Payday Loans
Rosalind Russell (1908-1976)

  1. Myrna Loy, Libeled Lady, 1935.        MGM made  Roz into young millionairess  Connie Allenbury - then decided it would be more fun if it was Loy and William Powell…  Again. (In the fifth of their 14 movies).  The slick comedy was re-hashed as Easy To Wed in 1945 with Van Johnson and Esther Williams when one of the extras was a beardless… Fidel Castro!
  2. Virginia Bruce, The Garden Murder Case, 1935.      For the eighth of the 15 films based on SS Van Dine’s (actually, Willard Huntingdon Wright’s) snobbish, cynical bored, supercilious, dilettante sleuth Philo Vance, Aherne was to Vance with Roz as Zalia Graem. But once bitten… She had been in an earlier Vance detective thriller, The Casino Murder Case, 1934. “So bad - and I was so bad in it.” 
  3. Mary Astor, Dodsworth, 1936.      Producer Samuel Goldwyn's casting director, Robert McIntyre, voted: Roz.Sam voted: Mary.Guess who won?
  4. Margaret Sullavan, The Shop Worn Angel, 1937.    Metro had no idea who should  - could! - inherit Daisy after Harlow’s tragic death.  First idea was Crawford, then Rosalind Russell - before being switched to The Citadel. Sullavan  partnered James Stewart. Two years later, comedy genius Ernst Lubitsch waited months  for the same couple for “the best picture I ever made in my life” - The Shop Around The Corner, 1939.  (In the meantime, he casually knocked off the equally enchanting Ninotchka!)
  5. Ann Sothern, Dulcy, 1939.      For the madcap comedy caper, the 1938 plan had been Florence Rice. By ’39, it was  Roz Russell.  Then,   Southern breezed in as the dizzy Dulcy.
  6. 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 Russell, Joan Bennett, Madeleine Carroll or Paulette Goddard for Baroness  Cecilia Duarte - before going with the contracted Faye in the sixth and final teaming with Don Ameche.  (She famously referred to her studio as Penitentiary Fox).
  7. Ida Lupino, Ladies In Retirement, 1940.     Roz had a non-exclusive Columbia deal and tried to head up the Creed sisters.  Director Charles Vidor preferred Lupino. She  preferred co-star Louis Hayward - her first husband during 1938-1945.
  8. Bette Davis, Old Acquaintance, 1942.      The Warner Bros. Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library says Russell and Irene Dunne were up for the best-selling novelist Kit Marlowe. Her old friend was played by Miriam Hopkins - an old arch-enemy of Davis!
  9. Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away, 1943.      Once he secured a part for his lady, Jennifer Jones, and Shirley Temple’s  comeback, Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick worked hard on gaining the perfect Mrs Anne Hilton. He saw Russell, Irene Dunne, Ann Harding, Helen Hayes.  Ultimately Colbert ruled the “story of the Unconquerable Fortress: the American Home... ”  Helped by four directors, DOS included!
  10. Joan Fontaine, Frenchman’s Creek, 1943.      English lady. French pirate. Love at eight bells. Also up for Dona St Columb (opposite Mexican star Mexican star Arturo de Córdova) were Russell, Irene Dunne, Vivien Leigh, Merle Oberon and Katina Paxinou.

  11. Rose Stradner, The Keys of the Kingdom, 1944.   Once listed (so were  Ingrid Bergman and Geraldine Fitzgerald) for the Reverend Mother Maria-Veronica.  Bergman and Russell became meatier nuns in, respectively, The Bells of St Mary’s, 1944, Dixie: Changing Habits, TV, 1983, and The Trouble With Angels, 1965.   
  12. Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce, 1944.      James M Cain’s Mildred was an archetypical Stanwyckian broad - climbing over (weak) husbands to the top. So Stanwyck passed (been there, done that…) and Russell, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, Myrna Loy, Ann Sheridan were excamined. Director Michael Curtiz didn’t want to be lumbered with an old  “has-been” like Joan Crawford (as difficult asher shoulder pads). She shook him by agreeing to test, winning  him over and  simply complying with Mildred’s line: “I don’t know whether it’s right or whether it’s wrong, but that’s the way it’s gotta be.”  Oscar voters agreed on March 7 1946. 
  13. Gene Tierney, Laura, 1944.      Unadventurous for once, Head Fox Darryl Zanuck  wanted  a titular Russell with Dana Andrews and Laird Cregar as the cop and the critic. Director Rouben Mamoulian agreed.  (He needed the pay-check!), When he was canned after his first two weeks of rushes, Otto Preminger dumped them all for Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb and an instant classic. 
  14. Irene Dunne, Life With Father, 1946.    Mary Pickford won the rights to the Broadway hit, even agreed to test but, hell,  she hadn’t made a movie for 13 years! (They were never alarmed about William Powell having been off-screen for the nine years since  the tragically early death of his lover, Jean Harlow). So the Warner suits looked at Russell, Bette Davis and Rosemary DeCamp.. Director Michael Curtiz agreed that Dunne had more box-office pull (in her only colour film), although he really wanted Bette.
  15. Esther Williams, The Unguarded Moment, 1955.      Change of heroine as Williams leapt out of her pool…. But Russell was still on the screen - receiving her sole scenarist credit under her real name. (She signed Mrs. Pollifax - Spy as CA McKnight in 1970). Russell planned to star in the 40s. Better offers got in the way. By the time, Universal was ready to shoot, Roz was too old for a high school teacher, at 48.
  16. Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966.      Among Jack Warner’s early choices for the blowsy Martha - presumably opposite an early idea for the wimpish George: Henry Fonda. Also considered: Ingrid Bergman and Patricia Neal. It all became the fourth of the Burtons’ eleven movies, winning Liz her second Best Actress Oscar.

 





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