Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Six Degrees of Separation Blogathon

I was chosen by Steve Honeywell at 1001plus to participate in the Six Degrees of Separation Blogathon, which was started by Nostra at My Film Views.  This is an interesting one; most everyone who watches movies tries to make connections with others.  The idea here is pretty simple: connect one actor to another through six or fewer steps.

The task before me is to connect Vinnie Jones with Jean Gabin.  We got here via the following list of previous posts in the series:

Drew from A Fistful of Films (Charlie Chaplin to Jason Statham)
Sati from Cinematic Corner (Jason Statham to Michael Haneke)
Alex from And So It Begins (Michael Haneke to Stephen Dillane)
Steven from Surrender to the Void (Stephen Dillane to Ingmar Bergman)
Chris from Movies and Songs 365 (Ingmar Bergman to Toshiro Mifune)
Josh from Cinematic Spectacle (Toshiro Mifune to James Stewart)
Shane from Film Actually (James Stewart to Spike Lee)
Tom from At the Back (Spike Lee to Birth of a Nation)
Jay at Life vs. Film (Birth of a Nation to Daniel Bruhl)
And finally, Steve at 1001plus (Daniel Bruhl to Vinnie Jones)

If you look through the previous posts you will see some folks have connected people via film directors, not actors who were in the same movie.  Of course, if the person you have to start or end with is a director then you have no choice.  And in some cases they have also used off screen connections (relatives, friendships, or relationships). 

I decided I would set myself some individual guidelines.  First, the people had to appear in the same movie together, and if possible, on the screen at the same time.  I also wanted it to be movies I not only had seen, but felt were ones I’d recommend to others, too.  Finally, I hoped to be able to do it off the top of my head, but I had to look up one connection – probably the easiest one to make, too.

Here was how my thought process went when I saw what Steve had set for me:

“Okay, Jean Gabin.  He was in La Bete Humaine and Le Plaisir with Simone Simon and she was in Seventh Heaven with Jimmy Stewart.  That gets me to Hollywood films and an actor with a career spanning decades.  Now starting at the other end let’s work back in time as much as possible.  Vinnie Jones was in Gone in Sixty Seconds with Robert Duvall, and his first film was To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.  Were Peck and Stewart in the same film?  Wait!  Duvall was in True Grit with John Wayne!  Stewart and Wayne must have been in a western together.  Think.  Think.  Think.  Huh.”  (Draws a complete blank.)

Here’s where I gave up after a minute or so and looked it up.  Some of you out there are probably yelling “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, you idiot!”  Others might have thought of The Shootist or How the West Was Won.  Wayne and Stewart were in all three.  And guess what?  Gregory Peck was also in How the West Was Won so I could have connected Duvall to Stewart that way, too.

Once I had bitten the bullet and started looking stuff up I spent about ten minutes seeing if I could do it in less than five steps, but did not find a way.  If you can do it in less than five, please let me know.

So to lay it out officially, Vinnie Jones was in Gone in Sixty Seconds with Robert Duvall.

Vinnie Jones second from the left and Robert Duvall on the far right in Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)

Robert Duvall was in True Grit with John Wayne.  The closest the two ever got to being on screen at the same time in this film was in long shots where at least one of them was probably a stand in or stunt double.

John Wayne on the ground and Robert Duvall or a stand in on the horse in True Grit (1969)

John Wayne was in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance with Jimmy Stewart.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

Jimmy Stewart was in Seventh Heaven with Simone Simon.

Seventh Heaven (1937)

And finally, Simone Simon was in La Bete Humaine with Jean Gabin.  (Which leaves the next person the option of connecting these two the other way via Le Plaisir, if you don’t want to reuse a step I used.)

La Bete Humaine (1938)

So now the question is who is next and what am I going to make that person do?  I will tag Shantanu Ghumare at U, Me and Films, who gets the chance to connect the biggest star in classic French films – Jean Gabin – with the biggest ever star in Indian films – Amitabh Bachchan.  Good luck!


  1. Thanks for passing it to me!

    I would love to follow your rules but I have a confession to make. I have no idea who Jean Gabin is. :( I have never seen a movie he was in. So at least my first connection would had to be a movie I have never seen.

    1. My rules were purely for myself, to see if I could do it. For the overall blogathon all that matters I making a connection however you can. Before picking these two for you I figured out how to do it in five steps. Hint#1 - I mentioned in my post that the next person might want to use the same Jean Gabin connection I did. Hint#2 - Bachchan recently appeared in a movie with an actor that was in a movie about a really big boat having a really bad night.

  2. Nicely done. I did this one in my head on my way to work the next day and it took me more steps than it took you. Probably because I forgot Robert Duvall was in a movie with Jones, so I went through Brad Pitt (Snatch) in an effort to get to Gerard Depardieu and use Mon Oncle d'Amerique, which I had just watched.

    1. Thanks. When I was looking things up afterwards I did try to get to modern French films instead in an effort to then go across the channel to an English movie with Vinnie Jones in it. I didn't know enough about Gabin's later movies, though. I did toy briefly with trying to use the X-Men movies for Jones, which give us both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen for older performers, but both were mostly stage and TV actors until the 1980s. Another option for Simon was The Devil and Daniel Webster, but about the only performer of note in it was Walter Huston and he died in 1950, so a performer would have had to have been pretty old to connect from him to modern day.

      Your idea of Depardieu and Gabin (as stock footage) being in Mon Oncle d'Amerique would probably yield a connection in less than 5 steps. In fact, Jones and Brad Pitt were in Snatch, Pitt and Robert De Niro were in Sleepers, De Niro and Depardieu were in 1900, and Depardieu and Gabin were in Mon Oncle d'Amerique - 4 steps. And Depardieu has been in a number of movies with large international casts (i.e. Paris Je T'aime, Branagh's Hamlet, etc.) and it wouldn't surprise me if one of the other cast members in those had been in a movie with Jones at some point, giving a connection in 3 steps.

    2. I posted too soon. Guess what? Vinnie Jones and Robert De Niro were together in a movie I've never heard of - 2012's Freelancers. Rapper 50 Cent is the top billed actor in it, so I'm not surprised I've never heard of it. That gives a 3 step connection - Jones and De Niro in Freelancers, De Niro and Depardieu in 1900, Depardieu and Gabin in Mon Oncle d'Amerique.

      Gotta love IMDB's advanced search on two performers working together.