Best movie questions of 1962

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To Kill A Mockingbird picture

Question: Why did everybody in the courtroom go silent when Tom said that he did chores for Mayella because he felt sorry for her?

Chosen answer: At that time in history, Tom, a black man, was considered inferior to Mayella, a white woman. When he says he "felt sorry" for her, it is interpreted as him thinking he is above her or better off in some way. Regardless of his good intentions, for him to think of himself as being in a superior position to help her was considered unacceptable because it was seen as a black person rising above their lower place in society.

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Dr. No picture

Question: Why did Bond and the others go to see the 'dragon' and even attempt to incapacitate it?

Answer: Bond suspected that Dr. No was collecting radioactive materials for his secret project to sabotage the American space program, and Bond suspected that heavily-guarded Crab Key was the center of Dr. No's secret operation. Bond knew that the "dragon" was just a mobile flame-thrower protecting the most vulnerable area of the island, and so he and the others deliberately targeted it (although they failed).

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: Well, Bond knew that dragons didn't exist and when he was proven correct, he attempted to halt the 'dragons' advance.

Alan Keddie
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The Manchurian Candidate picture

Question: A part of this film's critical acclaim was caused by an unfocused shot, which the critics called brilliant - even though the lack of focus was an accident. What is that shot and where exactly in the movie does it appear?

Chosen answer: The shot in question occurs when Sinatra's character, Marco, holds up a deck full of queens while trying to deprogram Raymond. On the DVD commentary track, the director, Frankenheimer, acknowleges that the scene was out of focus, and that though Sinatra supplied several other takes of the scene, the other takes weren't nearly as good, so he went with the flawed one. Later, Frankenheimer was praised by critics for the unfocused shot showing Raymond's disturbed perceptions.

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The Music Man picture

Question: In the song sequence "Marian the Librarian", anyone know what she says? This couple is on the wall, reaching out for each other, and then Marian yells something that sounds like "Toby!" or something. Can anyone verify what she says?

Chosen answer: In the dance sequence (currently up on YouTube), it wasn't Marion calling out, it's Zaneeta Shin calling out to her boyfriend Tommy who is about to fall. She calls out his name, "TOMMY!!" It's a "looped" vocal and was added after the film, hence no lips are moving when she calls out his name.

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How the West Was Won picture

Question: Doesn't the water tower fall completely to the ground during the buffalo stampede in the original theatrical release? It's missing in the DVD release.

Chosen answer: Footage of the water tower falling has NEVER appeared in the film. My first viewing of the film was in Cinerama in 1962 and the tower doesn't fall over. It doubtless was supposed to fall over but for technical reasons it didn't come out right, and so no footage beyond seeing it wobble a bit has ever been in the film.

Answer: Yes, the water tower did indeed fall completely over in the initial release. I saw it fall all the way to the ground and release a flood of water. What happened was that the tower fell on the rump of one of the buffaloes, and the buffalo stumbled and got up and continued running. Later the animal rights people objected to the scene, so it was removed, and all that was left was the tower shown leaning over.

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance picture

Question: When Ranse confronts Liberty and reaches for the dropped gun, there appears to be something written at Ranse's feet in the dirt. What is it?

Chosen answer: At first glance, it looks like the word "LEFT" in large, widely-spaced lettering. It's very unlikely that this would be a blocking cue, telling Jimmy Stewart to move left (which he does from that point). That's not the way blocking cues are done, for one thing, and a seasoned actor such as Jimmy Stewart wouldn't need such a cue. It's also very unlikely that it's a warning message from John Wayne who is hiding in an alley across the street, on Stewart's right. John Wayne didn't want anyone to know that he actually killed Valance, so he wouldn't alert Jimmy Stewart with any messages scrawled in the street. All hypothesis aside, it's probably just footprints in the dirt, an illusion of light and shadow.

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The Phantom of the Opera picture

Question: In this version the Phantom was a highly gifted composer, who, as a grown adult, was horribly disfigured in an accident. Much of the Hammer version centres on the performance of the Phantom's masterpiece, an opera about Joan Of Arc, segments of which are shown during the film. I am not an expert on opera, but it seemed to me that the Phantom's musical take on the Joan Of Arc lenient was one of the dullest musical performances I have ever seen, consisting of perfectly ordinary (and uninspiring) dialogue, sung on a single (and rather monotonous) octave. (Imagine some people who can't sing very well singing the text of a second rate historical novel.) Did anybody else who saw this little known film of the classic horror story have any opinion on the Joan Of Arc opera?

Rob Halliday

Answer: This is a British low-budget version of the classic book. Due to its financial restraints, there was less concern about producing a factual or high-quality fictional opera. It is only a backdrop to the story.

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