Being a film fan, I’m also a bit partial to some of the trivia that goes with it. I wish I wasn’t, but I am.
Being able to parrot off certain movie facts does engender a weird sense of pride – as well as the confidence that, one day, somewhere, some time, that knowledge will definitively be called on.
It’s not happened yet. But I have faith.
The actors in ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and their characters? Simples.
The seven films for which Richard Burton was Oscar-nominated but failed to win? No sweat. The eight for which Peter O’Toole and Al Pacino were nominated? Tougher, but still easy.
The titles of the appalling Matt Helm movies with Dean Martin, and the five Fu Manchu flicks with Christpher Lee, all from the 1960s? Quoting them is much more fun than watching them.
And, if you need someone to rattle off the characters and stars of another favourite, ‘The Dirty Dozen’, look no further.
However, if I ever meet someone who can do this one particular thing, I’ll shake their hand graciously and admit I am truly second-class and inferior.
With some effort, I was eventually able to recite the dozen actors who starred in ‘12 Angry Men’.
But do you know anyone who can also remember their juror numbers?
That, my friend, is a mighty impressive feat.
I found it enough of a challenge just to recollect the performers from the 1957 classic, directed by Sidney Lumet and set in a sweltering New York courthouse, with a jury discussing the case of a teenager accused of murdering his dad.
But to remember them in any kind of order, let alone numerical, is a different thing.
Everyone knows Henry Fonda was juror number eight – he was a huge star and his is the main character.
Folks, here’s how you remember the other 11 actors. There’s a system.
Start with the three who, respectfully, were probably the least well known in films (George Voskovec, Edward Binns, Joseph Sweeney).
Then the main cluster, who went on to be very dependable character actors and often played fairly gruff, dominant or authoritative types (Martin Balsam, E. G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Lee J. Cobb, Robert Webber, Ed Begley, Jack Klugman).
How many’s that? Eleven. So who’s left? Ahh, yes. That wee bloke who did the voice of Piglet. He was in it too (John Fiedler).
And there you have it.
Ironically, the one I always struggled to recall was among the most famous – Jack ‘Quincy’ Klugman.
If anyone can name them in numerical order – sir or madam, you have my eternal respect.
Forty years later, there was a TV remake (directed by William Friedkin), reflecting changing times and ethnic diversity, with a number of black and foreign jurors thrown in. Unfortunately, I’ve come up a bit short there – I recalled only Courtney B. Vance, James Gandolfini and no others, including George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon.
Now, to anyone who can remember all of them and their numbers – you need to get out more.