Old Hollywood seems to have had a love affair with the automobile. Today when we see a car in the movies, it’s probably going to be destroyed in an elaborate crash sequence. Back in the day, the confines of the auto interior was the secret world where characters fought, hatched evil plans, whispered confidences, fell in love, took hostages, pursued their dreams, or escaped from a bad reality.
We’ve got some pretty good guesses to Monday’s screen cap trivia on motorists and their passengers. Here’s who they are:
A. The only right-control car in our collection tells us this is not in the U.S. Alexis Smith is behind the wheel in “The Sleeping Tiger” (1954) with Dirk Bogarde riding shotgun.
B. Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray snooze in “Remember the Night” (1940).
C. Celeste Holm, Bette Davis, and Hugh Marlowe run out of gas in “All About Eve” (1950).
D. In “Split Second” (1953), Robert Paige rides shotgun, and in the back seat are Frank DeKova, Paul Kelly, and Stephen McNally as the ultimate backseat driver. Alexis Smith takes the wheel again.
E. Patricia Owens and Jeffrey Hunter, with their moving van following behind them, drive to their new suburban home in “No Down Payment” (1957).
F. “Conflict” (1945) has Humphrey Bogart at the wheel, Rose Hobart his front seat passenger, and behind we have the eerie shot of Alexis Smith’s eyes in the rearview mirror.
G. June Allyson and William Holden take a ride in “Executive Suite” (1954).
H. Errol Flynn is in the back seat in “Footsteps in the Dark” (1941), chauffeured by Allen Jenkins.
I. Jane Russell and Victor Mature cruise the strip in “Las Vegas Story” (1952).
J. That’s perennial sidekick Ruth Donnelly with Jean Arthur at the wheel in “More Than a Secretary” (1936).
K. Kim Novak and Fredric March get cozy in “Middle of the Night” (1959).
L. Jean Peters and Max Showalter, also known as Casey Adams, drive to “Niagara” (1953).
M. Judy Garland and Eddie Bracken in “Summer Stock” (1950).
N. Walter Brennan and Teresa Wright in “Pride of the Yankees” (1942). I find this shot endearing, as in real life Teresa Wright was nearsighted and wore her glasses off set. Her acting is perhaps unconsciously realistic in this scene as she squints to be able to see the “road” ahead of her. Apparently nobody told Miss Wright that was all just rear screen projection passing by and they weren’t really moving.