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Alan Marshal (1909-1961)

 

  1. Norman Foster, The Bishop Misbehaves, 1934.    Broadway’s main trio - Alan Marshal, Jane Wyatt and Walter Connolly as the bishop turned detective - were examined by Hollywood. And made over as Foster, Maureen O’Sullivan and, in his Hollywood debut, Edmund Gwenn. UK censors ordered a new title, The Bishop's Misadventures“because bishops do not misbehave.” Of course not!

  2. Henry Fonda, Blockade, 1937.      Difficulty in  finding a suitable lading man for Madeleine Carrroll -  Marshal, Willy Costello  and Elia Kazan - yes, the Elia Kazan! - shelved the film for a full year.

  3. Clark Gable, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
  4. Henry Fonda, Blockade, 1938.        What nearly began as The River Is Blue with Marshal, Willy Costello or Elia Kazan as as our hero was postponed for a year and respun with Fonda as the most American of Spanish peasants joining the civil war to defend the proletariat. Ho hum!
  5. George Brent, The Old Maid, 1939.   Some actors remain best known for the one role they never got... Bette Davis and director Edmund Goulding liked Marshal's test. The young Aussie was "the  perfect Clem"  -  the man both Bette and Miriam Hopkins fell in love with before his early death. Producer Hal Wallis pushed for someone better - but dropped Humphrey Bogart after two days for Brent.
  6. Orson Welles, Jane Eyre, 1943.        After testing for Rhett Butler, the George Brent-ish Marshall was seen  again by producer David O  Selznick to replace his first choice,  Ronald Colman, as the byronic Mr Rochester. By November, DOS had sold it allto 20th Century-Fox. Plus Claudia and Keys of the Kingdom.
  7. Robert Young, The Enchanted Cottage, 1944.  As RKO took 15 years trying to re-tread the 1923 movie, directors changed from Jean Renoir to John Cromwell, and the battle-scarred hero from Joseph Cotten to Young after Marshal quit following  a “nervous collapse.”
  8. Robert Young, The Enchanted Cottage, 1944.      The play was on Broadway soon after WWI. A film was made in 1923. And re-make plans started as early as ’29, again in ’39, and encore in ’43.  Young and Joseph Cotten were up for the literally war-torn GI back from WWII after first choice Marshal suffered “a nervous collapse.” He must have read the script - put down by New York Times critic Bosley Crowther as “more of a horror film than a psychological romance.”
  9. Vincent Price, The Keys of the Kingdom, 1944.     In the mix with Dana Andrews Marshal and Price for Angus Mealey, old friend of the unorthodox Chinese missionary Father Francis Chisholm - Gregory Peck’s breakthrough role.
  10. Gregory Peck, The Paradine Case, 1946.     Producer David O Selznick never did much with or for his Australian pactee.  However, he did list him  for the lawyer defending murder suspect Alida Valli  - alongside Shakesperians as Maurice Evans, James Mason and Laurence Olivier. Alfred Hitchcock wanted Ronald Colman or Joseph Cotton. Finally, they inexplicably went with Mr Cardboard. Marshal (one l) returned to the theatre and died there, -   on stage in Chicago when co-starring with Mae West in Sextet

 





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