Because he worked comfortably in so many movie genres within the confines of commercial Hollywood for so long , John Huston — we suspect — is still somewhat underrated despite his many awards (nine Oscar nominations, one win).
John Huston (is) often acclaimed as an outstanding American director, writes critic David Thomson. The evidence to support that view (is) entirely circumstantial.
Ouch! We disagree.
Although he made his share of clunkers (1982’s Annie, anyone?) Huston’s career stretching over some 50 years is rich with first-rate, entertaining films that are classics well able to withstand the vicissitudes of time and taste. In other words, we really like the guy, and have thoroughly enjoyed many of his movies.
Thus Huston’s elevation to subject of our regular Monday Quiz. We have been inspired here by Huston’s 1994 memoir An Open Book and the 2014 publication of daughter Anjelica Huston’s revealing memoir, Watch Me.
How much do you know about this fine director. On to our Quiz to find out. As usual, answers due tomorrow.
1) Question: Huston and Orson Welles have something very much in common these days. What is it? a) Both remain undervalued by some supposedly sophisticated cineastes; b) The Other Side of the Wind; c) Both are adored by the French; or d) Both are actors as well as directors.
2) Question: Huston was very much against daughter Anjelica’s romance with Jack Nicholson because of the latter’s personal habits. a) True; b) False?
3) Question: In his memoirs, Huston accuses one big Hollywood star of taking over and ruining his picture. Which one of the following is the culprit? a) Robert Mitchum; b) George C. Scott; c) Sean Connery; or d) John Wayne.
4) Question: A former boxer himself, Huston once found himself in a serious slugfest with a prominent studio actor. Can you identify this famous foe? a) Robert Taylor; b) Humphrey Bogart; c) Errol Flynn; d) Clark Gable.
5) Question: Huston has acted in more movies that he has directed. a) True; or b) False?
6) Question: During the making of a Biblical epic, Huston found himself grappling with his leading man. Who was this combative actor? a) Peter O’Toole; b) Richard Harris; c) George C. Scott; or d) Franco Nero.
7) Question: Huston managed to survive several health crises but was not insurable by a major studio towards the end of his career. a) True; or b) False?
8) Question: Huston’s superb film noir, 1950’s The Asphalt Jungle, was almost scuttled by the Hays censorship office. What did the Hays Office object to? a) A young Marilyn Monroe’s cleavage; b) Jean Hagen’s false eyelashes; b) The villain’s suicide; or d) The left wing politics of star Sterling Hayden.
9) Answer: Humphrey Bogart got into his one and only fight with Huston during the filming of 1949’s The Treasure of Sierra Madre. What was the fight about? a) Bogart’s drinking; b) Huston’s refusal to increase the actor’s salary; c) Bogart ‘s wish to hurry production so he enter his boat into a race to Honolulu; or d) Huston’s supposed favoritism shown to his father, Walter.
10) Question: On the set of 1953’s Beat The Devil, writer Truman Capote and star Humphrey Bogart got into an arm wrestling contest — and Truman took Bogie. a) True; or b) False?