Payday Loans
Donald Pleasence (1919-1995)

 

  1. Vincent Price, Witchfinder General, 1968.     Depressive UK director Michael Reeves wanted Pleasence but Hollywood’s AIP, the co-backers, insisted on their man. “I’m not making a Carry On film or a Hammer horror,” Reeves was purported to have yelled.“ He’s camp, a parody of himself...: They fought on the set and Reeves (at 23, it was only his third feature  un-hammed Price, resulting in what Price   called the finest of his horror movie career. It relaunched him and  “Call me Vinny” gladly agreed to Reeves’ next project, The Oblong Box, 1969, but the dazzling Reeves was in one - dead at 25, miscounting his anti-depression drugs.
  2. John Meillon,  The Car That Ate Paris (US: The Cars That  Ate People), Australia, 1973.    Pleasence and  Meillon co-starred in Wake In Fright in 1970. This time  there room for only one of them  - and although  Donald’s fee was reasonable, no one could afford it.  Or, only the makers of a third Aussie film, Barry McKenzie Holds His Own
  3. Telly Savalas, Capricorn One, 1976.   The Brit was wasn’t available – not for a single day’s work as Albain, the crop duster pilot. (No, not looking for Cary Grant).
  4. Laurence Olivier, Dracula, 1979.    He passed on vampire hunter Van Helsing because he wastoo close to his Dr Loomis in the Halloween films. Which is exactly why he asked in the first place.
  5. Vincent Ball, Breaker Morant, Australia, 1979.  Talked of for Colonel Johnny Hamilton before Aussie film-maker Bruce Beresford's let’s-go-international production went more (correctly) Australian
  6. Wilford Brimley, The Thing, 1981.    John Carpenter (a director who sadly  never lived up to his potential) kept the faith and asked his British Halloween star to play Blair in the horror re-make. Schedules had other thoughts…
  7. Trevor Howard, The Missionary, 1982.     With Gielgud and Olivier gone from “Mish” (Johnny totally disinterested, Larry too expensive), the battle for the curmudgeonly Lord Ames was between Pleasence and Howard.
  8. Frank Finlay, Lifeforce, 1984.  A search began for German actors  (hello, Anton Diffring!) or those who could play German. Result: 22 possibilities… Bernard Archard, John Bennett, Dirk Bogarde, Nigel Davenport, Denholm Elliott,  Michael Gough, Bernard Hepton,  Trevor Howard, Freddie Jones, Klaus Kinski, Hardy Kruger, Herbert Lom, James Mason (ah, Rommel!),  Cifford Rose, Leonard Rossitier, Maximilian Schell, Vladek Sheybal, Robert Stephens and even Max von Sydow (hey, an accent is an accent).  And so, probably without him knowing, Pleasence  was listed for Dr Hans Fallada, an expert of - get this! - life after death… And all the time, US director Tobe Hooper knew it didn’t matter a damn who played what guy as all eyes  would be on Mathilda May - fully naked for almost the entire 116 minutes.  (A rare accomplishment, swiftly copied the following year by another Parisienne,  Patricia Barzyk - Miss France 1980 - in Jean-Pierre Mocky’s La machine à découdre). After all that… web critic Stephanie Scaife denounced it as “completely batshit insane.”
  9. Brian Glover, Doctor Who #137: Attack of the Cybermen, TV, 1985.   Passed Griffiths to to the ex-wrestler from Sheffield- opposite the (unpopular) Doc6 Colin Baker. Bald, ordinary yet with an air of menace, Pleasence amassed an amazing 223 screen roles in 44 years (do the math!). Such as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Onlyh Live Twice with Bond1 Sean Connery and Dr Sam Loomis in Hollywood’s Halloween franchise.
  10. Eric Bogosian, Arabian Knight, 1995.     When Harvey Weinstein turned his scissorhands upon the greatest Richard Williams toon that never was, The Princess and the Cobbler, more than the title was cut for Miramax.   And the British Pleasence tones became those of Broadway’s Bogosian.   Didn’t help.

 

 

 

 





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