John Lund

  1. Robert Mitchum, Till The End of Time, 1945.    Tests opposite Guy Madison as Harper, proved that Tabeshaw, another GI home from WWII, was beyond Lund’s range.  Madison was doing well enough until Robert Mitchum showed up and (effortlessly) stole this lite version of The Best Years Of Our Lives. 
  2. MacDonald Carey, Bride of Vengance, 1949.  Once considered by stage-screen director Elia Kazan for Streetcar Named Desire’s Stanley Kowalksi on Broadway – true, true! – Lund was booked by director Mitchell Leisen for Cesare Borgia, but wound up playing Lucrezia Borgia’s third husband  when Alfonso D’Este became the only role refused by Ray Milland in his 21 years at Paramount. (The czars still suspended him; he cheerfully went off ski-ing and fishing). “Horrible title, horrible script,” said Milland. “Same story as Prince of Foxes.” An unmitigated bomb, it opened and closed the same week in New York. Producer Richard Maibaum (first scenarist of the Bond films) was always convinced that Milland was behind the critical roasting.
  3. William Powell, Dancing in the Dark, 1949.   After thoughts of Dick Haymes, John Payne and Clifton Webb, during 1945-1947,  Lund  was the 1948  notion  for the conceited movie idol turned lowly talent scout who discovers… June Haver. Terrible film proving that only MGM could make musicals, not  Fox. 
  4. Robert Mitchum, My Forbidden Past, 1950.   As part of her $150,000 (plus 10%) per film deal, Ann Sheridan had script, director and co-star approval. When Robert Young had to leave, she listed her choices of replacements: Lund, Mitchum, Charles Boyer, Richard Conte, Franchot Tone. Then, Howard Hughes bought RKO, dumped Sheridan and partnered Mitchum with Ava  Gardner. (Sheridan sued RKO and won big money – and another movie, Appointment in Honduras).     
  5. William Holden, Union Station, 1950.     Lund and Alan Ladd were in the early mix for Calhoun, the railway cop searching for a man with a gun on an LA train. A man with a gun in LA- only one? Lund, said auteur Billy Wilder, was “the guy you got after you wrote the part for Cary Grant aand Grant wasn’t available.” Lund made Wilder’s A Foreign Affair, 1947, as the meat in the Marlene Dietrich-Jean Arthur sandwhich. Dietrich was also unimpressed with that “piece of petrified wood.”
  6. Van Heflin, Weekend With Father, 1950.   Lund and Barbara Hale were first choices for the single parents meeting at the rail stationn when sending their kids off to summer camp. And love blooms? Sure, but for Heflin and Patricia Neal.
  7. Eddie Albert, Meet Me After The Show, 1950.   The song and dances were far better than the tiresome script. Neither Lund nor his successor was  a happy hoofer.
  8. Edmund Purdom, The Egyptian, 1953.   Once Brando split for his New York shrink’s couch, head Fox Darryl Zanuck scurried around searching for a new Sinuhe, the court physician – Lund, Dirk Bogarde, John Cassevetes, Montgomery Clift,  Richard Conte, John Derek, Rock Hudson, Guy Madison, Hugh O’Brian, Michael Pate. Fox borrowed MGM’s wooden Purdom and sued Brando for $2m, settled when he agreed to make (the much worse) Désirée.   Or Daisy-Rae as he called the one that got away from Napoleon.


 Birth year: 1911Death year: 1992Other name: Casting Calls:  8