Leo Genn

  1. Thomas E Breen, The River/Le fleuve, France-India-USA, 1951.  Among British names (James Mason, Michael Redgrave, etc) juggled by the legendary French realisateur Jean Renoir for his final film  in English.  His choice of  Breen horrified the author-scenarist  Rumer Godden, and proved the weakest link of an otherwise perfect film shot in India for six months and edited back in Hollywood for twelve.
  2. Marlon Brando, Julius Caesar, 1953. The idea was to use the togas and uniforms from Quo Vadis, 1951 – so why not an actor, too? The rather stolid Englishman impressed the MGM Front Office with his Oscar nomination as Nero’s counselor, Gaius Petronious, but  producer John  Houseman only considered Brando. “There is no question in my mind that in natural equipment, temperament and application, he is one of the very great actors of our time.”  Brando had never played Shakespre before – nor since. (He later pulled out of being Lady Chatterley’s Lover with Genn as his cuckolded lordship).
  3. Edward G Robinson, The Ten Commandments, 1954
  4. Trevor Howard, Run For The Sun, 1956. The ex-Lord Chatterley did not fancy the script (nor being the villain) in the second re-make of The Most Dangerous Game, 1932.
  5. Dirk Bogarde, The Singer Not the Song, 1960.   Six years earlier, the British stalwart – Petronius in Quoi Vadis, Sir Clifford Chatterley in the French  Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Starbuck in Moby Dick and TVs Mr Miniver –  bought the rights to Nigel Balchin’s  novel. Leo intended playing the  Mexican  bandito – eventually Bogarde at his most absurd, preening and posing in black leathers in  a love him/hate him  gay desire for a priest, played by John Mills, despite Dirk’s threat. “I promise you, if Johnny plays the priest, I will make life unbearable for everyone concerned.”  Especially the public.  He salvaged much of his reputation in a far better, more honest – and brave –  gay drama, Victim, the following year.  Minus Mills.


 Birth year: 1905Death year: 1978Other name: Casting Calls:  5