Answered general questions about movies, TV and more

This page is for general questions - if you've got a question about a specific title, please check the title-specific questions page first. Click the button below a question to answer it or click "edit" to correct a spelling mistake. Ask your questions here, and hopefully someone will answer soon. Members get e-mailed when any of their questions are answered.

Question: I know that at the Oscars, Best Picture and Best Director usually go hand-in-hand. What was the first film to win one without winning the other?

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: At the very first Academy Awards (1927/28) "Wings" won Outstanding Picture and the Directing awards went to "Two Arabian Nights" and "7th Heaven" (one for "best direction" one for "best comedy direction"). In fact it wasn't until the 3rd year that "All Quiet on the Western Front" won both. So far the awards have gone to different pictures 19 times.

Myridon

Question: Please can someone help me find the title of a childrens' movie where it starts in the beginning with a boy who rides on a toy in a big present that lands in his room, and it becomes animated after that. There is a scene where there are two princesses that do alphabet and there is another scene where slime tries to make him go to sleep. I don't remember much more. Please help?

Chosen answer: I think the movie you're looking for is "The Phantom Tollbooth" (1970). At least it fits your description with the change from live action to animation, the two princesses and the boy who rides his toy car through a magic tollbooth.For more information check out: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0064806.

Andreas[DK]

Question: How are movies transferred from 35mm film to VHS/DVD?

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: The film is projected from a regular projector into a mirror prism that reflects it into a special camera whose shutters are synched to the speed of the projector's. The signal is then sent to a video tape. Then the signal from the camera is sent to a computer where it is cleaned up and enhanced and then sent to the digital or recorded format.

Boobra

Question: Does anyone ever remember remember seeing or hearing about a TV movie that was shown live? I remember, 5-7 years ago, that my mom told me she was watching a movie shown in this way. I think I remember it being black and white. Sound familiar to anyone?

Chosen answer: "Fail Safe" was broadcast live on CBS April 9, 2000, and it is in black and white. It is a story set during the cold war, where a so-called fail-safe warning system malfunctions, and a bomber squadron goes off to bomb Moscow while everyone else is trying desperately to stop them before the time runs out. It stars such people as George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Don Cheadle, Richard Dreyfuss, Sam Elliott, just to mention a few.

Twotall

Question: I remember watching a film about a boy and his dog and they are stranded in a jungle or island. They try to survive and the boy gets rescued by a helicopter but he leaves his dog behind.

Chosen answer: I think the movie is "Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog"

Question: I am a huge Jim Henson nut and there is one movie I cannot remember. All I remember is the ending where a boy is talking to a giant mechanical dragon. It turns out this guy was playing the dragon's voice but when they leave the room, the dragon's wings move slowly. Any ideas?

Chosen answer: This was shown on Channel 4 in the UK at Christmas Time about 10 years ago. It was called Monster Maker. Check out this link for more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097906/.

Question: Does anyone know the name of a movie where 3 or 4 boys make a spaceship out of a "tilt-a-whirl" cart?

Chosen answer: Explorers. Released in 1985, starring Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix and Jason Presson. Excellent film!

Grumpy Scot

Question: Is there a difference between a "featuring" credit and an "introducing" credit? If so, what is it?

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: "Introducing" means that this is the actor's first role, or sometimes their first credited major role, i.e. not "3rd Dancing Guy". "Featuring" can mean several things. For example, an actor may have negotiated this into their contract so that their name stands out more in the credits or to point out a major player in a less than major part.

Myridon

Question: Just before Christmas in 2004, on one of the British terrestrial channels was a programme about dragons. I think it was called 'Flight of the Dragons', but it wasn't the animation. It was about 2 hours long, and wasn't a movie. It was written as a spoof documentary about the discovery of a dragon's skeleton, and about dragons' evolution and lifestyle. It was really interesting, and had amazing computer-generated graphics, and I would like to know if anyone else has seen it, and whether it has (or will) come out on DVD.

Chosen answer: Yes, I saw it; very good show, I enjoyed it immensely. It was called "The Last Dragon" in the UK - it was shown in the US under the title "Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real". It has been released on DVD in both countries under the appropriate title.

Tailkinker

Question: There was a weird sci-fi film from the 80's that dealt with a spaceship landing in a little boy's backyard. I remember something about a school bus and driver, like the driver was an alien, but not for sure. Can anyone remember the name of this movie/film?

Chosen answer: This sounds like the 1986 Tobe Hooper film, Invaders From Mars. It starred Karen Black and Louise Fletcher. It was a remake of the 1953 classic of the same name.

raywest

Question: I have noticed that in almost every movie and TV show that has someone using a computer, the computer makes small beeping sounds when loading a page or when someone is typing, etc. Why is this put in if no computer (as far as I know) makes those noises? Is it used just for dramatic effect or something?

Chosen answer: Yes, it's so you'll know something is happening with the computer without having watch the computer constantly, i.e. take your eyes away from the actors. It also can cue the actors that it is time for them to interact with the computer, or give the character an excuse for looking away from what he's doing to pay attention to the computer.

Myridon

Question: There was a children's show I watched back in the 80's. It had puppet people and talking vegetable puppets. I think it was called "pinwheel" or something to that effect, because the title song said "pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around - look to my pinwheel and see what I've found." If that's the title, do you know where I can find info on it?

Chosen answer: You are correct--The show "Pinwheel" was on Nickelodeon back in the early 80s. For more info, check out the IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0224947.

Ral0618

Question: I've seen this throughout the site, but what exactly is a "Wilhelm scream" I know what it sounds like, but why is it called a "Wilhelm" scream and why is it so important?

Sir William

Chosen answer: The original scream was recorded for the film "Distant Drums" in 1951, and it was archived as "man being bitten by alligator and screams" in the sound effects library at Warner Bros. Studio, and used numerous times thereafter. In 1953, the scream is heard in "The Charge at Feather River" when a soldier named Private Wilhelm is shot by an arrow. In the mid-70s, when Ben Burtt was hired as a sound designer for Star Wars, he found the original recording, dubbed it "Wilhelm" after the earlier character. Both he and friend Richard Anderson adopted this scream, and it's been used in all the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" films, dozens of other films, TV shows, and even at theme parks. Though there is no documentation, this popular scream is believed to have been done by Sheb Wooley, a musician and character actor. For more information, this website is dedicated solely to the infamous Wilhelm: http://www.hollywoodlostandfound.net/wilhelm/

Super Grover

Question: I remember seeing a movie in the summer of 1985 (probably June)on HBO. What I remember about the movie is two guys are in a private plane and they crash and are presumably dead. Then one of the guys is a ghost and only one girl can see him. I believe they meet on a bus. The "ghost" accompanies his mother to identify his body. In the end, it turns out that the girl who can see the "ghost" was also in an accident, either a car wreck or thrown from a horse.and they were both in the same hospital, both unconscious. Does anyone know the title of this movie?

Chosen answer: Somewhere Tomorrow with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Laura Ogle

Question: I saw a film as a kid that I think was Chinese or Japanese. There was a giant that looked like it was made out of metal. It was walking through towns and people were running and screaming, and it was also walking through water- a lake or the ocean. In a later scene was a very violent martial arts fight, with guys throwing each other against the walls. Anyone know what it is?

Krista

Chosen answer: Not sure, but it may be the movie Daimajin or one of its two sequels. They were made (Japanese) in the mid-late sixties and concerned a giant warrior that could be summoned to help the villagers against evil invaders. I found the first movie on vhs from e-bay. The tape was released by a.d.v. films in the U.S.

bigwhitekitty

Question: I am racking my brain (and keep striking out on the internet) trying to remember a movie (TV show?) I recently saw that ends with the song called "Beautiful", a version, I think that is sung by Sarah Brightman (not the original by Nicola Hitchcock). It might be a scene that dealt with the death of a major character. It wasn't a German movie and I don't think it was an episode of Six Feet Under.

Thisbe

Chosen answer: It's played at the end of "Iron-Jawed Angels" from HBO Films.

Thisbe

Question: I can remember seeing a film on TV ages ago (at least, I think it was a film, might have been a TV series or something, but I'm assuming it was straight-to-TV) where a coachload of people crash because the bus driver is watching a couple have sex in another car, or something, and all the people on the coach become attached to a baby (they're dead) and they can't stray out of a certain range of the person. Then I remember the baby grows up into a pretty nasty/arrogant businessman and the people aren't happy about it, and then I remember a bus (driven by the driver who got them all killed) coming to take them to heaven and apologising for being so late. Does anyone know what this film/show was called?

Gary O'Reilly

Chosen answer: It's a movie called "Heart and Souls". It stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Elizabeth Shue among others.

MoonFaery

Question: Are there any films which have ever been remade twice?

Hamster

Chosen answer: Plenty. The Front Page was remade as His Girl Friday, which was remade as Switching Channels. There were several versions of The Ten Commandments. Numerous versions of Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet (Laurence Olivier, Mel Gibson, and Kenneth Branagh, to name only three). The King and I was a remake of Anna and the King of Siam, which was later remade as Anna and the King. Also Brewster's Millions, Peter Pan, and many others.

K.C. Sierra

Question: I am looking for the name of a film. Probably in the 50's or 60's. It is a wartime film about a US soldier in a hospital. It is a German hospital, but German intelligence is pretending it is an American hospital in order to gain information about the Normandy invasion. I believe the title has a time element to it, such as "24 hours".

Chosen answer: The film is '36 Hours', starring James Garner, Rod Tayloe and Eva Marie Saint. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057809/.

Question: I am trying to remember the name of a TV show that was on in the early to mid 80's. It dealt with day-to-day life on a US Army post (Not Marines or Navy, I'm not thinking of Major Dad or JAG). It was set in the present day (present day for when it was on-the mid 80's), NOT Vietnam. I think the word "Honor" was part of the title, but I am not sure. Anyone? I seem to remember the closing credits focused on the flag pole in front of the HQ while the credits rolled.

Grumpy Scot

Chosen answer: For Love and Honor (1983) was about an airborne field artillery unit. It was set at a fort in California. However, it had one drawback. It was twenty years too early. It was the first television series about the Army. It had the potential to be a hit show but it didn't last that long. NBC cancelled it after three months on the air. Too bad it wasn't picked up by the History Channel. From imdb.com.

david barlow

Share

Follow

Join the mailing list