I love looking for trivia in movies. You know, like hunting for Hitchcock‘s cameo shot in 39 of his 52 movies or trying to see what’s in C.J.’s goldfish bowl on her desk in West Wing reruns. Things you don’t always see the first time you watch a movie or TV episode because you’re so focused on the plot. I think they’re a lot of fun.
If you see the famous Hitchcock/ Cary Grant movie, It Takes a Thief (1960), (usually shown New Year’s Eve because of the romantic fireworks scene) keep your eyes open for the wine bottle and glasses displayed in front of the cruise ship in the travel bureau window while the credits roll at the beginning of the movie.
Another movie that may show up over the holidays is Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan. When she and her mother are in what is clearly a spare room where everything gets crammed in, there are Christmas mini-lights flickering in the window curtains. When they leave in their separate cars, Meg’s singing along with Christmas carols on the car radio as she’s driving down the highway and keeps closing her eyes.
There’s a scene in the 1939 John Wayne movie, Stagecoach, where the wheels appear to be turning backwards. It’s an optical illusion that you can see in a lot of the old western movies but this movie, directed by John Ford, is the most famous. You can find it explained here. You can see it at 1:05 m into this trailer.
I love trying to read all the travel stickers on Katharine Hepburn‘s luggage as she makes her way off the train in Venice in the movie Summertime. One of the stickers is of Colombia, which tickles me because I’ve been there. Another one appears to be the Grand Hotel de Louvre, Paris, and another from Mount Rushmore.
If you get a chance to see In the Good Old Summertime with Judy Garland, that’s her daughter, 3-year-old Liza Minnelli, with her and Van Johnson in the final scene which you can see here along with some casual scenes before the sequence is filmed.
In The Lion in Winter (1968), (which takes place with great pageantry over Christmas in 1065 AD) Geoffrey and King Philip of France play chess using the Lewis chess men which, of course, is perfectly appropriate for the time. That version of chess men is also used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and in Becket (1964).
If you go to see Interstellar this Christmas, look for the Lindbergh book in the middle of the bookshelf where some of the books have been knocked out.