I’m assuming that everyone who reads my blog believes they’re a knowledgeable classic film fan? One of the articles that garnered the highest hits, ever, was my review of the TCM Classic Trivia book; if you’re hoping to add another trivia book alongside it, you might want to look into John DiLeo’s And You Thought You Knew Classic Movies: 200 Quizzes for Golden Age Movie Lovers. Between the TCM book and this, you’ll be able to showcase your movie trivia (or lack of it) with aplomb. I was frustrated to realize how little I knew in certain areas, and while DiLeo could do well to vary up the format of questions just a bit, I kept playing with it (both alone and with friends). This is a must-own for those wanting to spice up their movie trivia nights.
If you’re hoping for sections devoted to big movies such as Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, or Billy Wilder, you might be irritated. DiLeo isn’t catering to the person with expertise in one particular area; he’s testing everything and anything have to do with classic film. He’s determined to separate the wheat from the chaff; the casual classic film lover from the die-hard. The book is divided into several sections focused on characters, character names, actors, countries; from small plot points (such as what cities certain movies take place in) to narrative structure (matching an actor to the real life person they’ve played). Each question has ten actors/characters and are generally matching which tests your mettle; several questions I would get only two out of ten, some I would get half. I rarely got every sub-question correct. By the end you’ll want to watch movies you’ve never heard of, or revisit classics just so you can get a better score.
I would have preferred more multiple choice questions, or possibly fill in the blank. With the use of matching, it’s a great book to bring with you to the beach (if you don’t mind drawing lines to match up), but if you’re not keeping track in the book then it becomes hard to play with friends. The few times I did, I had to use different color pens and remind the players which choices they’d picked. DiLeo definitely has enough expertise to write a companion book for parties.
In the end, I only scored about 1150 (the back breaks down your total score and the various descriptions are dead-on; I was obviously someone who DVR‘d a lot of movies). I immediately wanted to go back and try to improve my score; one reason why you might want to use a pencil when playing. And You Thought You Knew Classic Movies is a must-own trivia book for fans of the TCM trivia book. DiLeo is well-versed in movies, and understands that typical trivia books can provide too many easy answers, or recycle only the most popular movies. He provides a diverse selection of movies from all genres before 1970. If you’re searching for a new book to play around with and test your knowledge, this is it!
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A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.