Curd Jürgens

  1. Marius Goring, Ill Met By Moonlight, 1957.      The Rank Organisation was typically stingy. ”Dirk Bogarde can’t carry this picture alone,” said director Michael Powell, “Give us Dirk, Curt Jürgens [as he was billed in English] or Yul Brynner and Stewart Granger… and we’ll give you a picture that will set the world spinning.” Or not.
  2. Orson Welles, Ferry To Hong Kong, 1958.   When Peter Finch was sacked following a public drunken tirade against the Rank Organisation chief, John Davis, Welles was suggested as the new tramp, stuck on the Macao-Hong Kong ferry without a passport. Too old and too fat, said director Lewis Gilbert. So, Welles became the ferry skipper – and Jurgens, the ex-skipper, was happy to be the tramp. It was Gilbert who dug up  Jürgens for the Bond villain in The Spy Who Loved Me, 1976. Wrong again!  (Legend has it that Welles borrowed the  camera crew to shoot scenes of him being chased around Hong Kong streets. “What film is that or?” he was asked. “Dunno – haven’t written it yet.”).
  3. James Mason, North by Northwest, 1959.  Yul Brynner was Alfred Hitchcock’s first  thought for his suave villain, Philip Vandamm.  Curd Jürgens was second.  Then Mason arrived… performed perfectly (as usual)… and once shooting ended  in December, had a “severe” heart attack.  He was back at work, as Sir Oliver S Lindenbrook in Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by the following June.
  4. Rex Harrison, Cleopatra, 1963.
  5. Josef Meinrad, The Cardinal, 1963.       With the future Pope Benedict XVI as point man, the Vatican helped to pay for producer-director-ogre Otto Preminger’s movie – and blew a gasket about two four-times divorced actors being involved. Otto refused to drop John Huston as Cardinal Glennon but threw out Jürgens (if he was ever really in, and not just being used as a bargaining chip) as Cardinal Innitzer. Preminger got what he wanted – the casting coup of Huston, who won an Oscar nomination.
  6. Horst Buchholz, La fabuleuse aventure de Marco Polo (US: Marco The Magnificent), France-Italy-Yugoslavia-Afghanistan-Egypt,1965. Acting like a Hollywood 30s nabob, the French producer who launched Brigitte Bardot on the world, gathered money from all over (Afghanistan!) but Raoul Lévy could never decide what age Polo should be. Lévy went from Jürgens, 47, to Burt Lancaster, 49, to Alain Delon, who started the film at 27, and the German Delon, who finished it at 32… just before it finished Lévy.
  7. Raf Vallone, Se tutte le donne del mondo…… Operazione Paradiso) [US: Kiss the Girls and Make Then Die], Italy, 1966.     The iconic Rome producer Dino De Laurentiis thought it was dead easy to make a Bond film((pinching much of Moonraker, not made until 1979) and crush the 1967 releases of You Only Live Twice and the first Casino Royale. Three Bonds in one year was two much, and as bad as it was, Royale was a better farce than the cardboard Connors as a hero. (Quentin Tarantino loved it. Yeah, that bad!). For the villian, Mr Ardonian, Dino tried to land German stars Van Eyck or Curd Jürgens   Ten years later, Jürgens was the bad old Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me.  Surprisingly,Van Eyck, was never  never selected for Bond villainy. He would have been perfect.  Less predictable than Jürgens! 
  8. Heinz Domez, Lieb vaterland, magst ratig sein/Dear Fatherland, West Germany, 1975.    After ten years trying to make the drama of an East German refugee as writer-star-director, Jürgens finally sold his rights to the Johannes Maria Simmel book for $87,000. Roland Klick made it without him.
  9. Hardy Kruger, The Wild Geese, 1978.     Nolo contendere!
  10. Maximilian Schell, The Black Hole,1978.   One Swede, three Germans and six Brits were dsicussed for Dr Hans Reinhardt – heading a mission aboard the US spaceship, Palomino, to find habitable spots in space. Max von Sydow; Anton Diffring, Curd Jürgens, Hardy Krüger; plus Harry Andrews, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Kemp, Hardy Kruger Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Donald Pleasence and Patrick Troughton. This was Disney’s first attempt at science fiction – and a PG rating.  Never got it right until buying Lucasfilm and the Star Warsfranchise. In 2014.





 Birth year: 1912Death year: 1982Other name: Casting Calls:  10