Florence Bates

  1. Gladys Cooper, This Above All, 1941.       Ya can’t always get wot ya wanna…  Darryl F Zanuck had such tight control at Fox that Nigel Bruce was the only one of eight casting suggestions made by director Anatole Litvak that DFZ approved of. Title stemmed from the Polonious soliloquy in Hamlet: This above all: to thine own self be true… As John Wayne could have told you; he could recite the entire play. With more pauses than Shakespeare intended
  2. Jane Darwell, The Ox-Bow Incident, 1942.    Director William (Wild Bill) Wellman suddenly changed Ma Grier from Sara Allgood to Florence Bates – and when she was injured in a horse-riding sequence, by Jane Darwell, best remembered as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.  Both films were Henry Fonda’s favourites during his largely unhappy days at Fox.
  3. Connie Gilchrist, Chicken Every Sunday, 1948.  Cast changed completely as the comedy moved from Warner to Fox. Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara, Jeanne Crain, John Payne became Dan Dailey, Celeste Holm,  Colleen Townsend and   Alan Young. York Times critic Bosley Crowther said the movie‘s menu was good, substantial cooking in the Hollywood sentimental style, larded with wholesome portions of Ma-Loves-Pa, seasoned with generous sprinklings of standard bucolic farce.
  4. Evelyn Varden, The Student Prince, 1954.      Change of the prince’s grandmother, Queen Mathilda of Karlsburg… after the 1962 version collapsed due to Mario Lanza’s gigantic row with MGM. “No director tells me how to sing!” Eventually, Edmund Purdom went royal, miming to Lanza’s voice. Varden won 30 screen roles (Pinky, The Night of the Hunter, etc) compared to 789 for Bates (Rebecca, On The Town, etc).  

 Birth year: 1888Death year: 1954Other name: Casting Calls:  4