Answered general questions about movies, TV and more

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Question: In many films where the makers wish to show a character as having gymnastic skill, they include a shot of them doing a sequence. In many films this sequence is the same: a cartwheel, followed by a back handspring, followed by a back somersault. Is there any reason why this sequence is used so often (is it well-rehearsed by stuntmen or something)?

Moose

Chosen answer: As a gymnast I can tell you why - it's one of the first (and easiest) things to learn that still looks hard to do.

Question: I'm looking for a TV show I watched as a kid. The show was about a group of kids/teens who found a highly intelligent super computer that helped them carry out missions to save the world etc, it was of course a secret that the kids had the super computer. It was a kind of hacker/agent crossover show. I've narrowed it down to that the show must have been from somewhere between the late eighties to mid nineties. I know this description is very vague but I'm hoping someone out there knows what I'm talking about.

Andreas[DK]

Chosen answer: The show was Whiz kids, but I can't remember much more than that. It was a long time ago (1983). Stick whiz kids into IMDb, there's a bit of stuff there about it.

umathegreatstationarybear

Question: It seems that most TV show and movie characters use Mac computers, at least a far higher ration than I see in real life. Is there a reason that Apples are so prominent on TV and movies?

Nick N.

Chosen answer: Apple pays a sum of money to have their products shown on screen - because of their obvious logos and often unusual designs they stand out more than most PC brands.

Andreas[DK]

Question: Does anybody know the title to this foreign film (japanese I think.) I saw it in a shop, and it's review was that it is "Sound of Music meets Dawn of the Dead", and it's tagline is "The hills are alive with the sounds of screaming!" - I've searched IMDB, but can't find the film.

Hamster

Chosen answer: It's "Katakuri-ke no k├┤fuku" ("The Happiness if the Katakuris"). And it's "Sound of Music meets Night of the Living Dead."

Myridon

Question: What was the first movie to be shot in colour?

rabid anarchist

Chosen answer: The first feature-length color film was The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, in Kinemacolor, it premiered in London in 1914.

pross79

Question: For all you filmsleuths - Does anyone know what this film is called? It is about a little girl who is deaf. The film is in black and white and the only bit I can remember is her being shouted at and not being able to hear. Very vague I'm afraid.

Sarah Davis

Chosen answer: In the first scene of "The Miracle Worker" (1962), Helen Keller's parents discover she's deaf and blind when they clap and shout at her in her crib. There are two other films with the same plot. Johnny Belinda (1948) starring Jane Wyman and Lew Aryes. A girl living in backwoods rural community, has everyone believing she is dumb. She grows up a wild child, Aryes plays a teacher who realizes her condition and her to sign. The other is the Story of Esther Costello, a young girl is rendered deaf and mute by an accident. Joan Crawford plays a wealthy woman who takes pity on her and takes to the big city to educate her. Both are soap opera dramas.

ChiChi

Question: In film production, there are different levels of producers from "producer" "co-producer," "executive producer," and even "executive co-producer." What is a producer, and what separates the different levels?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: A producer is the person responsible for acquiring money to make a film. They talk to investors and deal with the studios for big films, or sometimes have invested their own money on smaller films. They are basically the business end of filmmaking, while the director and on-set crew are the creative side. The executive producer is head producer; the buck stops with him. Other producers work under him just like in any company, and there are various "co-producers" or "associate producers" that sometimes have little or nothing to do with the film itself. Sometimes it's someone who just writes a check or gives money to the production. IIRC, in the film "State and Main" they offered the mayor of the town they were shooting in an Associate Producer credit if he allowed the town hall to stay open late for them, or something to that extent. So someone credited as a "producer" can be a huge part of the production, or essentially have nothing at all to do with it.

Krista

Question: Since film preservation is required for old films, why is the film material very fragile?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: Film contains chemical substances which deteroriate and "bleed out" over time. When this happens, the picture is washed out; even to the point where it is unrecoverable. Preservations means transferring the picture from the old film (which in the old days were flamable) onto a new media (digital nowadays), frame by frame.

Question: Some people (through correcting some goofs) state that it is illegal for film producers to imitate U.S. military officers (in use of medals, insignia, where they are arranged, etc.) in their films. What civil or military code states this?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: It's not illegal. But if the military branch in question has not given their approval and doesn't like the film, they can sue for copyright infringement. For example, the uniforms in U-571 were a little bit wrong as the Navy had not endorsed it. However, Stargate SG-1 has the uniforms correct, as it has the official backing of the USAF.

Grumpy Scot

Question: Why is it so significant that a film in the ending credits mention that animals were neither harmed or killed during production?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: Because people tend to care about that sort of thing. While it can be safely assumed that filmmakers aren't going to inflict actual harm on human beings during the making of their films (intentionally, anyway - James Cameron notwithstanding), it's something more of an open question as to whether the same hesitation would apply in the case of an animal. As such, the relevant organisations tend to monitor the film production process for evidence of such cruelty - the notice at the end of the film simply certifies that those organisations are satisfied that nothing along those lines occurred. As such, any animal-lovers who might be watching the film won't feel the need to phone up and complain.

Tailkinker

Question: I've read about the movie rating system, and how, in the mid 1980's, some movies (like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) were released with a PG rating, and many parents were upset because they felt the material was too mature for the young children they took to see the movies (given that it was only rated PG, and the only other option was R, which these movies didn't qualify for). This brought about the creation of the PG-13 rating in the mid to late 80's. My question is this: what was the first movie to receive the PG-13 rating?

Chosen answer: From the IMDb: The Flamingo Kid (1984) was the first film to be given a PG-13 rating. It was shelved for five months, however, making Red Dawn (1984) the first film to be *released* with a PG-13 rating.

Brian Dillree

Question: I am aware that different aspect ratios were used by studios since the early 1950s, but why is it that dramatic or action films are usually shot in 2.35:1, while comedies are usually shot in 1.78:1?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: The correct ratio's actually 1.85:1 (1.78:1 is 16:9, which is what's used for home widescreen). The simple answer is that 2.35:1 (cinemascope) gives a broader picture, ie. more screen space to work with, which lends itself better to more visual presentations, be they action-packed or period dramas. Cinemascope is also more expensive, so lower-budget films will opt for the more regular format. I'd also argue that your generalisations are incorrect - just looking at the technical specifications for the first two films I thought of on the IMDb, 21 Grams was shot in 1.85:1, while Dodgeball was shot in 2.35:1.

Question: I watched this TV series a very long time ago, and am dying to know what it's called, as it was FANTASTIC. It was about a girl who travelled back in time, using a sundial. It was historical and set in large grounds.

Hamster

Chosen answer: The series you're referring to was called "Moondial", and aired in 1990. You can read more about it at http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/ShowMainServlet/showid-24751/.

LuMaria 1

Question: This may be kind of long, so apologies in advance. I'm trying to find the title of a movie, possibly a telemovie, for my aunt. We saw it some years ago on TV, but never caught the title. It started with a struggling actress house-sitting for a wealthy friend, possible a judge or lawyer. The same day she starts house-sitting, a guy that the judge/lawyer put in jail is released (or escapes) and comes hunting for revenge. He comes to the house and asks for judge/lawyer's wife, with the plan of kidnapping and ransoming her. The actress, who has been going through the women's nice clothes, says that she is the wife (she's "practising" acting) and the guy comes in the house and ties her up and tries to get her to tell him where her husband is. The actress tries to tell him she isn't Mrs. Judge/Lawyer but the guy doesn't believe her and they go on arguing for the majority of the movie. At the end, they fall in love of all things and the very last scene we see is the criminal guy watching her on TV. This may sound kind of sketchy, but if anyone could help me, I'd be very grateful.

Chosen answer: It's proabaly 'A House in the Hills.' Check out the plot at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107147/plotsummary.

Question: What are "regions"? I have tried to access Easter Eggs on my DVDs only to find out they are the wrong region. Why are DVDs produced differently according to these regions and how many are there?

Chosen answer: Regions were introduced because of different release dates - for example, many DVDs are released in the USA well before other countries, and if people can buy the DVD before it's even released in the cinema, the studios lose revenue. However, multi-region DVD players are now easily available. More info is here: hometheaterinfo.com/dvd3.htm.

Question: I love the song 'I've Got A Name' by Jim Croce and am sure I've heard it in a movie or on a movie soundtrack. Could anyone please help me in locating said movie?

Chosen answer: According to IMDb, that song was in the movie "The Last American Hero". (1973) Unfortunately, there is no soundtrack recording for this movie. It's also used in Invincible with Mark Wahlberg, during the opening credits.

ChiChi

Question: Is it true that in all Disney movies there is a sex related slip in or reference?

Chosen answer: There have been many cases of films such as The Little Mermaid and Lion King in which people were convinced Disney put some reference in. This site explains many of the references people claim they have heard or seen in Disney films http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/films.asp.

Lummie

Question: I saw a movie one time where a man was running through a park and being chased by birds (and it's NOT the movie The Birds), and he seeks shelter in a gazebo type structure and when he looks up he sees that there is no roof and they start pooping on him. Anyone out there have an idea what movie this is? It's at least fifteen years old.

Chosen answer: High Anxiety by Mel Brooks. It's a spoof of the Hitchcock films.

William Wilhite

Question: Some years ago I watched a film, now I know this sounds strange, but some Electricity Pylons sort of came to life and started walking on a mission. The story seemed to revolve round a little boy if my memory serves me right. Does anyone know what the film was?

Jon Sandys

Chosen answer: Sounds a lot like The Iron Giant.

Grumpy Scot

Question: In many films, I have read, (and actually seen in the films) that an actor/actress mouthes the words another actor is saying. It happens in Home alone 1, one of the Harry Potter films and in the latest Bond film. Why does this happen?

Jon Sandys

Chosen answer: I can't give a definite answer, but all I can think is that they've rehearsed the scene so often that they know other people's lines (possibly leading up to their own cue), so mouth along with them without even realising it, and no-one else notices. Kind of like during the filming of the Phantom Menace - Ewan McGregor was making lightsaber noises during the fights and wasn't even aware he was doing it until someone pointed it out to him!

Jon Sandys

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