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Joseph Schildkraut (1896-1964)

  1. Tulio Carminati, Safari, 1939.   Paramount wanted to loan the cultuivated Austrian for the game-hunting millionaire Baron de Courland. In 1958, Schildkraut filmed his most famous stage rôle for Fox: Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank. For those of usj who only know him as Otto, it  is a surprise to learn  that Cecil B DeMille saw him as a new Valentino - and bought  the play, The Road To Yesterday play  for him in 1925. The following year, Joseph and his father,  Rudolph, were Judas and Caiaphas in CB’s  The King of Kings.
  2. Cary Grant, People Will Talk, 1951.    Back in the early 40s, the Vienna-born actor and Columbia chased the rights to Curt Goetz's successful play.  Instead, Goetz directed and starred in his own version, Frauenarzt Dr Prtorius, the first major German film released after WW II in January 1951, seven months before Joseph L Mankiewicz’s Hollywood premiere - which led to Grant finally concreting his his hand-and footprints outside Graumann’s Chinese Theatre.  
  3. Werner Klemperer, Operation Eichmann, 1960.  Nothing, much less an offered $150,000, could persuade  the distinguished  Austrian Jewish actor to play the man who murdered six million Jews in WWII.  Indeed, Schildjkaut refused all  Nazi roles in his long Hollywood career, marked by  his Oscar for his Captain Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola, 1936, and  playing the father  of the tragic young author of The Diary of Anne Frank, 1958.   Future viewers could not take this film seriously as Eichmann was played by the comic Nazi POW camp commandant  in TV’s Hogan’s Heroes, 1965-1971.
  4. Jerry Lewis, The Day The Clown Cried, 1972.      Anne Frank’s screen father tried hard to make this drama of a German clown keeping kids amused... in Auschwitz. Milton Berle, Bobby Darin and Dick Van Dyke also tried. Jerry felt the whole world conspired against his (never released) version. It was called - take your choice - unwatchable/never finished/never seen/buried in his vault/in litigation/out to lunch. “Perfect”- in its awfulness!” said actor Harry Shearer. “Like a student film,” said producer Jim Wright. Not even Steven Spielberg offered to re-make it.

 

 





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