Edmond O’Brien


  1. Herbert Marshall, Ivy, 1946.      Joan Fontaine’s literally poison Ivy is married with a lover on the side when she fancies the wealthy Miles Rushworth’s money. Sole problem: how to get rid of the others?   Simple! Kill one. Frame t’other.
  2. Jeffrey Lynn, Black Bart, 1947.      When the title was still undecided between Adventures of Black Bart, Highwaymanand The Legend of Black Bart, there was a change of pal for the titular Dan Duryea – otherwise engaged in falling head over gun-belt for Yvonne De Carlo as  none other than… Lola Montes!

  3. Gregory Peck, Twelve O’Clock High, 1948.    
    The  greatest Hollywood fiction of USAF WWII pilots, often unfairly compared to the  weaker  Command Decision – which js why Peck nearly passed.  “Duke told me he’d turned it down,” recalledPeck.  “And I seized it!”   Just not that fast… Clark Gable was extremely keen on General Savage (he made Command Decision, instead). Peck read it again and  was also won over by director Henry King’s empathy for the subject. King was a pilot, himself, and he would helm five more Peck  films). “A fine film,” said Peck, “much honoured  and  respected,  about the psychological stress of total involvement of these men.” Too honest for such a gung-ho movie-hero as John Wayne. This was Peck’s finest hour; forget To Kill A Mockingbird.   Seeing him glued to his chair in a catatonic state of battle-fatigue made one helluva impression on me when I saw it in, hell, I was 11 years old!  It marked me for life.  It also affected Rian Johnson, who called it an influence on his Star Wars:  Episode VII – The Last Jedi, 2016. Others in the Savage loop were Dana Andrews, Ralph Bellamy, James Cagney, Van Heflin, Burt Lancaster, Edmond O’Brien – and three-bobs-worth of  Roberts: Montgomery, Preston and Young.

  4. Gary Merrill, All About Eve, 1950.
  5. Burt Lancaster, From Here To Eternity, 1952.
  6. Vincent Price, The Ten Commandments, 1954
  7. Dean Martin, Rio Bravo, 1958.
  8. Noah Beery Jr, Guns of the Timberland, 1959.     During the casting days, Alan Ladd – the star and the producer – mused over O’Brien, Van Heflin, Tony Martin and his daughter Alana Ladd. Alana, only, appeared in the film.(The second of her four films with Daddy).
  9. Red Buttons, Harlow, 1964. Buttons was the best thing in the film, which is not what you expect to say about a Jean Harlow biopic!  Peter Falk, George Jessel and Edmond O’Brien were up for her agent Arthur Landau.  He collaborated on the source novel becoming the  second  of New York producer Joseph E Levine’s three snitty/snotty movies about Hollywood –  The Carpetbaggers, 1963, and  The Oscar, 1965. Each one was worse than the precedent.
  10. Maurice Evans, Planet of the Apes, 1967.

  11. Ernest Borgnine, Ice Station Zebra, 1967.       Hit book – by best-selling Alistair MacLean. Decent cast: Rock Hudson, Ernie Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, Jim Brown. Lousy film. “So flat and conventional,” said Chicago critic Robert Ebert, “that its three moments of interest are an embarrassment.”
  12. John Saxon, Black Christmas (aka. Silent Night, Evil Night), 1975.   Not only co-eds were slashed  .Budget cuts removed Bette Davis and then O’Brien’s health – the start of his Alzheimer’s disease – ruled him out. That protected the sheen of their old Oscars.

 Birth year: 1915Death year: 1985Other name: Casting Calls:  12