Paulette Goddard (1905-1990)
Charlotte Henry, Alice In Wonderland, 1932. Walt Disney and Mary Pickford were planning a part-animation version that year until Paramount secured all rights in April. Then, from the usual “more than 7,000 applicants” (yeah, sure), the short-listed included Henry, Goddard, Marge Champion, Betty Grable, Sue Kellog (who became Henry’s stand-in), Ida Lupino and Anne Shirley.
Vivien Leigh, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
- Marlene Dietrich, Destry Rides Again, 1938. Poor Goddard had to go when Dietrich decided that such an American role would help in her fight against the Nazis. She and co-star James Stewart had an affair resulting in an aborted pregnancy. And she horrified the Hays Office censors, after stuffing gold coins in her bra and declaring: “There’s gold in them there hills!”
- Mary Astor, The Maltese Falcon, 1940. Who didn’t want to be Brigid O’Shaugnessy: “I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.” She was the film noir Scarlett O’Hara and three of the potential Scarlett women were in the mix: Goddard, Joan Bennett, Brenda Marshall. Also delighted at being seen were: Ingrid Bergman, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Field, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Janet Gaynor, Rita Hayworth. The rest were livid about not being good enough for bad Brigid… and her just desserts. “If you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years,” Bogie’s Sam Spade tells her. “I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.”
- Alice Faye, That Night In Rio, 1940. During a September 1940 meeting about what was then A Latin from Manhattan, head Fox Darryl F Zanuck, suggested Goddard, Joan Bennett, Madeleine Carroll or Rosalind Russell for Baroness Cecilia Duarte - before going with the contracted Faye in her sixth and final teaming with Don Ameche. (She famously referred to her studio as Penitentiary Fox).
- Barbara Stanwyck, The Lady Eve, 1940. “I need him like the ax needs the turkey.” For his deliciously sexy comedy, director Preston Sturges went through various combos for the con-woman chasing an heir to zillions… In 1938, the rascally gal was Claudette Colbert. In July, the couple was Joel McCrea and Madeleine Carrol, then Ray Milland and Goddard. By August, Carroll and Fred MacMurray. In September, Fox loaned Henry Fonda to join Goddard - and they wound up as Fonda and Stanwyck… at her wicked best. And then Sturges claimed he wrote it for her. Oh really!
- Susan Hayward, The Forest Rangers, 1941. US web critic Neil Doyle felt each star “has a role totally fitted to their screen persona.” That was, perhaps, true of Fred MacMurray, but not his ladies, They were not first choices for their roles. When Madeleine Carroll suddenly decided against the film, Paulette Goddard took over as rich Celia and her original role of Tana was first aimed at Betty Field… until Hayward proved available.
- Ingrid Bergman, For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1943. It tolled for Paulette. And then for Vera Zorina, sacked in favour of Ingrid.
- Olivia De Havilland, The Well-Groomed Bride, 1946. Paulette passed and this was Olivia’s first film since waging (and winning) a two-year legal battle with Warners.
- Rita Hayworth, The Loves of Carmen, 1948. Not quite “the real Carmen, who has never been seen before” that Orson Welles promised Columbia czar Harry Cohn in a 1946 memo, suggesting that author Prosper Merimée “could make Hemingway seem like a Vassar girl.” Cohn obviously preferred less of Orson’s promised “blood, violence and passion... colour, music, pagaentry, showmanship” by passing the “rough and sexy” notion to Charles Vidor.
- Anne Baxter, Yellow Sky, 1948. She simply refused to go West.
- Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday, 1950.
Columbia's crude chief Harry Cohn spent the first $1m for a play - written for Jean Arthur - as a Rita Hayworth vehicle. As she swanned around Europe with the Aly Khan, Cohn preferred Arthur, Goddard, Alice Faye, Gloria Grahame, Celeste Holm, Evelyn Keyes, Marie McDonald, Marilyn Monroe, Jan Sterling, Lana Turner - or anyone other than “the fat Jewish broad,” the understudy who had made the play a hit. waged a campaign to change Cohn’s mind, by virtually turning Judy’s support role in Tracy and Hepburn’s Adam’s Rib into the most elaborate screen test. An act of generosity unsurpassed in Film City history. Cohn gave in, gracefully. “Well, I've worked with fat assess before!” He paid a meagre $4,500 to the actress who did the impossible - and wrested Oscar from Bette Davis in All About Eve and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd - on March 29, 1951 Judy also won Kate for a lover - Hepburn’s final lesbian affair at a mere 43.
- Gloria Grahame, The Greatest Show On Earth, 1951. Tough ole buzzard that he (believed he) was, veteran director Cecil B DeMille rejected Paulette as his circus elephant girl letting an elephant rest its foot an inch from her face.. He had called her out as a coward in front of the entire unit (as per CB usual) when she refused to mount the besieged fort during a fireball attack in their third film, Unconquered, 1946. Her stand-in suffered minor burns.
- Dawn Addams, A King In New York, 1957. Chaplin wrote it for her, of course, but so slowly (he spent four years apiece on their Modern Times and The Great Dictator) that she fretted about being forgotten by the public. That’s why Chaplin's wife became a Bob Hope stooge. Ego!
- Ava Gardner,The Sun Also Rises, 1957. Everyone wanter to ber Lady Brett Ashley... After the Hays Office censors stopped Fox andConstance Bennett filming the hedonistic Hemingway book in 1933, Ann Harding picked up the rights in1935. Then, Goddard tried to obtain the rights - but in the 50s,Hawks was planning Montgomery Clift as the impotent (sssh!) Jake Barnes opposite Margaret Sheridan as Brett, thenBrando and Gene Tierney... It took Fox a quarter-century to finally make the film and even then, producer Darryl F Zanuck had to promise not touse the word impotent.He did, anyway!
- Sophia Loren, A Countess From Hong Kong, l966. Never divorce your writer-actor-director-genius... The so-so comedy was originally designed by Chaplin for Paulette as White Russian... some thirty years previously! Loren’s co-star, Marlon Brando, was bitterly disappointed byChaplin and his genius -thenasty, sadistic asshole from Hell. “And I’m being kind.”