Payday Loans
Melvyn Douglas (1901-1981)

  1. Fernand Gravey, The Queen's Affair (US: Runaway Queen), 1934.    UK producer-director Herbert Wilcox had gone Hollywood, signing   Jeanette   MacDonald and Douglas.   She never showed up for rehearsals, simply flew home. Douglas followed her. Gravey, the bilingual, Belgian-born French star, had a career almost as long as Melvyn’s.
  2. Preston Foster, Love Before Breakfast, 1935. Douglas was in and out – not because of the leading lady, Carole Lombard. She had script approval only. And refused this one. For a while. Like she had rejected others by… oh, everyone, including the great Preston Sturges. (She had a black eye on the poster!).
  3. Walter Pidgeon, The Shop Worn Angel, 1937.    Douglas was selected  but  when  shooting began on  March 28, 1938  - two days after my birth -  Pidgeon was playing Sam Bailey. (Bailey was the family name of co-star James Stewart’s most celebrated character in It’s A Wonderful Life, 1945.
  4. Douglas   Fairbanks   Jr, The   Rage  of  Paris, 1938.     Unlike Universal, he was tiring of waiting a full year for the top French star, Danielle   Darrieux, to decide to   turn up and start her Hollywood contract in a screwball comedy - what else?
  5. Edward G Robinson,  The   Amazing   Dr   Clitterhouse, 1938.      Everyone,   except studio boss Jack Warner, figured Robinson would cause waves among filmgoers   as   the   medico   studying   the   criminal   mind, instead   of leading   the   gang.   Warners   turned down all suggested replacements, from Douglas and Boyer to Cary Grant and... Bette Davis.   Well, co-star Humphrey Bogart did call it Dr Clitoris.
  6. Walter Pidgeon, Society Lawyer, 1938.    The attorney defending a pal charged with  homicide changed from Douglas to Pidgeon. 
  7. Leslie Howard, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
  8. Laurence Olivier, Rebecca, 1939.
  9. William Powell, Another Thin Man, 1939. And the title was nearly true…   When Powell said  he was quitting the series (temporarily?) due to ill-health,  Douglas and Reginald Gardiner topped the list of potential substitutes. It never came to that as after a two-year battle with cancer, a much weakened  a much weakened Powell returned  to the screen - and the series… named after the character Clyde Wynant, and not as most fans figured after Powell’s Nick Charles. Between 1940-1946, Powell and Myrna Loy (and Asta the dog) made four more: Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home and  Song of the Thin Man.
  10. Ray Milland, Skylark, 1941.     Paramount was beginning to make a star of   the actor first billed in his first British films as Spike Milland.

  11. Charles Boyer, Gaslight, 1943.      Instead of a  husband driving his  wife insane., Douglas went to WWII…  The couple, starting at Columbia as a repeat teaming of Boyer and Irene Dunne  worked far better at MGM as Boyer-and – winning her first Oscar - Ingrid Bergman. Debuting as Boyer’s flirty maid: Angela Lansbury, “an English refugee girl of 17 [with] great promise as an actress,” reported Hedda Hopper. She wuz right! I am writing this a few days after Lansbury won her first Olivier Award in London as Best Supporting Actress of 2014… at age 89.
  12. Raymond Massey, The Fountainhead, 1948.     Warner Bros bowed to protest letters by the tonaboutputting such an anti-Fascist as Douglas inAnn Rynd’s script of her novel.(Lauren Bacall was similarly replaced by Patricia Neal) An apparently unsullied Masseytook overnewspaper tycoon inspired by William Randolph Hearst. Variety buried it under cold, unemotional, loquacious.A major flop blamed on Gary Cooper being far too old at 47 for the 20-something architect hero. Plus none of the cast lseemed to understand their dialogue.
  13. John Houseman, The Paper Chase, 1973.     An Oscar for his third film in 36 years. led to a TV series based on the film - for Houseman at 73. He was the producer and co-founder (with Orson Welles) of the legendary Mercury Theatre Players.
  14. Fred MacMurray, There’s Always Tomorrow, 1955.    Douglas and Robert Young were also in the frame for the mid-aged business success with an empty existence until, Barbara Stanwyck sashshayed back into his life - and not, this time, for him to murder her husband. Despite how it sounds, this is not the usual soapy melo from director Douglas Sirk. It’s a man’s not a woman’s picture, for example, and there is damn little gloss on the moss.

 

 





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