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Akim Tamiroff (1899-1972)

  1. Andy Devine, Men With Wings, 1937.   Change of Joe Gibbs - hey, someone had to provide the laughs - in another aviation thriller from one of the titular kind - the 1928 Wings director and WW1 daredevil, Wild Bill Wellman.
  2. Gene Lockhart, Hotel Imperial, 1938.      Tamiroff just disappeared during a painful production. It began in January ’36 with Charles Boyer and Marlene Dietrich. She never got on with director Henry Hathaway. Shooting stopped. Everything started over with Margaret Sullavan - until breaking an arm. Enter: Italy’s Isa Miranda.
  3. Morris Ankrum, The Round Up, 1940.       Change of Parenthesis in the Western quickie. (In Pat Garret and Billy The Kid, 1972, Bob Dyan was an equally mysterious… Alias). Anrkum, ex-lawyer and economics professor before turning actor, had 275 screens roles between 1932-1965 including most of the Hopalong Cassidy series and, according to IMDB, more science fiction movis than any other Hollywood actor.
  4. Sheldon Leonard, Buy Me That Town, 1940.   Racketeer Chink Morgan is drafted - while his ex-lieutenant (Lloyd Nolan) turns Connecticut’s Middle Village - unincorporated and outside of Federal, State and City laws - into a safe haven for crooks… who can afford it. Nolan’s guys were called Crusher, Fingers and Ziggy. So you this came from Damon Runyon.
  5. Alexander Granach, Three Russian Girls, 1943.    In the (early) frame for Russian Army Major Braginski in the US re-make of the 1941 Russian film, The Girl From Leningrad - source of the new version’s WWII battle sequences.
  6. Alexander Granach, Voice in the Wind, 1943 .   Unable to spring Tamiroff loose from Paramount to partner Francis Lederer, producers Arthur Ripley and Rudolph Monter found a lookalike in Granach. Tamiroff then joined Lederer in his other ’43 gig, The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
  7. Thomas Gomez, Kim, 1950.        An on/off MGM project since 1935.  Seven years later, Tamiroff was supporting Mickey Rooney as Kimball O’Hara. Once again, the expense - and politics - of even token shooting in India shelved the project.  For a further eight years
  8. Oscar Homolka, Funeral In Berlin, 1966.       When due to be Colonel Stok in the second Michael Caine/Harry Palmer espionage thriller, the Tiflis-born Tamiroff fell ill. He was subbed by the Vienna-born Homolka. They were so interchangeable, few filmgoers knew one from t'other.
  9. Alfie Bass, The Fearless Vampire Killers, 1967.   Change of character actors. Bethnal Green's Alfie made 95 screen roles  compared to  the Russian  (Georgia) born Tamiroff's 153!
  10. Juan Carlos Ordonez (voice), Don Quijote de Orson Welles (US: Don Quixote), 1992.       When he tested Mischa Auer as Quixote in 1955, the Welles regular Tamiroff, was the obvious Sancho Panza.  When shooting finally began in Mexico, 1957, Tamiroff was still on board while Auer was succeeded by Francisco Reiguera.  By the time the film was rolling anew in the 60s, another Spanish actor was drafted in to voice Sancho  They were all dead when Welles' assistant, director the notorious Spanish shlockmeister Jesus (or Jess) Franco, released this cut of some (not all) of the rushes, seven years after Orson's death. (This explains why Tamiroff fell into Franco's garbage: Marquis de Sade: Justine, 1969).




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