recognize humor and irony in postings.  Tone of
        voice does not carry in ASCII print, and postings are often
        snapped off quickly, so that humorous intent may not be
        obvious.  More destructive and vicious arguments have been
        caused by this one fact of net existence than any other.  It
        will help if satiric/ironic/humorous comments are marked with
        the "smiley face," :-)

The first part of the list is a compendium of information that has been
posted to rec.arts.movies.* many times in the past.  If you have 
received this list through e-mail, without requesting it, this is most 
likely because you posted one of the questions on the list.

The second part of the FAQ list contains a series of topics that are
repeatedly discussed, along with a bit of editorial comment on each one.
The reason for including this information is merely to provide new
readers with some background and context.  In no way do we mean for this
to preclude anyone from discussing these topics again.  While the items
listed in part one are (indisputable??) facts, the topics in part two
are objects of opinion.  As such, they can be discussed ad infinitum
without any resolution.  Do so if you wish.  Remember the first

The last part of the FAQL contains a few further bits of information for
readers of rec.arts.movies.*.  This includes several other lists that 
are kept by members of the group, trivia contests etc.  Interested 
readers should seek out the companion FAQ in rec.arts.sf.movies.

If you have any questions about this list, or if there is something you
think should be added, you can contact me through e-mail at:


Now, here are some frequently asked questions...

PART ONE: Frequently asked questions, and some answers (and some
of them may be right).

0) "What movies has X appeared in/directed/written etc.?"

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) at can answer a 
huge range of movie related questions, so it's always worth checking out 
before posting to the groups.  The IMDb has over 1,000,000 filmography 
entries for more than 75,000 movies.  It includes filmographies for 
actors, directors, writers, composers, cinematographers, editors, 
production designers, costume designers and producers; plot summaries; 
character names; movie ratings; year of release; running times; movie 
trivia; quotes; goofs; soundtracks; personal trivia; alternative names; 
certificates; color information; country of production; genres; 
production companies; sound mix; reference literature; filming 
locations; sequel/remake information; release dates; advertising tag 
lines; detailed technical data; box office grosses, language and 
Academy Award information.  Many thousands of movies are covered 
completely from the major actors to the minor bit players.

1) "Does anyone know this movie?"  

When making this kind of request, ask that all responses be e-mailed
back to you.  After having found out what it is, then post the correct
answer to the net.

If you know the answer but are unable to send a message to the 
requester, wait a few days.  It's likely that someone else will post 
the correct answer, thus sparing you the effort.

Do not post messages like "I want to know, too" to the net.  E-mail the
person who asked the question and request that they send you any
information they get by e-mail.  Only if you cannot reach the person by
e-mail *and* no one has posted about the request after several days
should you post.

2) "What stories/movies/tv shows are about X?"

When making these kind of requests, ask that all replies be e-mailed to
you and that you will summarize.  Note that a summary is not just
concatenating all the replies together and posting the resulting file.
Take the time to strip headers, combine duplicate information, and
write a short summary.

3) How can I get an address &/or a phone number for (some famous

You *can't* get phone numbers.  But you can often get contact addresses
(usually an agent or publicist), by calling the Screen Artists Guild at
213-954-1600.  They will give you a phone number and/or address for the
agent.  The agent can provide you an address to write and may send
pictures on request or provide the publicist's addresses.  Another 
method (if the star has written a book) is to send mail in care of the 
publisher of that book.

4) "Does anyone want to talk about X?"

If nobody seems to be discussing what you want to talk about, post a
(polite) message opening the discussion.  Don't just say, "Does anyone
want to talk about X" or "I really like X" however; try to have
something interesting to say about the topic to get discussion going.

Don't be angry or upset if no one responds.  It may be that X is just a
personal taste of your own, or quite obscure.  Or it may be that X was
discussed to death a few weeks ago, *just* before you came into the
group.  (If this is the case, you'll probably know, though, because
some rude fool will probably flame you for "Bringing that up
*AGAIN*!!!"  Ignore them.)

5) What is letterboxing?

In case you hadn't noticed, movie screens have a different shape than
television screens.  This means that when a movie is shown on a
television screen, it doesn't fit.  Up until recently, this meant that
either the left and right ends of the picture were cropped off, or the
picture was "panned and scanned" (the camera would seem to go back and
forth between the left and right sides, usually done for scenes in which
the two characters speaking were at the far left and right of a scene),
or that the picture was warped so that everyone looked tall and thin
(this was usually done for credit sequences so the full names could fit
on the screen, or you would think you were watching "ne with the Wi").
Now some companies are releasing "letterboxed" versions of films on
videocassettes and videodisks.  These have a black bar at the top and
bottom of the screen, allowing the full width of the picture to be
included, but resulting in a smaller picture--that is, a character ten
inches tall in a non-letterboxed version might be eight inches tall in a
letterboxed one.

Long answer:
From Matthias Walz:

Some remarks related to the pan&scan-theatrical-format-confusion in 
several film-related groups (sorry for being lengthy, but the matter is 

Once or twice a week I'm working as projectionist in a repertory cinema, 
where four (!) different formats are used for projection (1.33:1, 
1.66:1, 1.85:1 and CinemaScope, 2.35:1). My job includes assembling the 
different reels (usually five for 90-100 minutes) of the film before 
showing it the first time. During this process, the projectionist has 
to figure out whichpicture format to use for projection. This is 
sometimes quite confusing - a few remarks about the topic:

1. Up to the Fifties, all films were shot in 1.33:1 and also intended 
for projection in this aspect ratio.

2. Since the Fifties, many films were still shot in 1.33:1 (probably for 
financial reasons), but most of them are intended to be shown in 1.66:1 
oreven 1.85:1. If you'd show them in 1.33:1, you'd see exciting things 
like dolly tracks at the bottom or microphones and even studio lights at 
the top of the picture. Once I used 1.33:1 (by mistake) for Hitchcock's 
"North By Northwest", with the result that in the forest scene preceding 
the Mt.Rushmore finale, studio lights as well as the top of the stage 
decoration depicting the forest became visible. This ruined the effect 
of the scene completely - the magic was gone.

3. To make things even worse, sometimes different aspect ratios are used 
in one and the same film - up to three (the reason for tgis? I'm not 
sure.  Maybe the film studios use up film material that's left over from 
other projects). I can remember a print which contained shots in all 
three "normal" formats: 1.33:1, 1.66:1 and 1.85:1. In this case, you 
have to show the print in the widest format (1.85:1), otherwise you'd 
have a "letterbox effect" on the screen during scenes shot in 1.33:1 
or 1.66:1 !

4. The reason why film companies don't bother about using different 
formats for the same film lies in the fact that most cinemas use only 
two different formats for projection anyway (one theater-specific lens 
in the range from 1.66:1 to 1.85:1, and 2.35:1 for anamorphic 
projection). Therefore, if a 1.33:1 film is shown in such a theatre, 
portions of the picture are cropped at the top and the bottom of the 

Now to the film-on-tv-thing:

The normal TV screen has an aspect ratio of about 1.3:1. If the network 
wants to show the film in the format intended by the filmmakers, it has 
just the same problems as the poor theatre projectionist dealing with 
four different formats. If the network doesn't care too much for 
artistic subtleties and follows a "full screen"-policy (as some German 
commercial networks do), you'll see effects like the above-mentioned 
("North By Northwest").


If the film is shown on TV in the aspect ratio it was intended to be 
shown, it has to be letterboxed, except for the 1.33:1 films. In the 
case of CinemaScope films, there's definitely nothing hidden by the 
black bars. In all other cases of letterboxing, there may be something 
hidden behind the bars - but something you wouldn't care for anyway.

I hope this brings all this nonsense (B. Faber et al.) about censorship 
by letterboxing to a well-deserved end in cyberhell. Letterboxing is 
the only way to show a film on TV as it was meant to be shown.

6) What are those funny dots that blink on in the upper-right corner of

These are cue marks, or "reel-change dots," signaling the projectionist
that it is time to change reels.  There is actually a set of dots.
Four consecutive frames are marked with a little circle in the upper
right-hand corner of the frame.  The first set (4 frames) of cue marks
(the motor cue) is placed 198 frames before the end of the reel.  (198
frames is 8.25 seconds, or 12.375 feet.) There are 172 frames between
the first set of cue marks and the second set of 4 frames, the
changeover cue.  There are 18 frames between the changeover cue and the
runout section of the trailer (or foot) leader.  The projectionist
threads up the next reel of film so that he has about nine feet of
leader between the lens and the start of the film.  At the first cue
mark, he starts the motor on the second projector.  This gives the
projector time to get up to to speed and for the speed to stabilize.
On the second cue mark, he throws the switches that change the picture
and sound sources.  In some old films on TV, you'll see long changeover
cues since some projectionists were paranoid that they would not see
the marks.

Video versions usually do not have these dots because when the transfer
was made, the original negative was used, or a postive that was made
from the original negative was used.  Sometimes an interneg is used.
In any event, only prints that make it to the theatre have the
change-over dots.  For older movies, sometimes the only available
print is a release print, which means the dots will appear.

(Paul Parenteau, Ron Birnbaum, Harris Minter, Jeffry L. Johnson, and 
Mike Brown).

7) What "ethnic" actors have won/been nominated for Academy Awards?

(This question seem to come up every year at Oscar time.)

This is "actors of ethnic extraction other than European/Mediterranean 
who have been nominated for Academy Awards" (so we don't start 
quibbling over Omar Sharif).  I'm not a big fan of groupings by race, 
but it has its educational values in a situation like this, showing 
Hollywood's record in honoring minority contributions.  In borderline 
cases, we have gone by the "as generally perceived" standard--thus no 
Ben Kingsley, who seems thoroughly British despite the fact that his 
father was Gujrati, and none of the many American actors who proudly 
say they're "part Indian" when they mean 1/16 or 1/32.  With that 
ponderous preamble out of the way, here's the list (the year listed is 
the year of the performance, not of the awards ceremony):


Hattie McDaniel         1939   supp   Gone with the Wind    WON
Dorothy Dandridge       1954   lead   Carmen Jones
Sidney Poitier          1958   lead   The Defiant Ones
                        1963   lead   Lilies of the Field   WON
Juanita Moore           1959   supp   Imitiation of Life
Beah Richards           1967   supp   Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Rupert Crosse           1969   supp   The Reivers
James Earl Jones        1970   lead   The Great White Hope
Paul Winfield           1972   lead   Sounder
Cicely Tyson            1972   lead   Sounder
Diana Ross              1972   lead   Lady Sings the Blues
Diahann Carroll         1974   lead   Claudine
Howard E. Rollins Jr    1981   supp   Ragtime
Louis Gossett Jr.       1982   supp   An Officer and a Gentleman  WON
Alfre Woodard           1983   supp   Cross Creek
Adolph Caesar           1984   supp   A Soldier's Story
Whoopi Goldberg         1985   lead   The Color Purple
                        1991   supp   Ghost                 WON
Margaret Avery          1985   supp   The Color Purple
Oprah Winfrey           1985   supp   The Color Purple
Dexter Gordon           1986   lead   Round Midnight
Morgan Freeman          1987   supp   Street Smart
                        1989   lead   Driving Miss Daisy
                        1994   lead   The Shawshank Redemption
                        2004   supp   Million Dollar Baby   WON
Denzel Washington       1987   supp   Cry Freedom
                        1989   supp   Glory                 WON
                        1992   lead   Malcolm X
                        1999   lead   The Hurricane
                        2001   lead   Training Day          WON
Jaye Davidson           1992   supp   The Crying Game
Laurence Fishburne      1993   lead   What's Love Got to Do with It?
Angela Bassett          1993   lead   What's Love Got to Do with It?
Samuel L. Jackson       1994   supp   Pulp Fiction
Cuba Gooding, Jr.       1996   supp   Jerry Maguire         WON
Marianne Jean-Baptiste  1996   supp   Secrets & Lies
Michael Clarke Duncan   1999   supp   The Green Mile
Halle Berry             2001   lead   Monster's Ball        WON
Will Smith              2001   lead   Ali
Queen Latifah           2002   supp   Chicago
Djimon Hounsou          2003   supp   In America
Don Cheadle             2004   lead   Hotel Rwanda
Jamie Foxx              2004   lead   Ray                   WON
                        2004   supp   Collateral
Sophie Okonedo          2004   supp   Hotel Rwanda
Terrence Howard         2004   lead   Hustle & Flow
Will Smith              2006   lead   The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker         2006   lead   The Last King of Scotland WON
Djimon Hounsou          2006   supp   Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy            2006   supp   Dreamgirls
Jennifer Hudson         2006   supp   Dreamgirls            WON
Ruby Dee                2007   supp   American Gangster
Viola Davis             2008   supp   Doubt
Taraji P. Henson        2008   supp   The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Morgan Freeman          2009   lead   Invictus
Gabourey Sidibe         2009   lead   Precious
Mo'Nique                2009   supp   Precious              WON
Viola Davis             2011   lead   The Help
Octavia Spencer         2011   supp   The Help              WON

                  ASIAN (including West Asian and Pacific Islander)

Miyoshi Umeki           1957   supp   Sayonara              WON
Sessue Hayakawa         1957   supp   The Bridge on the River Kwai
Mako                    1966   supp   The Sand Pebbles
Jocelyn LaGarde         1966   supp   Hawai`i
Haing S. Ngor           1984   supp   The Killing Fields    WON
Noriyuki "Pat" Morita   1984   supp   The Karate Kid
Keisha Castle-Hughes    2003   lead   Whale Rider
Shohreh Aghdashloo 
             (Iranian)  2003   supp   House of Sand and Fog
Ken Watanabe            2003   supp   The Last Samurai
Rinko Kikuchi           2006   supp   Babel

           [whatever your term is for] PRE-EUROPEAN NORTH AMERICAN

Anthony Quinn           1952   lead   Viva Zapata            WON
Anthony Quinn           1956   supp   Lust for Life          WON
Chief Dan George        1970   supp   Little Big Man (Squamish)
Graham Greene           1991   supp   Dances with Wolves 

Jose Ferrer (PR)        1951   lead   Cyrano de Bergerac     WON
Katy Jurado (MX)        1954   supp   Broken Lance
Rita Moreno (PR)        1961   supp   West Side Story        WON
Norma Aleandro (AR)     1987   supp   Gaby--A True Story
Andy Garcia (CU)        1991   supp   The Godfather Part III
Rosie Perez (NY/PR)     1993   supp   Fearless
Fernanda Montenegro (BR)1998   supp   Central Station
Javier Bardem (ES)      2000   lead   Before Night Falls
Benicio Del Toro (PR)   2000   supp   Traffic                WON
                        2003   supp   21 Grams
Salma Hayek (MX)        2002   lead   Frida
Catalina Sandino Moreno 
                   (CO) 2004   lead   Maria Full of Grace
Penelope Cruz (ES)      2006   lead   Volver
Adriana Barraza (MX)    2006   supp   Babel
Javier Bardem (ES)      2007   supp   No Country for Old Men WON
Penelope Cruz (ES)      2008   supp   Vicky Cristina Barcelona WON
Penelope Cruz (ES)      2009   supp   Nine
Javier Bardem (ES)      2010   lead   Biutiful
Demian Bichir (MX)      2011   lead   A Better Life
Berenice Bejo (AR)      2011   supp   The Artist

Note that John Singleton was the first black to be nominated as
best director (1991, BOYZ N THE HOOD).

Note that while Charlize Theron is South African, she is not black.

(Although Anthony Quinn is often listed as Hispanic, comments by
him about his ancestry on "The Actors Studio" lead me to list him
as "Pre-European North American."  I will not entertain arguments about
whether Montenegro or Bardem are Hispanic or not--there are at least
several definitions that would include them, and I'll fall back on
"generally perceived.")

[John Cawley,, maintains a list of Native 
American actors and their tribes.]

8) How do films, actors, etc., get nominated for Academy Awards?

The general model is that the Academy members who work in the 
particular specialty make the nominations.  Thus, the Academy's actors 
nominate the performers (no sex differentiation - actors/actresses both 
nominate actors/actresses), directors nominate directors, writers 
nominate writers, etc.  All Academy members get to nominate films.  In 
the categories of foreign language film, documentary, and short film, 
the Academy does things a bit differently.  (See below.)

All Academy members get to vote on all awards, except for the foreign
language film (and possibly the documentary and short film awards).
Only members who have seen the nominated films get to vote on the 
foreign language film awards.

Foreign language films are nominated by a complicated [and totally
ineffective] process.  Each nation of the world (except possibly the
United States) [though there was a Puerto Rican entry a few years ago]
can submit one film per year for consideration.  The film must have had
its first run in that country that year, and there are a variety of
other arcane, frequently changing rules to determine eligibility.  (A
few years ago, the Dutch film "The Vanishing" wasn't eligible because
of a rule that stated the film had to be almost entirely in the
language of its native country to qualify; "The Vanishing" had much
more French than Dutch.  That rule was changed.  Recently, a supposedly
Uruguayan film was removed from consideration because the Academy
determined that the Uruguayan participation in it was insufficient to
make it truly Uruguayan.)  The national film boards of the various
countries select the film they will submit, and there is room for
controversy here, too.  A couple of years ago, the German national film
board caused a major fuss by refusing to nominate "Europa, Europa" for
the award.  Both German and American filmmakers protested, but to no
avail.  The nature of the nominating process is such that, some years,
two great films will come from one country, but only one can be
nominated.  In some cases, the producers of the other will use various
tricks to get it submitted by another country.  For example, "Close To
Eden" was a French financed film, but was made in Russia by a Russian
director, and hence could be submitted by Russia.  More
controversially, "Black and White In Color", a French film largely in
French, by a French director, but set in Africa, was submitted by the
African nation where it was filmed.

A board of "experts" [and Lord only knows what makes them experts!]
then reviews all submitted foreign films to select five to nominate.

In the case of documentary and short films, anyone can send their film
to the Academy for consideration.  The film basically has to have been
made for theatrical purposes (this issue is very fuzzy, but an obvious
television episode is not eligible), and has to have had its first
release that year.  There are separate boards for documentaries (full
length and short) and short films (dramatic live action and animated).
They review all submitted films and select at most five for
nomination.  [And apparently they often don't view each film
completely.]  The animation board frequently chooses only three films,
rather than five.  These boards are generally made up of volunteers who
may or may not work in the particular fields.

This process has come under fire in the last few years, particularly as
regards documentaries.  Many of the best known and best reviewed
documentaries of the past five years [as of the writing of this]
("Roger and Me", "The Thin Blue Line", "Paris Is Burning", "Brother's
Keeper", and "A Brief History of Time", to name a few) have not been
nominated.  There are periodic calls to do something about it, but,
basically, the Academy doesn't give a damn about these categories, and,
in fact, is trying to drop the short film categories.  (In the
interests of, in the words of one commentator, "more smoke and dancing
girls" at the Awards ceremony.) Short films received a one-year
reprieve in 1993, but may be dropped from future Award ceremonies, or
perhaps be treated like the scientific and engineering awards.  [Though
even in 1993, the winners were merely announced; they did not get to
come up and accept the awards, or give a thank-you speech.]

Special awards (like those recently given to Audrey Hepburn and
Federico Fellini) are handled specially.  They are chosen by the
Academy's board, and they are not necessarily given every year.

I'm not sure what the procedure is for the special and scientific
awards.  I suspect that the Academy has committees that handle these.

[Thanks to Peter Reiher for this.]

9) What are the top ten/twenty grossing films of all time?

This data can be found at: (for USA box office), (for non-USA box office), 
and (for world-wide 
                                                      box-office). has
a constantly updated list that is adjusted for inflation.

10) When does a movie break even?

There are multiple answers to that question, and it differs for every
movie, not just because they had different production costs.  Assuming
we're talking about genuine profits (as would be recognized by most of
us), and not the contractual definitions that keep net profit
participants from collecting a cent on even the biggest grossing films,
here are some rules of thumb, and a few important exceptions.

First off, we're talking about major Hollywood films that are
distributed by the studio that made them.  That's important, because
the distributor takes a big cut off the gross.  If the distributor is
the same studio as produced the film, then, from an outsider's point of
view, it all ends up in the same pockets in the end.  If the film was
produced by someone else, then you have to lop off the distribution fee
before determining if the film was profitable.  Also, let's ignore for
the moment co-productions, and certainly ignore low budget independent

The capsule answer, as a rough rule of thumb - if a film's domestic
gross equals its negative cost, it will be profitable.  Thus, for
example, if we accept a negative cost for "Titanic" of $200 million, a
US/Canada gross of $200 million would probably lead to a profit.

Now let's talk about why this is a reasonable rule of thumb, then why
it sometimes isn't.

Films make their money from three basic sources - domestic gross
(counting only the US and Canada), foreign gross (box office receipts
from everywhere else), and other sources.  The largest component of the
latter is video, but cable, pay-per-view, and broadcast sales are also
often significant, and lesser revenue streams like in-flight movies,
rentals to colleges and art houses, and others also chip in.  For
certain films, merchandising adds hugely to this figure.  For others,
it adds nothing.

Still speaking roughly, the current breakdown is that these three
revenue sources are approximately equal.  Not quite.  In the last
couple of years, foreign box office has slightly exceeded domestic, for
example.  And there are many exceptions, which I'll get to later.  But
for rough calculations, equality is around right.

There are other important considerations.  First, the costs usually
bandied about for making films are the negative costs.  The negative
cost of a film is the price paid from the moment the project was
thought of to the instant that the studio owns one complete, finished
negative of the movie.  There are still big bucks to pay for a major
Hollywood release, however.  The biggest bucks are for advertising and
distribution, with a significant cost to make all the prints.  (If you
put out 2000 prints, a not-uncommon run for a big film nowadays, at,
say, $10,000 a print, you can see it adds up.) Advertising and
distribution varies quite a lot.  People used to assume that the total
print and advertising costs for a big film were approximately equal to
its negative cost, but $100 million plus negative costs blew that
estimate out of the water.  I doubt if anyone ever spent $100 million
advertising a single film.  For a large scale film, $50 million for
prints, adevertising, and other distribution costs (like shipping 2000
really heavy sets of boxes containing the prints all over the country)
is not an unreasonable estimate.

A second consideration is that theaters take a share of the gross.
Again, things are complex.  The short rule of thumb is that the
theaters take half.  But the way the contracts actually work, the
theaters' cut is on a sliding scale, with the studio taking a much
larger percentage in early weeks, and the theaters gradually getting
more and more as the run continues.  Thus, the attendance pattern of a
film makes a big difference.  So far, "The Lost World" and "Men in
Black" have grossed in the same general ballpark, something like $250
million.  However, "The Lost World" made a vast amount of money in its
first week, and dropped off quickly, while "Men in Black" did very well
its first week, but has held audiences longer.  The distributor thus
ended up with more of the gross from "The Lost World" than from "Men in
Black."  Assuming you're not a professional or obsessive, live with the
50% estimate.

A third factor.  For many big films, there are gross profit
participants.  These folks, typically the really heavy hitters like
Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and Michael Crichton, get a percentage
of all money collected by the distributor.  In some cases, the
contracts allow the distributors to deduct certain costs off the top,
in others they don't.  The dollars that go to gross profit participants
cannot fairly be considered as contributing towards the studio's
recoupment or eventual profit, since they don't get those dollars.  In
some cases, like "The Lost World," we're talking serious chunks of
revenue, perhaps 20% total or more.  Let's not worry about that, for
the moment, but don't forget it completely.

A fourth factor.  Foreign theaters keep a larger percentage of the
profits than US theaters.  So, while the foreign gross is slightly
larger than the domestic gross (averaged over all films), the domestic
box office still returns more dollars to the studios.  Also, the
distribution costs mentioned above only covered US distribution.
You'll need to advertise it in other countries, too, and perhaps even
come up with ad campaigns customized to each country.  More costs.
Overall, let's just factor everything here together and say that
studios end up with 50% of the foreign gross.  Not too accurate,
perhaps, but we'll balance it against an inaccuracy in the opposite
direction from other sources.

A fifth factor.  There are distribution costs associated with the
other, non-box-office revenue streams.  It costs something to stamp out
a videocassette, and to ship it to the store, and to advertise it.
Some of the other revenue streams have lesser costs (like selling to
cable), some have significant ones.  For airline screenings, you
typically have to recut the film, for example.  Let's again assign a
50% return of gross here.  It's probably a bit higher, but we'll
balance that against our earlier overestimation of foreign returns.

Finally, as a general rule the domestic box office is the engine that
drives the other revenues.  There are many exceptions, but foreign
gross and video sales (and other revenue streams) are largely
predictable given domestic gross.

OK, let's review the bidding.  The studio spent the negative cost plus
maybe $50 million on prints and advertising.  Speaking roughly, they'll
get 50% of each of the three reveune streams.  Roughly, again, that
means that for a $200 million negative cost film, they need to have
around $250 million roll in various doors before they've really shown a
profit.  Thus, if the film makes $500 million domestic, it's shown a
profit before any other revenues are considered.

For a bare profit, that $200 million film then has to return $85
million or so in domestic box office.  (Since that would translate to
another $170 million in money from other sources.)  $85 million + $170
million = $255 million, slightly above the $250 million negative plus
advertising plus distribution cost we'd estimated.  But, remember,
we're only getting half the money, so for an $85 million domestic
return, we need a $170 million gross.  That's not quite its negative
cost, but it's in the ballpark.  If you assume they'd have to spend
more on advertising such a big film, or you're going to strike a whole
lot more prints, the revenue requirement goes up a bit.

This is already an obscenely long posting, so I won't go into the
exceptions in detail.  But action films will do better overseas, dramas
not so well, films with local tie-ins to major foreign markets (Japan,
UK, Germany, France) may do significantly better there, children's
films (especially animated ones) will kick butt on video, and comedies
based on dialog will bomb outside English-speaking countries.  There
are many other exceptions - Disney would be ill-advised to predict any
revenues on "Kundun" from China, for example. Sometimes, for completely
unpredictable reasons, a film does a whole lot better in some foreign
market than in the US or anywhere else.

Actually applying this all to "Titanic" gets complicated, unless you
are willing to accept all the rules of thumb and ignore all the
exceptions.  For example, "Titanic" was a co-production of two studios,
one of which had a cap on its share of production costs, and owns only
the US gross.  The other had no cap, and has all other rights.  So the
right thing to do, really, is to figure the two studios' profits

Also, Cameron is one of those heavy hitters I mentioned earlier.  He
undoubtedly started the exercise with large gross profit
participation.  However, due to his severe budget overruns, it's
possible (but not certain) that he traded back or lost some of his
gross points.

And what about merchandising?  Will every parent in America buy his kid
a Titanic toy that sinks in the bathtub while an internal waterproof
music box plays "Nearer My God To Thee," leading to a merchandising
bonanza?  Who knows?

Bottom line, if "Titanic" grosses less than $100 million in the US,
folks lose a lot of money.  If it grosses more than $200 million, folks
get a lot of money.  In between, it's variable, highly dependent on
whether "Titanic" proves to be one of the exceptions, and generally too
close for outsiders like us to call.

[Thanks to Peter Reiher for providing this.]

11) What is a director's cut?

Contracts under the terms of the Hollywood Director's Guild allow about
six weeks for a director to assemble a cut without studio
interference.  This is fully edited and has a synchronized sound track,
however, it is usually not color-corrected nor density-corrected and
may not have the final music and effects track.  In more recent times
due to an expanding video aftermarket, the term director's cut has
acquired a popular meaning that implies a finished final print,
different from the theatrical release, that the director has complete
artistic control over.  []

Bob Morris believes the first widespread use of the term was with the 
1989 re-release of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

12) Are there any Web sites for movie scripts?

The following is one WEB site i know of:  There are probably others.  There
may be also scripts at sites with archives related to specific films or
sub-genres.  Don't forget that most scripts are copyrighted.  Scripts
may be obtainable by stores dealing in movie materials or books; see
the rec.arts.books FAQs on bookstores for some suggestions.

13) What is Roger Ebert's email address?

As advertised in the CompuServe Roger Ebert Forum as the "talk to 
Roger" address, it is  The Sun Times lists  [It is questionable whether these still 
are valid; his web page with the Sun Times has a mechanism for 
emailing him.]

14) Is Jodie Foster gay?


15) What are some movies that were better than the books/stories they
were based on?

Commonly named ones include:
        THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (based on "The Foghorn"
                by Ray Bradbury)
        THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (based on the
                Robert James Waller novel)
        CARRIE (based on the Stephen King novel)
        THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (based on "Return of the Master"
                by Harry Bates)
        DR. CYCLOPS (based on the Henry Kuttner novel)
        FREAKS (based on SPURS by Clarence Tod Robbins)
        HIGH NOON (based on "The Tin Star" by John Cunningham)
        IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING (based on the Valentine Davies novel)
        JAWS (based on the Peter Benchley novel)
        THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (based on Dorothy Johnson's 
                by Johnston McCulley)
        THE NATURAL (based on the Bernard Malamud novel)
        QUEST FOR LOVE (based on "Random Quest" by John Wyndham)
        THE 3:10 TO YUMA (based on the Elmore Leonard story)

        BILLY BUDD (based on the Herman Melville novel)
        DRACULA'S DAUGHTER (based on "Dracula's Guest" by Bram Stoker)
        THE GODFATHER (based on the Mario Puzo novel)
        THE GRADUATE (based on the Charles Webb novel)
                by C. L. Moore)
        THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (based on the Alistair MacLean novel)
        LAST OF THE MOHICANS (based on the James Fenimore Cooper novel)
        THE NIGHT OF THE DEMON (based on "Casting the Runes"
                by M. R. James)
        THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE (based on the Muriel Spark novel)
        SHANE (based on the Jack Schaefer story)
        THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (based on "Rita Hayworth and the
                Shawshank Redemption" by Stephen King)
        SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (based on the Thomas Harris novel)
        TOUCH OF EVIL (based on the novel BADGE OF EVIL by Whit 
        THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (based on the B. Traven novel)

        BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (based on the Pierre Boulle novel)
        COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT (based on the D. F. Jones novel)
        DIABOLIQUE (based on the Pierre Boileau novel)
        DR. STRANGELOVE (based on the Peter George novel RED ALERT,
                a.k.a. TWO HOURS TO DOOM)
        FULL METAL JACKET (based on the novel THE SHORT TIMERS
                by Gustav Hasford)
        THE LADY VANISHES (1938) (based on THE WHEEL SPINS by Ethel 
                Lina White)
        THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE by Richard Condon
        THE PATHS OF GLORY (based on the Humphrey Cobb novel)
        PLANET OF THE APES (based on the Pierre Boulle novel)
        REAR WINDOW (based on Cornell Wollrich story)
        SPARTACUS (based on the Howard Fast novel)
        THE THIN MAN (based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett)
        THE TOWERING INFERNO (based on Frank M. Robinson and
                Thomas N. Scortia's GLASS INFERNO and THE TOWER by
                Richard Martin Stern)
        VERTIGO (based on the Pierre Boileau novel)

[Provided by Mark R. Leeper,, and Mark Brader]

15a) What are some sequels that were better than their predecessors?

Various ones named in rec.arts.movies.past-films include (predecessor 
in parentheses if not obvious):
        ALIENS (ALIEN)
        EVIL DEAD II
                AGAIN (THE PINK PANTHER)
        the six later "Road" movies (ROAD TO SINGAPORE)
        ROCKY 2
        TERMINATOR 2
        TOY STORY 2

16) How can I find out where a certain movie is playing?

There are many web sites for this, including:

In many areas, there is also a phone service to help you.  Call
777-FILM (*) and follow the instructions (you punch in the first three
letters of the film title and your ZIP code) to find out the theater
closest to you with a particular film, and the remaining show times.
You can also order tickets by credit card through them.

(*) In some areas it's 444-FILM or 222-FILM or possibly something else.

For something more esoteric (like films that play at universities,
libraries, etc.), you're out of luck unless you know the distributor
and call them.

17) What is the earliest *numbered* sequel?

THE GODFATHER, PART II (1974) certainly started the modern wave of 
numbered sequels, followed by (just up to 1980):

1976  THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! PART 2  (Jerry Boyajian thinks they really
            missed the boat on this one by not calling this THAT'S
            ENTERTAINMENT, TOO! and wants it stated for the record he
            thought of this *before* LOOK WHO'S TALKING TOO came out.)
1978  JAWS II
1979  ROCKY II

But it was no means the earliest numbered sequel. The second runner up 
for that prize is:

1957  QUATERMASS II [US title: ENEMY FROM SPACE, though released on
                     laserdisc in the US under the original title]

which is a film version of the British television serial of the same 
name, and a sequel to the serial and feature film THE QUATERMASS 

At one time we thought the winner was:


(Eisenstein started, but did not complete, a PART III the next year.)

However, we later found out that Akira Kurosawa made SANSHIRO SUGATA, 
PART TWO in 1945 (the original was filmed in 1943) and Jerry Boyajian 
has confirmed that it is, in the original Japanese title, indeed a 
"numbered" sequel as well.

R. L. Lahey writes "The first sequel with the number 2 of which I am 
aware is Leni Riefenstahl's OLYMPIA: THE FILM OF THE XI. OLYMPIC 
GAMES. PART II (1938) Although the OLYMPIA films are usually referred 
to together and both were from 1938, they were issued separately, 
several months apart.  The first film was titled OLYMPIA: THE FILM OF 
THE XI OLYMPIC GAMES, BERLIN, 1936.  The second film is clearly called 
Part II.   The first had no number."

This is (to me) questionable as to whether the second film can be
called a sequel in the usual sense in which that term is used.  While
issued separately, the films were made together, and the action of the
second if not particularly subsequent to the first.  So everyone can
make their own determination as to whether to count this.

(Recently in alt.cult-movies, in a discussion of Fritz Lang, someone had
suggested that an even earlier numbered sequel was DR. MABUSE, DER 
SPIELER PART 2 (a.k.a. DR. MABUSE, KING OF CRIME), made in 1922.  I 
suppose a case can be made for it, except that the two parts were 
originally made and exhibited together under a single title.  Only in 
more recent times have the two parts been shown as individual works.)

[Thanks to Jerry Boyajian for this answer.]

And the latest entry in this contest is from Mark Brader, saying that
Gosta Ekman starred as King Karl XII in
   Karl XII (1925)
   Karl XII, del II (1925)
both directed by John W. Brunius.  And, yes, "del" is Swedish for 
"part".  This is the answer accepted by the IMDB.  [2007]

However, time marches on.  Recently, someone proposed the Nordisk 
Films (of Denmark) "Sherlock Holmes II" (1908).  The IMDB says that 
the series ran through "Sherlock Holmes VI" in 1910.

There are also "Children of the Night No. 2" (1925), "Maharadjahens 
yndlingshustru II" (1919), "The Physical Culture Girl, No. 2" (1903), 
and "Yvette Guilbert 2" (1898), though the last two are shorts rather 
than feature length.  However, someone notes, "It's weird that IMDb 
says the title of the first one in the series is 'Maharadjahens 
yndlingshustru I'.  Ditto with the 'Children of the Night' stuff."  So 
these may also be films originally shot as a single film, but split up 
at some point.

As far as unnumbered sequel, someone says, "The rec.arts.movies crowd 
settled at one time on 'The Cohens and the Kellys in Paris' (1928) as 
the first sequel (following 'The Cohens And the Kellys' (1926))."  
This *may* be the first *unnumbered* sequel (though I doubt it, but it 
is clearly not the first sequel.

18) Why are clips of old films always fast?

Persistence of vision (which makes still film frames appear to be in
motion) only requires 16 frames per second to fool the eye, so that was
the speed used for early films.  When sound was introduced, the
16-frame-per-second speed caused warbling, so the standard was increased
to 24 frames per second.  [Harris Minter claims that the standard silent
film speed was 18 frames per second.]

[Parenthetically, 16 fps means about 60 feet per minute.  This is useful
to know, since silent film lengths are often given in feet rather than
minutes.  Sometimes they are given in reels, which are 1000 feet.  So a
one-reeler would be about 16 minutes.]

When you see a silent movie, shot at 16 frames per second, projected at
the faster rate, it looks "faster" but only because there aren't many 16
frame-per-second film projectors around.  With modern videotape systems,
the films-on-tape can be slowed back down.

To complicate matters more, the early cameras were hand-cranked: if the
cameraman cranked too slow, the projector made the movie look too
fast...and vice versa.  Early cameramen had to keep a steady rhythm.

However, this is complicated by the fact that in the silent era, there
was no universally "correct" film speed.  The introduction of the 24-fps
rate used today had to do with sound, as was said, not with the images.
In the silent era, cameras were hand-operated, and so were most
projectors.  In addition to the obvious difficulties of maintaining a
perfect rate by hand, the ability to speed up or slow down the progress
of the film through the camera and projector was used for artistic
effect.  By undercranking (turning the crank slower and thus taking
fewer frames per second) on shooting while projecting at normal speed,
the action would speed up as more seconds of photographed time were
compressed into a given number of seconds of projected time.
Alternatively, overcranking would give the opposite effect -- slow
motion.  By cranking faster, the projectionist could speed up the
action, while cranking slower on projection would slow down the action.
The classic example of projectionist overcranking is during chases or
other exciting scenes, to make the fast action seem even faster.  I have
heard that some films were even released with advice about how fast to
crank during certain parts of the film.  Also, shooting film
undercranked would be used for certain stunts and special effects,
giving the illusion of speed that wasn't actually present.
[Another source reported that a PBS documentary series said films were
sometimes undercranked to save film costs.]

One side effect of this method of shooting silent films is that any
serious film guide that discusses silent films will not give running
times for them, as that time could vary depending on the talent and mood
of the projectionist.  While the difference might be only a couple of
minutes out of a couple of hours, printing a particular number of
minutes as a running time for a silent film is misleading and can cause
confusion.  Typically, lengths are given in number of reels, or, when
they really want to be careful, number of feet of film.

It's worth noting that the notion of adjusting speeds hasn't been
forgotten, though, given one of the uses it's put to, maybe it should
have been.  Network TV is fond of slightly speeding up the rate at
which they show films, thus permitting them to squeeze a long film into
a time slot without cutting anything.  This practice gets filmmakers
very angry, as it damages any pacing or rhythm they put into the film.

[Thanks to Douglas Ferguson,, and Peter Reiher,, for this answer.]

19) What does the number at the end of the end credits mean?

The Motion Picture Association of America (the MPAA) is responsible for
assigning these numbers.  It is part of their film rating service.  Any 
film can be submitted to the MPAA for rating (the G/PG/PG13/R/NC-17 
ratings  Americans are familiar with), for a small fee.  Any film rated 
by the MPAA is issued a unique number.  Any film can be submitted, but 
many aren't, including most adult sex films, many foreign films, 
industrial films and other training and educational films, television 
films, and some independently made films.

The rating service (and the numbering associated with it) was started in
1968.  There is no publicly available list of films and numbers, and the
MPAA information office does not have the title of the film issued
certificate #1 readily available.  [Joshua Kreitzer,, later pointed out that according to Mark
A. Vieira's SIN IN SOFT-FOCUS, the first film to receive a certificate
under the Production Code was John Ford's THE WORLD MOVES ON (1934).]

Films before 1968 were assigned numbers based on their agreement to the
Production Code, instituted July 1, 1934.  Under that scheme, the film
SHE, released in 1935, has number 985.  Rod McKim
( reports that THE SCARLET EMPRESS, released in
1934, has number16, the lowest by far that he has seen.  Reports of any
other low number spottings would be appreciated.  Given that the
current number is in the 30,000, I believe the current numbers are
continued from those, rather than restarted in 1968.

A word or two more about MPAA ratings.  The ratings are assigned by a 
board composed of "ordinary citizens", largely parents, as the intent 
of the rating system is to protect the tender minds of children from 
harm.  The board watches the film and collectively assigns a rating.  
If the producer doesn't like the rating, s/he has a couple of options.  
The rating can be appealed to the MPAA official in charge of rating 
films.  On a few occasions, the appeal has been successful.  Not too 
surprisingly, appeals by large studios tend to have a better success 
rate than appeals by smaller studios.  Alternately, the producer can 
recut the film and resubmit it.  The MPAA rating board will tell a 
filmmaker what caused a film to get a rating, but they never actually 
tell a filmmaker that if this scene is cut, you will get that rating.  
Somehow or other, though, the information tends to get to the 
filmmakers, so that Alan Parker, for instance, somehow knew that 
cutting a few seconds of Mickey Rourke humping Lisa Bonet while blood 
drips from the ceiling changes ANGEL HEART from a film no child should 
see to a film merely requiring parental presence.

While we're at it, what is the MPAA?  It's an industry organization for 
the American film production business, particularly for the major 
studios.  Its members are Disney, Columbia, MGM, Orion, Paramount, 20th 
Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Brothers.  These companies pay fees 
to the MPAA that are used as the primary source of financing for the 
organization.  In addition to the ratings, the MPAA performs other 
services for their members, including lobbying the government.  (They 
prefer to refer to this service as "working on issues important to the 
film industry.")  Jack Valenti, the head of the MPAA, is a prominent 
spokesman who speaks for "Hollywood" as a whole, generally on issues 
important to all the studios, like film piracy, trade disputes with 
other countries, and censorship.  The MPAA was founded in 1922, so it's 
been doing this sort of thing for quite a while.

[Thanks to Peter Reiher,, for this answer.]

20) Why aren't there more G-rated movies released?

[This was originally a response to someone complaining about the bad
language added to THE IRON GIANT which made it PG.  If anyone wants to
write a more concise or general response on this, please do.]

As many people have pointed out, no matter how much parents say they
*want* G-rated films, they just don't take their children to them
(unless the film is from Disney).  The IMDB lists 32 theatrical films
BOY and THE STRAIGHT STORY.  The successful ones were TOY STORY 2 and
TARZAN--both Disney.

And I wouldn't trust the rating too much.  I think that THE IRON GIANT
is much better--from every standpoint--for a very young child to watch
than THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, in spite of the latter's "G" rating.
(Which, by the way, is something that made everyone ask, "What was the
MPAA thinking?!!")

It's in some ways a vicious circle.  If parents can't/don't trust the
ratings, they are forced to preview all the films.  Since it's too
expensive to do this in the theaters, they wait for the videos, then
preview it one night and show it the next.

I'm not sure what the "cut-off" age between G and PG is, but most
children below that age probably don't have a long enough attention
span or social skills for a theater, which is another reason parents
prefer videos.

*If* the MPAA were at least consistent, G-rated films *might* have a
better chance in the theaters, but as long as something like THE
HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME gets a G, they won't be trusted.  (And their
ratings at the other end of the scale are equally bizarre.)

For that matter, consider BABE: no bad language, but Babe's mother gets
carted off to the slaughterhouse at the beginning in a scene that could
easily be very scary for young children.  And then there's the mad

(BABE, by the way, is one of the few non-Disney G-rated films that has
been successful.)

With the new policy of requiring ads to carry explanations of why a
film got a "PG", "PG-13", or "R" rating, there may be some

21) What was the first PG-13 movie to be released?

RED DAWN, 10 August 1984.

22) What is the worst film to win the "Best Picture" Oscar?

This gets asked every year after the Oscars, usually with people
claiming that whatever just won is the worst film ever to win.
However, the consensus among people who have actually seen all (or
most) of the "Best Picture" winners is that it is either CIMARRON or
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.  (My personal opinion, for what it's worth,

30) References, cameos, etc.:

A) What are all the James Bond films and who played Bond?

   "Casino Royale" episode of CLIMAX TV series   1954   Barry Nelson
   Dr. No                                        1962   Sean Connery^
   From Russia With Love                         1963   Sean Connery^
   Goldfinger                                    1964   Sean Connery^
   Thunderball                                   1965   Sean Connery
   Casino Royale                                 1967   David Niven*
   You Only Live Twice                           1967   Sean Connery
   On Her Majesty's Secret Service               1969   George Lazenby
   Diamonds Are Forever                          1971   Sean Connery
   Live and Let Die                              1973   Roger Moore
   The Man With the Golden Gun                   1974   Roger Moore
   The Spy Who Loved Me                          1977   Roger Moore
   The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation
        as We Know It                            1977   x
   Moonraker                                     1979   Roger Moore
   For Your Eyes Only                            1981   Roger Moore
   Octopussy                                     1983   Roger Moore
   Never Say Never Again                         1983   Sean Connery
   The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.         1983   George Lazenby+
   A View to a Kill                              1985   Roger Moore
   The Living Daylights                          1987   Timothy Dalton
   Licence to Kill                               1989   Timothy Dalton
   "Diamonds Aren't Forever" episode of ALFRED
           HITCHCOCK PRESENTS                    1989   George Lazenby=
   Goldeneye                                     1995   Pierce Brosnan
   Tomorrow Never Dies                           1997   Pierce Brosnan
   The World Is Not Enough                       1999   Pierce Brosnan
   Die Another Day                               2002   Pierce Brosnan
   Casino Royale                                 2006   Daniel Craig

^ In the first three movies, the man who walks into camera range, 
  turns and fires was not Sean Connery, but his stunt double, Bob Simmons.
  The scene was re-filmed for the 'scope format for THUNDERBALL with Sean 
  Connery, and ever since then has been the actual actor playing Bond.
* Woody Allen plays his nephew, "Jimmy Bond"
+ Only a cameo--Lazenby drives an Aston Martin with license plate "JB" 
  in this made-for-television movie and is clearly supposed to be Bond,
  though he is never called by name.
= Lazenby plays "James ... [sic]" 
x Bond does not appear, but "Miss Moneypacket" drives a car with a 
  "JB 007" license plate.

(Many people say that CASINO ROYALE is not a real Bond movie, but
rather a parody.  NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN is a movie not made by Broccoli
& Co, but otherwise has the usual look.  "The Strange Case...," "The
Return of ...," and "Diamonds Aren't Forever" are also not part of the
"main line" of Bond films.)

(Michael Golan mentions also CANNONBALL (1976), but in that Roger Moore
is explicit that he is *Roger Moore*, not James Bond, in spite of all
appearances.  Still, some may want to count this.  "M" and "Miss
Moneypacket" appear in "The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as
We Know It," a 1977 British television production starring John Cleese;
they were played by Kenneth Benda and Charlotte Alexandra respectively.)

Bruce Long ( says, "The 'Hostage'" episode of 'The Master'
(series starring Lee Van Cleef) has George Lazenby and David McCallum as
guest stars.  Each of them are obviously supposed to be his famous
character (but McCallum is the villain, as though Kuryakin had become
cynical in his later years)."

Zadok Allen ( reports, "Checking the IMDB,
there were a few others of note: Reg Gadney played Bond in a
made-for-TV biographical movie on Ian Fleming, Paul Vnuk playing a Bond
cameo in the based-on-game movie CLUE, and Kristoffer Hatlestad in a
Norwegian Bond flick called GOLDENROCK (genuine adaptation? parody?
porn? IMDB doesn't say).  There were also actors who portrayed Bond on
radio which predated the earliest screen version of Bond."

B) What are the Hitchcock cameos in all his movies?

THE LODGER (1926): At a desk in a newsroom and later in the crowd 
watching an arrest.

EASY VIRTUE (1927): Walking past a tennis court, carrying a walking 

MURDER (1930): Walking past the house where the murder was committed, 
about an hour into the movie.

BLACKMAIL (1929):  Being bothered by a small boy as he reads a book 
in the subway.

THE 39 STEPS (1935):  Tossing some litter while Robert Donat and Lucie
Mannheim run from the theater, seven minutes into the movie.

YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1938):  Outside the courthouse, holding a camera.

THE LADY VANISHES (1938):  Very near the end of the movie, in Victoria
Station, wearing a black coat and smoking a cigarette.

REBECCA (1940): Walking near the phone booth in the final part of the 
film just after George Sanders makes a call.

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940):  Early in the movie, after Joel McCrea
leaves his hotel, wearing a coat and hat and reading a newspaper.

MR. AND MRS. SMITH (1941):  Midway through, passing Robert Montgomery in
front of his building.

SUSPICION (1941): mailing a letter at the village postbox about 45 
minutes in.

SABOTEUR (1942):  Standing in front of Cut Rate Drugs in New York as the
saboteurs' car stops, an hour in.

SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943):  On the train to Santa Rosa, playing cards.

LIFEBOAT (1944):  In the "before" and "after" pictures in the newspaper 
ad for Reduco Obesity Slayer.

SPELLBOUND (1945):  Coming out of an elevator at the Empire Hotel,
carrying a violin case and smoking a cigarette, 40 minutes in.

NOTORIOUS (1946):  At a big party in Claude Rains's mansion, drinking
champagne and then quickly departing, an hour after the film begins.

THE PARADINE CASE (1947):  Leaving the train and Cumberland Station,
carrying a cello.

ROPE (1948): His trademark can be seen briefly on a neon sign in the 
view from the apartment window.

UNDER CAPRICORN (1949):  In the town square during a parade, wearing a 
blue coat and brown hat, in the first five minutes.  Ten minutes later, 
he is one of three men on the steps of Government House.

STAGE FRIGHT (1950):  Turning to look at Jane Wyman in her disguise as
Marlene Dietrich's maid.

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951):  Boarding a train with a double bass 
fiddle as Farley Granger gets off in his hometown, early in the film.

I CONFESS (1953):  Crossing the top of a staircase after the opening

DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954):  On the left side of the class-reunion photo, 
thirteen minutes into the film.

REAR WINDOW (1954):  Winding the clock in the songwriter's apartment, 
a half hour into the movie.

TO CATCH A THIEF (1955):  Ten minutes in, sitting to the left of Cary 
Grant on a bus.

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (1955):  Walking past the parked limousine of 
an old man who is looking at paintings, twenty minutes into the film.

THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956):  Watching acrobats in the Moroccan 
marketplace (his back to the camera) just before the murder.

THE WRONG MAN (1956):  Narrating the film's prologue.

VERTIGO (1958):  In a gray suit walking in the street, eleven minutes 

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959):  Missing a bus during the opening credits.

PSYCHO (1960):  Four minutes in, through Janet Leigh's window as she 
returns to her office.  He is wearing a cowboy hat.

THE BIRDS (1963):  Leaving the pet shop with two white terriers as 
Tippi Hedren enters.

MARNIE (1964):  Entering from the left of the hotel corridor after Tippi
Hedren passes by, five minutes in.

TORN CURTAIN (1966):  Early in the film, sitting in the Hotel 
d'Angleterre lobby with a blond baby.

TOPAZ (1969):  Being pushed in a wheelchair in an airport, half an hour 
in. Hitchcock gets up from the chair, shakes hands with a man, and walks 
off to the right.

FRENZY (1972):  In the center of a crowd, wearing a bowler hat, three 
minutes into the film; he is the only one not applauding the speaker.

FAMILY PLOT (1976):  In silhouette through the door of the Registrar of
Births and Deaths, 41 minutes into the movie.

I've seen it stated in several sources that he appeared in all of his 
movies from THE LODGER (1926) onwards, so he definitely doesn't appear 


However, the following movies (mostly early British ones) are missing 
from the above list:

Farmer's Wife, The
Jamaica Inn (1939)
Juno and Paycock
Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1934)
Manxman, The
Number Seventeen
Rich and Strange
Ring, The (1927)
Secret Agent
Skin Game, The (1931)
Waltzes from Vienna

Hitchcock almost definitely does not appear in "Adventure Malagache" or
"Bon Voyage", two short films he made (in French) for propaganda
purposes during WWII.  Also, Peter Reiher didn't spot him in MARY, his
German-language version of MURDER: "Shot with an entirely different
cast, but, as far as I can tell from memory, using pretty much the same
sets, costumes, props, shots, and editing.)  There are a lot of crowd
scenes in MARY, however, so I could have missed him in that film.
Also, I didn't check to see if he appears at the same point as in
MURDER.  I would guess that he does."

[Thanks to Colin Needham and Peter Reiher (
for this answer.  See the IMDB for more Hitchcock links.]

C) What are the references to "See You Next Wednesday" in John Landis's

(Jerry Boyajian says it should be noted that the *original*
"See you next Wednesday" line comes from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.
But Dianne Cosner ( reports, "The line "See
You Next Wednesday", is used when John Landis uses an idea from a
screen play that he wrote when he was 15 that was called "See You Next
Wednesday."  At a convention, Landis said that the movie was very
adolescent, just like something a 15-year-old boy would write, and he
will never make this film, but he does use ideas from it sometimes, and
when he uses an idea from that screen play he gives it credit by
inserting a reference to it when he uses it.  It's not from 2001,
that's just coincidence.")

There are actually three trademarks in Landis's movies: Steven Bishop
("Charming Wildcard"), "See You Next Wednesday" previews, posters, or
references, and "Girl from Ipanema" music in the background.

SCHLOCK (1971):
Two promotional blurbs for SYNW during a newscast for the "movie at 6 
on 6" and on a poster in a theatre lobby (the real poster was for 
"King Kong vs. Godzilla").

Steven Bishop plays the "charming guy":
        "Show me your nuts!"
        "oooo, hey, how ya doing?  Surfing U.S.A..."
SYNW is the title of the "Feel-a-Rama" movie.

Bishop plays the "I gave my love a cherry" man.  The credit is "Charming
Guy," as usual.  SYNW does not appear anywhere in this film.  However,
that is not to say there is no reference to Landis' SCHLOCK, which was
the only film he made before ANIMAL HOUSE.  [Moderator's note--not true;
he also made KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE.]  The actress who plays the girl with
whom the Schlockthropus (a "missing link"/ape type) falls in love also
appears in ANIMAL HOUSE as the girl who is at the desk of the girls'
school dorm where Otter (Tim Matheson) and company go to pick up dates
on their road trip.  In a later scene, she is asked what she is studying
and she replies, "Primitive cultures," which has to be a reference to
SCHLOCK.  At the end of ANIMAL HOUSE when the one or two lines
describes the future of each character for Nedermeir (sp?) it said that
Nedermeir was "killed by his own troops in Vietnam."  During the part of
TWILIGHT ZONE when the person is in a swamp in Vietnam and some US
troops come by they can be heard to say "I told you we shouldn't have
shot Neidermeyer."

On a billboard where two Illinois state troopers are lying in wait.  
It's only there for a second as Jake and Elwood are speeding away from 
Bob's Country Bunker.  The billboard also pictures a large ape and 
looks like an ad for a bad horror flick.  Bishop plays the Charming 
Trooper in the mall chase.  "Girl From Ipanema" is playing in the 
elevator as they go to the office with Spielberg (someone else claims 
it's Frank Oz, but Frank Oz is the one who plays the prison official 
right at the beginning of the movie who returns "one prophylatic, used" 
[along with his other disreputable belongings] to Jake) in it.

(Also: on the laserdisc version, after the credits, there is a plug
to go visit Universal Studios with the line "Ask for Babs" (a reference
to the "Where are they now" part of ANIMAL HOUSE))

SYNW is the name of the porno film that is playing in the Picadilly 
Circus theatre where David meets with Jack and his zombie friends.  
The movie bill also appears in the London underground when the man is 

SYNW is on a poster in Jamie Lee Curtis' apartment.  No ape, just the
silhouette of two people.

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (1983):
SYNW is in lines of dialogue from the movie within the video.  
"...scrawled in blood...", "What does it say?", "It says, 'See you next 
Wednesday'."  (Also, if you look close enough, there is a poster for 
SCHLOCK in the lobby as Michael and his date leave the theatre.)

Steven Bishop plays "Charming G.I." (bad pun)

There are actually two posters in INTO THE NIGHT for SYNW.  Both are in
the movie producer's office where Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Goldblum 
make a phone call about a half hour or so into the film.

In one scene, Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd are in the office of the 
commander of the army training post that is the site of their training.  
There is a shot of the commander lecturing them, and on the office wall 
behind him is a recruitment poster bearing the legend "See You Next 

A movie poster in the subway station where the Prince's bride-to-be
returns her earring gift.  (The movie claims to star Jamie Lee Curtis,
who starred in TRADING PLACES.)  Later, the Prince, to prove to his
girlfriend that money isn't important to him, gives his sizable roll
of pocket money to a pair of street people, who turn out to be the
Duke brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) from TRADING PLACES.
They even appear in the credits!  You might recall that the Dukes are
destitute at the end of TRADING PLACES, so the plotlines are
consistent.  It is also amusing that Eddie Murphy, who made them poor
in the former movie, made them rich in the latter.

The marquee across the street from the Melody Lounge exotic dance bar.
(Visible over the shoulders of the Mafia folks the first time they
enter the bar.)

(Interestingly, that was not the only movie marquee set up to display
the SYNW title.  The "car crash at the Shadyside gas station" scene
was filmed down the street from Stewart M. Clamen's residence (in
Squirrel Hill), and the nearby multiplex changed its marquee
appropriately every night after closing.  The movie itself featured no
footage of that theatre (or the street on which it resides), although
it is possible that it was edited out.

This leads one to believe that Landis inserts many SYNW references in
the backgrounds of his scenes, so as not to constrain himself (and his
film editor) during editing.)

There's a poster on the back of the bus that the kids chain their bikes
to.  The Ipanema music is playing when a woman gets into her car, just
before she sets off an explosion with her cigarette lighter.  Didn't 
notice a Charming Wildcard in the credits.

In Landis's "Dream On" series on HBO there are two references 
(according to Jeff Greenstein, Supervising Producer "Dream On," "The first is in the episode "The Trojan War", from 
1990, our first season.  The phrase "See You Next Wednesday" is written 
on a chalkboard in a delicatessen in an early scene.  God knows why.  
The second time is in the episode "Futile Attraction", from 1991.  John 
plays Judith's therapist, Herb.  At the end of their session, I believe 
he tells her "See you next Wednesday."  Interestingly enough, John 
didn't direct either one of these episodes."

[Thanks to Randy Spencer, spencer@usc-oberon.UUCP, Stewart M. Clamen,, Jerry Boyajian, and others for this answer.]

[And regarding the John Landis stuff, I wonder if anyone has compiled 
a list of the films that feature the "When In Hollywood Visit Universal 
City Studios (Ask for Babs)" card at the end of the closing credits.]

31) Specific films:

A) What movie did the quote: "Badges?? Badges?? We don't need no 
stinkin' badges?" come from ??

This quote was originally spoken in the film "The Treasure of the
Sierra Madre", written and directed by John Huston.  A band of Mexican
bandits approaches Humphry Bogart and crew (Walter Huston & Tim Holt)
claiming to be federales.  When Bogart asks to see their badges, the
head of the band says:

        "Badges?  We ain't got no badges.  We don't need no badges.
        I don't have to show you any stinking badges!"

This quote has been satirized in a number of films, perhaps most
famously in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles."

By the way, this version of the quote has been verified as the exact
transcription from the film by Wayne Hathaway and Jerry Boyajian.  It is
not, however, *exactly* the same as the book.  In THE TREASURE OF THE
SIERRA MADRE by B. Traven (1935), the bandit says, "Badges, to
god-damned hell with badges!  We have no badges.  In fact, we don't
need badges.  I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you
god-damned cabron and ching' tu madre!  Come out there from that
shit-hole of yours.  I have to speak to you."  (page 161 of the Modern
Library edition)  (For the Spanish-deprived among you, "cabron" is
cuckold, "chingar" is "fuck," and "tu madre" is "your mother."  Clearly
the dialogue was cleaned up for the film.)  (See the rec.arts.books FAQ
for more information about Traven.)

There is a website devoted to the "Stinking Badges" quote and all its 
various iterations in film, TV, literature, advertisements, etc. at

B) Is it true that a hanged person (munchkin) is visible in the 
background of one scene in THE WIZARD OF OZ?

No.  This is an urban myth which circulates widely and often turns up
on the past-films newsgroup.  Sometimes a number of circumstantial
details are added to the story, depending on how big a liar you heard
it from.  In the scene in question (where Dorothy and her friends are
in the forest) one can see an object hanging from one of the background
trees, but careful examination reveals it to be a large bird.  It is
said that this bird had escaped from some other part of the soundstage,
and was hanging from a branch of the "tree" by its feet.

C) Did Andy Williams dub Lauren Bacall's singing voice in TO HAVE AND

Although the legend about Andy Williams and Lauren Bacall is so deeply
entrenched that you'll find it repeated even in some film reference
books, it's not true.  Director Howard Hawks, when asked about this,
explained that he had indeed planned to have Andy Williams sing for
Bacall, but after hearing Bacall sing during the rehearsals for the
scene he abandoned that plan and ended up using Bacall's own voice.
(Source:  Hawks on Hawks by Joseph McBride [Berkeley, University of
California Press, 1982] p.130.)  (Jon Corelis,

D) Did Audrey Hepburn do the singing in MY FAIR LADY? How come
   Julie Andrews did not reprise her Broadway performance of Eliza

Hepburn's singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon, who also did the singing
for Natalie Wood in WEST SIDE STORY and Deborah Kerr in THE KING AND I.
(Nixon also appeared in person as Sister Sophia in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.)
Bob Morris ( says, however, "Have recently spoken
with Robert Harris re Audrey Hepburn in MY FAIR LADY.  She does indeed
sing snippets here and there, which will probably be identified in
deluxe laserdisc.   ...apparently Hepburn made attempt to "prove" that
she could do all the singing, but without convincing producers.
Nonetheless, Harris has pieced together a couple of "complete" MFL songs
from Audrey Hepburn which will appear as extras on deluxe laserdisc."
However, Hepburn sang "Moon River" in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S.  She also
sings some of the lead lines in MY FAIR LADY.  (Yuzuru Hiraga,

On the 30th anniversary restored laserdisk edition, Hepburn can be
heard singing "Wouldn't It be Luvverly" and "Show Me" on  alternate

Andrews was not considered popular enough (by Jack L. Warner) to be cast
in the movie of MY FAIR LADY.

E) What's this talk about a ghost in THREE MEN AND A BABY?

There is a rumor that if you watch TMATB very closely you will see a
ghost in it.  The scene in question is the one where Ted Danson's
character meets his mom in his apartment.  If you look near the window
you can see an image resembling a small boy.  This is supposedly the
ghost of a boy who was killed in the house where the movie was filmed.

First of all, the movie was not filmed in a house, but on a Toronto
soundstage.  So the whole premise is hokey to begin with.  But here is
more evidence provided by: (Brian Enright)):

> I then rewound and ran it through super slow mo.  When they pass the
> window on their way in, you can't see the boy but it looks like there
> is a bed post sticking up.  When they pass the window again it looks
> like a two-dimensional cut-out but not of Ted Danson.  It's a little
> boy with a baseball cap, a white tee-shirt and a blue unbuttoned
> button-down shirt in my opinion.  Hmmmm.  I had to investigate.
> After further investigation of other scenes in the movie I found there
> were no bed posts on the bed.  Then I hit the clue that gave it away.
> This particular scene is almost at the end of the movie.  In this
> scene Ted Danson walks to a window where there is a cut-out of him in
> a black top hat and a black tuxedo with a white shirt.  If you
> examine this cut out closely and go back to the scene in question,
> you will notice that they are the same cut out.  You can see that the
> boy *is* Ted Danson and he is wearing a top hat and even his shoulders
> hidden behind the curtain are noticeably not a little boy's but a man
> in a tuxedo.  
> I hate to burst any bubbles but it *definitely is* a cut-out of Ted
> Danson in a *tuxedo*..  

F) Can someone explain BARTON FINK?

So far as I can tell, no. :-)

G) What is the secret of THE CRYING GAME?  (rot13'd)

Spoiler for THE CRYING GAME follows in "rot13" format.  If you don't
know what else to do with this to read it, save the three lines in a
file and filter it through 'tr "[a-zA-Z]" "[n-za-mN-ZA-N]"' (on SysV
systems, you may have to use 'tr "[a-z][A-Z]" "[n-z][a-m][N-Z][A-N]"').

Vf Wnlr Qnivqfba n zna be n jbzna?  Naq vs n zna, qvq ur hfr n obql
qbhoyr?  Wnlr Qnivqfba vf n zna.  Ur qvq abg hfr n obql qbhoyr.  Vg unf
orra fnvq gung ur vf n genafirfgvgr, ohg guvf vf abg pregnva.

H) What is the significance of the stones at the end of SCHINDLER'S LIST?

It is a Jewish custom to place small stones on the graves or tombstones 
when one visits them.  I have heard at least two explanations for why:
        1) It is symbolic of fulfilling the mitzvah (commandment) of 
           helping to bury the dead.  (It also shows that the grave is 
           being maintained.)
        2) It is forbidden to kill any living thing as a memorial to the
           dead (this in reaction to pagan practices of the Middle East
           during Biblical times) and so flowers are not permitted.  
           Hence unliving things (i.e., stones) are used instead.

I) What is the poem in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL?

The poem is by W. H. Auden.  Like many of his other works, it is known 
by its first line, "Stop All the Clocks"; it is also known as "Funeral 

                Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
                Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
                Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
                Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

                Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
                Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,
                Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public 
                Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

                He was my North, my South, my East and West,
                My working week and my Sunday rest,
                My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
                I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.

                The stars are not wanted now; put out every one:
                Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
                Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods:
                For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Thanks to Janna Ore Nugent for this.

J) Where in THE CROW did Brandon Lee get shot? Did they leave it in?

According to Raymond Johnston (

The same gun was used earlier, a week or so earlier, and since it
was a revolver, they needed for it to look loaded.  The prop guy
emptied the gunpowder out of some bullets and loaded the gun.  During
that scene, a second unit scene, a bullet head got stuck in the barrel
and nobody noticed.  It remained stuck for a week, then they had to
have a scene where blanks were fired to make noise and a flash.  The
gunpowder of the blank shot out the jammed bullet head, and it hit
Lee.  People on the set thought he was acting and kept the camera
rolling.  He never recovered.  The gun was not actually technically
loaded, but Lee was hit with a bullet full force.

That part of the scene is not used, but some things filmed that day are
used.  The scene where the gang kills Lee and his wife is the scene
involved.  The film includes up to a gang member pointing the gun at
Lee.  Some of this scene then used a double filmed from the back.  In
the film, he then falls out of a window, this was to not recreate the
or use a scene of Lee being shot.  The film was almost completed.  Only
a few flashbacks remained to be shot.  In the Crow, the flashbacks are
very disjointed and this was a way of dealing with the fragmented
flashbacks that they had to work with.  The role of the little girl was
beefed up to cover up the lack of some plot material and character

I have heard since that the film of the actual shot was destroyed.
Personally, I thought they used too much of the scene in the film.
Apparently, though, Lee's mother at first wanted the film canned, not
released, but when she saw her son's work, she wanted it finished and
put out so people could see he had some true talent.

K) Is FARGO a true story?  Was the "Victim in the Field" really played
by the Artist Formerly Known as Prince (now known as The Artist Then 
Known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince)?

No and no.  The actor's name is J. Todd Anderson, who has been a
storyboard artist on this and other films for the Coen brothers.  The
"symbol" credit for him was a joke; note that in the credits, the Prince
symbol appears on its side.

[Answer provided by Joshua Kreitzer.]

32) In what films does John Wayne get killed (not just die)?

THE COWBOYS (in which Bruce Dern was the first (credited) first actor 
	to kill Wayne on-screen)


PART TWO: Frequent Topics and other things we just thought you might
like to know.  First a few general notes... The readership of
rec.arts.movies is in the whole very knowledgeable about a wide
range of movies.  However, it is my informal assessment that
science fiction and fantasy movies are discussed and analyzed far
beyond their popularity in most of the rest of the world.  This is
neither good nor bad, and the reason for it seems fairly obvious
to me.  The readership of this group reflects the broader
readership of USENET.  This latter population is top heavy with
computer scientists and other forms of science scholars.  There is
a correlation (though not necessarily a causal relationship) between
being in one of these professions, and an interest in science
fiction and fantasy.  Okay, enough of that.  Now, here are some
things which come up often, and, while you are free to discuss
them, you should be forewarned that some long-time readers may get
fairly fed-up with you.

PART THREE: Frequently discussed topics:

1) COLORIZING -- Various legal and moral issues.  As most of you
probably know, Ted Turner and others have taken to adding "color" old
black and white films.  "Color" is in quotes, because it is questionable
whether you can really call it color.  Anyway, there is, every so often,
a discussion of some aspect of this.  There are a whole host of legal
and moral/ethical issues involved here.  Suprisingly there really seems
to be a fair mix of opinion on this issue.  No, you cannot just turn off
the color on your television; adding color changes the values of the
various sections so they show up differently.  However, adding color
requires a restored clean print, so many claim that the money from
selling color-added films is being used to preserve the films (in black
and white as well as in color).  It has been ruled illegal to add color
to CITIZEN KANE due to the way Orson Welles's contract was written.
(Boyajian points out that "Colorization" is a trademarked term.)

2) PRODUCT PLACEMENTS IN MOVIES.  In many films, the film company
will get paid by some companies to use their products.  Some
readers object to this as a fairly manipulative and distracting
presence.  Others do not object, commenting that people really do
use name-brand products, so using them in films makes sense.
Many have commented on the pack of Marlboro cigarettes in DEAD AGAIN,
saying this was the best product placement they had ever seen.

For some reason, every time someone stumbles across this movie,
they feel like they should post to the net and ask if anyone else
has seen it, and do they want to discuss it.  This is fine, of
course, but it does get to be a little repetitive.  The film stars
Winona Ryder as Veronica and Christian Slater as J.D.  Two students
at a high school in Ohio.  The three most popular girls at the
school, and Veronica's best friends, are all named Heather.  The
film is a black comedy which revolves around the relationship of
JD & Veronica, and how they interact with the 3 Heathers and
others.  Some people think it is very good, although many netters were
disappointed with the ending.  If you haven't seen it yet, you should.


Other information:  There are several lists revolving around film that
are kept by netters.  These frequently come up.

A description of basic Hollywood vocabulary (such terms as chopsocky,
bowed, helmed, etc.) can be found at

Information on what all those people listed in film credits do (e.g.
key grip, gaffer...) can be found at

Both these topics are also covered in the IMDB, but you need to give it a
specific term.

Bob Niland (rjn@hpfcso.FC.HP.COM) has several articles on Laser Disc
technology and availability available from his archives.  You may request
any of these at any time.  Recent copies are also available for anonymous
ftp on: (, directory pub/Video/Niland) and (, (

Lastly, there are a series of movie trivia contests.  Some of these
even offer prizes!  The initial contest postings generally include
information on how to enter.  The important point is that you
should never post answers, but should send them e-mail.


(Contributions for addition to this FAQL gratefully appreciated.
Suggestions for things *I* should write to add to this FAQL are not so
gratefully appreciated.)

Copyright Notice

This FAQ is not to be reproduced for commercial use unless the party
reproducing the FAQ agrees to the following:
 1) They will contact the FAQ maintainer to obtain the latest version 
    for their collection.
 2) They will provide the FAQ maintainer with information on what 
    collection the copy of the FAQ is in, and how that collection may be 
 3) They will agree, in writing, that the FAQ will be included in the
    collection without modification, and that acknowledgements of
    contributors (if any) to the FAQ remain in the FAQ.
 4) They will agree, in writing, that the collection including the FAQ 
    will be distributed on either a non-profit basis, or have some 
    percentage of profit donated to a non-profit literacy program.  
    Project Gutenberg counts.

Information contained in the FAQ is compiled from many sources.  No
guarantees are made as to its accuracy.

To support this, this FAQ is Compilation Copyright 2012 by 
Evelyn C. Leeper (the FAQ maintainer).


Evelyn C. Leeper (

Go to Evelyn Leeper's home page.